New energy efficiency requirements in the EU and the US -Part I

By Sabine Lobnig, Sep 03, 2009, 12:27 3 minute reading

This first article outlines the key ecodesign requirements as set by a new EU Regulation with regards to household refrigerating appliances, now mostly running on hydrocarbons. These encompass requirements regarding energy consumption in the use phase and product features designed to ensure more environmentally friendly use by the end-user.

A new EU Regulation (Commission Regulation (EC) No 643/2009) implementing the Ecodesign Directive with regards to ecodesign requirements for household refrigerating appliances has now been published. This Regulation establishes ecodesign requirements for the placing on the market of electric mains-operated household refrigerating appliances with a storage volume up to 1,500 litres, while it does not cover appliances where the primary function is not the storage of foodstuffs through refrigeration, such as stand-alone ice-makers or chilled drinks dispensers.

Rationale for the new regulation

According to the impact assessment conducted for the new regulation, “Despite stock growth of 15% over the period, the absolute energy consumption of domestic ‘cold appliances’ is currently 15% lower than in 1990. In the same period, the industry has practically phased out CFCs and HCFCs and replaced them with hydrocarbons, thus diminishing the ozone depletion potential (ODP) and greenhouse gas (GHG) impact of the refrigerant and foaming agents”. “In the meantime, however, the minimum energy efficiency requirements have long been surpassed […]. In addition to minimum requirements, an energy labelling scheme was in force, [which] is proving to be no longer sufficient to drive innovation, so that stakeholders, including the industry and consumer organisations, are unanimously asking for a combined revision of both the Ecodesign and Labelling Directives on refrigerating appliances.

Generic ecodesign requirements

From 1 July 2010:
  • For wine storage appliances, the following information must be displayed in the instruction booklet provided by manufacturers: ‘This appliance is intended to be used exclusively for the storage of wine’.
  • For household refrigerating appliances, information must be provided in the instruction booklet provided by manufacturers concerning the combination of drawers, baskets and shelves that result in the most efficient use of energy for the appliance, and how to minimise the energy consumption of the household refrigerating appliance in the use-phase.
From 1 July 2013:

  • The fast freezing facility, or any similar function achieved through modification of the thermostat settings, in freezers and freezer compartments, must, once activated by the end-user according to the manufacturer’s instructions, automatically revert to the previous normal storage temperature conditions after no more than 72 hours. This requirement does not apply to refrigerator-freezers with one thermostat and one compressor which are equipped with an electromechanical control board.
  • Refrigerator-freezers with one thermostat and one compressor which are equipped with an electronic control board and can be used in ambient temperatures below + 16 °C according to the manufacturer’s instructions must be such that any winter setting switch or similar function guaranteeing the correct frozen-food storage temperature is automatically operated according to the ambient temperature where the appliance is installed.
  • Household refrigerating appliances with a storage volume below 10 litres must automatically enter in an operating condition with a power consumption of 0,00 Watt after no more than 1 hour when empty. The mere presence of a hard off switch shall not be considered sufficient to fulfil this requirement.
Energy efficiency requirements for compression-type appliances

Compression-type household refrigerating appliances with a storage volume equal to or higher than 10 litres need to comply with the following Energy Efficiency Index (EEI) limits:
Application date Energy Efficiency Index (EEI)
1 July 2010 EEI < 55
1 July 2012 EEI < 44
1 July 2014 EEI < 42

Then EEI is calculated as EEi=AEC/SAEC*100, where AEC=Annual Energy Consumption of the household refrigerating appliance; SAEC = Standard Annual Energy Consumption of the household refrigerating appliance.

These requirements do not apply to wine storage appliances, absorption-type refrigerating appliances, refrigerators with a 1-star, 2-star or 3-star compartment, refrigerator –freezers, upright freezers and chest freezers

What next

The Commission will review this Regulation in the light of technological progress no later than five years after its entry into force and present the result of this review to the Ecodesign Consultation Forum. The review will in particular assess the verification tolerances of Annex V of the Regulation and the possibilities for removing or reducing the values of the correction factors of Annex IV. The Commission shall assess the need to adopt specific ecodesign requirements for wine storage appliances no later than two years after the entry into force of this Regulation.


By Sabine Lobnig

Sep 03, 2009, 12:27

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