Evolutions of energy labelling: lessons from German energy labels for air-conditioning and ventilation
Proc. eceee Summer Study, Giens
EU product efficiency policy plays an important role in buildings through ecodesign and labelling of space and water heaters, ventilation units, air-conditioning and more. However, long-term climate and energy objectives require that product efficiency policies tackle even more energy savings. We can identify three areas that are not fully addressed by the existing EU energy label: first, products and systems already in use; secondly, the performance of products or systems in their operational context (e.g. dimensioning); and thirdly, planning and quality control of systems during their installation. A broader understanding of the possible functions of labels reveals that labels could be a helpful instrument in all three areas, and could be used by national governments to complement the EU Energy label.
This paper illustrates the case by way of examples from new German labelling approaches for air conditioning and ventilation: a “non-label” (a so-called QuickCheck with graphical display of results for systems in use), and a more detailed label for systems in use or new systems under planning and up to installation. The QuickCheck delivers an initial assessment that should motivate users to get a more detailed inspection. The system label largely follows the lines of the EU energy label, with the difference that it evaluates efficiency in the operational context: beyond component efficiency, it includes dimensioning and operation.
We show these are promising developments for energy labels with considerable savings potential. We analyse in which ways these labels expand the traditional understanding of labels by addressing new phases in the product / system life cycle and involving new actors, and discuss implications and challenges, e.g. with respect to broad penetration of the voluntary labels or market surveillance and verification. Due to their voluntary status, actual market penetration of the labels remains to be seen.
However, the labels have the potential to shed light on significant areas of energy consumption, which are today mostly opaque to their owners. We thus consider it worthwhile to explore adaptations to the European context. Finally, bringing product policy closer to complex systems in buildings may also be a way to support long-term targets in the buildings sector.