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EU Energy Labelling

Updated: September 2015

The Energy Labelling Directive 2010/30/EU establishes a framework for energy efficiency labelling for energy-using products The Energy Labelling Directive is used together with Ecodesign Directive that sets minimum energy efficiency requirements.
The Directive 2010/30/EU is replaced by a Regulation in 2017.

Index of this page:

· Revision 2015, New Label Scale
· Energy Labelling Directive 2010, A+++
· Main Products Covered
· Revision of the directive in 2015, new label scale?

· Large Gains with Energy Labelling
· INFORSE and Energy Labelling
· SAVE and energy labelling (a Bit of History)

Revision of the Labelling Directive in 2015, New Label Scale

September 2015: "Environmental NGO views on the Commission's proposal for the revision of the Energy Labelling Directive" submitted to consultation by Environmental NGOs including INFORSE-Europe, ECOs, EEB, CLER, and Legambiente.

July 2015: INFORSE-Europe Press Release on the Summer Package.

16 July 2015: The EU Commission has proposed in its "Summer Package" a revision of the Energy Label Directive, including a simple A-G scale and regular revision of the scale for each product group as products become more energy efficient. The new scale from that revision aims to clarify the consumers choices on the energy efficiency of the products. It makes the A-label the top class and avoid the confusion with the plusses (A +, A++...) for most of the products.

2014: The Labelling Directive was evaluated, and in general the conclusion was that the labelling scale A+++ to G has reached its limits and should be reformed in some way because of too high share of products in the top classes.

Energy Labelling Directive 2010, A+++

May 2010: An updated labelling Directive, 2010/30/EU, was adopted. With the directive, the A+++ class can be used. Where it will be used is defined in the regulations (implementing acts) for specific product groups that are based on this directive.

2010: Labelling Directive for both energy using products and energy related products (other products responsible for energy consumption). Such other products can for instance be windows, where the purchased energy is consumed by the boiler in the house. Also equipment with other resource use, such as water use, can be labelled. Each product group is labelled according to specific label regulation. Read more about the product groups covered at the Ecodesign page.

Read the directive text at the EU Law Page

Main Products Covered

Most of the products that are covered are household goods that use substantial energy, including:
· Refrigerators, freezer and combinations,
· Washing machines
· Tumble Dryers
· Dishwashers
· Air conditioners
· Vacuum cleaners
- Baking ovens (from January 2015)
- Kitchen stoves (hobs)
· Boiler and water heaters, including heat pumps and some micro-CHP (from September 2015).

More products will be covered in the future, such as solid fuel boilers and ovens.

Read more about products covered and labels at the Coolproducts Campaign Website and the European Council on Energy Efficiency website.

Large Gains with Energy Labelling

The energy labels have a good track record in transforming markets, with outstanding examples of refrigerators in the 1990's and TV's in recent years, where new products within a few years primarily populated the top efficiency classes and very few low-efficiency products remained on the market. A study concluded in 2014 that there are many positive effects of energy labels, read here.

INFORSE and Energy Labelling

INFORSE-Europe has a permanent seat in the Consultation Forum, where all labelling regulations are discussed with industry, consumers, environmental organisations and EU countries. We cooperate with the other environmental organisations, such as EEB and ECOS on our inputs to the process as well as more generally in the Cool Products Campaign. We collect our positions etc. on our common website Ecodesign of Products. We develop common positions to better argue for high energy efficiency requirements and good consumer information via labels etc.

SAVE and Energy Labelling (A Bit of History)

Soon after the EU Internal Market was agreed in 1987, proposals were made to set energy efficiency requirements of products. These proposals for national requirements were stopped by the EU Commission because of the EU internal market, where goods should be able to circulate freely. Then in 1992 the EU started to SAVE programme to promote energy efficiency. The programme developed energy labelling (the A-G scale) and energy efficiency requirements for some products. While some the the labelling was successful in guiding consumers on a large scale to improve energy efficiency with their purchases, the process was slow and cumbersome. Each regulation of a product group needed a separate directive. The process managed within a decade to produce 9 labelling directives and 3 directives with minimum energy efficiency requirements.

In 2000, the European Climate Change Programme for EU's implementation of the Kyoto Protocol concluded that a new process was needed. It was proposed to use a process with a framework directive and implementing acts for each product group. Then a process was started to change the procedures This lead to the energy labelling and Ecodesign framework directives that were adopted in 2005. This new process is more effective than the old SAVE programme. Within a decade from the directives were approved more than 40 product groups are covered.

The energy labelling and Ecodesign directives were updated in 2009/2010 to include also energy related products (as windows and showers), and to include a new A+++ energy efficiency class. The update of the labelling directive was delayed because of disputes on the format of the energy label. in this dispute the EU Parliament for the first time went against the decision of the EU Commission and the EU countries on product energy efficiency regulation. The Parliament rejected a bad label design, leading to the compromise of just adding a "+" to the A++, to form a new A+++ class.

Read more:

Energy Labelling for Energy Efficiency in Products - Regulation, 2017

Return to Energy Efficiency Main Page

Return to EU Policy page