Warewashers are next up on the Eco Design legislation agenda

The EU has begun the process of developing an energy efficiency standards mandate for ‘professional wet’ equipment such as warewashers and washing machines.

Mike Walker, the UK government’s Department for Environment and Climate Change head of sustainable energy-using products, told the recent CESA Conference: “The process started in October, so it hasn’t got very far yet, but the standards-making bodies are now working away behind the scenes to see if we are going to have energy efficiency standards for these products and if so, what standards they will use to test the appliances against.

“These developments will take 2 or 3 years, so we will not have any European regulation until those are almost ready.”

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Walker believes there is potentially a whole slew of this Eco Design legislation in the pipeline. In the European Commission’s new 3 year plan, which was due to be published at the beginning of December, more candidate products may be added to the list, including hot food vending machines, kettles and toasters – the latter pair initially for domestic usage, but could be expanded to professional units.

“We in the UK think that we’ve already got 30 products on the list, do we need more to start to address?” Walker commented.

In November, EU member states discussed revising the energy labelling directive. Currently the ratings available for most equipment are A+++ to D, but the new proposal suggests reverting to the previous A to G format.

Walker reported: “What will really cause waves is that existing labels may be taken back to a maximum C rating, with the A and B categories left empty to wait for future technological developments.”

There will also be a database of energy labelled products introduced, and it will require manufacturers to upload technical product information to it so that regulators can access all the data in one place, in order to focus their testing equipment.

Consumers will also be able to search for energy efficiency appliance information through the front end of the system.

Walker predicted that the changes would be agreed by the EU next year, with the revised regulation taking effect on 1 January 2017. However, the database may not be ready until January 2019, with a subsequently phased programme for uploading existing products’ information.

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