Understanding the EnerGuide label
New major household appliances and room air conditioners must carry the Canadian EnerGuide label before they are first leased or sold at retail stores. Removing or tampering with the label is against the law.
Canada's 1992 Energy Efficiency Act is a key part of Canada's environmental action plan. Regulations have been developed under the Act to establish minimum energy efficiency standards for energy-consuming products, including major electrical appliances. The Energy Efficiency Regulations apply to products imported to Canada and traded between provinces/territories.
A dealer (a person or an organization engaged in buying and selling) that imports major electrical appliances to Canada or ships them between provinces/territories must ensure that they are properly labelled.
The federal regulations specify
- which products must be labelled
- the reference standard that describes the procedures used to test each appliance
- the minimum energy efficiency level that each appliance must meet
- how products must be labelled
Manufacturers can print a bar code on the EnerGuide label if the substance of the label is not altered.
Sample of an EnerGuide label with a bar code.
Comparing the Canadian and American Energy Labels
You may see both the black-and-white Canadian label and the black-and-yellow American label on new major appliances. The American label may be removed before a new appliance is sold at retail locations or is leased in Canada.
In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) oversees the labelling of most energy consuming equipment. The FTC works closely with the U.S. Department of Energy to set labelling guidelines.
The Canadian EnerGuide and American EnergyGuide labels can be printed back-to-back on a hang tag or side-by-side. Canada and the United States usually use similar test methods to determine the energy rating. However, the range on the scale may differ because of differences in the number and types of models available in each country.
Types of Labels
Adhesive labels: The adhesive must be strong enough that the label stays attached under normal handling conditions. It must be visible when the appliance is viewed from the front.
Flap tags: These are like "sticky" notes, but harder to remove. The adhesive must be strong enough that the tag stays attached under normal handling conditions. The label must be visible when the appliance is viewed from the front.
Hang tags: The label must be visible on the front of the appliance or when its door or cover is opened. The material used to hang the tag must be strong enough that the tag will tear before the material breaks when pressure is applied.
EnerGuide Label Elements
Size and colour: The Canadian label is black and white and must measure 13.49 x 14.76 centimetres (5 5/16 x 5 13/16 inches). It can be printed on paper that is larger than the label.
The arrow: This points to where the appliance falls on the energy efficiency scale. NRCan produces an energy efficiency scale once a year for each appliance category. Sometimes a new model is manufactured soon after these numbers have been released. If the new model is more energy efficient than the lowest number on the scale, the manufacturer is allowed to place the arrow outside the left-hand edge of the scale until a new scale is issued.
Only one rating: In a few cases, all models consume the same amount of energy. This happens when a few models (or only one) of a certain type are manufactured (e.g., very few manual defrost refrigerators – Type 1 – are produced in some sizes).
Dual energy-source appliances: These appliances, such as ranges with gas burners and electric ovens, are not covered by the Energy Efficiency Regulations. However, manufacturers are encouraged to voluntarily label the electric component of the appliance.
All energy-consuming products imported to Canada or traded between provinces/territories must carry an energy efficiency verification mark from a recognized certification organization. To authorize such a mark, a certification body must first be accredited by the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) and be recognized by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) as an administrator of an energy performance verification program.
Manufacturers usually apply the verification mark, which can be a small label or an addition to the product's nameplate. However, after the product is ready for sale in Canada, dealers must make sure that the verification mark is on the product.
NRCan recognizes the following organizations as administrators of an energy performance verification program. These organizations are currently accredited by the SCC to certify electrical and electronic products, fuel-burning equipment, or gas-fired appliances and equipment:
- CSA International
- Underwriters Laboratory Inc.
- Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute
- Intertek Testing Services Inc.
- Intertek Testing Services Ltd.
- OMNI-Test Laboratories Inc.