Greener by Design An Energy-Using Products Directive is about to be enforced
Formed by merging two draft directives; the EEE (impact on the environment of electrical and electronic equipment) and the EER (energy efficiency requirements), the Directive on the eco-design of Energy-using Products aims at improving the environmental performance of products throughout their life-cycle through the systematic integration of environmental aspects at the earliest stage of their design.
Energy-using products are defined as any product that is dependent on energy input – either from electricity, fossil fuels or renewable energy sources. This Directive aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions from the inefficiency of household appliances and other equipment throughout their life cycle. It establishes a framework for eco-design requirements for Energy-using Products (EuP’s) which aims to contribute to sustainable development by increasing energy efficiency and protecting the environment while increasing the security of the energy supply.
Ecodesign reflects the philosophy that the most cost-effective way to reduce a product’s negative impacts to the environment is to consider such issues up-front during the design phase. This is because the amount of pollution caused over a product’s life is largely set by decisions made and resources used at the design phase.
Unlike the prior WEEE and EU RoHS directives which focused only on certain categories of EEE, the EuP Directive definitions of an EuP are more broad and includes products which, when in use, depends on, generates, transfers or measures energy (electricity, fossil fuel or renewable). The Directive aims to encourage such manufacturers to produce products which are designed to minimise their overall environmental impacts, including the resources consumed in their production and disposal. Significantly, the Directive also covers parts, components and assemblies which are intended to be used in energy-using products.
The Directive 2005/32/EC was adopted in July 2005 and Member States are supposed to transpose it into national laws by 11th August 2007. It creates a framework for the integration of various environmental aspects, such as: energy efficiency, hazardous substances, water consumption, and noise emissions into the design of EuPs. It is also hoped that this will also contribute to reinforced sustainability of energy supply for the Community.
The EuP Directive became a law in the European Union on the 11th August 2005. Member States must transpose this Directive into national law within 2 years. It promises to have an even more profound effect than the RoHS Directive in the entire industry.
The EU has defined 14 product categories that produce a significant environmental impact. All have an annual import volume exceeding 200,000 units per year. Feasible measures for implementation have been developed for these categories:
Boilers and combi-boilers (gas/oil/electric) Water heaters (gas/oil/electric) Personal computers (desktops & laptops) and computer monitors Imaging equipment: copiers, faxes, printers, scanners, multi-functional devices Consumer electronics: televisions Battery chargers and external power supplies Office lighting Residential room conditioning appliances (A/C and ventilation) Electric motors (1-150 kW), water pumps (commercial buildings, drinking water, food, agriculture), circulators in buildings, ventilation fans (non-residential) Commercial refrigerators and freezers, including chillers, display cabinets and vending machines Domestic refrigerators and freezers Domestic dishwashers and washing machines Conformance with EuP
It is not too optimistic to state that business and consumers will benefit not only from better products and an improved environment, but also economically, because of a more rational use of resources. Easier access to an enlarged EU single market will help enhance product competitiveness in a world where environmental concerns are becoming increasingly important.
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