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Introduction to the Ecodesign of Energy Related Products Directive

Teacher Hans De Keulenaer, Paul Waide


The Ecodesign of Energy Related Products Directive (ErP) was adopted in 2009 as an amendment from the 2005 Ecodesign of Energy Using Products Directive and is one of the EU’s four key Directives addressing energy efficiency in stationary (i.e. non transport) end-uses (the others being the Energy Performance in Buildings Directive, Energy Efficiency Directive and the Energy Labelling Directive). The EU was a relative late comer among leading international economies in having overarching legislation to set minimum energy performance standards for equipment but since the adoption of Ecodesign it has set an impressive pace of adoption of implementing measures which are now estimated to cover 48% of all EU energy consumption. The average expected energy savings per product group addressed is projected to reach 19% by 2020, to lower energy bills by €170 billion for a €60 billion increase in equipment acquisition costs i.e. a net benefit of €110 billion and to create 0.8 million extra direct jobs for industry, wholesale and the retail sector.  

The projected CO2 savings from this Directive alone are estimated to reach 320 Mt CO2 equivalent, equal to 7% of all EU GHG emissions in 2010. This is in excess of savings projected from the EU emissions trading system.

Despite the huge scale of these benefits the Directive has not escaped criticism, receiving strong negative responses in some media channels for the phasing out of incandescent lamps and inefficient vacuum cleaners in particular. It is a high profile instrument whose measures readily attract public scrutiny and bring a degree of political risk. On top of this there is much discussion about its future direction – which products will it focus on? How much further could be saved from revisiting existing products? What emphasis will be placed on energy versus non-energy environmental improvements? How far can the Directive go into accessing savings associated with optimising systems of products?       

The lecture will visit all these topics while also examining the importance of the EU’s product Ecodesign requirements to product development and the wider international community, its innovative features, the regulatory process it follows, and the implementation and market surveillance challenges.  

Duration (hours)