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Energy labels: what is new in 2021?

For over 20 years, the energy label has helped people to choose the right electrical appliances by providing information on their energy consumption: ranging from green (for the most efficient) to red (for the least efficient)

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 are energy classes?

The basic principle is simple: electrical appliances are classified on a scale ranging from A (for the most efficient) to G (for the least efficient). In addition to the letters, the colour (from green to red) and length of the arrows on the label visually reinforce this idea.

What about A+++, A++ and A+?

In recent years, as a result of improvements in the energy efficiency of appliances, the scale has been expanded to include the A+++, A++ and A+ classes.

However, this rating could be confusing since many consumers have relied solely on the letter "A", thinking that it was already very good. This is why, from March 1, 2021, a new, revised and simplified energy label will be launched. With no more "+” signs, the classification will again extend from A to G.

Furthermore, initially no appliance will be classified A, as this is intended for appliances that will have higher energy performance in the future than those currently on the market. A good way to get ahead of technological progress!

How to recognize the new labels?

The A+++, A++ and A+ categories will not appear on the new labels. In addition, the new labels will have a QR Code, providing access to more information about the product, its performance and features.

The transition to the new label will be gradual, and will initially cover:

  • household washing machines and washer-dryers (not tumble dryers)
  • televisions and computer screens
  • refrigerators, freezers and wine fridges
  • household dishwashers

Electric lights will be added as of September 1, 2021. Other device categories will follow later.

Most manufacturers already display the new label, in addition to the old one, on their products. By comparing the two labels, you can get used to the new classification today!

What are the benefits of the energy label for consumers?

With this new label, Europe wishes to help consumers:

  • make better choices: the label is simple and clear. In addition to consumption information, it also lets you compare other elements such as the intensity of noise in operation or the volume of the appliance.
  • compare better: if you are hesitating between two appliances, their energy classification helps you make a decision! However, be careful to compare equivalent energy labels: a refrigerator classified A+++ today could be given a B or C after March 1, 2021.
  • 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: with each change in the classification, the energy requirements become more demanding. This will make manufacturers lower their prices.

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