Manufacturer hyperbole damaging the market

European regulations on commercial refrigeration energy usage that will be introduced in just over a year’s time could finally bring an end to ambiguous marketing claims made by manufacturers about the efficiency of their equipment.

That’s the view of Gram MD, Glenn Roberts, who believes that the lack of a truly independent body providing a neutral assessment of energy efficiency does nothing but create confusion in the market.

Roberts believes one of the biggest problems is manufacturers publishing favourable statistics that supposedly come from ‘independently’ measuring their equipment against competitors’ products.

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“When manufacturers commission tests on the efficiency of their, or indeed, competitor’s equipment, there is no standardised procedure between these third party companies and therefore the results may not be carried out in a controlled way,” said Roberts.

“As with any testing process, the variables have to be controlled in order to gain accurate results. If you cannot be sure that data, particularly when it is stated as comparable, has been verified in a like-for-like — both in age or type of product — controlled and ethical way, then there is a risk that those results can be called into question.”

However, Roberts is hoping that will change when the EU Ecodesign Directive comes into force in January 2014.

In accordance with the Directive’s Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS), all commercial refrigeration sold, exported or imported into the EU will need to comply with strict energy consumption standards.

“With the impending EU legislation on Minimum Energy Performance Standards of commercial equipment, we hope that there will be a centralised, independent testing process based on new test criteria that will become available so that we can make claims and statements from a level playing field,” said Roberts.

In the meantime, Roberts said that when taking a message to market, Gram will continue to direct people to The Carbon Trust’s Energy Technology List (ETL). He believes this should be used as their prime procurement tool given its association with the Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) scheme sponsored by the government.

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