Ecodesign Framework Directive

The Ecodesign Directive (http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2009:285:0010:0035:EN:PDF ) provides with consistent EU-wide rules for improving the environmental performance of energy related products (ERPs) through ecodesign. It therefore prevents disparate national legislations on the environmental performance of these products from becoming obstacles to the intra-EU trade. This should benefit both businesses and consumers, by enhancing product quality and environmental protection and by facilitating free movement of goods across the EU.

The Ecodesign directive does not set binding requirements on products by itself: it provides a framework (rules and criteria) for setting such requirements through implementing measures. The Commission prepares implementing measures only for products which have significant sales and trade in the EU (indicatively more than 200,000 units a year) and a significant environmental impact and potential for improvement.

Self-regulation by industry is a valid alternative to binding legislation, under certain conditions (detailed in Annex VIII of the Directive). In particular, voluntary agreements by industry have to achieve the same objectives as binding legislation (more quickly and at lesser expense), include staged and quantified objectives and be open to new participants.

Working Plan

On 21 October 2008, the Commission adopted a Working Plan setting out an indicative list of product groups which will be considered as priorities for the adoption of implementing measures for the period 2009-2011. Machine tools are one of the priority product groups.

Consultation Forum Meeting

Prior to the launch of the machine tools study a Consultation Forum meeting was hold on November 17, 2009, where CECIMO presented a roadmap for developing a Voluntary Agreement.

“CECIMO presented its proposal (EDD-CF-2009-11-17-doc08) and explained that CECIMO gathered 1,600 companies, of which 80% were SMEs, collected extensive market statistics and provided its members with technical support for complying with safety and environmental legislation. Machine tools being highly complex investment goods, the usual functional unit had been replaced by a modularised approach. Modules integrated into machine tools (e.g. electric motors, hydraulic systems) could be either “standard” or “improved” in terms of energy efficiency. Technical improvement options could therefore be identified for each module (compared to the “standard” module) and the energy saving potential assessed, taking also into account “improved” operating modes such as stand-by and power-safe modes. The energy consumption of the real machine, based on a given scenario (combination of “improved” and “standard” modules and operating modes) would be compared with the energy consumption of the standard machine (“business as usual” scenario), and the difference expressed as a percentage. The minimum requirements could therefore be expressed as a minimum percentage of improvement compared to the standard machine. The functional unit would be defined for each specific machine, whatever its size, modules and operating modes. By 2012, CECIMO members would report on the actual energy consumption of their machines (through standardised calculator and product fiches, based on standardised definition of modules and operating modes). CECIMO would then establish a list of technical improvement options by module and associated energy saving potentials. The various combinations of existing modules for all types of machine tools could lead to the identification of 2,000 sub-types of machine tools, but there would not be more than 100 technical options for improving the modules. The methodology would be supported by a measurement standard for energy consumption (ISO or CEN), which should become the international reference.

CECIMO expressed its willingness to cooperate closely with the contractor. CECIMO could be ready to set quantified targets by end 2011, but could also wait until end 2012 that the preparatory study is completed. They would however continue to progress quickly with its initiative, notably as regards standards (work already started in ISO and CEN). CECIMO members not complying with the quantified targets (to be discussed with the members of the Consultation Forum beforehand) would be excluded from the voluntary initiative. THE CHAIR stated that the Commission would require the contractor to have close contacts with industry and clarified that the outcome of the study would remain open. Furthermore, in case the voluntary agreement would not succeed, the Commission could choose to go ahead with legislation combined with mandating harmonized standards. He highlighted key elements of the proposal, which should be especially well documented: definition of the standard machine (which should reflect the state-of-the-art), identification of technical options for improvement of modules, and assessment of their energy saving potential.

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THE CHAIR concluded that this innovative proposal was welcomed by the members of the Consultation Forum, although it would need to be further developed. Much work would still be necessary to collect information on modules and machine models, sales and stock figures, and to establish measurement standards. CECIMO could progress quickly while cooperating with the contractor of the preparatory study. The report would help the Commission and the members of the Consultation Forum to assess the future proposal.”

(reference: minutes of the Consultation Forum meeting)

For more information on the Ecodesign Directive please visit:

DG Enterprise: http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/eco_design/index_en.htm

DG Energy (formerly DG Energy and Transport): http://ec.europa.eu/energy/efficiency/ecodesign/eco_design_en.htm