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Domestic refrigeration appliances: energy efficiency


Minimum energy efficiency standards (maximum allowable electricity consumption value for a given volume and category of appliances) apply to domestic refrigeration appliances. In addition, the "CE" conformity marking on the label guarantees that the appliance meets these standards. This conformity marking applies to all household electrical appliances.


Directive 96/57/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 September 1996 on energy efficiency requirements for household electric refrigerators, freezers and combinations thereof [See amending acts].


This Directive applies to refrigerators, frozen food storage cabinets and freezers and combinations thereof, running on mains electricity.

No of stars indicates category

The appliance's electricity consumption must be lower than or equal to the maximum allowable value for its category. The category, indicated by the number of stars, is determined by the relationship between volume and energy consumption.

CE marking

Household refrigeration appliances that conform to the energy efficiency requirements of this Directive must bear the CE" conformity marking.

Where a Member State establishes that the CE marking has been affixed unduly, the manufacturer or his authorised representative established in the European Union (EU) is obliged to make the product comply. Otherwise, the Member State concerned may take the product off the market.

Technical documentation

Technical documentation, provided with the appliance, shall contain the model identification and explanations of the appliance's operation (instructions), its design (in particular, factors that influence energy consumption) and manufacture (name and address of the manufacturer).

Framework Directive 2005/32/EC

Framework Directive 2005/32/EC on the setting of ecodesign requirements amends Directive 96/57/EC. The latter now falls under the Framework Directive, of which it has become an implementing measure. The Framework Directive applies to all energy-consuming appliances except vehicles.


ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Directive 96/57/EC08.10.199603.09.1997OJ L 236 of 18.09.1996

Amending act(s)Entry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Directive 2005/32/EC06.08.200511.08.2007OJ L 191 of 22.07.2005



Commission Directive 2003/66/EC of 3 July 2003 amending Directive 94/2/EC implementing Council Directive 92/75/EEC with regard to energy labelling of household electric refrigerators, freezers and their combinations [Official Journal L 170 of 9 July 2003].
This Directive made it possible, as of 2004, for consumers easily to identify those refrigerators and freezers which consume the least energy by referring to the indications "A+" (efficient) and "A++" (most efficient) on the sales labels of such products. These two categories are to be maintained as an interim arrangement until a comprehensive revision of the energy labelling classes takes place. (The refrigerators and freezers that consume the most energy are classified "F" and "G").

Last updated: 09.05.2007

See also

  • To see what other harmonised sectors are adopting this 'new approach', consult the Enterprise and Industry Directorate-General website.
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