The labeling campaign consisted in two phases. Broadly, these phases were:
Phase 1: Launch of the energy efficiency label on 4 May 2005; and
Phase 2: Announcement that the energy efficiency label can now be found on new fridges in South Africa.
The label is identical to the informative label used in EU member states with the only difference being that the EU flag is replaced by the DME symbol for the Energy Efficiency Initiative. Each product is graded either A or down to G – with G being the poorest performing product in electricity terms. The grading A to G is found as part of the instruction manual inside the packaging of the appliance. It is expected that retailers display the grading on the unpacked/display appliances.
The DME, in close collaboration with all the sector players (in particular the manufacturers), has decided to start the labelling initiative with the labelling of refrigerators. The refrigerator was chosen as most electrified households typically purchase a refrigerator as the first electrical kitchen appliance. Labelled appliances were in the shops as from late March 2004, and
towards August 2005 labelled refrigerators were all over South Africa – even in the smallest town. Parallel to household refrigerators the DME also ensures and supports the labelling of household freezers.
The standards for refrigerators have been adopted from the European Market. This enables products to flow freely between the continents without having to be re-tested . It also ensures that identical products carry the same grading even in different countries.
At the initial stage, participation in the Appliance Labelling scheme was voluntary for manufacturers. It was, however, the intention that the programme would have become mandatory sooner rather than later. During this voluntary period the promotion of an appliance’s energy efficiency grading was done as part of the manufacturers’ marketing.