The inside track on minimum Energy Performance Ratings

Foster Refrigerator’s engineering and marketing director, Chris Playford, gives an introductory guide to the new Ecodesign directive (2009/125/EC) for commercial refrigeration based on the questions he is most commonly asked.

What is this regulation trying to achieve?

The regulation is seeking to rank the performance of refrigeration products on a proposed A-G scale using an energy labelling scheme (as seen on domestic appliances) so customers can use energy ratings as part of their buying decision. G being the Minimum Energy Performance level of energy efficiency within the commercial refrigeration market throughout EU member states. Over time the level of acceptable energy efficiency will be raised, ensuring equipment manufacturers are always aiming to improve the energy consumption of their products.

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How will the regulation do this?

If a product falls outside of the acceptable MEP’s it will not appear for sale within the EU member states. Over time of there will be an evolution of what is acceptable as innovation in energy efficiency becomes a requirement. A+ and A++ ratings will become what many manufacturers aspire to whilst products at the low end, for example F and G rated units will be removed from sale.

When will this regulation come into action?

Currently it is looking likely the regulation will come into effect mid to late 2015.

What products will this regulation affect?

Specifically for Foster, products included fall within the category of professional refrigerated storage cabinets, and will be expanded in the future to include blast chillers and other process based cabinets. There are some exclusions such as remote condensing units, preparation tables, medical cabinets and custom made cabinets produced on a one-off basis.

Will this affect products imported from outside of the EU?

Yes. In order for any product to be sold in any EU member state they must adhere to the minimum energy performance standard and be labelled correctly.

Who will police this?

Testing of the products will be carried out by the manufacturer. There will also be independent checks and balances in place. In the UK the National Measurements Office (NMO) will carry out spot checks on manufacturer’s products to ensure that the ratings they provide are accurate. Throughout EU member states these internal checks and balances will be carried out by their equivalent government bodies.

Will the test standard be the same as the current ECA Scheme standard?

The test standard will be similar to the ECA test methodology in as much as the products will be lab tested in a controlled environment using a simulated product load and subject to periods of door openings. The exact requirements for calculating net volume over a wide array of products, setting door opening regimes as well as exact test chamber specification are the challenges for the working group to overcome. I

To find out more about the EU Eco-design for commercial refrigeration, you can visit the Joint Research Centre homepage relating specifically to this project here.

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