Triple plus for maximum energy efficiency
At the end of 2010, the European Union launched a new – currently voluntary – energy label for household appliances. The existing efficiency classification from A++ to G will remain, but there will a new addition of A+++ for especially efficient appliances.
“Whoever is looking into buying a new household appliance should know that the most efficient model now carries the new A+++ classification,” says Claudia Oberascher from the initiative “Hausgeräte+” in Berlin, which has brought together manufacturers and utility companies. The new, revised energy label policy still shows the consumption rate of refrigerators and freezer units, washing machines and dishwashers. “However, the adjustment was long overdue,” says Oberascher. “These days almost all of modern household appliances are so efficient that they placed in the A category at the very least. The best appliances were therefore hard to distinguish from the rest.”
High-class refrigerators and freezers with a 60-percent energy saving in comparison to products in category A are now placed in the A+++ category. For washing machines and dishwashers three new classes have been added: A+, A++ and A+++. The efficiency gains that an A+++ appliance has compared to a category A product vary depending on the type of appliance: for refrigerators and freezers the energy usage has to be 60% lower; for dishwashers 30% lower is acceptable. A new addition is the efficiency label for TVs. This has been added as the new, increasingly large flat-screen devices use up a growing amount of household electricity.
The German electrical and electronics industry (ZVEI) points out that A++ appliances on a macro level actually have a much lower energy consumption rate than the efficiency category A. For a typical 290-litre refrigerator/freezer combination, the electricity saving amounts to around 150kWh per year.
Manufacturers can use the new label on a voluntary basis to display the energy consumption of their appliances. They will be required to do it from the end of 2011. The new label bears a certain optical similarity to its predecessor, in particular the coloured frame that represents the seven different classes, from dark green (highest efficiency level) to red (lowest efficiency level). New however is the pictograph that displays information such as the holding capacity or the noise level of the appliance.