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EU compromise fails to set high standards for energy efficiency labelling

Press release 17.11.2009

EU compromise fails to set high standards for energy efficiency labelling

An agreement was reached in the final “trialogue” discussion on energy efficiency labelling that took place this afternoon between the EU Parliament, EU Commission and EU Council. This will revise the rules on the well-known A-G labelling scale that already applies to certain domestic appliances. If passed by the EU Parliament, it will affect all energy-related products sold in the EU. The two highest energy efficiency ratings will be applicable to a maximum of one third of products (in terms of models or annual sales). (1)

Finnish Green MEP Satu Hassi, member of the European Parliament environment committee, commented:
“Today’s EU compromise on labelling has failed to set the bar high for standards of energy efficiency and consumer information.

With the industry lobby and a handful of Member States seeking to create ‘A++++’ grades and beyond, Parliament did achieve a successful damage limitation exercise by demanding the scale be restricted to three grades above a standard ‘A’. This still leaves us with a system where too many new products will achieve some kind of ‘A’ grade. It devalues the difference between the better energy efficiency performers – equivalent to replacing Olympic gold, silver and bronze medals with gold+, gold++ and gold+++.

The Commission must back up their verbal commitment with a written guarantee and action to rescale the grades in light of new technological improvements. Rescaling is essential if we are to drive industry innovation and offer clear comparison to consumers.

I am disappointed with the provisions for public procurement, which will exempt smaller contracts and will ask the bigger contractors only to “endeavour” to make energy efficient choices. Member States have the scope to require that public procurement contractors use the most energy efficient products and I call on them to take this easy step to boost climate protection efforts in their countries.”

Notes to editors:
(1) The European Parliament plenary is expected to vote on the final text early next year. If approved, the rules will immediately apply for the EU Commission and will need to be transposed into national law by Member States within one year.