Consumer protectionvzbv survey: Energy labels have to be more comprehensible

On the occasion of World Consumer Day on 15 March 2015 the Federation of German Consumer Organizations (vzbv) published the results of a Forsa-study regarding energy labels of household appliances. The study shows that energy labels do not provide adequate comparability and transparency for consumers.

  • While 57 percent of consumers pay attention to energy labels when purchasing new appliances, 77 percent of consumers confound a washing machine of category A+ to be energy efficient.
  • Above all there is a lack of a standardized scale for all types of household appliances. Moreover, different ratings (A+++ to A) making a comparison across products impossible in this segment.
  • Only one third of consumers consider the annual energy consumption in their purchase decision, despite its relevance for an effective assessment. Due to the size of appliances, a high energy efficiency does not necessarily imply a low level of absolute energy consumption. Future energy labels should therefore display absolute energy consumption more noticeably.

Based on these findings vzbv calls for re-introducing the original energy label including a scale from A to G, which is better recognized among consumers according to previous studies. Also, the European Commission should consider these insights when revising the framework directive of eco-design and energy labeling this summer.

Klaus Müller, director at vzbv, emphasizes: "Only comprehensible information constitutes good information. Without readjustment consumers trust in energy labels will vanish. Subsequently labels would depict nothing more than colorful stickers."

Source: vzbv

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