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Keep energy labels simple, says Which?

Latest plans reject confusing A-20% energy label

EU decision makers have drafted a plan for the future of energy efficiency labels – rejecting the confusing A-20% label design and favouring an alternative system which uses A+, A++ and A+++ in its ratings.

Which? is relieved that the A-20% label won’t be taken forward, but is disappointed a closed A-G labelling system – which our research has showed to be the easiest labelling system to understand – hasn’t been adopted.

A label such as A-20% would have been used to denote products which were more – not less – efficient than A-rated products, so, in this case, the product would have been 20% more efficient.

Which? independently tests household appliances including fridge freezers, fridges, freezers, televisions, dishwashers, , washing machines and washer dryers for energy consumption.

Energy labelling scheme

A recent Which? survey revealed that 86% of British consumers find the widely-used A-G energy label the easiest to understand.

Fewer respondents in our survey found it ‘very easy’ to understand the A+ system, and the least popular was the A-20% scheme – which 37% found hard to understand.

Michelle Smyth, public affairs manager at Which?, said: ‘It’s good news that Europe has now thrown out the idea of adding confusing A-20% classes to the A-G energy labelling system’, 

‘However, it’s disappointing that decision makers are still rejecting the simplest option – rescaling the closed A-G label – as this is the label that people find the easiest to understand. We need MEPs to support a system that enables consumers to easily differentiate between the energy efficiency of different products and pushes industry to improve the performance of new products.’

Energy label plans

The proposed changes to the Energy Labelling directive were set out in a draft text, and included extending its scope to other ‘energy-related’ products including windows and shower heads as well as the ‘energy-using’ products like fridges and washing machines it currently covers.

The plans also set out changes to ensure that the design of the energy label will be the same across all product groups.

We reported on EU-level negotiations on energy labelling back in September and May 2009, and have been lobbying for a simpler energy labelling scheme.

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