Energy labels provide many valuable information about a product. Let's take a closer look at what kind of information is on there and what they mean.
What's an EU energy label?
EU energy labels are a standardised system of energy efficiency ratings issued by the European Union for most domestic appliances. The first EU energy label appeared on an appliance in 1994. Since then, more and more appliance categories have been included in EU Energy Regulations and the labels have been updated various times.
The main purpose of EU energy labels is to collectively cut the energy consumption of home appliances in Europe by doing two things:
- Giving consumers clear comparison criteria and help them choose more energy-efficient products, and
- Encouraging companies to invest in developing ever-more energy-efficient products.
Energy labels include valuable information about an appliance such as the annual energy consumption, noise level or its capacity. These little label cards are like a summary of all the things that you should take into account when looking for a new refrigerator.
What’s on a fridge freezer energy label?
Here is what a EU energy label for fridge freezers looks like and here is what the symbols and numbers stand for:
Read on to discover what each rating and number means in more detail.
Energy class (A+++ to A+)
Since 2012, fridge freezers have had to meet energy ratings of at least A+. Yet, retailers may still have A and B rated appliances in stock. While A+ isn’t bad, an A+++ appliance will be cheaper to run and better for the environment.
With fridge freezers, size makes a big difference, because the more space you need to keep cool, the more energy the appliance will use. Make sure you chose the size you really need to make sure you’re making the most efficient use of space and electricity.
Annual energy consumption (kWh/year)
Aside from the energy class, you’ll find the annual estimated energy consumption in kWh on fridge freezer energy labels.
For other appliances, these numbers are calculated based on various assumptions like a dishwasher is run approximately 5 times a week on a standard cleaning cycle.
Annual energy consumption for refrigerators tend to be fairly accurate since the appliance runs 24/7, the year round. If you know how much you pay for electricity, then you can work out how much the appliance will cost to run each year pretty precisely.
Fridge and freezer storage capacity (L)
These numbers are pretty straight-forward. They tell you how many litres of space the fridge and freezer compartments of a particular fridge freezer offers.
These numbers and their ratio will vary according to the make-up of the appliance. It’s quite possible to find refrigerators with cooler to freezer ratios of 70/30, 60/40 and 50/50. This is something to consider depending on your eating and shopping habits.
Noise levels (dB)
Finally, the other important rating on a fridge freezer energy label is the noise level in dB. Modern fridge freezers are pretty quiet, but anything over 47 dB would be considered loud. Once you approach 60 dB, you’re approaching the noise levels of an average conversation, and of course nobody wants their appliances interrupting them all the time.
Why should you care about energy efficiency?
For two basic reasons:
1. Your household budget and
2. The environment
Though fridge freezers with higher energy ratings tend to be a bit more expensive, they cost less to power. Switching to an energy-efficient refrigerator can reduce your energy costs up to 50% and repay that initial investment in a few years.
Energy costs have been rising rapidly all over the world. Our lifestyle requires increasingly greater amounts of energy while the resources are getting thinner. According to the European Commission, your savings could add up to €600 over the lifetime of your appliance. And that’s not counting the price increase over time.
You might be thinking “what difference will just one refrigerator make?”. Well, it’s a cumulative effect. Energy-efficiency has never been more important than now where resources are running low and the effects of human life on nature is ever increasing.
If all of Europe would upgrade their refrigerators with energy efficient ones, each year 4 TWh (that’s 4.000.000.000 kWh!) of electricity would be saved. Plus, 1.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) could be prevented from being released into the atmosphere every year.