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issue: October 2005 APPLIANCE Magazine

The Open Door
Ecodesign of Energy Using Products


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by Glenn Goetz, product compliance manager, Maytag International, Inc.

With the focus that manufacturers have had to place on meeting the WEEE and RoHS Directives, another directive with significant potential impact has been working its way through the legislative process in the European Union with relatively little notice. The Ecodesign of Energy Using Products Framework (EUP) Directive 2005/32/EC of July 6, 2005 was published in the Official Journal on July 22, 2005. The scope is very broad. It includes all energy-using products except transportation. It is in conformity with the Integrated Product Policy, which means that it has the objective of optimizing the life cycle environmental performance of products by considering all significant environmental input and output factors.
It is a framework directive, which means that it does not contain specific product requirements. Instead, it describes the objectives and process for implementing product category-specific environmental performance measures. It will give the European Commission authority to adopt these measures without votes by the European Parliament and Council. The resulting product regulations should be common throughout the EU.
The EUP is a “New Approach” (CE marking) directive. Compliance with the product category-specific directives and standards will be a legal requirement to display the CE mark and to sell in EU countries. Relevant harmonized standards will be published in the Official Journal with reference to the respective product directives.
Consultants will be hired to do preparatory studies
of the life cycle environmental impacts of several
product categories and to make recommendations to
the Commission as to how to minimize these impacts. Tenders for studies of the first categories were posted in Official Journal 2005/S 129 127180

The first product categories to be studied are:

• boilers
• water heaters
• PCs and computer monitors
• copiers
• consumer electronics
• standby-off mode losses
• battery chargers, power supplies
• office lighting
• street lighting
• residential air conditioning
• electric motors
• commercial refrigerators and freezers
• household dishwashers and washing machines

André Brisaer of DG TREN and Michael Papadoyannakis of DG Enterprise have been responsible for the EUP Directive. I met with Brisaer in July. He advised that the above list is not in order of priority. At this stage, they are all priorities. Household refrigerators already have energy standards, so they are not in the first group to be addressed. There are presently no plans to study floor care. The EUP Directive may drive the development of new test standards, depending on the consultant’s recommendations. The clothes washer study will determine whether a new energy standard will be adopted.
The first phase of the studies will be to identify the products with the greatest environmental impacts. This should be completed by the end of 2005. The second phase will identify the products with the greatest potential for environmental improvement.
Brisaer said energy efficiency is the first parameter that will be considered, but this does not mean that energy is the most important. Energy could be sacrificed to optimize other parameters.
The EUP Directive does not take precedence over existing environmental legislation and DG TREN is not taking over the responsibilities of other Directorates General.
Ecodesign requirements are to be established on the basis of technical, economic and environmental analysis in consultation with stake holders. Article 18 calls for balanced participation by Member State representatives, industry, trade associations, the retail trade, importers, environmental groups, and consumer organizations. These groups are to help define implementing measures, examine market surveillance measures, and to assess voluntary agreements. Voluntary agreements with industry, where possible, are seen as a good way to meet the goals.
Brisaer expects product category directives to start being adopted under the EUP Directive in 2007. I believe companies should take advantage of opportunities offered to participate in the development of regulations affecting their product categories under the EUP Directive.

About the Author

Glenn Goetz is product compliance manager for Maytag International, Inc. If you would like to contact Mr. Goetz, please e-mail editor@appliance.com

 

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