In Switzerland, many manufacturers (of cars, household appliances, windows, etc.) have to indicate the energy consumption and characteristics of their products with an energy label. This label, originating directly from European standards, changes regularly.
Out of 500 Swiss products checked in 2014, 88% were correctly declared using the energy label. This figure is down 5% compared to the previous year. Manufacturers and distributors are subject to regular updates of the Energy Ordinance.
Eight product categories are affected by the energy label:
- household appliances (fridges and freezers, washing machines, tumble dryers, dishwashers, electric ovens, air conditioning units, coffee machines, vacuum cleaners, hobs)
- bulbs and lights
- TV screens
- sedan cars
- bathroom fittings (shower heads, taps, water savers)
- construction products (heating and ventilation)
In energy label terms, these categories each have their specific features (see the OFEN energy label document via link), but they also present shared features such as alignment with European law, or the subsequent inspection.
Swiss legislation, namely the Energy Ordinance and its appendices (OEne), is regularly modified according to European law. The Swiss energy label is the same as the one defined for the European market. This is in order to help local producers export their products throughout the European Union (EU).
Provided by the manufacturer, the energy label must mention the features of the product along with its energy efficiency. The result of a complex calculation, this figure makes it possible to place the device in one of the ten energy efficiency categories defined by letters and symbols (from A+++ for the most efficient, to G), with color bars ranging from red to dark green (for the most efficient). These classifications have changed more rapidly than expected, given the rapid progress made by manufacturers. Most products are labeled Category A today. An overhaul of the criteria is planned for four to five years’ time, to differentiate the most efficient devices from the others.
This label is declarative, that is, it is based on the good faith of the manufacturer who conducts energy efficiency tests before marketing its products. It must be available on the Internet and presented with the product by means of a sticker or instructions. It is the distributor's responsibility to ensure that this document is clearly visible. An inspection can occur subsequently, carried out by Electrosuisse or the Federal Inspectorate for Heavy Current Installations (ESTI). This subsequent inspection can be conducted on three levels: the global market, the expert reports prepared at the manufacturer’s request by an independent test laboratory and the manufacturer’s declaration.
To ascertain which product comes under Swiss legislation, and which minimum efficiency levels are in force, it is possible to refer to the OFEN document, Supervision of energy labels and minimum requirements for electrical devices in Switzerland.
We can note that only some products have to display a minimum energy efficiency which is higher in Switzerland than in Europe: refrigerators, dryers and ovens. And lastly, coffee machines are subject to regulation in Switzerland, which is not the case in Europe.
It should also be noted that US or Asian regulations are different and require their own labeling. However, in terms of energy performance, they are, in principle, below the level of requirement in the EU or Switzerland. A Swiss product is therefore compatible with 90% of existing markets, in terms of energy obligations. As such, the energy label plays an important role in marketing and the commercialization of a product.