On the 9th of September the fall season of Ecodesign and Energy labelling kicked-off with a Consultation Forum on the revision of the air conditioners and comfort fans regulations. In this article you will find an overview of the changes and obligations that you can expect to see in the coming months.

Implementation of revised energy labelling regulations

The past year was marked by the completion and implementation of a number of commitments from the review of the overarching Regulation on energy labelling in 2017. These commitments include a review of energy efficiency classes on the energy label, the introduction of the energy labelling database (EPREL) and the review of the primary energy factor (PEF) in the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED):

Redesign of the energy label

The revision of the energy label encompasses a reclassification of the energy efficiency classes so that products that currently have an A label may have a C or D label after the reclassification. The reasoning behind the reclassification is that the number of products with an A-label has grown so large that a refinement is necessary to provide insight into the difference in energy efficiency performance. This will require a good explanation to consumers. It is not yet known how the reclassification will be communicated. For manufacturers and suppliers, the revision will have an impact on the design of the energy label. The exact requirements for the label will remain to be specified in the product-specific regulations. For more information, click here (NL) or here (FR).

Introduction Energy labelling database (EPREL)

In January 2019 the registration obligation in the Energy labelling database (EPREL) came into force. This included deadlines in January and June for the registration of the products placed on the market from January 2019 onwards and since August 2017 for manufacturers and importers (suppliers) of products subject to energy labelling regulations. If a product is not registered, it cannot be place on the European Union market. The market authorities are expected to start inspection on the registrations this once the part of the database dedicated to the market surveillance authorities has been launched. For more information, click here.

Revision of the primary energy factor (PEF)

The revision of the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) included an adjustment of the value that is used to correct for the energy lost in the energy generation process. Given the growing share of renewable energy, it was decided that a primary energy factor (PEF) of 2.1 would be a more fair representation of the current European situation than 2.5. This factor is part of the calculation of the energy performance of products and therefore has a direct impact on the classification of the products in the different energy efficiency classes. The new PEF will be included in the revision of the product-specific regulations for Ecodesign and energy labelling. For more information, click here.

What does this mean practically?

[Optional] Follow-up of the revisions of the different product regulations (directly, via the European federations or via Agoria). The redesign of the energy label and the revision of the PEF will be part of the discussions.

[Mandatory] Products falling under the energy labelling regulations must be registered in the energy labelling database (EPREL) before they are placed on the European Union market.

Completion of the Ecodesign work programme 2014-2019

The Ecodesign work programme outlining the priorities and new work items for the revision and development of Ecodesign and energy labelling regulations will be completed in 2019. This programme was drafted by the European Commission in 2014. A large part of the revisions were included the Winter package for which a more elaborate update was provided in this article last year. A number of product groups with a high energy savings potential were designated as 'new work items' in the programme.

Completion of the Winter Package

The Winter Package includes a revision of the regulations for lighting and displays. The proposals for the revised regulations of these product groups were adopted by Member States at the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019 (see the steps Regulatory Committee and Expert group Member States in figure 1). The next steps are approval by the European Commission and publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJ). This is expected to be picked up by the new Commissioners for Energy and Internal Market Development. For more information, click here.

Figure 1: Overview of the stakeholder consultations (*) in the Ecodesign and Energy labelling revision- or preparation proces (Source: European Commission)

New product group for building automation systems

For the new product group for building automation and control systems (BACS), the second part of the preparatory study was launched in July 2019. The initial scoping study was completed in August 2018. The big, still open question from the first study is how the scope of this product group will be defined, since control systems currently also fall under the scope of a number of existing product groups. Possibly the first stakeholder consultation for the study, which is scheduled for the first quarter of 2020, will provide more clarity on this issue. For more information, click here.

One combined energy label for heating appliances

A discussion launched last year from the ongoing revisions for 'air conditioners and comfort fans' and 'local space heating' is the option to merge the energy labels for heaters into one label. This means a single label for heat pumps, gas appliances, electrical appliances and stoves. Those in favour of this proposal believe that it would be better to help consumers choose between different types of heating through a combined label. Opponents argue that this will lead to a loss of insight into the differences in energy performance of the various appliances and energy sources. The discussion is still ongoing. For more information, click here (NL) or here (FR).

What does this mean practically?

[Optional] Follow-up of the revisions of the different product regulations (directly, via the European federations or via Agoria), in which the redesign of the energy label and the revision of the PEF will be part of the discussion.

[Mandatory] Make preparations for the phasing out of products according to the deadlines stipulated in the published Ecodesign regulations.

[Mandatory] Prepare for changes to the energy label of products in accordance with the deadlines stipulated in the published Energy Labelling Regulations.

Next steps

Revisions are currently underway for a number of product groups, such as (local) space heating, fans, ventilation and air conditioners (see the action list at the bottom of this page for building-related product groups). In addition, there are a number of concrete developments to look forward to:

  • According to the latest information, market surveillance authorities will be provided with access to the information intended for supporting their market surveillance activities in the Energy labelling database (EPREL) in the last quarter of 2019. The launch of the section that is accessible by the general public has been announced for the first quarter of 2020. Once the section is accessible to market regulators, some more communication on the impact on inspections is expected to follow. Within the EEPLIANT3 project, market surveillance authorities will examine the information on air conditioning, residential water ventilation and local space heaters residential ventilation in EPREL until mid-2020.
  • As soon as the new Commissioners have been installed, they will have to prepare the new Ecodesign work programme for the period 2019-2024. A consultant or consortium will be appointed to draw up this programme. The programme will provide an overview of the planned product regulatory revisions and potentially new product groups that will be planned to be started up until 2024.