Energy labelling kicks off with fridges and freezers

The first in a series of EC Directives which will lay down energy labelling requirements for household appliances has been adopted.1 The relative energy rating of refrigerators and freezers will have to be displayed on new machines from the end of the year.

The energy labelling programme stems from a 1992 framework Directive which is intended to provide standardised information on energy consumption and other environmental characteristics to consumers (ENDS Report 214, p 40 ).

"Daughter" Directives are to be developed for seven product groups, of which the first comprises refrigerators and freezers and their combinations.

The Directive's requirements are to be brought into force by Member States by 31 December. Each new appliance must bear a standard label displaying its annual energy consumption as determined in a standard test, as well as an illustration showing where its energy efficiency falls on a seven-point scale. The label must also show the machine's noise emissions and may include the EC eco-logo if the machine has qualified for this under the Community's eco-labelling scheme.

The product must also be accompanied by a "fiche" containing additional information. Mail order catalogues and other printed material used to advertise appliances must contain data on their energy consumption and noise emissions.

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