The European Parliament approved today the EU energy label reform for home, professional and commercial appliances – a move that is expected to cut energy use and household bills across Europe.
The new energy label, which was previously agreed by the EU institutions in March 2017, will improve market surveillance across the EU and help consumers choose more energy-efficient and cost-effective products, Coolproducts campaigners said.
The Coolproducts campaign is a coalition of NGOs, led by the European Environmental Bureau and ECOS, working to ensure that energy efficiency legislation works for European citizens and governments.
Today’s reform will:
- Reintroduce the original A-G scale for future labels, removing the confusing plusses (A+, A++, A+++);
- Create a common product registry database to support market surveillance authorities;
- Add provisions to check the compliance of products and make product testing standards more representative of real life conditions, and
- Add provisions to prohibit defeat devices used to circumvent tests.
The rescaling of the old label will apply to a total of 15 product groups – including some of the most energy-consuming home appliances (i.e refrigerators, washing machines).  Policy makers are also discussing adding new labels to product groups such as commercial refrigeration (i.e. vending machines, beverage coolers), taps and windows. A much-needed label for computers could also be discussed in the future.
According to the European Commission, a combination of effective product design and labelling will lead to an energy saving of about 165 Mtoe (million tonnes of oil equivalent) by 2020, roughly equivalent to the annual primary energy consumption of Italy. This translates into €490 a year in savings on household energy bills and €55 billion in extra revenue for European businesses. 
With the revision of the energy label, the European Commission estimates that an additional 17 Mtoe will be saved. 
But EU institutions and national authorities failed to propose a common deadline to introduce the new label. As a result, there will be various dates for the re-scaled energy label to start appearing on products, and full implementation to the whole European market could take eight years or more.
Old fossil fuel fired boilers could misleadingly continue to be labelled as ‘A’ and green beyond 2030, undermining efforts to decarbonise the EU economy by 2050.
The agreed text also fails to mention any compensation for consumers who have bought a product declared non-compliant outside the two-year warranty period. In addition, visual advertisement will not have to refer to energy consumption.
Laura Degallaix, ECOS Director, said:
The decision to revert the Energy Label back to its original A-G format has been long awaited. But if Europe is to truly reduce its energy consumption, the European Commission will need to ramp up efforts to make this a fast and smooth transition. Combined with the announced product database, businesses will have access to a level playing field, and consumers can feel confident they will reduce household bills and energy consumption. It’s a win-win situation.
Stéphane Arditi, Product Policy Manager at the European Environmental Bureau said:
We regret that nothing has been done to speed up the decision making process in this area. If one considers the increasing rate of technological advancement and market development, the agreed requirements risk becoming no longer relevant after eight years or more.
The EU institutions and national authorities should have considered streamlining the process of decision making and set stricter deadlines for the finalisation of measures, as it is the case in the US.
In a previous communication from March 2017, NGOs urged EU institutions to introduce the new energy label quickly so citizens can enjoy the long-awaited energy savings the revision will bring.
The reform is expected to become law in July following formal approval by all three EU institutions – Commission, Parliament and Council.