Energy labelling reforms delayed

15th June 2016

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Mitigation ,
  • Fossil fuels ,
  • Renewable


Mark Herbert

Amendments voted for by MEPs leading work on the reform of energy labelling rules will result in delays that will disadvantage consumers and innovative businesses, according to campaigners.

MEPs on the European Parliament’s Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) committee met yesterday to develop proposals to reform the EU Energy Labelling Directive.

Electrical products such as fridges, washing machines and televisions are currently rated on an A–G scale. This has been criticised for lagging behind technological advances to make products more efficient since labelling was introduced in the 1990s.

The directive was reformed in 2010 to reflect increasing energy efficiency, with the introduction of A+, A++, A+++. However, the European Commission has acknowledged that this has created confusion could mislead customers into thinking that a product is the most efficient on the market when it may in fact be one of the least efficient.

An A+ class washing machine, dishwasher or fridge can use 30% more energy than A+++ models, according to the European Environmental Bureau (EEB).

The commission announced proposals to reform the labels last summer. Labels for heating products such as boilers came into force in 2015, with a pledge to review them in 2018. But at the ITRE meeting yesterday, the committee introduced an amendment to postpone the review till five years after the regulation currently under discussion is adopted.

The EEB said the change would result in some products being allowed to use the current system for up to another 10 years. This is particularly poor considering that heaters using fossil fuels are at the moment allowed to obtain an A rating, it said.

A proposal put before yesterday’s ITRE meeting by Dario Tamburrano, the Italian MEP leading the work on labelling, would have resulted in the draft being discussed wth the Council of Ministers ahead of a vote in the full parliament. Tamburrano said this would have speeded up the introduction of the reforms. The proposal was supported by the EEB and European consumer organisation BEUC.

However, MEPs belonging to the Conservative EPP group opposed the move and the draft will now be voted on in parliament before going to the council, delaying the final document until early next year, the EEB said.

MEPs also proposed exemptions from the new rules for elevators, escalators and conveyor belt, and second-hand products.

The EEB and Ecos, the EU standards organisation, described the committee’s amendments as ‘severely disappointing’.

Stephane Arditi, policy manager at EEB, said delays to reforms would not only disadvantage consumers, but also innovative companies, which will miss out on being able to differentiate themselves from competitors will less efficient products.

Alun Jones, project coordinator at Ecos, said: ‘The vote opens the door for deceptions such as the Volkswagen emissions scandal to become increasingly common across Europe, instead of paving the way for energy labels to more accurately reflect how products are realistically used in daily life.’

Under the timeframe in the draft document, labels conveying the energy efficiency of fridges, televisions, washing machines, dishwashers and lamps would need to be introduced within 21 months of regulations being adopted. Manufacturers of tumble dryers and ovens would have five years to introduce changes.

New labels should be valid for at least ten years, MEPs said, with future revisions triggered when:

  • 25% of the products sold in the EU market fall into the top energy efficiency class A; or
  • 50% of the products sold in the EU market fall into the top two energy efficiency classes A and B.

When a revision takes place, class A should at first be empty, although MEPs recommend classes A and B both being empty at first in product groups in which there is rapid technological progress.

They also specified that for products where classes F and G do not apply, these should be shown on the label in grey, with the standard dark green to red spectrum of the label retained for the remaining classes.

MEPs also want labels to display a product’s absolute consumption in kWh per year or relevant time period. Suppliers and dealers would have to refer to the energy efficiency class of the product in any visual adverts or technical promotional material, the committee decided.

The commission has estimated that between 10% and 25% of products on the market do not comply with energy efficiency labelling requirements, resulting in the loss of around 10% of potential energy savings. This is at least partly due to weak enforcement by national market surveillance authorities, it said.

It is advocating the creation of an online product database for consumers, and a separate online resource supporting the work of national market surveillance authorities.


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

Weather damage insurance claims hit record high

Weather-related damage to homes and businesses saw insurance claims hit a record high in the UK last year following a succession of storms.

18th April 2024

Read more

The Scottish government has today conceded that its goal to reduce carbon emissions by 75% by 2030 is now “out of reach” following analysis by the Climate Change Committee (CCC).

18th April 2024

Read more

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) has issued a statement clarifying that no changes have been made to its stance on offsetting scope 3 emissions following a backlash.

16th April 2024

Read more

While there is no silver bullet for tackling climate change and social injustice, there is one controversial solution: the abolition of the super-rich. Chris Seekings explains more

4th April 2024

Read more

One of the world’s most influential management thinkers, Andrew Winston sees many reasons for hope as pessimism looms large in sustainability. Huw Morris reports

4th April 2024

Read more

Alex Veitch from the British Chambers of Commerce and IEMA’s Ben Goodwin discuss with Chris Seekings how to unlock the potential of UK businesses

4th April 2024

Read more

Regulatory gaps between the EU and UK are beginning to appear, warns Neil Howe in this edition’s environmental legislation round-up

4th April 2024

Read more

Five of the latest books on the environment and sustainability

3rd April 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close