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Energy labels: what is new in 2019?

Current energy labels will gradually be replaced with a more rigorous and clearer version, with classes from A to G.

For over 20 years, the energy label has helped people to choose the right electrical appliances by providing information on their energy consumption.

They are mandatory for all new appliances that impact energy consumption (with the exception of means of transport). In shops, they must be displayed on all appliances.

What is changing on energy labels?

The '+' classes that were added as technology advanced are disappearing. Only the current classes A (the most efficient) to G (the least efficient) will remain.

In addition, the new regulation provides for the implementation of a European database of household electrical appliances, for which manufacturers will provide the information.

What are the benefits for consumers?

With this new label, Europe wishes to help consumers:

  • make better choices: the label is simpler and clearer. Consumers currently struggle to tell the difference between appliances in class A. 
Did you know that there is a 20% difference in energy consumption between classes A+ and A++? It is the same for each +!
  • compare better: the European database will enable consumers to compare appliances' energy efficiency.
  • obtain more efficient appliances: the ranking is not set in stone. The requirements will be reassessed and made tougher when 30% of appliances on the market are in class A, or 50% of appliances are classed A or B. The categories will be reassessed every 10 years. This should push manufacturers to produce products that use even less energy.
  • pay less: the new classes A and B are much stricter. An appliance classed A+++ today will become a C tomorrow, which is much less attractive for consumers. This will make manufacturers lower their prices.

How will this transition take place in practice?

At first the old label will be placed alongside the new so that consumers can get used to the new classification.

The new energy label will be implemented in several stages, depending on the type of household appliance:

  • 2019: washing machines, dishwashers, TVs, fridges, lamps and washer-dryers;
  • 2025: ovens, air conditioners, tumble dryers and specialist cooling appliances;
  • 2030: water heaters and heating appliances.

And what about vacuum cleaners?
You will note that vacuum cleaners are not on the list. A manufacturer lodged an action before Court of Justice of the European Union on the grounds that the performance tests do not reflect real conditions of use. The manufacturer won the case. This should not have any effect on the implementation of the new label for other appliances, however.

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