New labelling of household appliances

Since 1995, all buyers in the European Union have been able to easily distinguish those which are most energy efficient, but a lot has changed and since March 2021, and new labelling has been proposed.

Energy labelling on household appliances is not new. Since 1995, all buyers in the European Union have been able to distinguish those which are most energy efficient.

However, many things have changed in the last 25 years, and there has been continuous improvement in the performance of appliances. For this reason, the labelling of household appliances has been redefined to reflect basic information much more clearly to help control energy expenditure and to protect the environment.

 

What does the new labelling of household appliances involve

The change of labelling that entered into force on 1 March 2021 affects five types of household appliances: refrigerators, freezers and wine coolers, washers and dryers, dishwashers and electronic displays (including TVs and monitors).

The  labelling of household appliances will have 7 energy categories, with a classification scale ranging from A to G. The A classifies the products with the lowest energy consumption and highest efficiency. On the contrary, the G encompasses those with a higher consumption and lower energy efficiency

The new labelling does not mean a change in the characteristics of the product, but it does mean that its classification can be changed.

This brings us to the two main reasons that have led to its change:

The first, the greater confusion within the higher categories. Since the inclusion of categories A+, A++ and A+++ in category A, consumers have had greater difficulty in distinguishing greater efficiency.

The second, and most important, is in the continuous improvement of household appliances. This means that one that may have been a category A+ a few years ago may now have a lower category such as B or C. As such, we have adapted to the new test methods approved by the European Commission.

 

Where the new labelling of appliances is shown

Labelling must be shown on a mandatory basis, in all establishments, both in physical and online stores.

The new labelling of household appliances is also adapted to new technologies. To this end, it incorporates a QR code that allows consumers to access the data and characteristics of each model from their phone.

The aim is to provide clearer and more accessible information so that the consumer can better choose which appliance to buy.

 

How energy efficiency is determined

The basis of this change in the labelling of household appliances is in the new methods for measuring their energy efficiency.

In all honesty, the way in which the tests are carried out by the manufacturers do not change, but they incorporate modifications that reflect real new uses.

For example, one of the changes in the measurement scales of household appliances has taken place to adapt (in certain cases) to more intensive uses (such as monitors and televisions), including standby consumption.

Consumption has also been updated and taken into account in lower load programmes in washing machines and dishwashers (ecological), being updated to the most frequent types of consumers.

There are also new, more efficient technologies that reduce energy consumption and redefine this scale.

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The result is to end the "saturation" of appliances in categories A+, A++ and A+++ and the most efficient ones are now much better differentiated from the ones that are not as efficient.

 

The most significant changes by type of appliance

It is also important that we distinguish the efficiency by type of household appliance. Even though the higher the rating the better, there are particular important differences that must be taken into account:

 

Washers and dryers

Energy expenditure is now based on 100 washing cycles. Efficiency is also included in low temperature ecological programmes, between 40 and 60 degrees.

The label will always indicate which temperatures it supports and show the duration of the programme.

In washing machines-dryers, the washing and drying functions are more clearly differentiated, leaving only the washing characteristics on the left and the drying characteristics on the right

 

Dishwashers

Energy efficiency will be based on the "Eco" programme, but the way of performing the test has been changed, including performance with plastic utensils.

It also specifies the duration of the ecological programme and the energy consumption is based, as with washing machines, on 100 washing cycles.

 

Refrigerators and freezers

The procedure for determining the efficiency of refrigerators and freezers has varied considerably, including new tests.

It now takes into account: the type of refrigerator, its operation, the ambient temperature and the size and number of compartments for storing food.

Energy consumption is specified in kWh per annual consumption and noise and efficiency continue to be reported.

 

TVs and monitors

The way of reporting if images are displayed in high definition (HDR) has been significantly updated to take into account technological improvements.

It also reflects its physical measurements and most importantly, its consumption in kWh per 1,000 hours of use, taking into account the phantom consumption, when left on standby.

The result of the new household appliance labels is a much easier way to choose those that consume less, taking into account current uses and technological improvements.

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