TODAY: New energy labels for electrical appliances?

TODAY recently reported that National Environment Agency (NEA) is reviewing the design of energy labels and looking  into incorporating this cost onto the label.

New energy labels for electrical appliances?

Consumers could get new energy labels showing the estimated energy cost of operating the appliance, to help them make more informed choices.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) is reviewing the design of energy labels and is looking into incorporating this cost onto the label, said Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan in a written parliamentary reply recently.

He was responding to Hougang Member of Parliament Yaw Shin Leong, who had asked if these labels have been effective in influencing consumer choice for more energy-saving products.

As electricity tariffs change, the NEA is looking into how suppliers and retailers can balance their “associated costs” and reflect the operating cost of appliances accurately and in a “timely” and accurate manner, Mr Balakrishnan said.

The idea to include the estimated energy cost of operating an appliance in the label was one of the suggestions received from public consultations organised by the National Climate Change Secretariat on climate-change issues, he added.

Suppliers such as Panasonic and Sharp said the associated costs – the reprinting of labels should the tariffs change – was minimal.

This was confirmed by retailers Best Denki and Courts who told Today that the printing and certification of labels was borne by suppliers.

While the associated cost may be minimal, there are environmental costs of “paper wastage with the reprinting of these labels and the disposal of the obsolete labels”, Panasonic’s brand management group manager Christopher Lim said.

Still, the bigger question is: Would such labels influence consumers to buy a greener product?

“Most definitely. It takes the hassle of having to look up the NEA’s website – even though I have a smartphone – or having to use my phone to calculate the energy cost,” said ad exective Fiona Tan, 28.

However, administration manager Jenny Lam, 48, said that there were other factors to consider when buying big-ticket items, even though such labels do “make it easier” for consumers to figure out the estimated operating cost of the appliance.

“If the upfront cost of the greener product is high, some households may choose to buy a cheaper but less efficient product,” said Ms Lam. “While they can buy a greener product on higher purchase, it will cost them more, and so, some might – not by choice – buy a cheaper but inefficient model.”

Image taken from littlemissairgap


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