Two EU regulations entering into force on 26 September 2015 extend the EU energy label to cover heaters and water heaters. The scale of coloured bars (G to A++) is familiar from household appliances and televisions. Also, two new regulations stipulate that the least efficient products will no longer be permitted to be sold.

Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Sigmar Gabriel said: "There is huge potential for energy conservation. The labels make it even easier for people to see how efficient their appliances are. This will help them to save both the climate and money."

On behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, the Institute for Applied Ecology in Freiburg has calculated the savings which the four regulations can bring about in future: In the case of heaters, up to 12.7 TWh can be saved in 2020. That equates to the current space heating requirement of 1.2 million people - more than the population of Cologne. The savings in 2030 will be nearly twice as high (24.1 TWh). In 2020, almost 5 TWh less energy will be needed to heat water - corresponding to the current hot water needs of 2.2 million people, or roughly the number of people living in Saxony-Anhalt. This figure will be six times higher by 2030 (27.7 TWh).

This marks a further key step towards higher transparency and efficiency. It is important because heating and hot water provision accounted for more than 80% of household energy consumption in 2012, and cost households an average of €130 a month. They also cause approximately 18% of Germany's greenhouse gas emissions.

You can find out more about current German energy policy in the fortnightly Newsletter "Energiewende direkt".