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Energy Efficient Products

History of Energy Labelling in the EU


First EU measure regarding information on energy use of appliances

The Council, following the Commission’s proposal, adopts a “Recommendation on the rational use of energy for electrical household appliances”. For the first time, an EU measure addresses the issue of informing the public about the electricity consumption of appliances. The recommendation underlines the role of providing comprehensible information in encouraging purchase of the most energy efficient products. One of the recommended actions for the Member States is adopting measures regarding a standardized label, which would indicate the unit energy consumption of selected household appliances: water heaters, cookers, refrigerators, freezers and deep-freeze units, television sets, dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, spin dryers and ironing machines. 


First Framework Energy Labelling Directive and first EU-designed label 

The ground rules of the energy labelling framework are laid down. The first framework Directive provides for the general obligations of suppliers and dealers, while the details regarding each type of appliance are to be specified in implementing directives. However, unlike now, the energy labelling scheme is not mandatory/EU-wide: Member States may choose whether to oblige manufacturers and dealers on their territory to supply and display the labels. The appliances covered by the framework directive are: water heaters, ovens, refrigerators and freezers, washing machines, television sets, dishwashers, dryers, tumble dryers and ironing machines. The Directive includes a general template of the label.

The first – and only – product group for which an implementing directive with a specific label is adopted is electric ovens: much smaller in size than the current labels, printed on an orange background and not showing an energy efficiency class of the appliance. Nevertheless, the key pieces of information first displayed on this label, energy consumption and usable volume of the appliance, are still included on the current oven energy labels. However, few Member States make the EU oven label mandatory.

  • Council Directive 79/530/EEC of 14 May 1979 on the indication by labelling of the energy consumption of household appliances 
  • Council Directive 79/531/EEC of 14 May 1979 applying to electric ovens Directive 79/530/EEC on the indication by labelling of the energy consumption of household appliances 


Mandatory, EU-wide Energy Labelling Framework for selected household appliances

The voluntary nature of the Energy Labelling framework is recognized as a potential obstacle to the implementation of internal market. Therefore, a new framework Energy Labelling Directive is adopted, and Member States are required to implement energy labelling measures for household appliances listed in the Directive: refrigerators, freezers and their combinations, washing machines, driers and their combinations, dishwashers, ovens, water heaters and hot-water storage appliances, lighting sources and air-conditioning appliances. Additionally, the Directive obliges the suppliers to provide a product fiche, corresponding to the current product information sheet. 

  • Council Directive 92/75/EEC of 22 September 1992 on the indication by labelling and standard product information of the consumption of energy and other resources by household appliances 


First EU label under new framework introduces energy efficiency scale (refrigerators/freezers)

A new label under the mandatory Energy Labelling framework is introduced for household electric refrigerators, freezers, and their combinations. The new design of the label is similar to the current one, with an energy efficiency scale now introduced. The idea of an energy efficiency class designated by a letter (where A is the most efficient class and G the least efficient one) and a colour (dark green for most efficient class and red for least efficient one) becomes popular and well recognised – and it is still used. 

  • Commission Directive 94/2/EC of 21 January 1994 implementing Council Directive 92/75/EEC with regard to energy labelling of household electric refrigerators, freezers and their combinations


Energy Labelling Framework for all energy-related products 

In the next step of the evolution of Energy Labelling framework, the possible scope of its application is extended from household appliances to all energy-related products (goods having an impact on energy consumption during use). The Commission is empowered to adopt secondary legislation for any type of such product, via delegated regulations directly applicable in any Member State under certain conditions.

  • Directive 2010/30/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 May 2010 on the indication by labelling and standard product information of the consumption of energy and other resources by energy-related products (recast) 


Current Energy Labelling Framework – the label goes digital 

The Energy Labelling Directive becomes a Framework Regulation. The Regulation adapts the rules previously developed in the Directive to technical and market developments and requires that the Commission establishes and maintains a product database. The EPREL database is developed by the Commission. Suppliers are now obliged to register each product model in the database and make its technical documentation available for national authorities verifying the products compliance with the energy labelling rules. The registration obligations cover also “public data” – information about the product model’s energy efficiency class and other vital parameters and functionalities. 

  • Regulation (EU) 2017/1369 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 July 2017 setting a framework for energy labelling and repealing Directive 2010/30/EU 


QR codes on labels become operational

In early 2021, as the first of the new labels with QR codes are introduced, consumers are able to access detailed information for individual products via EPREL by scanning the code on the label.


EPREL made public 

In 2022, the public part and search interface of the EPREL system goes online. Consumers and businesses have a free tool to easily find product models, compare their energy efficiency classes and learn about other important parameters and functionalities of a given product.