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Agreement reached:

New energy efficiency scale

New energy consumption label aims to provide greater clarity

Which refrigerator is more efficient? And which washing machine consumes the least power? The energy label was introduced in order to help consumers navigate the wide variety of competing options. The green-to-red scale enjoys a high level of awareness, but has also become associated with a great deal of confusion.

Confusion clouds


After all, the best energy efficiency grade has changed from A to A+, A++ and ultimately A+++. Why? Although technical progress has seen more and more devices meeting the requirements of grade A, there remain differences in terms of power consumption. The plus signs were thus added after the letter in order to continue highlighting these differences.

Another factor that causes confusion is the differing scales used for the various devices:

whereas vacuum cleaners are graded on a scale from A to G, washing machines are ranked from A+++ to D and the classification used for televisions extends from A+ to F.

Time for a

new scale

In order to once again provide greater clarity with respect to labelling, the European Union has reformed the energy label and commenced work on a new framework Regulation on 1 August 2017. The most important changes involve the removal of the ‘plus’ grades, with all energy labels featuring a standardised range spanning the energy efficiency grades A to G. Providing a much more clear overview than before, the labels contain pictograms that help users understand the labelling in question. In addition, the label not only provides information on power consumption but also features further technical details relating to the devices – such as noise level and water consumption.

New labels by the

end of 2019

The aim is for refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, washing machines, televisions, electric lamps and luminaires featuring the new A-to-G label to be available in shops by the end of 2019. In contrast, heaters and water heaters will only be issued with the new energy label by 2026 at the earliest.

Transition period

for heat generators

What is the outlook for the energy efficiency labels for heat generators, which have only recently been introduced? These also feature the grade A++, with previous plans having stated the aim of extending the range to A+++. The requirements of these top categories are only met by heat pumps, with all other heat generators receiving lower grades. It currently appears as though the scale featured on the energy efficiency labels that were introduced for heat generators in 2015 will only be amended in 2030 at the earliest.