Ecodesign Working Plan 2016 – 2019 finally released

clean-energyAs part of the European Commission’s “Clean energy for all Europeans”, the Ecodesign Working Plan 2016-2019 has finally been released. 18 months delayed, as part of Coolproducts we welcome the apparent re-start of work on a policy that delivers tremendously on energy savings and greenhouse gases emissions.

We warmly welcome:

  • Seven new products will be considered for efficiency measures by 2019, with the potential of saving 75 TWh per year primary energy by 2030. The products are: building automation and control systems, electric kettles, hand dryers, lifts, solar panels and inverters, refrigerated containers, and high pressure cleaners
  • The Work Plan states the reinforced contribution of the Ecodesign policy to the Circular Economy, explaining that resource savings will be investigated in all ongoing measures developments and reviews. This is a crucial announcement as product design clearly determines products’ potential durability, reparability, and recyclability. The Working Plan also prompts the investigation of resources saving potentials of ICT, notably smartphones which have short life-spans, are difficult to repair, and contain critical materials which waste resources in our current economy.
  • Two new measures have been adopted: an Ecodesign measure on central heating and cooling and an omnibus amendment to close a loophole on tolerances.
  • Overdue guidelines on voluntary agreements have been approved. They should ensure a more effective setting and reviewing of these alternative schemes to regulations. Nevertheless, Coolproducts doubts voluntary agreements have the ability to drive forth the improvement of products beyond business as usual.

Coolproducts will remain cautious on the following aspects:

  • That the Commission will not create further delays and missed opportunities by making the Ecodesign process more political. The current 18-month delay of the release of the Working Plan comes with a cost of €10 billion to consumers and businesses, Coolproducts estimates. These losses must be made up for by investments in better communication and a better political ownership from both the Commission and Member States.
  • The inaccurate argument about the potential intrusive nature of Ecodesign policies should not be overstated to justify further inaction. Currently, four products with energy saving potential have been scrapped: greenhouse covers, hair dryers, toasters and hot drinks vending machines. We are waiting for updates regarding the status of the fifth product, signage displays. By scrapping these products, the Commission is still failing to fully reap the benefits of Ecodesign. Ecodesign legislation lays down clear competition rules which together with energy labels counter deceptive green claims.

The Commission states that an additional 600 TWH primary energy savings will be made by 2030 through new ‘fresh’ measures, the new Working Plan, and the revision of existing measures. This is equivalent to the yearly energy consumption of Sweden. The Commission is now expected to swiftly complete the development of a set of measures, including iconic products such as televisions and monitors, and an energy label for taps.