Understanding energy efficiency labels

In 2012, the European Union adopted a new labelling directive which requires manufacturers to provide standard product information concerning the energy and other resources consumption (2010/30/EU). The aim of the directive is that the ultimate client, in a clear and simple way, can gain information about the performance of devices, as well as at being able to determine how energy efficient devices are at the time of purchase.

But how can you distinguish electrical appliances that are more energy efficient from those that are less energy efficient? The following products need to be marked with labels: cooling products (e.g. refrigerators), televisions, washing machines and driers, dishwashers, electric cookers, air conditioners and lights.

Suppliers and distributors should provide technical information which describe the specific technical parameters of the product.

This is what an energy efficiency label looks like (Figure 1)

                            Figure 1. Product label with energy efficiency information

The following list states all the information that should be included on the label in accordance with Figure 1.

I - The name or brand of the supplier
II - Identification of the model provided by the supplier
III - Energy efficiency class device (corresponding letter should be set at the same height as the top arrow of the relevant energy efficiency class)
IV – Space for a special label (European Union Eco-label)
V - Power consumption according to standard EN 153, but expressed in kWh per year (i.e. 24 hours)
VI - Total net storage volume for fresh food of all departments – no asterisks (i.e. operating temperature >-6°C)
VII - Total net volume of all storage compartments for frozen food - with an asterisk (i.e. operating temperature ≤-6°C)
VIII - Stars in relation to the food freezer in accordance with relevant standards (If the star system does not apply to this section, this position is left empty)
IX - Where possible, data states the noise level

Scale efficiency ranks devices from best (A) to worst (G), while the green label indicates “more energy-efficient device” and red means “less energy-efficient device”. Three additional classes (A+, A++, A+++) can be added to the classification if necessary in view of rapid technological progress. For dishwashers and washing machines, in addition to energy efficiency, the washing efficiency (water consumption) and the drying efficiency (for example AAV) is indicated. For more detailed information on energy classes, please refer to the energy consumption information, which can be found on all energy-efficient products.

Here are some examples which explain energy labels for electricity consumption:
  • A class washing machines consume 8% less electricity than C class ones, while the difference between the classes B and C is only 17%.
  • A class lighting equipment (fluorescent) consumes 45-80% less electricity than D class (ordinary) lights.
  • When buying energy-efficient appliances, the best way to assess the advantages of the individual classes is to remember that they must be constantly plugged in (e.g. a fridge).
  • Old refrigerators, which, according to the current classification, would have belonged to the lower classes (D, E, F, G) on average use about 2,000kWh of electricity per year. A ne A class refrigerator uses half as much in average consumption (i.e. about 1000kWh per year), which means that you can make electricity savings of 1,000kWh. If this is multiplied by the cost of a kWh (EUR 4.5), this results in savings of EUR 45, or MKD 2,750, per year. Usually, the difference in price between refrigerators in these two classes, but with the same volume and functionality, ranges on average from MKD 3,000 to MKD 4,000. However, taking into account that the lifetime of a medium-class refrigerator is 12-13 years, as well as the savings in electricity, we see that the price difference is paid for in only 1.5 years through reduced electricity bills, and so any further savings are just a bonus.

There are two reasons why we must pay attention to energy efficiency devices: your electricity bills will be reduced and lower energy consumption means you are helping to preserve natural environment resources, and most importantly, contribute to a cleaner environment.
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