Title: Rescaling the energy label for washing machines: an opportunity to bring technology development and consumer behaviour closer together
Citation: ENERGY EFFICIENCY vol. 13 no. 1 p. 51–67
Publisher: SPRINGER
Publication Year: 2020
JRC N°: JRC118144
ISSN: 1570-6478 (online),1570-646X (print)
URI: https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007%2Fs12053-019-09829-4.pdf
DOI: 10.1007/s12053-019-09829-4
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Washing machines have in recent years incorporated programmes that are very energy- and water-efficient, but this entails a long programme duration, often beyond four hours. These are also the programmes that manufactures use to define, test and declare the overall water and energy efficiency of the machines. In response to these developments, there is evidence that consumers are reluctant to use excessively lengthy programmes, even if they are aware that the programmes are more energy-efficient. This paper analyses this divergence of programme offer and programme use, which jeopardises the energy efficiency policy objectives for these appliances in the European Union (EU). The paper explores several policy measures to address this divergence, discussed in the context of the revision of the Ecodesign and Energy Labelling Regulations that apply to washing machines in the EU. Three different measures are studied: the provision of information about the programme duration on the energy label, the inclusion of time as an intrinsic parameter of the energy efficiency index calculations, and the setting of a programme duration cap. The paper concludes that introducing programme duration as an additional parameter of the energy efficiency index would result in the highest energy savings. However, this scenario is associated with significant uncertainties since competition among manufacturers for a better energy label classification will not solely focus on energy efficiency aspects, and the outcome of such competition is unclear. The other two measures investigated are less effective but would also deliver savings. A programme duration cap would bring energy savings if consumers are aware of their existence and select the now shorter yet energy-efficient programmes more often. The provision of programme duration information on the energy label would also be effective, but requires that consumers are able to correctly understand it.
JRC Directorate:Growth and Innovation

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