Energy efficiency: Member states must resist confusing changes to energy labels
PRESS RELEASE – Brussels, 13 February 2009
The principle of the current colour-coded A to G scheme of energy efficiency ratings, used for certain household appliances, is under threat. Through a ’comitology’ process heavily influenced by industry, the European Commission has presented Member States with a proposal for a confusing new system of numbers and letters, which would also allow new grades to be added to the scale.
Finnish Green MEP Satu Hassi, Greens/EFA shadow draftsperson on energy labelling in the industry committee, commented:
”The current energy efficiency labelling system is clear for consumers and encourages industry to innovate. As more efficient models come on the market, the scale can only remain clear and meaningful if we keep upgrading the criteria for each grade. Consumers do not want to buy new products rated according to old standards.
Changing an energy efficiency label will be as easy as changing a price tag, yet industry has made wild claims of huge costs to keep the current system up-to-date. The proposed system is a mess of numbers and letters that gives no clear indication of the most efficient products. It would only confuse consumers and keep high energy ratings on old models. In short, industry’s tactic is to act like a greenwashing machine instead of embracing the innovation challenge to develop greener washing machines.
Some Member States have already been seduced by the proposed system. We however call on all national governments to act in the interests of clarity for consumers and help to drive better efficiency standards for domestic appliances. Buildings represent 40% of all energy consumption in the EU, so progress must literally begin at home if we are to meet the EU energy savings target of 20% by 2020. Greens in the European Parliament will keep a close eye on the development of this issue.”