Many electrical devices are given a lower energy class

When buying washing machines, refrigerators, televisions and other electrical appliances, many consumers pay attention to low power consumption. In order to be able to represent the energy demand per year more realistically in the future, there will be new energy labels in Europe from March 2021. TECHNOLOGY BUTTON knows the details.

Some users may have noticed that there are currently two energy labels in the boxes of electrical appliances. You can see on them that a device formerly marked with A +++ suddenly has a significantly poorer energy balance of C or D. This is not a rip-off, but the introduction of new, realistic test procedures and the resulting award of new EU energy labels.

New EU energy label from March 2021

Every electronic device uses the EU energy label to show how much electricity it consumes on average per year. This information is important for many buyers, after all, they hope for a lower electricity bill through a device that is as energy-efficient as possible. So far the labels have been confusing. The information ranged from A +++ down to D. Occasionally, devices were given the same good A +++ designation, although their annual consumption differed by more than 40 kWh. The gradation was therefore neither particularly fine nor really understandable for consumers.

New EU energy label system

But that will change from March 2021. At this point in time, new EU energy labels will come into force, the details of which are based on improved measurement methods. As a result, it often happens that an electrical device with a previously very good energy efficiency class is suddenly rated significantly worse. Manufacturers are only allowed to publicly advertise the new labels from March onwards, but sometimes they are already packing them into the boxes of the devices because they cannot foresee exactly when they will end up in the store.

14-day transition period

A transition phase will apply between March 1 and 18, during which the new EU energy labels will be introduced step by step and the old ones will be replaced. After March 18, manufacturers and dealers will only be allowed to mark their devices with the new labels. Instead of graduations with plus information, these only show letters from A to G. There is also a QR code in the top corner. Consumers can use it to obtain device information from the  EPREL database for manufacturers , in which they can search for the consumption information of specific products.

The new EU energy labels can be found on the following devices from March:

  • Dishwashers
  • Washing machines, dryers and washer-dryers
  • Refrigerators and freezers
  • Televisions and monitors

In the case of lamps or light sources, the changeover takes place a little later. It will take place in September 2021. In addition, new and old labels must be displayed in parallel for one and a half years. For other device groups such as vacuum cleaners, ovens, air conditioners, etc., the switch to the new EU energy label is planned by 2030 at the latest.

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Information reflects actual power consumption

The old labels were introduced in 1995 and revised in 2010 due to the improved energy efficiency of the devices. But now they no longer reflect the power consumption of electrical appliances in a differentiated enough way. Strictly speaking, one could now speak of the old labels as sham packaging. Because the measurement methods that were used to determine the annual electricity consumption are absolutely no longer suitable for everyday use. Many electrical appliances therefore consume more electricity per year than stated.

The new EU energy labels bring a clear improvement here. The tests are now based on realistic everyday situations and can therefore better map the actual power consumption of a device. Devices previously rated with top results are automatically graded according to the new scale and land in the middle places. As a result, there are no longer so many models in the top category, which makes the choice more transparent for consumers.

 New EU energy labels for washing machines

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For example, refrigerators are opened and closed more frequently during the test, dishwashers are now loaded not only with plates, but also soiled pots and bowls. In the case of washing machines, the energy-saving program is not the measure of all things. For the evaluation it is also important how long the program needs for one run. In addition, the testers adjusted the number of washes (washing machine) and rinse cycles (dishwasher) – from the previous 220 and 280 to 100 each. This should allow consumers to better and faster estimate whether they can get by with these cycles.

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