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Periodic Reporting for period 2 - BELT (BOOST ENERGY LABEL TAKE UP)

Reporting period: 2020-12-01 to 2022-02-28

Regulation (EU) 2017/1369 aims to promote the uptake of more efficient energy-related products, repealing Directive 2010/30/EU and the first Directive 92/75/EEC.
The EU energy label has been designed to provide consumers with accurate, recognisable and comparable information regarding energy consumption, performance and other essential characteristics of domestic household products. It allows consumers to identify how energy efficient a product really is and how to assess a product’s potential to reduce costs related to energy consumption.
Currently, products are labelled on a scale of A+++ (most efficient) to G (least efficient). In a consumer survey, it emerged that about 85% of European citizens always look at the energy label before buying a product, however, the current one (scale from A +++ to G) is difficult to understand considering that the higher classes are densely populated. Therefore, the label is to be 'rescaled' (scale from A to G): a product showing an A+++ energy efficiency class will, for example, become a B class after rescaling, without any change in its energy consumption. The most efficient class (class A) will initially be left empty to leave room for more energy efficient models.

BELT is a project, funded by the European Union in the context of the research program Horizon 2020, with the goal of facilitating the introduction of the new energy label, under Regulation UE 2017/1369, from 1 March 2021, for some categories of domestic household appliances: washing machines, washer-dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators and freezers, TV and displays, light sources and some professional products.

BELT has the objective to smooth the transition period informing and supporting all stakeholders and to reduce to a minimum error at all levels of the value chain from manufacturer to consumer.
BELT aims to promote the new labelling on two key levels: primarily by raising awareness and informing consumers and business and public procurement staff, allowing them to make better and more informed choices; secondly by helping manufacturers and retailers to adapt their practices and use the rescaled labels to push innovation in designing energy efficiency products.

The BELT project has the following three main goals:
1- to facilitate the transition period to the new rescaled label, informing and training all principal stakeholders and market actors
2- to stimulate consumers to choose better energy performing products
3- to stimulate manufacturers to research and to further improve their products, thus, stimulating innovation and investment
Thanks to the multidisciplinary expertise and geographical coverage of the consortium, BELT developed tailored communications and targeted campaigns for the different market actors and stakeholders as well as effective actions:
- supporting consumers in taking decisions to reduce costs related to energy consumption
- informing and training retailers
- improving routing purchase decisions towards higher efficiency products
- training and incentivizing manufacturers to further improve their products

A comprehensive and robust campaign begun and was active till the last month of the project, February 2022, thanks to the continuous information produced by the consortium. Besides a set of materials such as leaflets, flyers, videos, factsheets, website pages, the consortium was involved in the production of new and updated contents to arise the attention of the public and the interest of consumers on all the aspect of the rescaled labels, energy saving, performance of the products related to the new energy label, presence of labels in the market, etc.; in total more than 800 contents were disseminated by the projects in 30 months, meaning that quite each day something was happening in BELT side!
Moreover, BELT offers the possibility for the consumers to know the cost savings from more energy efficient products at a household level thanks to the webtool available in 9 languages in the website of the project and in the one of each consumer organization. We count more than 77M of consumers informed thanks to marketing campaigns to boost social media posts and promote online contents.

BELT reached out to consumers, manufacturers, retailers and public procurement personnel in the countries, Belgium, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain, represented by members of the consortium. ALTROCONSUMO EDIZIONI, BEUC, CITTÀ METROPOLITANA DI BOLOGNA, DECO PROTESTE, ERION, ICLEI, OCU EDICIONES, SOFIES, SONAE and WORTEN, TEST ACHATS, ZPS. BEUC’s linked third parties ALCO, CAI, EKPIZO and KEPKA were committed to inform consumers and stakeholders in their respective countries, Lithuania, Ireland and Greece. BELT geographical coverage was also wider thanks to the network and activity of the partners, such as ICLE that reached, for example, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, and Romania. Beyond these countries, BELT extended its influence throughout Europe also with the support of many European organizations, and generate impacts thanks to the collaboration with Label2020 European project; we count about 6.000 market actors reached by the project.

The experience and the acknowledge of the Consortium of BELT contributed to the elaboration of policy recommendations to support policymakers to make more effective choices and to minimize errors during next rescaling initiatives. Points of view and information from market actors and stakeholders regarding the barriers and challenges on many issues, timing, stock, communication, performance of products, information on the labels, etc. have been identified and collected to optimize future rescaling initiatives.
It is important to understand the benefits of introducing the new energy labels in terms of environmental and economic indicators.
The project developed a tool that allows to model scenarios based on different levels of adoption of higher efficiency appliances. The benefits estimated are both due to the introduction of the labels, but also due to investments in cleaner and renewable energies. In more detail, the estimation of energy saving was made considering the current and future stock of appliances and their energy consumption. There are different variables that directly influence the results, such as sales scenarios and energy consumption per energy label category. At the same time, a significant effort was invested during the project in defining in more detail the expected energy consumption per energy label category for each appliance type, which again, would have significantly impacted the results.

Benefits within project duration:
35 ktCO2-eq/year reduction of greenhouse gas emissions
17 million EUR/year energy costs savings for consumers
105 GWh/year primary energy savings triggered by the project

Benefits 5 years after project ends:
195 ktCO2-eq/year reduction of greenhouse gas emissions
100 million EUR/year energy costs savings for consumers
600 GWh/year primary energy savings triggered by the project

The cost savings for citizens expected from the reduced energy consumption is also made available in the webtool in the project websites which allows to estimate savings from more energy efficient products at a household level.