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Energy Labelling

Since the 1990s there exists a mandatory product labelling scheme in Europe for certain electric devices in terms of their energy efficiency and consumption of other resources. The scale from A to G and green to red attached to washing machines, refrigerators and household lamps is well-known. The Directive 92/75/EEC, which has been the legal basis for the label for a long time, was replaced in May 2010 by "Directive 2010/30/EU on the indication by labelling and standard product information of the consumption of energy and other resources by energy-related products". Based on the provisions of this Directive, the EU Commission can from now adopt so-called delegated acts for specific product groups. These acts can take the form of regulations or daughter directives.

In line with the Ecodesign Directive, the Labelling Directive covers not only energy-using, but all energy-related products except for means of transport. In the future, the Commission could e.g. adopt a mandatory energy labelling scheme for windows.

Another modification concerns the classes to which products are assigned according their efficiency. On the basis of the new directive, three additional classes may be added above the A class up to the class A+++ if required by technological progress. For some product groups the classes A+ and A++ have been introduced already in the past. In some of the new product group specific proposals the planned label includes class A+++ already from the beginning.

The product labelling scheme is closely interlinked with the implementing measures under the Ecodesign Directive. The decision, which environmental parameters of a product - besides energy consumption e.g. the water consumption of washing machines - are considered to be relevant for the labelling is made on the basis of the respective ecodesign implementing measure and the preparatory study carried out beforehand.

Since the new Labelling Directive was adopted in 2010, it is based on the changes to European law stipulated in the Lisbon Treaty which came into force in December 2009, whereas the Ecodesign Directive was adopted in 2009 and is therefore based on former Community law. In the new treaties, changes to some procedures for the adoption of legal acts were introduced. The Commission-led committee procedure with its Regulatory Committee was replaced by a new procedure for the adoption of delegated acts (cf. art. 290 Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union). In this procedure, the interested parties are still consulted (cf. Consultation Forum), but the Regulatory Committee is omitted. After the consultation of interested parties, the Commission itself adopts the delegated act, which can still be rejected by the European Parliament or the Council within a period of two months.