Page 10 - European Energy Innovation - Spring 2016 publication
P. 10

10  Spring 2016 European Energy Innovation


Energy Labelling: More than Just a Sticker

By Ashley Fox, MEP

When the eco-design
                     (2005) and energy
                     labelling (1995)
                     directives were
introduced it was with the primary
aim of reducing the life-cycle
environmental impact of energy
using products. If drafted and applied
correctly, the directives can also have
a positive effect on product innovation
and as a result the competitiveness
of manufacturers. However, the
legislation has been a pet hate of
the tabloid press in the UK, and in
other EU counties, with the recent
eco design requirements on vacuum
cleaners causing much consternation.
It's unfortunate that public perception
is so negative towards a policy that
can not only save them money on their
energy bills but has been cited by the
International Energy Agency as having
been one of the EU's best instruments
at reducing energy demand and
consumption. That does not mean that
eco design should completely ignore
consumer concerns, the end user
experience should not be altered in
any noticeable way, be it the suction
power of a vacuum or the brightness
of a lightbulb.

This isn't to say the legislation has been
without problems. In the European
Parliament we are now working
through the latest revision proposed
by the European Commission. The
legislation was last revised in 2010,
introducing the A+, or A++, or A+++
classes so that a range of different
scales exist across the labelled product
categories. I don't think that works for
consumers. Indeed, several studies
have shown the A to G scale to be

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