Simpler energy labeling approved by EU Lower running costs easier for consumers to spot

18 July 2016

Energy label

The EU has voted to change the current EU label as it's confusing for consumers

Choosing appliances that use less energy to run could be more straightforward in the future as revamped energy labeling has been voted in by the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

The European Parliament has voted to revert back to the old style of A to G energy labels for household appliances, where an A-rated appliance will be the most efficient. If this vote becomes law, it will mean that newer A+, A++ and A+++ ratings will be ditched in a bid to make the distinctions clearer for consumers.

This vote isn't the final decision on the labeling as it will need to be voted on again with the European Council. In addition, the recent Brexit vote means there is a lack of clarity as to whether or not these changes will come into force in the UK.

You can find out more about the current energy labels for different appliances and what they mean for your energy bills in our guide.

Simpler energy labels

Since 1992 the EU energy label has shown consumers how energy efficient household appliances are likely to be. Class A showed the most efficient products and Class G was for the least, therefore encouraging manufacturers to develop ever more efficient products. 

But now many products meet and exceed the original standards, with A+ A++ and even A+++ categories having been added over time. This has muddled the message for many consumers, who don’t realise that an A+ rated appliance is often far less energy efficient than others. 

To stop this confusion happening again in the future, the EU plans to review and revise the A-G scale on an on-going basis as appliances improve in efficiency and more become A rated.

Cheap to run appliances

If you like to keep a watchful eye on your energy bills, it's sensible to make sure you take running costs into account when choosing an appliance. 

Our fridge tests, for example, show that a Best Buy A++ fridge costs £26 a year to run, while an A+ rated fridge a with only a third of the capacity costs £44. Our fridge advice guide on energy efficiency gives more background on this.  

Washing machines have to be at least A+, but with running costs ranging from £12 to £53 a year, it’s worth checking Best Buy washing machines before choosing one.

Energy-efficient vacuum cleaners

Energy labels for vacuums, which were revised in September 2014, now include a limit on the on the size of motors. This could have lead to drop in performance, but our vacuum cleaner tests have proven that this hasn't been the case.   

We analysed results from every batch of vacuums we’ve ever tested to show that before September 2014 average energy use to clean a carpet dropped from 280Wh (watt hours) to 170Wh, while the percentage of carpet dust pick up increased by 5% from 72% to 77%.  

Take a look at our vacuum cleaner reviews to find one that's excellent at cleaning and is easy to use.

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