Cold Labeling: the UK Experience of Energy Labels

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Energy labels are an integral part of European Union (EU) energy efficiency policy, both as a policy instrument in their own right and because they provide the basis for other interventions, such as rebates. The EU Energy Label on cold appliances came into force on 1 January 1995 and it is doing so on wet appliances and shortly on light bulbs. Because of the size of the EU market, the requirement that a machine is labeled is influencing suppliers and countries external to the EU, particularly in Eastern Europe.

The effect of the label on individual purchasers of cold appliances has been examined and the characteristics and values identified of those who did and did not respond to the information provided on the label. In individual interviews, the reasons behind the decision were discussed. Thus, the parameters that determine energy efficient choices can be identified.

In addition, sales data for the label’s first 24 months provide information on the effect on numbers of machines sold, their type, price, size and so forth. The analysis of these national data provides support, and challenges, for the individual interviews.

The picture that emerges from this combined analysis enables the effectiveness of an important policy tool to be identified, including the actual energy savings. The implications for future use of the label – its extension to both new appliances and new countries – will be discussed.

Author: Brenda Boardman, Environmental Change Unit, University of Oxford

Information from: The European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy’s (eceee) 1997 Summer StudyPanel 2: Incentives and Instruments to Achieve Greater Energy Efficiency, which is published in Paris by Danish Energy Agency, Praque and Copenhagen.


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