EU Commission to revise energy labels to improve clarity

Many consumers want to know how energy-efficient a certain product is before they buy it. The European Commission now wants to return to using the “A-G” scale to improve transparency.

New EU "A-G" label fo energy effficiency products.© BERLINSTOCK

The EU energy label, a colour-coded sticker with a letter rating, has proven successful since 1995. Some 85 per cent of European consumers rely on it when buying a washing machine, freezer or other product. Over the last 20 years, this labelling system has been a major driving force for many innovative developments in industry. It became clear very quickly, that low energy consumption could tip the scale in favour of a certain product in a highly competitive market. As a result, many of our products today belong to the top energy efficiency classes.

However, the existence of two different labelling scales in the past – namely "A-G" and "A+++ to D" – was confusing to consumers. The latter in particular often caused confusion: people who bought a product with an A+ rating, were convinced that they had bought the most efficient product on the market. In reality, it was one of the less efficient products.

To make it easier for consumers to compare products and assess their energy efficiency, the European Commission is proposing that the "A-G" energy label be used exclusively in future. Making information on energy efficiency less ambiguous will encourage people to focus even more on energy efficiency when buying a product and will reduce energy consumption as a result.

The Federal Government welcomes the Commission’s proposal. The revision will result in a better label for consumers and can serve as an incentive for further improving the energy efficiency of products.