When choosing household appliances, electronics, and other equipment of this type, most consumers pay attention to its energy efficiency. They prefer models that consume less energy since they are cheaper to run. In the European Union, the energy label informs about the product’s energy efficiency. When are energy labels required in the EU, and how to read them?
Energy label explained. What does the EU energy label mean?
The energy label is usually a sticker on the outside of an appliance that provides information about the energy efficiency class and other resources the equipment uses to run. In the EU, it was introduced by EU Directive 92/75/EC, later replaced by Directive 2010/30/EU, which was then replaced by Regulation (EU) 2017/1369.
What equipment must have an energy label?
Energy efficiency is required for energy‑related products, like electrical/electronic equipment. Examples of products with an energy label include:
- refrigerators, freezers
- dishwashers, other kitchen appliances
- vacuum cleaners
- heaters, solid fuel boilers
- air conditioners, fans, ventilation units
- televisions and other electronic displays
- set-top boxes
- computers, small servers, game consoles
- washing machines, tumble driers
- bulbs and lighting.
The energy label is not required for second-hand (used) products, various refrigeration equipment, and means of transport for people and goods, etc.
New energy label design from 2021. How to read energy labels?
A new energy label was introduced from March (or September for light bulbs and lighting) 2021. The labeling rules have also changed. The A-D system with pluses has been replaced with the A-G system. A is still the best grade.
1. Energy classes from 2021
There are no grades with +. There are seven energy classes, a color code associated with a letter:
- A class – green; the most energy-efficient products
- B class
- C class – former A+++
- D class – yellow, former A+++ with an energy efficiency index (EEI) lower than 44
- E class – former A+
- F class – former A+ and B, with EEI < 55
- G class – red color; the least energy-efficient products (former B and C categories with EEI <95)
2. QR code on the energy label
Details about the product and its energy efficiency are available to consumers by scanning the QR code in the upper right corner of the energy label. These data are collected in the European Product Registry for Energy Labelling (EPREL).
3. Pictograms on the energy label
Product characteristics are presented as pictograms, sometimes with a value. Individual product groups have their own pictograms informing about energy efficiency, such as in HDR mode for screens.
4. Other information on the EU energy label
Featured information varies from one product group to another. They may concern noise emission etc. This information can be found at the bottom of the energy label.
Who is responsible for the energy label on the product?
Manufacturers, authorized representatives of a non-EU manufacturer based in the EU/EEA/Northern Ireland, and importers of products must:
- register products required to have an EU energy label in the EPREL database before placing them on the EU market
- check if the energy-labeled product is properly labeled
- provide dealers with labels and product information sheets (free of charge)
- affix the label in a place where it will be visible and legible (in shops, for online sales).
Energy label generator
The energy label is generated in the EPREL database based on the data entered during the registration of the model.
How to register a product in EPREL?
To register a product in EPREL, you must first:
- create an EU Login account
- check the registration guidelines
- create a new supplier organization.
Then you can proceed to register your model. Product registration involves providing information such as:
- product information sheet (a standard document containing information relating to a product in printed or electronic form)
- technical documentation (documentation sufficient to enable market surveillance authorities to assess the accuracy of the label and the product information sheet of a product, including test reports or similar technical evidence)
- compliance monitoring.