Why are new energy labels coming into force in the EU?

Energy labels indicate which energy efficiency category an electrical product or appliance falls into. It is a comprehensive system that spans all of the EU to give consumers a better understanding of the efficiency and effectiveness of their appliances. It can also provide a deeper understanding and consumer consciousness as to which appliances are the most efficient for the environment. 

The system was introduced in 1995 however the currently used A+, A++ and A+++ classes have become confusing over time. Most new products exist in these three categories now, while none are in the lowest. This is confusing to consumers as many people believe that when buying an A+ category appliance,  they are buying a product with a high-level energy efficiency rating, which is not true as A+ is the third highest,  not the highest. 

When do the new energy labels come into play and what kind of appliances are affected?

The European Commission approved new energy labels for 6 groups of appliances. These are:

  • Dishwashers
  • Washing machines and washer-dryers
  • Refrigerators, freezers, and wine coolers
  • Light fixtures
  • Electronic displays (TV displays, monitors, and digital information displays)
  • Commercial refrigeration equipment with a direct sale  function (e.g. commercial  refrigerator used in shops and vending machines)

The new energy labels will be enforced on 1st March 2021. They will also appear on light sources from 1st September 2021. Energy labels on any other appliances, such as tumble dryers, ovens, and air conditioners will not be changing. They may change further into the future. 

What exactly is changing about the new energy label?

The scale of A+, A++, and A+++ will now be abandoned and replaced with a scale from A to G. So it will now be clear to consumers that A is the highest rating of efficiency,  while G is the lowest. The new system will provide sufficient space for further technological development and the possibility for appliances to move up the scale over time. 

Another innovation is the Eco mode, which will be used as an indicator measuring consumption, program length, noise, and other parameters for washing machines, dishwashers, and washer-dryers. The consumer can  use this indicator to compare the important values of different appliances as shown below:

What are the new requirements for the repairability and recyclability of appliances that come with the new energy labels?

Resource efficiency, reducing energy consumption, and wasting energy are becoming increasingly important in the EU. It is therefore important that the new labeling scheme is accompanied by the new Ecodesign regulation. The new ecodesign regulations are intended to support the circular economy and make even greater energy savings. There is therefore an increased emphasis on the repairability of products, their easy disassembly, the possibility of modernisation, and of course, recyclability. Below are the designs of the new energy labels from 1 March 2021:

The new energy efficiency labeling system in the EU will enable consumers to have a clearer and more effective understanding of the energy efficiency and impact of the appliance they are buying. This, in turn, places a higher level of responsibility and accountability on product manufacturers in ensuring that their products are of a higher energy efficiency standard before distributing to the marketplace. 

If you are a business who would like more clarity on certifying electrical equipment or appliances, you can read more here:

A complete guide to CE marking and CB certification of electrical equipment