You must have noticed that household appliances such as refrigerators and air conditioners, and even cars, have a label with colorful bands and letters, like the one above. This is ENCE, the National Label for Energy Conservation. The function of ENCE is to inform the energy performance of equipment, light vehicles and buildings (yes, you can believe it, even buildings and homes can have this label). The information that it contains, when properly interpreted, can help – significantly – the consumer at the time of purchase to find equipment that is more efficient in the consumption of energy.

Let us begin start with a little history: ENCE is part of the Brazilian Labeling Program, PBE, which was created in 1984 by the then Ministry of Industry and Trade (MIC) and the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME). The PBE has been coordinated since then by the National Institute of Metrology, Quality and Technology (Inmetro), which is linked today (at the time of publication) to the Ministry of the Economy.

The participation of manufacturers in the PBE may be voluntary or obligatory (compulsory in the jargon of Inmetro) depending on the manufactured equipment. The obligation signifies that the equipment can only be manufactured, or sold, or imported into Brazil, if it has the label. Here you can find a list of the equipment that must have a label.

ENCE provides the consumer with information about energy consumption. Inmetro also guarantees that the equipment has been approved in a series of tests of safety, energy efficiency and operation. The standards for the approval of these tests are defined by Inmetro and are called Conformity Evaluation Requirements (RTAC).

The figure above displays the current look of ENCE for air conditioners. In the upper portion, there is information about the equipment: the supplier, the brand, the model, and the type. Below this, there is an indication of the efficiency of the equipment, represented by a highlighted letter. In the case of the above figure, the equipment is type A, i.e., it is within the green range of the most efficient consumption. If it were D, it would be in the less efficient range in the consumption of electricity. Each of these ranges of consumption, represented by different letters and colors, is delimited by minimum and maximum amounts ​​of energy efficiency: in order to correspond to one of these ranges, the equipment must be within these amounts. (Don’t understand? We will come back to this later). Finally, ENCE provides the amount of kWh consumed by the equipment per month, when it used for one hour per day.

Consequently, the information contained in ENCE allows the consumer to compare the energy consumption of similar equipment. To illustrate, suppose that the reader wishes to buy a refrigerator and want to use ENCE as a guide to choose the most efficient device. You need to pay attention, because it is only possible to compare the electricity consumption of refrigerators that are of the same type, volume, and design of defrosting. For example, it is not possible to compare a refrigerator with one door with another with two doors, a frost-free refrigerator with a manual defrosting type. Alongside is an example of ENCE for refrigerators.

Each type of equipment has its own type of ENCE. For example, ENCE for fluorescent lamps is different from the label for air conditioners or refrigerators. It has seven ranges of efficiency, from A to G, and indicates: the luminous flux, in lumens, which is the amount of light that the lamp provides; the power, in watts; and the luminous efficacy, which is the ratio between lumens and watts (the higher the ratio, the more efficient the lamp, because it provides more light for the same amount of consumed electricity). ENCE for LED lamps does not have the colored bands with letters – according to Inmetro, it is only informative, and does not classify the products.

Colored ranges and letters: classes of consumption

Each class of consumption – represented by the color band with a letter – corresponds to a range of energy efficiency. In the case of the air conditioner, this range refers to the Coefficient of Energy efficiency (CEE), which is the amount of cold air produced in relation to the consumption of electricity to make the device operate. In the case of refrigerators, the range is called the Efficiency Index. The higher the CEE, the more efficient the air conditioner, because it is capable of producing the same amount of cold air using less electricity. In the table alongside, it is possible to see the ranges of the classes that are currently being used for split type conditioners. For example, if an air conditioner belongs to class A, the CEE is more than 3.23 W/W; if it is between 3.02 and 3.23 it would be B, and so on.

For ENCE to fulfill its purpose, it is important that the ranges of consumption for each class are frequently updated. This renewal encourages companies to produce increasingly efficient equipment for consumers. This is the main objective of the label, in addition to being a source of information for the consumer. The maximum time between updates should be four years, but, unfortunately, this is not quite what has been happening. The last modification in the ranges of ENCE for air conditioners occurred in 2013 and for refrigerators, some 13 years ago, in 2006.

One last curiosity about ENCE. It served as the inspiration for IEI Brasil to create its heroine, Super Energy Efficiency (or EE to those in the know). To learn more about Super EE and to follow her adventures, visit the section Tirinhas: Super EE at the website of IEI Brasil.


**This text was written and published by communications team on IEI website .

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