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ECO-Design for Energy Efficiency
- Framework Directive with Implementation Measures

Updated: February 2018, 2016

The Directive "Ecodesign of Energy-related Products Directive" (ErP) 2009/125/EC establishes a framework for the setting of Ecodesign requirements (such as energy efficiency requirements) for all energy-using products and energy-related products (ErP)* in the residential, tertiary and industrial sectors. The Ecodesign Directive is supplemented by the energy labelling directive.
The aim of the directives to reduce the environmental impact of products in cost-effective ways, including the energy consumption throughout the entire life cycles of the products.
* Energy related products are defined as products that use(convert) energy carriers in the form of gas, oil, electricity or others (such as a boiler, an energy using product) or that cause energy use (such as a window where, heat losses are determining the energy use of the boiler, - the window is therefore said to be energy-related)

In this Page:

· Ecodesign to Cover 40+ Energy Using Products Groups in the EU, 2016 Read
· Ecodesign Working Plan 2016-2019 – Future Activities Read
· Ecodesign, 2014-15 Read
· Focus on Solid Fuel Combustion Read
· Standby Consumption - Now also for Networks Read
· The Benefits of Ecodesign Read
· The Ecodesign Process for Product Groups
Read - (See also: Product Group List)

· INFORSE's Positions Read - (See also: INFORSE Ecodesign Position List)
· Directive Recast - Evaluation 2014 Read - (See also: Historical review of the development)

Ecodesign to Cover 40+ Energy Using Product Groups in the EU, 2016
EU is covering most energy using products on the markets of the EU countries with Ecodesign regulation (EU implementing acts) with minimum energy efficiency requirements and other environmental requirements, based on a life-cycle approach. Regulation and other measures cover at least 32 product groups as well as 2 horizontal aspects (standby consumption and electric motors). For each product group or horizontal measure is adopted an implementation measure, typically an internal market regulation. Also voluntary agreements are possible measures. Often the process also involves mandatory energy efficiency labelling with the Energy Labelling Directive( 2010/30/EU). For many products these measures can reduce consumption 25% or more. The current Ecodesign directive was adopted november 2009 as a revision of the 2005-Ecodesign Directive, enlarging the scope to energy related products. This could for instance be windows that are important for heat consumption of a house, but do not directly consume fuel or other delivered energy.

Products covered by regulations that are already in force are: standby and off -mode losses, simple set-top boxes, non directional household lamps, tertiary sector lighting products, external power supplies, electric motors, circulators, water pumps, TVs, domestic refrigerators and freezers, household washing machines, household dishwashers, tumble dryers, air conditioners and fans.

Regulation (EU) 2016/2281 enters into force on 9 December 2016. It establishes the eco-design requirements for air heating products, cooling products, high temperature process chillers and fan coil units. This equipment must be designed and manufactured to satisfy requirements under the Regulation.

Ecodesign Working Plan 2016-2019 - Future Activities
According to the European Commission (see link below); “It is estimated that 10%-25% of products on the market do not comply with ecodesign and energy labelling requirements. As a result, around 10% of envisaged energy savings are being lost”. In order to strengthen the compliance with these abovementioned requirements, the third Ecodesign Working Plan for the period 2016-2019 was adopted on the 30th of November 2016 by the European Commission. The Working Plan adds out new product groups which are considered priorities for the adoption of implementing measures under the Ecodesign Directive. These are; building automation and control systems, electric kettles, hand dryers, lifts, solar panels and inverters, refrigerated containers, and high pressure cleaners.

More information about the product groups can be found here (pdf).

There are a few other novelties in this new Working Plan (2016-2019) especially concerning Circular Economy. The resource efficiency gets more attention from the Commission who will study the possible application of more “product-specific” requirements on matters such as durability (e.g. minimum lifetime of products or critical components), reparability (e.g. availability of spare parts and repair manuals, design for repair), ease of reuse and recycling (e.g. avoiding incompatible plastics) among others. These requirements need to follow a systematic approach thus, a ‘toolbox’ for eco-design will be developed by the Commission.

Ecodesign 2014-15
New Ecodesign requirements for 2014-15 are:
September 2014: New requirements for vacuum cleaners. Read INFORSE's Press Release, which includes explanation.
January 2015: New requirements for networked standby ("internet of things"), coffee machines (only limits to stand-by time), and baking ovens.
September 2015: New requirements for boilers, water heaters, heat pumps for central heating.

See the full list of products covered at the Coolproducts Campaign Web site and at the European Council on Energy Efficiency web site.

Focus on Solid Fuel Combustion
The regulation of stoves and other small biomass installations is important as they can contribute to replace fossil fuels with renewable biomass, but they can also be local pollution problems. With new technology and good regulation, biomass can be used more efficiently, thus replacing more fossil fuel, and making less pollution. After 5 years of preparations, Ecodesign regulations were agreed in October 2014 for solid fuel boiler and ovens (local space heaters), setting limits to energy efficiency as well as to air pollution with particles and organic gases such as as tar-gases. The EU-wide air pollution requirements will only enter into force in 2020 for solid fuel boilers and in 2022 for ovens. Because of the long implementation time, countries are invited to set the requirements as national requirements earlier, which some countries, such as Germany and Denmark, will do.

Standby - now also for networks
Since January 2010, most products put on the market in EU satisfy the new standby criteria:
- No more consumption than 0.5 Watt for stand-by and off-mode, or 1 Watt if there is a display.
- From January 2015 there are also limits to the increasing number of products connected to networks that can be activated via network (cable or wireless). The limits are 4 Watts in products with low (slow) network availability, and 8 Watts in products with high network availability. From 2016 these limits will be reduced to 2 W and 8 W respectively.

The Benefits of Ecodesign
The Ecodesign and the Energy Labelling Directives have given tremendous benefits for the European environment, economy and consumers. The expected savings until 2020 are 366 TWh, equal to 12% of EU power demand or 10 times the entire power demand of Denmark. In addition comes other environmental benefits, such as cleaner air from regulation of solid fuel, limits of the use of strong greenhouse gases as refrigerents and others.

The Ecodesign Process for Product Groups
The process for each product group is the following:
• The product group is included in the EU Commissions Ecodesign Work Programme.
• The European Commission launches a preparatory study made by experts, with stakeholders (industry, NGOs) consultation, typically 1-2 years.
• The Commission, using the outcomes of the study, issues a Working Document suggesting policy options.
• One month later, discussion of the document in the “Consultation Forum”composed of stakeholders including INFORSE-Europe and other NGOs and industry groups.
• After a social and economic impact assessment, a proposal for EU regulation is made by the EU Commission, typically 3 months after the Consultation Forum. This final draft measure is submitted for vote to the Regulatory Committee composed of Member States officials. Amendments can be discussed and a qualified majority has to be reached for the vote.
• Adoption of EU Commission in cooperation with EU countries (for energy efficiency requirements that are under the Ecodesign directive the countries have to approve regulation with qualified majority while for labelling the countries only have a right to veto a proposal with qualified majority. This difference is because only the labeling directive follows the Lisbon Treaty as this directive was adopted after December 2009)
•"Scrutiny" by EU Parliament (and with Lisbon also by EU countries), where a majority of EU parliamentarians (or EU countries) can stop a measure, 2 months
• Official entry into force of regulation(s)
• Typically 1 year after regulation enters into force, companies must only put on the EU market products that follow the regulation and has the necessary labels. Only such products can carry the "CE" label.
• Typically 2-3 years later stronger energy efficiency requirements are introduced as a second step
• Typically 4-5 years after a regulation enters into force it is reviewed, and a revision might take place (this has not happened yet since the regulation is new).

Read the whole List of the Product Groups.

INFORSE´s Positions:

INFORSE-Europe has a permanent seat in the Consultation Forum, where all Ecodesign regulations are discussed. In the Consultation Forum is also other environmental organisations such as WWF, CAN-Europe, EEB, ECOS, as well as industry, consumers and EU countries. We cooperate with the other environmental on our inputs to the process as well as more generally in the Cool Products Campaign and collect our positions etc. on our common web site Ecodesign of Products. We develop common position to better argue for high energy efficiency requirements and good consumer information via labels etc.

Selected INFORSE & NGOs positions:

01.09.2014 - Vacuum Cleaners
Press Release on Vacuum Cleaners - (pdf file 241 kb)

02.2012 - Professional Refrigerating and Freezing Equipment
Joint position from environmental NGOs
(pdf file 50 Kb)

12.2011 - Coffee Machines
Joint position from environmental NGOs
(pdf file 159 Kb)

09.2011 - Network Standby Modes
ECOS position paper (pdf file 50 Kb)

05.2011 - Final Drafts for Boilers
Joint position from environmental NGOs on the EC Working Documents on Ecodesign and Energy Labelling for boilers of March 2011 (pdf file 182 Kb)

You can read most of the INFORSE's position at:
Collection of INFORSE's Position on Ecodesign.

In the Consultation Forum INFORSE-Europe works for:

  • strong, but practical possible energy efficiency standards that moves the market by excluding inefficient products currently on the market
  • fast implementation of measures, typically one year after they are approved
  • a multi-step approach with stronger energy efficiency regulation 2-3 years after the first step and update after 5-6 years to include new technical progress.
  • information to consumers on energy consumption of products, including standby consumption and typical annual consumption.
  • only use of voluntary agreements where the size of the market is small, typically smaller than 200,000 units sold per year, there are minimal free-rider problems with companies outside the agreement, and a preparatory study has documented efficiency potentials and effects of possible measures (typically of internal market regulation and of a voluntary agreement).

For each product type, INFORSE-Europe adopts a specific position together with ECOS and other NGOs.

Read more about the Ecodesign Directive and implementation measures at:
- EU's web site:
- NGO positions at, and

Directive Recast -
Evaluation 2014
The Ecodesign Directive was evaluated in 2014. The conclusion was that the Ecodesign Directive does not need amendments at this point. It was considered to expand it to non-energy products, such as cold water installations or products with large environmental impacts in production, but the case was not sufficiently strong for such an expansion of the scope of the directive.

Read more on a Historical Review of the Ecodesign Development

Return to energy efficiency main page

Return to EU Policy page