This is an EU energy label for a refrigerator. These labels were introduced from 1992 for all kinds of products, such as washing machines, dishwashers, ovens, TVs, light bulbs. The labels are supposed to show to consumers and businesses the energy efficiency of a product in categories from A (most energy efficient) to G (least energy efficient). The labels also provide other information to the customer - like noise levels and size in the case of the refrigerator - as they choose between various models.
However, in an attempt to keep up with product innovation and advances in energy efficiency, new categories were added: A+, A++ and A+++. This doesn't make much sense, as there are actually enough letters in the alphabet to rate the energy efficiency of products without adding tons of +++++. So the European Commission decided to re-align the scale.
Because as a consumer or business owner, you want to take an informed decision when buying a new electronic product. You might be concerned about the impact of the appliance on the environment and climate. Or at least with the additional cost that you face after purchasing the product, i.e. the money you spent on its electricity consumption.
Also, the label is supposed to provide transparency and comparability among producers, which in turn fosters innovation. As companies try to be in the best category (and to beat their competitors) they produce better, more energy efficient TVs, refrigerators or air conditioners.
The proposal published by EU Climate Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete hast two main parts:
Updating the label and rescaling: For some product groups all models are in the A, A+, A++ etc. rating and there are no longer any models with the lower labels. So all products are awesome!? This is obviously not the case, since in relation to each other, some are still more energy efficient than others. It's just not very visible. Hence, labels will be regularly rescaled (every 10 years) in order to go back to the original A to G energy label scale. The top two classes will then be left empty. The rules will also bring new duties for dealers during the rescaling phase(s) - e.g. replacement of labels has to be done within one week (or three weeks if you ask the EP).
Creating a database of products covered by energy labelling obligations: In 20% of the cases the rules on energy labelling are not applied (correctly). 10% of energy savings are lost that way. A new database will allow consumers from 2019 to inform themselves and surveillance authorities to access the necessary information helping them check the correct application of the rules. Producers and retailers would also have to show the energy efficiency class of every product in all advertisments.
Also, the former Directive on energy labelling (2010/30/EU) is changed into a Regulation. A Regulation does not have to be transposed into national law by the 28 Member States but rather are the rules directly applicable for suppliers and retailers.
In the European Parliament this subject was handled by the Industry, Research and Energy Committee, which voted on its position in June 2016. This was confirmed (with some small changes) by a plenary vote. EU energy ministers adopted their negotiation position in the Council in November 2015. Trilogue negotiations were wrapped up in March 2017, the final deal was confirmed by the Parliament and the Council in June 2017.
Now, the specific criteria for each product group (ovens, refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, etc) will be defined by the European Commission in so-called delegated acts. Customers should then be able to see the first labels with the new rating scale without the “+” indications in shops at the end of 2019.
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