Fridges are the most commonly owned appliance in the European Union and the most energy-hungry electric appliance in our homes. EU rules and the Energy Label have done a lot to improve their efficiency, but these are now dated and a trend towards ever larger machines is threatening to wipe out the efficiency gains already achieved.
Official data estimates that these products consumed 87 terawatt-hours of energy per year in 2014, which is equal to 3% of the EU total electricity final consumption, comparable to the emissions produced by 20 million cars.
Refrigerators, freezers and combined fridge-freezers have got bigger and more sophisticated in recent years,and bigger models mean greater energy consumption.
Things are not helped by the so-called “correction factors” in the formula behind the Energy Label, which mask the energy consumption of some features, making it impossible for shoppers to compare models in detail.
What’s the European Union doing?
Thanks to over twenty years of Ecodesign and Energy Labelling, fridges are now 60% more efficient than they were in 1992, when EU regulators first agreed on a label. In fact, they were the first product to ever boast the energy label. That label is now outdated though, with the least efficient model sporting an A+ grade.
A sorely needed revision of these regulations was initiated in 2015, reassessing the currently applicable correction factors, the ambition of the label, as well as the possibility to increase the products’ repairability, recyclability and durability.
The new rules are likely to be part of the package of Ecodesign & Energy Labelling measures to be adopted by the end of 2018.
What does the Coolproducts campaign want?
Adopt ambitious new measures ASAP to remedy the current situation of label saturation, and stir innovation.
Facilitate repair and recyclability of fridges with provisions such as the mandatory availability of spare parts, minimum warranty duration and non-destructive access to key components.
Make the energy consumption calculation more honest and accurate to prevent consumers from being exposed to hidden energy demand and unexpectedly high energy bills by removing correction factors, such as the one for fridges with multiple doors or glass doors.