EU to act on energy efficiency

I’m not quite sure what to make of a press release sent to me on Wednesday by the European Commission. Occupied as I was then with the G20 protest in London, and with an energy thirsty mobile phone that guzzles battery juice when transferring data via 3G, I didn’t have time to look into it in detail, and haven’t since.

On the face on it, however, the EU’s planned directive on limiting the energy consumption of televisions and household white goods is positive, the aim being to cut the region’s electricity consumption by 51 TWh by 2020. This, notes the release, corresponds to the combined electricity consumption of Portugal and Latvia. Why these two countries I have no idea; such things are normally expressed in multiples of Wales.

Under the announced “ecodesign” proposals, large household electrical items will have their energy consumption capped, and a new label will inform consumers of product performance in a way that the existing system fails to do. Specifically, the existing A–G energy banding will be supplemented by so-called “dynamic classes”. For example, “A-20%” would indicate that the product in question consumes 20% less energy than a hypothetical “A” model.

According to funkily-named Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs:

“This package of ecodesign and energy labelling measures is a crucial contribution to achieve our energy efficiency goals. I am particularly pleased with the new energy label, which is very clear for consumers, accelerates the race for top efficient products, and boosts market transformation and energy savings.”

If this sounds rather dull, then you may be underestimating the effect on consumer choice that such labelling has in the market. I guess that the EC press release must seem boring to the media, as the announcement has so far has been little reported.