The Ecodesign Directive for energy-related products
The rate of efficiency improvement in the least energy efficient products will determine the pace of progress under the Ecodesign Directive.
eceee policy brief on Ecodesign (pdf)
eceee response to the Commission's consultation on the Energy Labelling Directive.
eceee comments on proposed Ecodesign requirements and the Commission's first proposals can be found on the Products covered page.
EU documents and links
The EU Ecodesign Directive establishes a framework under which manufacturers of energy-using products are obliged to reduce the energy consumption and other negative environmental impacts occurring throughout the product life cycle. A revised Directive extends the scope of the existing Directive by covering in principle all energy-related products.
'Ecodesign' means that there will be a greater focus on lifetime energy use and other environmental aspects during the conception and design phases, before it is manufactured and brought to market.
The Ecodesign Directive sets a framework for performance criteria which manufacturers must meet in order to legally bring their product to the market. It does not yet, however, prescribe specific measures or standards and sets no overall energy saving targets.
The study of the functioning of the Ecodesign Directive will evaluate the overall functioning of the Ecodesign policy and make recommendations for the 2012 review of the Directive.
Products and measures
All energy using products sold in the domestic, commercial and industrial sectors are covered by the Directive with the exception of all means of transport which are covered by other legislation. The revised Directive, which entered into force in November 2009, extends the scope of the existing Directive by covering in principle all energy-related products. In the future, windows, insulation materials, and certain water using products like shower heads or taps are expected to be covered as well.
Detailed actions are introduced by the European Commission following a process of discussion with key stakeholders and through what the Commission calls implementing measures. Manufacturers who begin marketing an energy using product covered by an implementing measure in the EU area have to ensure that it conforms to the energy and environmental standards set out by the measure.
The Ecodesign Working Plan sets out an indicative list of product groups that are considered as priorities for the adoption of implementing measures.
The Working Plan covering 2009-2011 was published in October 2008. The Commission will produce a new Working Plan for the period 2012-2014 . A study has been initiated to provide background material for the revised Working Plan.
Requirements for product energy labelling are adopted alongside Ecodesign implementing measures. Energy labels are intended to provide consumers with energy and environmental information on which they can base a choice between products on the market.
Energy use and environment
In practice, the implementing measures focus on those products which have a high potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions at low cost, through reduced energy demand. In 2009, measures for televisions, battery charges, electric motors and a number of other product groups have entered into force.
The Directive makes a specific priority of the need to reduce stand-by losses in all energy using products. (Stand-by is when a product is connected to the mains without providing any useful service. A TV switched off with the remote control on stand-by) Products on stand-by represent around 10% of all household electricity consumption.
The Ecodesign Directive resulted from the combination of DG (Directorate General) Enterprise's proposals for an EEE (Ecodesign for Electrical & Electronic Equipment) Directive and proposals by DG Energy and Transport (DG-TREN) for an EER (Energy Efficiency Requirements) Directive. These proposals were merged into one at the end of 2002. Both DGs jointly "own" the Directive, but in practice most of the energy-related work is managed by DG-TREN.
This combination of these initial objectives means that while the Directive¹s primary aim is to reduce energy use, it also enforces other environmental considerations including: materials use; water use; polluting emissions; waste issues and recyclability. It is estimated that over 80% of all product-related environmental impacts are determined during the design phase of a product.