EU is placing special emphasise and focus on improving energy-efficiency and mitigating emissions that contribute to global warming. These targets are often expressed as 20-20-20, which means that 20 per cent of energy should be generated by renewable sources, CO2 emissions should be reduced by 20 per cent and energy-efficiency improved by 20 per cent by 2020.
Key directives in promoting these targets include the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED), the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) as well as the Ecodesign and Energy-related Products Directive (EuP and ErP) and Energy Labelling Directive (EL).
In practice, the introduction of these directives has not improved energy efficiency at the desired rate. To improve the situation, the European Commission has expedited the preparation of the ecodesign and energy labelling regulations that will be directly binding and applicable in all member states.
Manufacturers need to prepare in advance for new ecodesign requirements
The European Commission may issue regulations for specific product groups based on the Ecodesign Directive. The directive is binding to product manufacturers and importers only when the European Commission has specified the ecodesign requirements for the product group in question. Product manufacturers should prepare in advance for these requirements.
It takes between 4 to 5 years to specify ecodesign requirements for specific product groups, which gives the industry a good opportunity to have their say. Typical requirements are related to energy consumption and emissions as well as product information. For consumer products, requirements are also specified for CE markings.
The most recent regulations or ones close to completion apply to heat pumps, boilers, water heaters, circulators, ventilation fans, residential ventilation and kitchen hoods as well as lighting. Preparations of regulations for window products is currently at its early stage. Click here for more information about currently prepared regulation.
Energy labelling aims to cut energy consumption
Recast in 2010, the scope of the energy labelling directive was expanded from household appliances to energy-related products. As a result, it is now possible to issue energy labelling requirements for a large group of products.
Ecodesign and labelling requirements are estimated to reduce electricity consumption in the EU by 1,116 TWh in 2020, or approximately 5 per cent of primary energy consumption. This equals a quarter of the EU target of reducing energy consumption by 20 per cent by 2020. Reduced electricity consumption will mean less CO2 emissions as most of the electricity generated in the EU comes from fossil fuels.
CE marking also applies to ecodesign requirements
Once regulations apply to a product, it cannot enter the market or be taken into use without a CE marking. The manufacturer or its representative body will issue a declaration on the conformity of the product with the relevant regulations. Other regulations that may apply in addition to the Ecodesign and Energy Marking Directive and regulations include the Construction Products Regulation (CPR) or the Machinery Directive (MD).
Evaluation of the EU directives on ecodesign and energy labelling is about to begin. The Finnish Energy Authority is organising a national evaluation event in the autumn of 2014.
Read more about the ecodesign directive and energy labelling (in Finnish)