Valuable tool for consumers and businesses for twenty-five years, l’EU energy labeling is presented as an effective and clear guide for the purchase and division into classes of energy-efficient products. Since 1995, indeed, 85% of European consumers recognize it and use it at the time of purchase. To date, as it is known, this system has been updated from scheme A +++ / G to the scheme extending from A to G., in order to acquire greater effectiveness.
The labeling scheme that was also oriented thanks to the symbol “+”, indeed, it seemed to suffer from the progressive development of increasingly efficient products on the energy front, enough to move towards one saturation of classes A +, A ++ it's at +++. For example - announces the European Commission in the document "European energy labels: rescaling and transition periods” – well beyond the 90% of the refrigerators and washing machines sold in 2017 were above class A. The rescaling operation, therefore, responds to the need to leave greater classification possibilities for future products, characterized by technological improvements, while helping consumers and buyers to have one clearer overview of the market, distinguishing the best products more transparently.
Product groups and label application
The new labeling system concerns five product groups; these are household refrigerators and freezers; washing machines and washer-dryers; dishwasher; TV e display; light sources. For refrigeration appliances (commercial refrigerators and freezers) a completely new type of labeling will be designed by the EU, dedicated to the professional retail sector and not to private consumers.
They are in the planning stage, instead, EU regulations relating to product groups such as air conditioners, dryers, vacuum cleaner, water heaters. For these groups, involvement in terms of the labeling system is expected from 2022 on.
The strengths of the A-G labeling system
The European Union has perfected the labeling system - introduced in physical and digital stores starting from 1 March 2021 - with a view to the needs of the user. This has meant that new measurement methods have been implemented for calculate the energy efficiency index (EEI) with more stringent parameters that could provide even more precise results.
The most interesting feature on a systemic level is certainly the inclusion - in the upper right corner of the label - of a QR code which allows viewing of product information contained in’European Product Registry for Energy Labelling (EPREL). The database is available for buyers, retailers and - clearly - for the authorities responsible for market surveillance, consisting of a public section and one dedicated to compliance.
Market surveillance with EPREL
Regarding market surveillance, the EPREL is presented as a great facilitation of activities. In his document "New energy efficiency labels explained”, indeed, the European Commission reports that the 10-25% of the products on the market does not fully comply with the regulations on energy efficiency labeling and that about the 10% of potential energy savings is lost due to non-compliance. This is due to, at least in part, to the difficult application of very long and complex control procedures by national market surveillance authorities.
As mentioned, EPREL is divided into one public section and in a section on compliance checking. As regards the public part, the traceable data are the name or brand, the address, the contact details and other legal identifiers of the supplier; the model that identifies the product; the energy label in electronic format, the energy efficiency class and the product data sheet in electronic format.
As for the section reserved for market surveillance authorities the technical documentation includes a general description of the product - designed to uniquely identify it - references to the measurement standards used, the particular precautions relating to the use or assembly of the product, the technical parameters measured and the related calculations. A quick and easy to access tool, therefore, in the conformity control processes of products on the European market; a new clarity in the labeling system which continues to act as a needle in the balance to guide the choices of consumers.
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