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Eco-design

Updated 03/2013

Nowadays, product designers and importers are expected to do their part to reduce energy consumption and strive for energy efficiency at all stages of their business activities. Eco-design brochure 2012 [2 MB]

Eco-design requirements:

  • are adopted on a product-by-product basis
  • set minimum requirements on product performance to reduce environmental impact
  • must be met by all products sold in the EU
  • are based on environmental impact throughout a product's lifecycle (design, production, distribution and disposal).

If you manufacture or import...

  • energy-using products (EUPs) - which use, generate, transfer or measure energy (electricity, gas, fossil fuel). EUPs include boilers, computers, televisions, transformers, industrial fans, industrial furnaces, etc.
  • energy related products (ERPs) - which do not use energy themselves, but can contribute to saving energy. ERPs include windows, insulation, bathroom devices (such as showerheads, taps), etc.

...you must comply with Directive 2009/125/EC - ecodesign requirements for energy-related products български (bg)czech (cs)dansk (da)Deutsch (de)eesti (et)ελληνικά (el)español (es)Français (fr)Gaeilge (ga)italiano (it)latviešu (lv)lietuvių (lt)magyar (hu)Malti (mt)Nederlands (nl)polski (pl)português (pt)română (ro)slovenčina (sk)slovenščina (sl)suomi (fi)svenska (sv) ("eco-design directive") and its implementing measures [159 KB] .

The eco-design directive does not apply directly to businesses, but requires EU governments to make sure their national laws are in line with it. On the other hand, implementing measures do apply directly in all EU countries and therefore to all EU businesses.

Harmonised Standards

Products that comply with harmonised standards adopted by European standardisation bodies (CENELEC and CEN) are presumed to comply with the requirements covered by implementing measures. A number of EU harmonised standards will be gradually referenced in the Official Journal of the European Union to support the eco-design measures adopted so far.

2 types of requirements:

  • Specific - which set limit values (maximum energy consumption, minimum quantities of recycled material, etc.)
  • Generic - which do not set limit values, but which may require that:
    • your product be “energy efficient” or “recyclable”
    • ou provide information on how to use and maintain the product in such a way as to minimise its environmental impact
    • you perform a lifecycle analysis of the product to identify alternative design options and solutions for improvement.

In practice, the introduction of a new minimum requirement results in effectively banning all non-compliant products from being sold in the 27 EU countries. Example: incandescent lamps, which were gradually phased out from 2009.

Which products must meet eco-design requirements?

Eco-design directive - products subject to implementing measures [159 KB]

As of late 2012, measures exist for:

Hot water boilers fall under Directive 92/42/EEC on efficiency requirements for new hot-water boilers fired with liquid or gaseous fuels български (bg)czech (cs)dansk (da)Deutsch (de)eesti (et)ελληνικά (el)español (es)Français (fr)Gaeilge (ga)italiano (it)latviešu (lv)lietuvių (lt)magyar (hu)Malti (mt)Nederlands (nl)polski (pl)português (pt)română (ro)slovenčina (sk)slovenščina (sl)suomi (fi)svenska (sv) (rated output between 4 kW & 400 kW).

The eco-design directive does not apply to means of transport (vehicles) for people or goods.

More red-tape and legislation?

The Directive foresees the possibility for self-regulatory initiatives to be given priority if they can achieve the policy objectives more quickly or at lesser expense than mandatory requirements.

Dig deeper, country by country:

Help & advice

Help & advice

National contact points for eco-design - for info about the directive, implementing measures or harmonised standards in specific countries.

Your Europe Advice is a source of expert advice for any issues you encounter in another EU country that involve EU law.

E-mail a business organisation near you

The EU runs a network (Enterprise Europe Network) of local business organisations in most European countries that may be able to help you.

Choose your country and town and enter your enquiry below.

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