From green to orange, through to red. This is the colour scale of the established energy label for easy consumer orientation in assessing the energy efficiency of household appliances. Despite the great popularity of the stickers, the European Parliament has now decided to re-calibrate them as the technological progress has left little room for differentiation in energy consumption: "We have found a practical and unbureaucratic solution that does not confuse the consumer unnecessarily and does not overstretch the retailer because the known colour scale with the high recognition value remains unchanged", said Herbert Reul MEP, EPP Group Spokesman on the Energy Efficiency Label Report.
While the colour coding does not change, a flexible re-calibration of the energy efficiency classes has changed. "It makes no sense if every new household appliance is awarded the best possible energy class A +++, as has been the case more and more often in recent years. The consumer needs helpful comparative values", said Reul. In the future, therefore, a new calibration will take place as soon as more than 30 percent of the respective household appliances fall into efficiency class A, or more than 50 percent fall into efficiency classes A and B. "A sensible regulation for consumers, retailers and manufacturers which makes a new reform of the popular label superfluous for the future", explained Reul.
In order to make the conversion procedures from the old to the new label as pragmatic as possible for all parties concerned, the retailers are given appropriate transitional periods. Despite a very positive compromise for consumers and retailers, Herbert Reul still complains about the project being carried out by a central EU product database which can be used by citizens to compare the energy efficiency of household appliances: "The database does not help market surveillance, it damages it. Competitive and industrial policy is highly sensitive to companies’ public disclosure of technical details, quite apart from the otherwise highly-acclaimed data protection. I very much hope that my fears in this area are unwarranted."