The final report of the preparatory review study of the existing Ecodesign and Energy Label regulations for household refrigeration appliances has been published.
The study was undertaken not only because the Regulations include a provision to review but also to assess whether wine storage appliances should be subject to ecodesign requirements as well as their energy label Regulation.
The current Ecodesign Regulation for cold appliances has three tiers of requirements which have all been implemented. The present energy label has 10 bands for some appliances with many products still in the orange/red bands but compression-type fridge freezers are now only to be found with A+, A++ or A+++ labels. Consideration of possible rescaling is further complicated by a new global performance standard which will affect the measurement method. And, of course, we are expecting a new framework Regulation which will require all new or rescaled labels to be A-G.
The report makes the point that refrigeration products play a vital role in reducing food waste – not an environmental impact that other appliances can claim.
It also lauds the average product lifetime (approximately 16 years) while still promoting reparability. It comments that increasing recyclability is a challenge for products using polyurethane and that the switch to low-GWP (Global Warming Potential) refrigerants and blowing agents is virtually complete.
The report makes various recommendations for revising the legislation including changing how the Energy Efficiency Index is calculated, how compartments are described, how their volume is assessed, and adding new compensation factors to replace the correction factors for climate and chill compartments.
The key conclusions of the study are that the use phase is still responsible for three-quarters of the most important environmental impacts of cold products and that this category still has potential for significant savings to be made in electricity, greenhouse gases, and consumer bills.