European contractors and manufacturers have united against the European Union’s forthcoming Energy Labelling Directive review, which looks to apply the energy consumption rating found on TVs and washing machines to refrigeration, air conditioning, and heat pump (RACHP) products.

A position paper jointly signed by the manufacturers’ association, European Partnership for Energy and the Environment (EPEE); contractors’ associations Air conditioning and Refrigeration European Association (AREA) and European Association of Electrical Contractors (AIE); and building engineering services association GCP Europe; together with installers of electrical, electro-technical, and electronic systems, stated: “We have strong concerns about the extension of the energy label to the area of business-to-business (B2B) equipment. Indeed, the energy label is not the most appropriate tool for providing information to professional users and can be counterproductive.

“A professional product will work differently depending on the size of the application it is used in,” the letter continues. “RACHP systems are very complex assemblies that are often tailor-made, since they are designed for specific customer needs.”

The European Commission (EC) previously launched a study to review the Energy Labelling Directive and specific aspects of the Ecodesign Directive and is expected to publish its proposals by the summer, together with the Ecodesign Work Plan for 2015-2017. The signatories stated their commitment to energy efficiency, including the aforementioned Eco Design, which sets mandatory standards for energy-using products, as well as reiterating the benefits of correct design, installation, and maintenance of systems.

Graeme Fox, past president, AREA, said: “This was originally designed for white goods and, in that sense, it works well, as it’s only a single plug-in item. The rating you see will be the rating you get. “However, if this crosses over into commercial territory, you’ll have a situation where the contractor will be required to meet the listed energy consumption on products. Systems using RACHP products vary in size and scope, and this approach is not suitable.”

Commenting on the EC’s forthcoming decision in the summer, EPEE representatives said: “We are looking forward to the commission’s proposals and will react in due time with a concrete proposal, if needed. We recommend the commission carefully evaluate the label in the area of professional equipment as this is not the most appropriate information tool for industrial products and would have detrimental effects.”

The EPEE added: “We recommend a very careful assessment of a systematic use of a dealer/installer label. Indeed, the lack of practical experience to date, uncertainties about its enforceability, as well as the possible negative impact on contractors and innovation should be
duly considered.”

Publication date: 6/15/2015

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