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Blog Post 4 March 2021

The new generation of energy labels shows just how far society has come

This week saw the launch of new energy labels for household appliances across the UK and Europe. They’ve replaced their predecessors, which have been proudly displaying energy efficiency levels for a range of products since 1994 and helping consumers to make greener choices when making a purchase.

Energy Saving Trust is the delivery partner for the UK’s new label. We are working with similar organisations across Europe to assist with communicating the roll out.

Visit the energy label website

Why are energy labels changing? And how will it continue to help consumers and businesses contribute to a reduction in carbon emissions? Read our quick guide to find the answers to these questions, and more.

What are energy labels?

Energy labels appear in the packaging of TVs, washing machines, dishwashers, lightbulbs and many more home appliances. They highlight how energy efficient an appliance is using a letter-based scale. Until now, the most energy efficient products were rated ‘A+++’, dropping down to a ‘G’ for the least energy efficient.

The labelling system has been in place across the UK and Europe for more than 25 years, helping consumers make greener choices and encouraging manufacturers to research and develop more environmentally friendly product lines.

Why are they changing?

The clue’s in the ratings. The reason plus (+) signs now exist after some ‘A’ rated products is because newer products are more energy efficient. A dishwasher launched a few years ago may have been the most energy efficient in its class, attracting a deserved ‘A’ rating. But stricter regulations and consumer demand have stimulated manufacturers to search for even more innovative products, meaning those arriving latterly on the market are even more efficient.

That’s why the ratings at the top end of the scale needed to be extended, and the ‘A+’, ‘A++’ and ‘A+++’ classes were created. The more ‘plus’ classes created, the more confusing the label would become – so the UK and European Union decided to reset and rescale the labels.

What’s changed?

The main change will be the removal of the plus sign classes, making the highest possible rating an ‘A’.  But, to keep pace with innovation and to allow for more energy efficient products in the future, the ‘A’ rating is reserved. Basically, it means that that a product may go from being ‘A+++’ rated, down to a B, C or even a D. Very few products will be rated as ‘A’.

In addition, research and testing processes have become more and more accurate. So, the ratings you’ll begin to see from this week will more accurately reflect real household conditions – and not just a laboratory test.

Even though a product may now have a much lower rating, it’s important to remember that it hasn’t become any less efficient; it’s just the scale of ratings that have changed, thanks to society’s positive attitude to energy efficiency.

There are other changes too, including:

  • A QR code now appears on labels. You can use your smartphone to access more details about the product, usually from the manufacturer’s website.
  • The energy consumption levels are much clearer to read.
  • It includes extra, useful information – specific to the product type. As well as the energy efficiency ratings, a label on a washing machine, for example, will now give you an estimation of noise levels and water usage levels for typical loads.

When is it all happening?

It’s already started. From Monday 1 March 2021, the new generation of labels started appearing in shops on certain product types. Not everything will change right away. Manufacturers have a few weeks to update the early groups of products, to allow for movement along the supply chain.

And there’s still many other products yet to make these changes, including lightbulbs, vacuum cleaners, water heaters and tumble dryers, which are likely to change later down the line.

What’s affected from now?

What’s affected from now?

Energy labels cover a wide range of both household and commercial products, but the most immediate changes being made affect:

  • televisions and electronic displays
  • household refrigerators and freezers
  • wine storage refrigerators
  • washing machines and washer dryers
  • dishwashers

Take a look at the new labels

I work for a retailer – where can I find more information?

The new energy label website contains the latest information, including a huge range of frequently asked questions and some handy, downloadable resources, such as point of sale leaflets – with more to be added soon.

Take a look at the retailer resources >

We’ve also set up a LinkedIn discussion group for any professional who may be impacted by the changes and to alert you to when new resources and important updates are made.

Whether you work for a retailer, a manufacturer or in appliance procurement, you’re welcome to ask us questions, or chat about how the changes are affecting your workplace.

Last updated: 2 March 2021