MEPs voted 566 in favour and 28 against (amid 39 abstentions) to endorse a report on the revision of the Energy Labelling Directive authored by Greek Socialist MEP Anni Podimata.
The EU's energy labelling scheme, which sees energy-using household appliances tagged with labels from A to G, should be extended to energy-using products in commercial and industrial use, MEPs said, backing Commission proposals made as part of its Second Strategic review, launched in November.
In addition, they endorsed extending compulsory energy labelling to all energy-related products, including construction products, which have an impact on energy savings.
MEPs added a provision in the directive requiring all advertisements with technical specifications and technical promotional material to display the product's energy consumption. This could be done by showing its energy class, they said.
Moreover, the lawmakers requested member states to offer tax credits to industries producing highly energy-efficient products, as well as to the consumers using them. They also called for reduced value added tax on materials and components providing efficiency gains.
MEPs amended the directive to include regular reviews of the energy labelling classification. They argued that a product's classification should only be valid for three to five years.
No new label format
Due to energy efficiency improvements for most household goods over the years, most products have ended up in the highest class, 'A', meaning it is no longer an accurate indication of their energy performance.
In March, the Commission proposed a new format for energy labelling for televisions and fridges (EurActiv 02/04/09). This would add an extra category at the top, with 'A-20%' indicating that a product consumes 20% less energy than a traditional 'A class' product.
The Parliament, however, insisted on retaining the closed A-G classification, instead opting for regular upgrading of classification thresholds to account for "the speed of technological progress of the product". Many MEPs argued that the Commission's proposal was simply a way to please industry, which was unhappy about the downgrading of their products' classification and undermines consumer confidence in the label.
As energy labelling was only revised at first reading, it could be a while before the revised directive is transposed into law, a Parliament spokesperson said. In the meantime, the EU assembly will today seek to block the Commission's proposed label format when voting on implementing measures under the current directive, she said.
The measures would introduce the new energy labelling format for televisions and fridges. If the Parliament, however, refuses to endorse the measures via today's "regulatory procedure with scrutiny," the Commission will have to come up with new proposals.
At the committee stage, the new format was opposed by the Socialists, Liberals and Greens. Today's vote is again expected to be very narrow.
Green MEP Claude Turmes (Luxembourg) urged the Parliament to back the closed A-G scheme when voting on energy efficiency labels for fridges and televisions today. "The white goods industry may have qualified themselves for next year's 'Worst EU Lobbying Awards' for their misleading campaign. Today, however, they fortunately failed to secure a system that would continue to grant an 'A' grade efficiency label to virtually all of their products," he said after the vote on the framework directive.