Why have the labels changed?
The first energy labels appeared on refrigerating appliances in the 1990s. Most of the appliances on the market had the energy rating “E”. Thanks to innovations in the home appliance industry, products emerged with better and better energy ratings. When the original energy rating scale could not suffice, however, the top energy rating was expanded by adding a plus character to each next higher level. That is how energy ratings A+, A++, and A+++ came to be. Now the time has come that even this energy rating method is no longer sufficient. To unlock further technical advancements, the EU decided to remove the plus characters from the system and revert to the original A to G scale. Now, the Amica appliances already feature the new energy rating scale labels.
The new rules are to improve the legibility of the energy labels and provide higher ratings for even more energy-efficient appliances. The changes have been implemented in 2021, but not all previously labelled appliance groups are included.
The appearance of the new energy labels
What is changing?
• The plus characters are gone, and new energy ratings are now used (from A to G) with new colours assigned to each one – a product with the same energy rating as before is assigned to the new energy rating.
• Energy rating A is assigned to the most advanced appliances.
• A QR code is now shown on each label with a link to the online product data sheet in the EPREL database.
• New pictograms are now used to denote the appliance features.
• A noise level scale is now used, with the lowest-noise appliances on level A and those with the highest noise on level D.
• The calculation principles for appliance parameters are changed, which now applies to washing machines and dishwashers, for example.
What will not change?
The energy rating of the products. They will stay just as environmentally friendly as before, but they are assigned to new energy ratings (and colours).
The energy rating label without the plus (+) characters: a rescaling of the format used in years past.
The new EU regulations bring back the energy efficiency rating scale from nearly 20 years ago, from A to G, and without the plus characters. Now, the energy labels are more understandable to the consumers.
The removed plus characters required rescaling the energy ratings of appliances. As an effect of this, the models in the highest energy rating of A+++ are now C (or as applicable), and some of the A+ appliances are even down to G. There is no single rule to define the change of the energy rating character on the scale, except for the fact that energy ratings A and B are reserved for the latest models that are even more energy saving. Appliance manufacturers, including Amica, are continuously working on technical advancements, which means that modern products with those highest energy ratings will emerge on the market in the future. In some of the more demanding product groups we might not find a single appliance with energy rating A or B.
The appliances with the latest technologies can be rated in yellow, orange, or red, and not just in green energy ratings, as it was in the previous energy label system.
Each new energy label includes a QR code which when scanned, leads to a dedicated web page with the model’s details for the consumer. There will be automatically generated electronic labels and product data sheets on those pages.
From 2019, all appliance models for which energy labels are mandatory (be they the previous labels or the new ones) are registered with the EU’s EPREL database. Each model is featured in EPREL on a dedicated web page with details for the consumers, and to that page the appliance manufacturer or importer generates a link, which is shown on the energy label as a QR code. The appliances with the old energy labels without the QR codes can be found directly in the EPREL database.
Manufacturer’s ambition is often not enough. It is the choices made by consumers which spur the manufacturers to seek new and innovative solutions. This way, the energy rating C refrigerators which were most popular 20 years ago have been replaced with modern A+++ counterparts which use approximately 80% less electricity. Note: your purchasing decisions can make future products go up the energy rating scale. Amica values your needs above all.
For which products did the EU energy label regulations change?
The new rules apply to dishwashers, washing machines, washer dryers, refrigerators, wine coolers, and freezers. The manufacturers have been providing the new energy labels for them since November 2020, which will streamline the replacement of the labels on shop floor displays in March 2021. The new energy label with the QR code will become mandatory from 1 March 2021, and until that date the old label stays.
Why is my A+ washing machine that I just got now energy rated E on the new label?
The EU energy label regulations changed for dishwashers, washing machines, washer dryers, refrigerators, wine coolers, and freezers. All of these appliances now have the energy labels with the new energy rating class. The primary rule for the rescaling was to eliminate the ‘plus’ energy ratings used so far and that the highest energy ratings, A and B, should only apply to appliances the energy savings will exceed the best levels used now. Consequently, a model previously rated as A+++ can now be rated as low as D, but its energy efficiency will not change.
Why did the energy rating change so much?
The new EU energy label was introduced to facilitate differentiation into more technically advanced home appliances. Depending on the energy efficiency an appliance achieves, it will be assigned a specific energy rating on the new scale. The EU legislators decided to change the previous energy rating scale leaving the top ratings empty and making room for future progress in appliance engineering. There is no simple conversion table between the old and the new energy ratings, because the new energy labels are defined with a new test method. It is why home appliances will have different energy ratings on the new labels. The energy efficiency of the product remains unchanged, however. What changes is the energy rating of the product, or the letter shown on the energy label.
Why did I find two energy labels with different ratings and values in the box of my home appliance I recently got?
The EU energy label regulations changed for dishwashers, washing machines, washer dryers, refrigerators, wine coolers, and freezers. The new energy label with the QR code will become mandatory from 1 March 2021, so you can ignore it before this time. However the fact that one label says, for example, A+++ and the other says F, does not mean that the unit you bought is somehow different from the one you saw on the shop floor or the website. The energy rating of the product stays the same. What changes is its energy rating, or the letter shown on the energy label.
Will the new energy label improve energy efficiency?
It has a potential of doing so. If you look at the industrial progress since the original energy label was established 25 years ago, you can find some compelling examples. A modern refrigerator uses only one fourth of electric power the models from 20 years ago use, while a dishwasher can help save approximately one third of the energy you would use to wash dishes by hand. European home appliance manufacturers invest 1.4 billion EUR into scientific research and development for sustainable growth.
Why are there fridges or washing machines with the new energy label next to the same appliances with the old energy label in the shop?
Under special circumstances, the regulations permit selling appliances with the old energy labels. An example includes the models in which the production ended before 1 November 2020, whereby no new energy rating labels are provided for them. The units can be sold with the old energy labels until the end of November 2022.
What is the potential for further energy efficiency?
Energy efficiency has a great potential, especially in those products which still have to win the popularity they deserve. Example: a modern dishwasher uses one third less electricity and one tenth less water when compared to dishwashing by hand. Energy efficiency is just one aspect of development. The future belongs to smart appliances, like refrigerators which help prevent wasting food, or various types of appliances that can automatically adjust temperature as required. Amica has already made strides in that direction.
Is the new energy label more legible than the old energy label with the ‘plus’ markings?
One of the main goals of implementing the new energy label was its better legibility. Everything points to the fact that the goal has been accomplished.