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Recast of SAVE Directive on Energy Efficiency Labelling and Standards 2008

Updated: July 2010

Index of this Page:

· Labelling Directive 2010/30/EU Approved, May 2010 Read

· Label Scale Contested by EU Parliament, December 2009 Read

· Extended use of Labels Read

· Proposal for Recast, November 2008 Read

Labelling Directive Approved
May 2010. The updated labelling Directive 2010/30/EU has been adopted after more than a year's discussion on how to make the best energy-efficiency label. With the directive, a new A+++ class can be used. Where it will be used will be defined in the regulations for specific product groups based on this directive.

Read the new Directive 2010/30/EU Download PDF (pdf file 787kB).
More information at the European Commission

Label Scale Contested by EU Parliament

The labelling directive and a proposal for labelling televisions was blocked by the EU Parliament in May.The Parliament did this for a good reason: the proposed labels were not very good. The story behind is that as equipment gets more efficient, too many models are in the A-label. Previously the solution have been to introduce A+ and A++ classes, but this approach has its limits. Since the A-G label scale is very well known and is easy to understand, the obvious solution is to update the label scale, for instance, every 3-5 years, so an old A-labeled product becomes a C-labeled, etc. Unfortunately the association of home equipment makers "CECED" disagrees strongly with that because of the hassle of updating labels and the risk of losing profit on a product that is downgraded from "A" to "B" or "C". The industry has managed to convince the Commission and the countries of another proposal that does not require an update of the label classes. In this proposal, highly efficient products could get an "A - 20%", an "A- 40%", etc. label instead of the "A+", "A++" that is used today. Due to its strong influence on national governments, the industry managed to get the majority of countries to support this. The EU Parliament, however, was not convinced of this solution. For the first time ever, it used its power to block an Ecodesign decision and also stopped the label directive in May.

The Commission then commissioned a study to test consumers' understanding of the different labels and the update of the label classes. in the study, consultants made a consumer survey asking 8000 consumers in 8 EU countries about their understanding of different labels. The survey showed that people better understand the A-G labels than A-20%/A-40% labels, while they understand the A+ / A++ labels equally well as the simpler A-G labels. The difference is not large, only 72% of respondents answered correctly that a B-label is better regarding energy efficiency than a C-label, while 65% could identify an A-20% label to be better than an A-label. The survey showed that the update period of a label can be critical: only 59% of identified correctly a new, updated C-label to be better than an old C-label. The result of the survey differs from previous surveys that have shown clearly that the simple A-G label scale is best recognized among consumers. The survey have been criticized EU Parliamentarians and NGOs. The Commission, the Parliament and countries are now engaged in trialogue meetings during October to find a solution to the impasse. A possible outcome it that the A+/A++ will be used also in the future, but that the scale could eventually be updated.
The hope is that an agreement in principle will be reached before December 2009.

Read more information on ECOdesign issues at

Extended use of Labels

The proposal to extend the labels to "energy related products was welcomed by the EU countries and Parliament, so the issue should be agreed.

The Commission is now proposing to allow labels to be issued not only by manufacturers or suppliers, but also by installers and wholesalers, in the situation, where an installer or wholesaler puts together different products and sells them as a packet. The specific example for this is a house heating system, where a boiler could have one efficiency, but a combination of a boiler, a solar heating an advanced control would be much more efficient, calculated as external energy needed to heat the house. That would solve an issue of how to include e.g. solar heating in the labelling of a heating system. The proposal is not agreed yet.

Proposal for Recast
November 13, 2008, the EU Commission launched its proposal for a new SAVE Directive as part of the Energy Security and Efficiency Package & Second Strategic Energy Review. The main aims are to update the 16 year old directive and to harmonised it with the Ecodesign Directive. The main changes of the new proposal (COM 2008/778) compared with the SAVE directive from 1992 are:

• From energy-using household products the scope of the directive will be extended to (a) energy-using products used in the industrial and commercial sectors and (b) other energy-related products which have an impact on energy consumption during use, such as insulated windows.

• In addition to energy consumption the labelling will be used for indicating other relevant and significant environmental parameters of the product.

•The precise modalities of the label for each product group will be defined in dedicated implementing measures, after consultation of stakeholders and assessment of impact. These measures can be market regulations, or even voluntary agreements, so special implementing directives will no longer be needed for most product groups.

•The new proposal will establish a harmonised base for public procurement and incentives provided by the EU and the Member States. The implementing measures will indicate the energy-performance level (corresponding to one of the labelling classes) below which public authorities should not procure or grant incentives. These levels will be set at a cost-effective level.

The proposal is expected to result in energy savings corresponding to more than 1100 PJ annually by 2020, which translates into the annual abatement of 80 Mt of CO2 emissions or equivalent to the annual anticipated emissions of Austria in 2020.

Read the proposed directive here