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Energy efficiency of office equipment: The Energy Star Programme (EU - US)

The voluntary "Energy Star" energy efficiency programme adopted jointly with the United States promotes the manufacturing of energy-efficient office equipment. The Energy Star label enables consumers to identify low energy consumption appliances which play a part in ensuring security of energy supply and environmental protection.

ACT

Council Decision 2006/1005/EC of 18 December 2006 concerning the conclusion of the Agreement between the Government of the United States of America and the European Community on the coordination of energy-efficiency labelling programmes for office equipment [Official Journal L 381 of 28.12.2006].

Agreement between the Government of the United States of America and the European Community on the coordination of energy-efficiency labelling programmes for office equipment [Official Journal L 381 of 28.12.2006].

SUMMARY

The European Union (EU) and the United States of America (US) signed a new Energy Star * agreement on 28 December 2006, the aim of which is for manufacturers to voluntarily apply agreed specifications to measure the energy performance of office equipment.
The agreement was signed for a period of five years.

The "Energy Star"® label can be used for office equipment meeting these specifications, so that consumers can easily identify low-energy appliances. They are: computers, computer monitors, photocopiers, printers, digital duplicators, faxes, franking machines, multifunction devices and scanners.

The previous Energy Star agreement remains applicable only to computers until 31 December 2007 at the latest.
The new technical specifications for computers contain provisions on the active mode, unlike the previous agreement, which only took account of the standby mode.

Voluntary participation of manufacturers

Manufacturers, retailers and dealers of office equipment may join the Energy Star programme and use the "Energy Star® * " label. Equipment labelled as such must meet the agreed specifications (Annex C) and may be tested by the manufacturer or by independent test laboratories.

Programme management and monitoring

The US and the EU each have a managing body for the programme: the US has the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the EU has the European Community Energy Star Board (ECESB), set up in 2003 (see below under "Related Acts").

The agreement sets out guidelines for the correct use of the Energy Star name and label.

The Commission - via the managing body - is responsible within the EU for testing office equipment carrying this label or checking that it meets the requirements.

If the product fails to meet the requirements, the ECESB:

  • notifies the manufacturer in writing that it fails to comply with the requirements;
  • drafts a plan to ensure compliance with the conditions in the programme;
  • if the conditions are not then met, cancels the manufacturer's participation in the programme.

Amending and ending the agreement

Either the EU or the US may amend the programme of the managing bodies by common agreement. This includes amending technical specifications or including a new type of product if it becomes more energy efficient.

The agreement may also be ended by giving three months' notice in writing to the other party. If the agreement is ended, the EU may no longer use the label "Energy Star®".

Community decision-making

The Community decision-making process is used to establish the internal procedures needed to ensure the agreement operates smoothly.

This decision authorises the Commission to regularly adapt and reassess the technical specifications. The Commission is supported by a Community advisory committee made up of national representatives and all stakeholders.

Background

The first Energy Star agreement was signed with the US in 2001 for a 5-year period. This agreement renews the former agreement, with some changes made:

  • the technical specifications applicable to computer monitors, computers and imaging equipment were revised;
  • three obligations for the EU were removed: promotion of the Energy Star logo by the Commission and Member States, production by the ECESB of a report on market penetration of products meeting the criteria and information on the activities of the ECESB for the Commission to draw up and send to the European Parliament and the Council.
Key terms used in the act
  • Energy Star®: the registered service mark owned by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
  • Energy Star labelling programme: a programme managed by a managing body using the specifications, marks and common guidelines on energy efficiency applicable to all designated product types.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into force - Date of expiryDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Decision 2006/1005/EC18.12.2006
18.12.2011
-OJ L 381 of 28.12.2006

RELATED ACTS

Commission Communication to the Council and the European Parliament on the implementation of the Energy Star programme in the Community for the period 2001-2005 [Official Journal L 381 of 28.12. 2007].
The communication states that the technical specifications contained in the previous agreement targeted the low power mode of office equipment on standby, when energy consumption of appliances in active mode is rising. Appliances are now more powerful and are kept in active mode for longer, due to the increasing use of Internet applications. The new agreement takes on board the importance of the active mode.

Commission Decision 2003/168/EC of 11 March 2003 establishing the European Community Energy Star Board [Official Journal L 67 of 12.03.2003].
This decision establishes the European Community Energy Star Board (ECESB) and includes a list of the national representatives in the Annex.
This board manages the Energy Star programme by regularly consulting Member States and manufacturers, national energy agencies and consumer organisations. The ECESB has also been involved in revising technical specifications.

Commission Decision 2003/367/EC of 15 May 2003 establishing the rules of procedure of the European Community Energy Star Board [Official Journal L 125 of 21.05.2003].

For more information on the Energy Star programme, please see the website set up by the Commission, which sets out the benefits of it for consumers, companies and the public sector.

Last updated: 13.04.2007
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