Everything you need to know about the new energy labels

Published on March 31, 2021

Thinking of buying a new appliance? Discover everything you need to know about the brand new energy efficiency labels which were introduced from 1st March this year, and how they’ll help lower your carbon footprint and energy bills!

What are energy labels and why are they changing?

The energy label has been a staple on appliances since 1995 and has been invaluable in helping us make informed choices about our appliances. Technology has come on leaps and bounds since the system was put in place, which means that the time has come for it to have a bit of an update.

Previous energy labels used a letter scale to rate how efficient an appliance is; with ‘A’ being the most efficient and ‘G’ being the least. As technology improved, the label system was extended to include ratings of ‘A+’, ‘A++’ and ‘A+++’.

However, with over 90% of products now having an A+++ rating, it isn’t a fair or clear indicator of how energy efficient your chosen appliance actually is.

Enter the re-vamped labels!

Gone are the confusing ‘A+’, ‘A++’ and ‘A+++’ ratings and in their place, the original A-G scale has made a come-back, only now the bar has been raised on what is considered ‘energy efficient’, making it tougher for products to achieve the highest ratings. And that’s not all. There are some other pieces of handy info on the labels too…

What’s on the new energy labels?

  • ‘A – G’ rating which is a more accurate reflection of how efficient an appliance is, according to modern standards
  • QR-code that links directly to the product on the manufacturer’s website, giving you lots more useful information at your fingertips
  • Energy consumption is now shown in kWh per year, per 100 hours or 1000 hours, depending on the product (more on that below)
  • Extra information specific to the product group e.g., water use and noise level

Old and new energy label comparison

So, what’s changing?

We’ve listed the products on which you’ll find the new and improved energy labels below, along with a brief overview of the changes you can expect to see:

  • Washing machines – tests to work out energy ratings are now based on 100 cycles rather than annual use
  • Washer dryers – the new energy label is split into two parts: one for the complete wash and dry cycle, and one for the wash cycle only
  • TVs – there are a few new features, such as SDR and HDR, and energy measurements are now given in kWh per 1000 hours to make it easier to compare different sets
  • Dishwashers – tests to gauge energy efficiency have been improved to better reflect how people actually use their dishwasher and energy consumption, which is now based on 100 cleaning cycles
  • Fridge freezers – energy ratings for fridge freezers take more things into consideration, such as room temperature and size of storage compartments. The new label also includes information on total volume of all refrigerator and freezer compartments, as well as if there are any noise emissions
  • Monitors – energy ratings are now displayed in kWh per 1000 hours and new technology, including SDR and HDR, will be taken into consideration
  • Wine coolers – energy efficiency labels for wine coolers now include noise emission classes

Not all products will get the new labels right away. We’ll have to wait until next year for other appliances, such as ovens and tumble dryers, to catch up. Of course, this is under current EU regulation and there’s been no word yet on whether the UK will continue with the plans.

What difference will the new energy labels make?

The new rating system and energy labels will more accurately represent a product’s energy efficiency, helping us make more informed, eco-friendly decisions that will ultimately lead to reduced energy consumption, fewer carbon emissions and lower electricity bills – win-win-win!

For example:

With the old system, over 55% of dishwashers on the EU market were rated ‘A+++’, making it difficult to discover which would actually give you the best performance. Under the new system, only the very best products will get the highest ratings and help to:

  • Save 711 million m3 of water by 2030
  • Save 2.5TWh of electricity per year by 2030
  • EU households will save on average €130 in electricity over its lifetime

And that’s just the savings the new labels will help bring about on washing machines. The labels on other products will contribute too:

Fridges and Freezers will help:

  • Save 10 TWh of electricity by 2030
  • Save EU households an average €100 in electricity over its lifetime

Dishwashers will help:

  • Save 16 million m3 of water by 2030
  • Save 2.1TWh of electricity by 2030
  • Save EU households an average of €60 in electricity over its lifetime

Washing machine with new energy label

Helping your appliances live longer

Energy labels aren’t the only thing changing. New rules are coming into force later in the year to help improve the expected lifespan of common household appliances, including fridges, washing machines and TVs.

The legislation will implement measures to help eradicate ‘premature obsolescence’, which is the practice of building appliances with purposefully short lifespans in order to increase sales. Under the new rules, manufacturers will be required by law, to ensure spare parts are available for customers and that they can be fitted with commonly available tools. This means you (or your local electrician!) can actually repair broken appliances instead of having to throw them away and buy new ones.

This simple measure is expected to increase the expected lifespan of products by up to 10 years and reduce carbon emissions from the creation of new goods. A great step forward in creating a circular economy that helps protect consumers and the environment.

What else you can do to make sure you’re as energy efficient as possible

Looking at energy rating labels is a great way to discover how eco-friendly and efficient your chosen appliance is and will really help reduce your carbon footprint and bills.

But why stop there?

We’ve outlined below a few other ways you can make sure your household appliances are as eco-friendly and efficient as possible.

  • Don’t overload your fridge – stuffing your fridge full may be great for satisfying food cravings but it can block the flow of air, meaning your fridge has to work harder and can lead to parts burning out sooner than expected
  • Replace your old showerhead – swap your old shower head for an energy efficient model and you could save up to £7 a year on energy bills per person. This may not sound like much but if we all did it, we could make a huge difference
  • Swap to a laptop – when you’re in the market for a new computer, you might want to consider buying a laptop rather than a bulky desktop; it can save you up to £20 and 35kg of CO2 each year
  • Embrace smart technology – for example, use new tech to set timers on your appliances so they turn off automatically and easily keep track of your energy use with a smart meter (which your energy supplier can install for free!)
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