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Europe tightens energy-labeling regulations

Europe tightens energy-labeling regulations

For those who make appliances or construction-related products bound for Europe, be aware that the labels placed on household appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines, and ovens will soon need to include more information on energy consumption. EU legislators recently approved a new layout of the EU energy efficiency label, introducing additional classes and approved new energy efficiency legislation for buildings, to apply by 2020.

Manufacturers currently must indicate the annual energy consumption on European appliances in a manner analogous to the Energy Star labeling in the U.S. But under the new legislation, the layout of the European energy efficiency label will allow for up to three new energy classes, to reflect technological progress, but will limit the total number of classes to seven, as it has in the past.

In a nutshell, the new scheme gives finer distinctions to classifications of energy use. Europe also color-codes its levels of power efficiency. The new labeling color scheme will be adjusted so the highest energy efficiency class will remain dark green and the least energy efficiency one will still be red. Energy classes and specific products that must be labeled will be determined by an EU Commission working group.

In the future, such labels must also go on energy-consuming products for commercial and industrial use, such as cold storage rooms, display cabinets, industrial cooking appliances, vending machines, and industrial motors. They will apply as well to construction products, which do not consume energy but “have a significant direct or indirect impact” on energy savings such as window glazing and frames or outer doors.

Also changing are rules about advertising energy consumption. Any ads mentioning the price of a specific model of household appliance will have to show the product's energy class. Ditto for technical promotional literature such as manuals and manufacturers' brochures.

Once published in the EU Official Journal, Member States will have one year to adapt their national laws to the new rules on energy labeling. For more information, visit www.europarl.europa.eu.

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