EU energy labels: room for improvement?
Consumer research in the context of the revision of the European energy labels

Household products, such as washing machines, refrigerators and TV’s, have a mandatory EU energy label. This label indicates how energy efficient the appliance is, on a scale from A+++ (green) to D (red). The label also provides information on the absolute energy consumption and other durability aspects (e.g. water consumption). Because appliances are becoming more and more efficient and the addition of even more pluses (e.g. A+++++) does not make much sense, the European government has decided to revert to the original scale which runs from A (green) to G (red), and to rescale it when too many products fall into the highest energy class. To make sure consumers notice the difference between new and old labels, the new energy labels will also receive a ‘fresh’ new look.

On behalf of the European Commission, CentERdata conducts research to support the revision of the energy labels. The projects include both the development of a new ‘house style’ that will be used for all energy labels, and the development of pictograms to convey product-specific information in a clear manner (e.g. the noise level of a refrigerator or the load capacity of a washing machine). In large-scale European consumer studies, we test (among other things) whether consumers accurately understand the information on the new labels. In these projects, we collaborate with Right Brained (graphic design) and Ipsos (European data collection).

Figure 1 displays on of the tested labels for refrigerators.

Figure 1. Example tested label for refrigerators

The research reports for the individual product groups can be found here:

Other research reports can be found here:

Related projects