EU urged to overhaul energy labelsAppliances have outgrown current system

05 December 2007

Energy grading label

You can't always trust energy labels

Energy rating labels which show consumers how ‘green’ an appliance is before they buy should be completely revamped, according to an industry body.

Manufacturers say that new appliances have become so energy efficient that they’ve outgrown the current rating system.

They want the energy rating labels to be overhauled when the EU shortly revises the scheme.

The current labelling scheme, which was introduced in the 1990s, initially rated products on an A to G scale, with A representing the most energy efficient products.

Energy efficient

Further classifications of A+ and A++ were introduced as products became more energy efficient but Ceced, which represents the European household appliance industry, says a new approach is now needed.

It wants to see the introduction of an open ended numerical labelling scheme where, for example, the most efficient goods would be rated as a class seven and the least efficient would be a class one.

Ceced says that when more efficient appliances enter the market, a new rating of class eight could be introduced and the class one rating could be eliminated from the label.

Colour scheme

However, Ceced adds that the current colour scheme, shown above, should be kept so that the best performing products will still be identified by the deepest shade of green and the least efficient by red.

Magnus Yngen, President of Ceced, said: ‘The EU energy label has been a phenomenal success. But we feel that today's labelling structure doesn't any longer offer efficient guidance to the consumers. The fact is that manufacturers are now producing products that go beyond A class in many categories.'

Which? expert Anthony Hume said: ‘It’s good to see the manufacturers trying to be positive. However, anything the EU does on energy labelling should be backed up by a system to drive down energy use. You have got to have a system to make the industry move quickly from class seven to eight appliances, and from eight to nine and so on.’