Expert comment: What does the new energy label mean for consumers?

Categories: School of Science, Engineering and Environment

The energy label as we know it has been in use for over 25 years, this being in tandem with products becoming increasingly more energy efficient. As consumers become more environmentally conscious the current labelling has become less effective.

From March this year, a new label is being introduced on major appliances that will provide consumers additional information that will allow them to make better informed energy efficient decisions. The new label will include a QR code and depending on the appliance consumers will be provided information on water consumption, duration of Eco programmes and noise emission class. Dr Richard Fitton, Reader in Energy Performance at the University looks at what consumers can expect.

Dr Fitton said:  “Appliances are an important part of our lives, they keep our food fresh, we use it to cook, entertain us, provide clean clothes and they can provide heat. Appliances can  account for around 50% of the electric bill in a typical home. And yet we tend to pay them little mind. The current labelling on consumer appliances has worked to some extent.  Research has found that although price is generally the most important driver when making a purchase, energy efficiency is also considered to be important to customers.

“The new label has been designed to be less confusing and will include an A-G rating, the +’s have now gone. The changes are in line with EU recommendations, due to Brexit, a UK flag rather than the EU one will be displayed on our labelling system. For most small appliances and white goods these new labels will come into force on the 1 March 2021 for all new appliances coming on to sale, any existing stock will be required to be relabelled by 18 March 2021.”


What’s new?

The following significant changes have been made to the UK’s Energy labels:

  • A QR code will link customers with smartphones to a public database on energy efficiency, showing the characteristics of the appliances
  • The label scale will be rescaled, no more complicated + signs
  • New pictograms will be added to illustrate the features of the product
  • The consumption (generally an average yearly usage) will be shown in a much more prominent way

Image: Example of the new Energy Label in the UK


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