You are here

Energy labels: a new classification system with increased requirements and transparency

Etiquettes énergie. Une nouvelle classification plus exigeante et transparente
Published on
09 December 2020

As of November 1, 2020, new energy labels are displayed on fridges, televisions, washing machines or other electrical household appliances sold in stores. This new European classification system is more demanding in terms of energy performance. The goal is to eliminate all equipment that was previously labeled A+ or less.

The new European energy label aims to encourage manufacturers to develop household appliances that consume less energy. The label will become obligatory as of March 1, 2021 for fridges, freezers, wine cellars, washing machines, dishwashers, televisions and other electronic screens. Large electrical household appliances will be classified from A to G, whereas they were classified from A+++ to D. The change is ambitious as the goal is to eliminate all equipment that was previously classified as A+ or less.

A+ is currently the worst energy performance grade

"The first energy labels were implemented by the EU in 1992. Since then, criteria have not changed while technology has continued to progress and enabled manufacturers to improve and stand out. As a result, all currently marketed fridges are actually classified as at least A+, thus making A+ the worst grade on the market,"explains Corinne Faure, an expert on environmentally friendly behavior and a researcher and professor at Grenoble Ecole de Management.

A new classification from A to G

"During the time period necessary for the design and manufacturing of better performance appliances, the new A grade will remain empty and only a few fridges will qualify for the B category. Equipment that was grade A+++ will now be graded B or C, and equipment graded A+ will become F or G. The whole grade system is shifted in order to encourage manufacturers to implement technological progress."

These modifications will lead to a fundamental change: the creation of new criteria that are even more strict. "Labels are victims of their success. The previous labels hardly mean anything in terms of energy performance as all equipment has pretty the same grade. But now pressure will be increasing for manufacturers to improve their offer." So this new classification will allow for low-grade options but render them unattractive in the eyes of consumers. "Little by little, the A category will fill up. Once 20% of major household electric appliances are in the A category, it will be time to review the classification system and make it even stricter," concludes Corine.

An innovative study of energy labels A study of more than 1,000 people representative of the German population was carried out as part of the European Project H2020 CHEETAH (CHanging Energy Efficient Technology Adoption in Households ; Grant agreement ID: 723716 ). The authors are Corinne Faure, Marie-Charlotte Guetlein and Joachim Schleich, all of whom are professors and researchers at GEM.
Read the study

On the same subject