Assessing how consumers understand the EU energy label – new report

To HomepageCLASP, the Collaborative Labeling & Appliance Standards Program, has published a report that gives us insight into how consumers are understanding the newly designed energy labels

In 2010, the original Energy Labelling Directive was recast. Its scope of applicability was broadened, and many existing labels – specifically those applying to refrigerators and freezers, washing machines, and dishwashers – were redesigned.

Various impact assessments of European equipment energy efficiency policy measures have historically found that the EU energy label has been the most influential instrument in driving forward the energy efficiency of European equipment markets. It is therefore crucial to assess the label’s continuing effectiveness whenever changes are made to its design and implementation.

This discussion centred on whether it would be better to re-grade the old A-to-G energy efficiency scale, or to add new higher efficiency classes above class “A.” Ultimately, a decision was made to add higher efficiency classes (A+, A++, and A+++) and to adjust the label to be language-neutral across all Member States, among other changes.

New and old EU refrigerator labels

This analysis for the report, conducted by Navigant Consulting, examines the effectiveness of the new label design in supporting consumers to make informed choices about the energy efficiency of appliances during purchase. To this end, Navigant conducted ten consumer focus groups and 30 in-depth interviews across ten cities in the EU to assess how consumers use, understand, and are motivated by the new and revised labels.

The survey evidence clearly demonstrated that the new labels are generally appreciated and have a reasonably high level of comprehension thanks to the overall effectiveness of the label efficiency scale, use of colour, efficiency classification, and energy consumption information. Most consumers were able to use the labels to correctly rank the efficiency of products; however, a significant minority had difficulty in doing this. Additionally, the assessment shows that while consumers comprehend both the A-G and the A+++-D efficiency scales, there is a very marked difference in the motivational effect of A as the top efficiency class compared to the A+++.

The report is available here.

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