Labelling and water conservation: A European perspective on a global challenge

D. A. Kelly*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The European Commission has identified labelling as a means of encouraging consumers to opt for water-efficient products. A common water label at the European level would help countries achieve water efficiency in a cohesive way. This paper examines some of the water labelling schemes currently implemented in countries around the world in order to draw together a knowledge-base of water labelling best practice. Mandatory labels are shown to be most effective at encouraging consumer uptake, while additional supportive information (such as product performance data and potential financial savings) would help inform consumer purchase decisions. Consideration of national implications, economic impact, regulation and enforcement and establishing impact indicators, are all shown to be vital components of an effective water labelling scheme. Practical application: A Europe-wide water label would help promote the uptake of water-efficient products by providing consumers with information about the water consumption characteristics of products at the point of sale. It is intended that the water labelling best practice presented here is used by policy makers and regulators to help inform future initiatives in introducing a Europe-wide water label. Incorporating lessons from best practice will help ensure that such an initiative will achieve its full water-saving potential by encouraging consumer purchasing, and pushing market development, towards highly water-efficient products and, ultimately, reducing household water consumption.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)643-657
Number of pages15
JournalBuilding Services Engineering Research and Technology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015


  • Europe
  • product labelling
  • water conservation
  • water efficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction


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