Over nearly 30 years, energy classes have undergone a number of changes in terms of presentation, classification, and variants. From the most energy-efficient to the least, this compulsory labeling system implemented by the European Union uses a color code (green to red) and a letter code (A+++ to D) to classify the energy efficiency of your household appliances.

The energy efficiency of appliances has improved rapidly over the years. After being overtaken by more efficient appliances, Class A was soon broken down into A+, A++, and A+++. To avoid confusion, the energy label is being revised so that it contains only letters to make it clearer.


Energy labeling of household appliances.

Say goodbye to the “+”, “++”, and “+++” symbols added to the letter A. From 31 March, the seven energy classes will go from A to G. Since last November, manufacturers have been in a transition period in which they have to supply their products with two labels (the old and the new). This means that, until March 2021, there may be double-labeling in shops.

Since the electricity consumption is displayed in kWh/year, you have accurate information on the consumption of each appliance, regardless of brand. The label applies to all, or nearly all, products such as televisions, fridges, freezers, ovens, washing machines and tumble driers. This measure also encourages manufacturers to invest in the development of increasingly energy-efficient products.

This is ideal if you want to buy a new appliance, as the energy label then becomes a tool to help you make savings by choosing products that consume less energy. Once the number of kWh has been converted into euro, evaluating what the product will cost is child’s play. Bearing in mind that, in 2020, the average cost per kWh was around €0.23 including taxes in Belgium, it is easy to estimate the impact of a freezer whose energy label indicates a power consumption of 210 kWh. In terms of your electricity bill, you will be able to determine that its annual consumption will cost around 210 x 0.23, in other words, €48.30.

Note: electricity prices change constantly. So make sure you check the most recent estimate to get an accurate idea of the price you pay per kWh, and therefore the cost of your appliance!

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What is the energy class?

The energy class is the classification system that identifies the energy efficiency of your household appliances. Using a colored scale, energy labels indicate the energy efficiency of each appliance in the home.

How to read and calculate the energy efficiency class?

At present, the general scale goes from A+++ for the most energy-efficient appliances to D for those that consume the most energy. Thanks to its colored scale, it is extremely easy to read the energy class: the darker green the label, the better-performing and more efficient the product. By contrast, the redder the label, the worse-performing and more energy-intensive the appliance. So, from spring 2021, the lettering alone will be simplified. The colored scale will remain exactly the same.

In terms of calculating the energy class, the issue becomes simpler where household electrical appliances are concerned. Since 2012, manufacturers have been banned from supplying appliances rated below class A+. As a result, the labelling of electrical appliances goes from class A+ to class A+++. This means that it will soon go from class A to class C.

What is the difference between A+ and A+++?

energy class of household appliances

When it comes to energy class,  the “+” symbol is (was) of crucial importance. Until now, buying a class A+++ appliance meant choosing an energy consumption around 20 to 50% lower than that of a similar class A+ appliance. But this difference could be even more marked depending on the appliance.

In general, a fridge-freezer, dishwasher, or electric oven with an A+++ rating consumes 70% less than a similar model rated A+. Regarding washing machines, the difference is slightly less since a class A+++ model consumes 30% less energy than its A+ counterpart.

*Source Eco-conso & Source Suisse énergie

A to G for greater simplicity

New energy labels

The symbols are gone and the A to G classification is back. There will now be no more confusion as each letter corresponds to its energy class. This means that analyzing the energy efficiency and annual consumption of your electrical appliances will be much easier.

What will the best energy class be?

The greener, the better! In the classification offered in 2021, class A will remain the most efficient and class G the most energy-intensive. This time, the scales are ahead of the game as they allow room for improvement. The addition of new classes and technical improvements in the future has already been taken into account to prevent the return of the controversial symbols.

How much energy consumption is there in the home?

Whatever size or type of home you have, the energy consumption of your household appliances plays an important role in your annual expenses. Whether you have a studio, an apartment, a semi-detached house or a villa, the energy labels for these appliances affect your bills by tens or even hundreds of euro each year.

To calculate the costs generated by your appliances and find out whether they consume too much energy and whether it would be more economical to replace them, here are a few tips to give you a clearer picture:

  • Make a list of your household appliances and their energy classes;
  • Organize them by energy label (greenest to reddest);
  • Write down the annual consumption in kWh of the appliances with an energy class of A+ or lower (you can find this information online);
  • Examine and note the annual consumption of similar household appliances in a more efficient class (A+++ or A++);
  • Calculate the difference between the consumption of your current appliances and their more energy-efficient counterparts;
  • Convert the value of this difference into euro (kWh consumed x current price per kWh);
  • Review the total additional energy cost generated by your most energy-intensive appliances each year.

So, is it time to make changes and save precious money? Do the calculation and you’ll soon find out!

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