eceee ecodesign seminar - From products to systems: Saving more energy through EU policies

Start/Stop Date:
04 Feb 2014
European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (eceee) in cooperation with CLASP Europe, Swedish Energy Agency and Fraunhofer ISI
Representation of Baden-Würtenberg to the EU. Rue Belliard 60-62, Brussels.
Focus Areas:
ecodesign, energy efficiency
Type of Event:

Ecodesign seminar arranged by eceee in cooperation with CLASP Europe, Swedish Energy Agency and Fraunhofer ISI

Venue: Representation of Baden-Württemberg to the EU. Rue Belliard 60-62, Brussels.

Date: 4 February 2014, 10.00–18.00, followed by a reception

Registration opens 09.30. Welcome coffee served when registration opens.

To register for the event: Send an email to with the word “ecodesign seminar” in the subject line.

Structure and agenda of the seminar (preliminary)


Saving energy requires that products consuming electricity and fuels are designed to be intrinsically more energy efficient. However, this is often not the only - and sometimes not the primary - way of maximising saving potentials in the area. The interaction of a product with the rest of the system or installation into which it is fitted plays an important role.

This appears relatively obvious for a number of product categories such as building equipment, lighting installations and components of industrial systems. With the ascent of electronic and communication technologies, this is also increasingly true for many other products that become ‘smart’ and ‘networked’, and can be controlled through wider systems.

When policies such as the Ecodesign Directive use a narrow product-based view, products are considered irrespective of their surroundings and tested in standard conditions. Only their technical efficiency is encompassed. This approach is straightforward but misses the savings that can be expected from ensuring that the product is also correctly sized, fitted and controlled to render its service optimally in a well-designed installation. While it may not be possible to envisage a fully-fledged regulation of systems under product policies, attempts have been made at finding creative ways for tackling at least a part of the savings.

In the area of buildings, the Ecodesign and Energy Labelling preparatory study for central-heating boilers already highlighted in 2008 the benefits of considering a ‘broader product definition’, based on boundaries stretching from the boiler towards parts of the heating installation. This idea however partially crashed onto a perceived overlap with provisions for building systems in the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. However, the principle of an ‘installer energy label’ covering more than the boiler itself survived.

In the area of motor systems, addressing not only the efficiency of the motor itself but that of the surrounding motor driven unit (including drives, mechanical equipment and applications) could increase the energy savings by a factor ten. An ‘extended product approach’ concept was proposed and materialised in the 2009 Ecodesign regulation for motors. Similar approaches should be systematically considered for products of this nature. The goal is for Ecodesign regulations and underpinning standards to capture saving potentials lying in the vicinity of these products, for instance in the use of speed drives.

While system approaches remain subject to technical and legal uncertainties, they become increasingly important as the Ecodesign Directive is now moving towards ‘energy-related products’. For instance, regulatory measures to improve the functioning and use of heating and lighting controls as well as smart meters are considered under the 2012-2014 Ecodesign Working Plan. In the meantime, the revised Ecodesign methodology (so-called ‘MEErP’) adopted in 2011 includes a chapter on technical and functional system approaches and clearly prescribes the consideration of the controllability and quality of auxiliary devices in the analysis of products.

The debate is still ongoing about whether systems (or part thereof) should be regulated  under product policies such as Ecodesign or would be better tackled by an own piece of legislation. The lamp and luminaire federation LightingEurope has for instance made the case last year for a new ‘lighting system legislation’ in parallel to Ecodesign rules for lamps.

What are the potentials and conditions for successfully grasping energy efficiency in systems? Which sectors would be best candidates? Should additional pieces of legislation be considered to target higher energy savings?

Structure and agenda of the seminar (preliminary)