A new energy label for household appliances

A new energy label for household appliances

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The 27 member states of the European Union have just given their agreement for a new labeling of the energy efficiency of household appliances within the framework of the Directive EUP (Energy Using Products) of the European Commission. It will take into account the eco-design of devices by gradually forcing manufacturers to put products on the market with a lesser impact on the environment.

A tool for purchasing decisions

Mandatory affixed to all household appliances since the European Directive of 1992, the energy label aims to inform the public about the consumption of electrical energy in domestic equipment. In addition to presenting the product brand, its references and other characteristics depending on the device concerned, this label is an important indicator of respect for the environment. Indeed, it classifies the energy performance of devices by a letter going from A (economical) to G (very energy-consuming). There are even now refrigerators and freezers classified A + and A ++. According to a survey conducted in 2006 by TNS Sofres and commissioned by GIFAM (Interprofessional Grouping of Manufacturers of Household Appliances), 8 out of 10 French people know this label and 75% take it into consideration when they buy a household appliance. However, 23% say they know it without knowing exactly what it is. As such, the new energy labels, which will come into force from 2011, will provide better readability of information for consumers. For manufacturers, the new EUP regulations represent an incentive to improve the energy performance of their future products.

The most energy-consuming devices will disappear by 2010

The new EUP measure provides in particular for the prohibition on the market of class B and C devices from 1 July 2010 for refrigerators and freezers, the lower classes having already disappeared from the market in recent years. And class A will disappear on July 1, 2014. From January 1, 2011, three new energy performance levels higher than class A will appear on the energy labels: A-40% (corresponding to the current class A ++), A-60% and A-80%, the percentage corresponding to the energy saving compared to class A. The new EUP measure concerning washing machines provides for the prohibition of the placing on the market of appliances with a washing performance lower than class A and exceeding a certain water consumption threshold. From July 1, 2011, three new levels of energy performance will appear: A-20%, A-30% and A-40%.

New mandatory information

In addition to the disappearance of the least economical classes and the evolution of the energy label, the new EUP regulation also provides for the introduction of new compulsory information in the instructions for use of household appliances in order to minimize consumption: optimal arrangement of products in the refrigerator, recommendation of the most suitable types of detergents according to the different washing temperatures, etc. And for better readability, the new energy label will present the characteristics of the various household appliances (for example for a washing machine, the sound levels in the washing and spinning phase, the load, the water consumption, the capacity of (spinning, etc.) in the form of pictograms. In the service of the eco-consumer and for the benefit of the environment, these new measures of the EUP Directive will encourage manufacturers to innovate, again and again, with the aim of reducing the environmental impact of their products throughout their life cycle, from their manufacture to their elimination, including their use.