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EU Reform of Energy Labelling of Products Enters into Force

The EU’s reform of the energy labelling rules for energy-related products has entered into force, with the requirements for Hong Kong and other manufacturers and suppliers to be ushered in over a staggered period. The reform is laid out in new Regulation 2017/1369 setting a framework for energy labelling. The Regulation will eliminate the current three A classes (A+ to A+++) after a period of time and re-establish the previous scale of energy efficiency classes, using only the letters from A to G.

The Regulation was published in the EU Official Journal and entered into force on 1 August 2017. It establishes a new framework for the labelling and the provision of standard product information regarding energy efficiency and energy consumption by products during their use. The objective of the Regulation is to encourage customers to buy more efficient products by comparing the energy labels of different products.

The Regulation also provides for the possibility of a future further rescaling of the energy labelling scale, depending on whether, over time and with technological development, a high percentage of the products sold find themselves in the top classes. Rescaling means that the requirements for a particular product group for achieving an energy class on a label are made more stringent. A rescaling of the energy scale is envisaged approximately every 10 years. Immediately following a rescaling, at least the top class of the energy scale should be empty of products, so as to encourage continued technological progress.

Like the old Directive 2010/30/EU (and Directive 96/60/EC regarding energy labelling of household combined washer-driers), the new Regulation empowers the Commission to adopt so-called “delegated acts” to establish the detailed requirements relating to the energy-efficiency labels for specific product groups. A separate delegated act is to be adopted for each specific product group.

It is important to note, however, that as long as the Commission has not yet adopted a new delegated act for a specific product group pursuant to the new Regulation, the requirements laid down in existing delegated acts that were adopted pursuant to Directive 2010/30/EU or Directive 96/60/EC will continue to apply to the relevant product groups. Such product groups include air-conditioners, ovens, lighting, fridges, driers, washing machines, televisions and vacuum cleaners. Please click on the following for a complete list of the existing product groups.

According to the new Regulation, the Commission is to adopt, by 2 August 2023, new delegated acts under the Regulation in order to introduce a homogenous A to G scale of rescaled labels for each of the product groups covered by delegated acts adopted under Directive 2010/30/EU. The aim is for the rescaled label to be displayed, both in shops and online, within 18 months from the entry into force of the delegated act adopted under the Regulation. Under the new Regulation, the main obligations of suppliers of energy-related products covered by a delegated act are the following:

  • Suppliers of energy-related products (which include authorised representatives of manufacturers established outside the EU, and EU importers) have to ensure that each individual unit of the products that are placed on the EU market is accompanied with printed labels showing the applicable energy efficiency class. They must also have product information sheets in compliance with the Regulation and the relevant delegated act applying to the product group concerned.
  • In visual advertisements or technical promotional material for a specific product model, suppliers have to make reference to the energy efficiency class of the model and to the range of the efficiency classes available, in accordance with the relevant delegated act that applies to the product group concerned.
  • The European Commission will set up a product database consisting of a public part and a compliance part, which will be accessible via an online portal. The public part of the product database aims to be an information tool for consumers, whilst the compliance part of the database is to facilitate the monitoring of compliance with the energy labelling requirements and to provide up-to-date market data for the process of revisions of product-specific labels and information sheets.

As from 1 January 2019, suppliers that want to place on the market a new model of a product covered by a delegated act first have to enter in the product database specific information on their new model.

The information to be entered into the public part comprises information identifying the supplier and the model concerned, including the energy label in electronic format, the energy efficiency class, and other parameters of the label and of the product information sheet in electronic format.

The compliance part of the product database will be accessible only to the market surveillance authorities of the EU Member States and to the Commission. The information to be entered by the supplier into the compliance part of the database includes the model identifier of all equivalent models already placed on the market as well as certain specific mandatory parts of the technical documentation for the model concerned, as listed in Article 12 para. 5 of the new Regulation. Annex I of the Regulation lays down further functional criteria for the product database.

As already mentioned, the obligation of suppliers to enter the relevant information into the product database before placing a new model covered by a delegated act on the market applies to new models that are placed on the EU market as from 1 January 2019. For models covered by a delegated act which are placed on the market before that date, i.e. in the period between 1 August 2017 and 1 January 2019, the supplier has time until 30 June 2019 to enter the relevant information into the product database. For those models, and until the supplier has entered the relevant information into the database, the supplier has to make available an electronic version of the technical documentation to the market surveillance authorities and to the Commission within 10 days of receiving a request from these authorities or from the Commission.

The new Regulation is directly applicable in the EU Member States and thus achieves a higher degree of harmonisation of the rules on energy labelling across the EU than that which could be achieved by Directive 2010/30/EU. The Commission considers that such higher degree of harmonisation reduces costs for suppliers and ensures a level playing field and the free movement of goods across the EU market.

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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