In Switzerland, many manufacturers (of cars, household appliances, ventilation systems, 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.
Of 49,564 Swiss products checked in 2021, 88% were correctly declared using the energy label. This figure is down 2% compared to the previous year, according to the Swiss Federal Office of Energy, which is responsible for market surveillance. Manufacturers and distributors are subject to regular updates of the Ordinance on Energy Efficiency.
Nine product categories are affected by the energy label:
- household appliances (refrigerators and freezers, washing machines, tumble dryers, dishwashers, ovens, air conditioners, coffee machines, vacuum cleaners, range hoods, hobs)
- electronic equipment (standby and external power supplies, computers and servers, set-top boxes, televisions)
- building services and technology (heating and ventilation)
- commercial appliances ( refrigerating appliances)
- electrical machines (electric drives, transformers, welding equipment)
- motor vehicles
- optional labels (windows, bathroom appliances).
In terms of energy labels, these categories each have their specific features (see the OFEN energy label document on their website), but they also present shared features such as alignment with European law, or the subsequent inspection.
Swiss legislation, namely the Ordinance on Energy Efficiency 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 seven energy efficiency categories defined by letters (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. The criteria have therefore been overhauled in the EU, and the Federal Council adopted these new requirements in Switzerland from 2021 onwards in order to reduce the electricity consumption of new appliances (see Revision of the Federal Energy Efficiency Ordinance (PDF, 1 MB, 01.07.2022)). With this revision, an appliance that was previously rated A++ will now be rated B or C.
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. An inspection (see Market Surveillance) may be carried out a posteriori by Eurofins 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, one should refer to the refer to the Supervision of Energy Labels and Minimum Requirements for Electrical Devices in Switzerland document on the OFEN website.
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.