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Proposed changes aim to simplify energy labelling
Published:  16 July, 2015

As part of the Energy Union strategy, the European Commission has proposed a revision of the energy efficiency labelling laws.

The proposed revision aims to ensure coherence and continuity and make sure that customers are able to make better-informed choices that will help them save energy and money.

Since its introduction twenty years ago, the success of energy labelling has encouraged the development of ever more energy efficient products. This has resulted in the current label becoming too complex, with many products being in the top classes (A+++, A++, A+) and many of the other classes remaining empty.

As such, it is now difficult for consumers to distinguish the best performing products. They may think that in buying an A+ class product they are buying one of the most efficient on the market, while in fact they are sometimes buying one of the least efficient ones.

In order to make it easier for consumers to understand and compare products, the European Commission is suggesting one single 'A to G' energy label, reclassifying products, and encouraging consumers to buy the most truly efficient products.

The Commission has also proposed that all new products placed on the EU market are registered on an online database, allowing greater transparency and easier market surveillance by national authorities.

These proposals are in line with the 'Energy Efficiency First' principle included in the Energy Union Strategy, which aims to make the EU energy system more sustainable via well-informed consumer choices.

If approved, which may take up to a year, the Commission will implement these changes for product groups that have an energy label within a period of five years for most products.

While these changes are intended to make choosing the most energy efficient product easier for customers, the Heating & Hot Water Industry Council (HHIC) has warned that it could cause added confusion, and any changes implemented should be done so in partnership with manufacturers.

"Regulation such as the energy labelling directive does need to be reviewed periodically,” said Stewart Clements, director of the HHIC. “In order to drive continual efficiency improvements and deliver both cost savings to consumers and carbon reduction, the energy efficiency bar we set needs to reflect the present day.

“But, any changes to a scheme that the industry has been working hard to communicate must be managed sensibly,” added.

“The heating and hot water industry has spent the past few months communicating ErP and energy labelling, that comes in on 26 September this year, to installers and consumers, with the focus being on encouraging the upgrade of D rated products to A rated.

“The new proposal could downgrade technologies that are currently rated as class "A" to class "D" on the energy label. Asking a consumer to invest in a "D-class" product when we have spent so long telling them to upgrade them, would be a tough sell.

“If these changes are to be made, they need to be done in partnership with manufacturers, so they know what is required to meet the new ‘A class' and the wider industry, so they can manage the communication. Review energy labelling, but let's give the current system chance to bed in first. If we don't we could slow down the take up of energy efficient products."