Ambitious Ecodesign material efficiency proposals on IT products

Following a long political freeze on Ecodesign, work on product Ecodesign is getting back on track. We are pleased to see that the European Commission is taking its commitment to use Ecodesign as a major tool to achieve a circular economy seriously. Currently, energy and resource efficiency measures for three major IT products are in discussion.

On 17 February, the Commission presented draft Ecodesign rules on servers and data storage. Apart from the energy efficiency requirements on power supply units and idle consumption, the Commission has put forth ambitious resource efficiency requirements that should facilitate their reuse and recycling. Alongside this, the Commission asks manufacturers to provide data deletion tools and the availability of firmware updates. The proposal also requests key components to be more accessible through reversible joining techniques (as opposed to e.g. welding and firm gluing), as well as more transparent information to recycle critical raw materials. These proposals could be taken up in the revision of the Ecodesign requirements for displays and computers.

The revision of the display measures is most advanced, but may be delayed by the revision of the Energy Labelling framework directive. The Commission expects to submit new Ecodesign and Energy Labelling rules to the vote of Member States by the end of the year. One of ECOS’ major concerns is the incomplete integration of signage displays, which would be exempted from energy efficiency requirements.

Finally, the study on the review of the computers measure is expected to be finalised soon. The draft study is looking at a revision of the thresholds, taking into account the ambitious California rules adopted in 2016, and sometimes suggesting to go beyond them. One key issues with this product group is energy consumption measurement, currently based on the off, sleep and idle modes (as opposed to the active mode). The study team seems to be taking this issue seriously and has made proposals on how to overcome the fact that no active mode test method is available at the moment.