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issue: May 2008 APPLIANCE Magazine

Guest Editorial
European Vending Focuses on Power


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by Marco Baron, market and product manager, Fas International S.p.A.

The European vending industry proactively addresses efficiency concerns with a new protocol for measuring power cosumption.

One of the current main targets of the European Community concerns the improvement of energy efficiency in all sectors. The formal reason for these efforts is to accomplish the European commitment to the Kyoto Protocol to reduce CO2 emissions. The real reason is economic. This is evident in the “green paper” titled A European Strategy for Sustainable, Competitive and Secure Energy {SEC(2006) 317}.

Europe is using more and more energy while depending too much on a few oil and gas suppliers. The goal, of course, is to find energy diversification and to reduce power consumption. In other words, do more with less energy.

The EU framework is developed around the following five main points:

  •  End-use efficiency and energy services.
  •  Energy efficiency in buildings.
  •  Eco-design of energy-using products.
  •  Energy labeling of domestic appliances.
  •  Combined heat and power (cogeneration).

The section that directly involves the vending industry is the Eco-Design of Energy-Using Products (EuP), which is currently at the end of the Preliminary Study. Vending machines are included in the so-called “Lot 12,” which deals with commercial refrigerators and freezers.

The good news is that these events aren’t hurting the vending industry, because it has already proceeded with some voluntary actions to improve power consumption. For example, if we compare an average snack and food (S&F) machine of five years ago with a present model, we can observe a reduction in power consumption of about 20%. In addition, the Technical Committee of the European Vending Association (EVA) is currently working on an extension of the Energy Measurement Protocol (EVA-EMP) to not only reach a homogeneous scheme to compare power consumption, but also to create a consumption scale similar to the one used for domestic appliances (Directive 94/2/EC).

Because vending machines are commercial appliances used by businesses, we are convinced that this could really have a positive impact on the European market. In fact, a machine with a lower energy requirement represents a direct and important economic saving for the operator, so we expect the beginning of a virtual circle in which the market will “reward” the virtuous manufacturers, forcing others to climb the consumption scale with always-better products. However, the project does not include technical limitations, mainly because any figure would most likely become obsolete just after being written.

Our expectation is to complete the project this year and to use it as an official branch protocol for the European vending industry. The Technical Committee has already finished the proposal and also a first analysis on a certain number of real machines. As of press time, the protocol proposal was being distributed to members of the European Vending Machine Manufacturers Association (EVMMA) for industry feedback. Once a final draft is completed, we plan to propose to the European Commission that they include the protocol in the scheme, bringing it to the status of standard.

Of course, the decision to proceed with this system was made only after the analysis of similar existing practices like the U.S. Energy Star program and the Japanese Front Runner approach. In itself, the Energy Star vending program could have been a nice “ready-made” solution, but after close examination, it was determined that it is really designed around American requirements and does not exactly fit with European needs.

To start, consider the different product mix of the two markets: Energy Star is focused on can and bottle (C&B) machines, while these models are disappearing in Europe (only 13% of total sales, according to EVMMA data). Furthermore, in the EU, there are about 20 manufacturers engaged in S&F/C&B machines, and each one of them has a wide range of models, fragmented by different volumes and performances. If the Energy Star program were used, these different products would have to be grouped together, not taking into account their nuances. The consumption scale protocol we are proposing addresses the wide variety of European models.

Of course, the EVA-EMP has the same roots as Energy Star: CAN/CSA-C804-96 and the Standard 32.1P by ASHRAE. Modifications were simply made to customize the program to European vending peculiarities. For example, we clearly define climatic class. If a machine is made for “tropical” conditions, the manufacturer is allowed a different energy coefficient. Definitions of volumes and temperatures have also been addressed. Volume is defined by consumption. Furthermore, in the EU, there are many “multipurpose” machines, in which the same volume is divided in different areas with different consumptions. Interpolating the aforementioned parameters with the EVA-EMP idle-mode consumption, we obtain an Energy Coefficient and an Energy Efficiency Index. As a result, we do not put in scale the rough consumption, but the best energy use.

In conclusion, it seems that the reduction of power consumption is going to be the next decade’s crusade. The European vending industry, aware of the importance of this matter, is actively involving itself in EU studies to offer the best industry support and imprint. 

About the Author

Marco Baron has been with Fas International S.p.A. since 1997. He is also the chairman of the Technical Committee of the European Vending Association (EVA). If you wish to contact Baron, e-mail lisa.bonnema@cancom.com.

 

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