Energy label reform plans leaked

By Jack Hunter

A leak of European Commission plans to upgrade the well-known energy label on all fridges, TVs and ten other goods has gone public. ENDs was first to break the story (here's a follow-up public version from Euractiv). As trailed by Commissioner Canete, the main change is a scrapping of the +++s in favour of a clear A-G scheme.


The proposal will be presented 15 July (~12noon, media link here), with reform expected to be concluded under the Dutch presidency. Here's the environmental NGO take on the text as it stands:

The good

  • Back to a clear A-G scale
  • Lifetime running cost on the label, so people can compare how much the machine will cost to buy vs run. Energy monsters won’t seem so cheap anymore.
  • A database of products. Europe is the last major region to build a database to help set accurate, timely policies and enforce them. It will also help digitising the label for a richer shopping experience.
  • Streamlined policy process could mean labels are decided quicker and stay useful to shoppers for longer
  • More enforcement cooperation between national and EU authorities


The bad 

  • There will be a period where shoppers might see two different labels for a model, the old and new label. This can’t be avoided, but Commission plans to involve retailers and manufacturers should mean a quick, clean transition.
  • Products can get a good label rating based on an ‘eco’ setting, even if this is little used in the real world.
  • Labels do a good job of reflecting efficiency, but not the actual energy used. Big products can get a better label than smaller ones and this is wiping out savings. The Commission’s plans only hint at solutions.
  • Failure to learn from market trends to set better policies. The US does, so why don’t we?


Careful, that one's an energy monster

Copyright free cartoon



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