Energy labelling explained – and why it’s vital for green-thinking operators

Energy labelling

Manufacturers are looking at several other ways to reduce the amount of power their refrigeration needs, including greener refrigerants, thicker insulation and better airflow designs. 

And their work is bearing fruit: in just 12 months after the EcoDesign and Energy Labelling directives were introduced, in July 2016, there was a significant shift in energy efficiency in refrigeration in the foodservice market.

This saw the average energy index (EEI) for drop from 63% to 59% (the smaller the figure, the more energy efficient the ‘average’ model is), according to figures supplied by the Foodservice Equipment Association.

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Currently only certain types of refrigeration fall under the directives – specifically, upright cabinets and counters (collectively known as Professional Refrigerated Storage Cabinets).

The energy label lets you compare the energy efficiency of different models – with A+++ being the most efficient.  The energy tests and label grades are based around MEPS – Minimum Energy Performance Standard. Each model sold in the EU and the UK must meet at least a level G in terms of energy performance.

The latest legislation

A new Energy Labelling Directive comes into force in March 2021. It will cover ‘commercial refrigeration’ which includes, amongst other things, display units such as grab and go merchandisers. Again, the labels will make it easy for prospective buyers to compare the energy efficiency of different models.

Need to know: Climate Class

Anyone purchasing commercial refrigeration and wanting to compare energy labelling needs to understand what Climate Class means.

Commercial refrigeration is designed to operate in varying climates, in terms of the ambient temperatures and relative humidity (RH) conditions of the room or area where it is sited.

For example, a top-end kitchen cabinet may need to be able to cope with ambient temperatures of 40°C. On the other hand, a grab & go drinks cabinet in a coffee shop may never have to work in ambient temperatures above 25°C.

Manufacturers design their models to meet the needs of a specific Climate Class. When buying refrigeration, it’s important to ensure it is designed to operate in the conditions at your site.

A Climate Class 3 fridge will struggle in Climate Class 4 conditions: it will use excess energy and may not hold temperature, compromising food safety and making the operator liable for the consequences.

Where will I find the Energy Label?

The label must be displayed if the product is being shown to a potential buyer, such as in a showroom or at an exhibition. The distributor or manufacturer is not responsible for fixing the label to the product at the customer ‘s premises – instead it is supplied loose, as it is with domestic products.

The FEA notes that equipment dealers are responsible for ensuring that any equipment covered by the Energy Labelling Directive has the label prominently displayed, either on the top or the front of the product.

If it’s not practical to see the label, for example, if the equipment is being sold online, then it must be marketed
with the relevant information. Any advertising, promotional or technical support material covering the product should also include the energy efficiency class of the model.

Foster Refrigerator is the Platinum Partner sponsor of the Refrigeration category of FEJ Kitchen Excellence Week. For information about Foster and its sister company Gamko, call 01553 691122 or visit

Tags : Foster RefrigeratorKitchen Excellence WeekRefrigeration
Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

1 Comment

  1. A great article that highlights well the role and benefits of the Eco design and Energy Labelling Directives.
    We now need to replicate the benefits across other key energy-using products in the key categories of warewashing and cooking equipment.
    The FEA ‘Three-Point Plan’ to help achieve Net Zero Carbon by 2050 includes this in its strategy. Operators can help by sharing our vision for the future of equipment – it involves financial support for the purchase of energy-efficient equipment.

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