EU Ecodesign regulations require manufacturers to decrease the energy consumption of their products by establishing minimum energy efficiency standards. The requirements are set for individual product groups under the EU's Ecodesign Directive, a process managed by the European Commission. Under specific regulations, Ecodesign requirements are mandatory for all space heater, combination heater and water heater manufacturers and suppliers wishing to sell their products in the EU. A review study for the regulations concerning these products was launched in 2017 and was expected to be finalised in July 2019. However, due to the high number of comments received from the stakeholders on various aspect of the study, the European Commission decided to add a step to the revision process. Carried out by VHK, a follow-up project for space and water heaters has started at the end of October 2019 providing technical support to the European Commission in carrying out the impact assessment process for reviewing the ecodesign and energy labelling measure for space heaters and combination heaters, and water heaters and tanks. Stakeholder consultation is structured according to four working groups: hydrogen, testing, calculation, and water heaters. EHPA is among the consulted stakeholders in the four working groups. The project is expected to be finalized by November 2021.
The European Commission is currently operating under the Ecodesign Working Plan for the 2016-2019 period, adopted in November 2016 to ensure that this successful policy will continue to contribute to the EU's energy efficiency targets. The Working plan points out the Commission's working priorities under the Ecodesign and Energy Labelling framework for the identified period by presenting ongoing work and upcoming reviews of existing product-specific measures, identifying additional product groups to be further examined and by setting out how Ecodesign would better contribute to circular economy objectives.
The European Commission is about to start the preparatory study for the next Ecodesign Working Plan for the 2020-2024 period. The study should be ready by the end of the year. Accordingly, to the long-term EU Strategy “Clean Planet for All in 2050” and, more mid-term 2030 Energy Strategy, one of the objectives of this next working plan is “to promote the greater integration of product-related policies to attain enhanced long-term sustainability and competitiveness in the EU”. The European Commission emphasised on five key aspects that will be taken into consideration during the preparatory study: promoting circular economy; keeping a retrospective look at existing horizontal and omnibus regulation; identifying the remaining gaps or opportunities in the existing Ecodesign and Energy Labelling regulations and Voluntary Agreements; revisiting previously-identified “energy-related” rather than “energy-using” products, and exploring opportunities to include new product groups.
The energy label is an EU tool to help consumers choose energy-efficient products. Until 2017, the labelling requirements for individual product groups were created under the framework of EU's Energy Labelling Directive, a process managed by the European Commission. In application of that Framework Directive, specific regulations were adopted.
Consequently, heaters and water heaters in households have been subject to EU energy labelling and ecodesign requirements since September 2015. Today, the energy label for heat pumps is based on the system's efficiency determined Ecodesign rules. Since September 2019, the current scale spreads from 'A+++' to 'D'.
A change in the scale and other labelling parameters has been foreseen in the new Energy Labelling Regulation, which came into force in 2017, thus replacing the previous Directive. Under the new provisions, the scale spread for all energy-related products will be changed to a standardised one from A to G, to help consumers make better-informed purchasing decisions. A rescaling will be implemented and the top classes (for heating products, only the top class 'A') will be left empty in order to encourage industries to be more innovative and become more energy efficient. Heat pumps would not be immediately affected by these new provisions, since it has been decided that a review of the existing scale for heating products would be launched at the latest in 2025 with the aim of having a new proposal ready for 2026.
In addition, a product database, consisting of a public and a compliance part will be set up under the new Regulation in order to make it easier to compare the energy efficiency of household appliances. By the end of May 2020, heat pump manufacturers will be required to upload the necessary data to ensure that their products are allowed on the market. From July 2020, heat pump suppliers will be able to register models. Consumers should be able to search the product database for energy labels and product information sheets by the end of December 2020.