Handy new tools to help with the new EU energy labels
Energy labels have been a great ally in our quest to cut household energy bills and carbon footprint – they have encouraged consumers to buy more efficient products for more than 20 years. However, the old generation of energy labels using an A+++ to G scale, is no longer efficient. As of March 2021, consumers find new, rescaled labels mainly on four product types: fridges, dishwashers, washing machines and televisions. Lamps also got new energy labels in September 2022, while other products will follow in the coming years. The new energy labels now incorporate a scale from A to G. They also feature other pictograms that complement the information about the products, as well as a QR code allowing direct access to the European Product Registry for Energy Labelling EPREL. With these changes, the consumer will be able to make more informed purchase decisions. The EU-funded LABEL 2020 project supported a dynamic campaign of guidance and assistance, mainly for retailers and consumers, to improve understanding and implementation of the newly rescaled labels.
Supportive tools for retailers
A new e-learning tool explains basic information about the new labelling scheme and helps retailers to consider the label as an important tool for promoting efficient products. Involving a new interactive concept, the e-learning tool allows sales staff to easily take up all core information about the new labelling scheme and test their knowledge in a multiple-choice quiz. After successfully passing the test, salespersons can print a digital certificate. “Importantly, the salespersons get advice on how to support consumers in product selection decisions,” explains project coordinator Bernd Schaeppi. “Furthermore, they can interact with an artificial intelligence component that simulates real-life sales situations and two-way conversations. This feature enables them to adequately address any customer questions and offer concrete tips on energy-efficient products.” The training concept was warmly embraced in many countries and extensively used by large retail chains.
Supportive tools for consumers
In addition to the information brochures released and the information campaigns organised in many EU countries, LABEL 2020 unveiled a web app tool for consumers using data from the EPREL. “By simply scanning the QR code on the product label or just using search criteria, consumers can easily compare various product features and get estimations on the expected operation costs for various domestic appliances. By adding the purchase price, they also get an indication of the total cost,” remarks Schaeppi. “The full version of the tool was released in 2022. However, further marketing activities are needed to make the tool more widely known.” Widgets implemented on retailers’ websites in certain countries also proved a powerful method enabling consumers to calculate the total product costs, including the running and purchase costs.
A look into the future
New labels for air-conditioning, heating and other product groups will appear on the market in the coming years. “Certain tools from LABEL2020 can be further maintained and extended for these products,” notes Schaeppi. “Despite the general success of the information campaigns and tools introduced by LABEL2020, we deemed that it is critical to adjust the labels to the market situation and technology development. Furthermore, the new labelling system will become more transparent for buyers as soon as all old labels, currently still used for several product groups, will be replaced,” concludes Schaeppi.
LABEL 2020, consumers, energy labels, retailers, e-learning tool, EPREL, A-G scale, operation cost, QR code