Expensive Energy-Saving Devices Make A Difference

An example makes it clear that it really makes a big difference in which efficiency category a consumer chooses. In a household appliance department of a well-known electrical discount shop, there is an 85-centimeter high refrigerator, a built-under appliance without a separate freezer compartment, with a capacity of 152 liters. The cost is at 330 euros. Next to it is an older device from the same series with identical space for 280 euros. The more expensive device bears the EU label “A ++”, the cheaper the label “A”.

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The expensive device cools more efficiently. It consumes 86 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, while the “A” device draws 154-kilowatt hours from the grid annually. The annual electricity cost savings with the more expensive device are around 14 euros, based on a market electricity price of 20 cents per kilowatt-hour. Accordingly, the purchase of the more expensive device would have paid for itself after four years of operation – and the environment would have thanked it because less electricity would have been used and less carbon dioxide would have been emitted.

The manufacturers of refrigeration appliances see the EU label primarily as an instrument for marketing product innovations. “With the plus classes, manufacturers and retailers can clearly highlight the particularly efficient devices and visualize technical progress,” explains Werner Scholz, head of the Central Association of the Electrical Industry (ZVEI). For the association, the new label represents an “acceptable compromise”. “For the consumer, it again means a good decision-making aid when making a purchase,” said Scholz.

Consumer advocates are beginning to doubt the sense of the EU label

Manufacturers as well as consumer and environmental protection representatives sit together with colleagues from the other countries of the community when ecodesign directives of the EU are updated. These meetings are called “consultation forums” under the umbrella of the EU Commission. As the draft for the new label shows, the forces that supported the original scale from A to G were lost at these meetings. In order to maintain this, older appliances would always have to drop out of the A-Class when a new and more economical generation of refrigerators hit the market. However, such a “rescaling” should only happen when the majority of the devices are in the “A +++” class.

Energy efficiency is not limited to household appliances. This extends to the use of tools and equipment for your business, ie., heat press machines if you are in the printing business. So it is at your advantage to be interested to see the best heat press machine of the latest model that bears the “A +++” class label.

It is possible that even before manufacturers use the new label for the first time, all cooling devices across the EU will be in one of the A-classes. That is at least the aim of another ordinance that came into force on July 1st (ordinance no. 643/2009). It stipulates that household refrigerators which are worse than efficiency level A will completely disappear from the market. The regulation was published on July 23, 2009, in the Official Journal of the EU.