27 April 2017

European Parliament and European Council Reach Agreement on Energy Labelling Rules

AEGPL, the European LPG Association, reported that the European Parliament’s and the European Council’s negotiators have reached a compromise on the Energy Efficiency Labelling Regulation. This proposal is of direct relevance for a number of LPG appliances such as central and local space heaters, which are subject to the energy efficiency label since September 2015.

Currently, LPG/gas boilers can reach the class “A”, which ensures that they are attractive to consumers. Only appliances producing more heat than they consume are awarded a plus; hence micro CHPs can rank up to “A+” and gas heat pumps up to “A++”.

In July 2015, the European Commission released a proposal to reform energy labelling rules, as it considered that the “plus” categories made it difficult for consumers to accurately assess the energy efficiency of their appliances. For this reason, it was proposing to rescale all the labels of product classes featuring “plus” categories within five years, in order to return to a more straightforward "A" to "G" classification system. In addition, it proposed to leave the first two classes empty after the rescaling, arguably to avoid a quick obsolescence of the label. If this proposal had gone through, gas boilers would have ranked E or F at best from 2022 onwards, hence seriously undermining their attractiveness to consumers in the short term. AEGPL therefore in the last year advocated for setting a clear-cut rule to trigger the rescaling only in the product categories where it was necessary, or at least to provide for a much longer transition period for heating appliances.

The European Parliament originally welcomed the Commission proposal, but added a clause requiring the rescaling for central heating appliances to take place after 6 years, because it considered that the appliances were spread through all the categories. However, this special provision was postponing the rescaling by only one year, which was not satisfactory.

After four rounds of negotiations, the European Parliament and the European Council reached a compromise on this legislative file. The co-legislators agreed, as a general rule, that all appliances shall be rescaled in 6 years, except for heating appliances which will be given a much longer transition phase, in line with AEGPL position. It should also be noted that the exemption for central heating appliances was indeed also extended to local space heaters.

For these two product classes, the rescaling process shall start within nine years from the entry into force of the regulation and it shall end within 13 years. This means that the new labels for gas boilers will most probably not appear in shops before 2028 or even 2030. After that, the rescaling will only be triggered by an overpopulation of appliances in the top classes, namely 30% in class A or 50% in class A+B. This long transition phase is a positive outcome, as it will likely leave more chance to manufacturers to keep improving their products and keep LPG/gas appliances competitive in the energy efficiency race.

The agreement will now need to be formally approved by the European Parliament’s plenary and by the European Council.


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