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General

Update regulatory and other developments (GEN – 1078.00)

03 December 2019

9 min read
European Policy
General

Update regulatory and other developments (GEN – 1078.00)

03 December 2019

9 min read

GEN – 1078.00. The European Commission for the period 2019-2024 has been elected. Within that context a brief overview of the various institutes involved in the HVACR industry is provided as well as a general update on ongoing files.

European Commission

The new Commission would be in place on 1 December under the leadership of President Ursula von der Leyen.

The six ambitions for Europe over the next five years are:

  • A European Green Deal (to be published on 11 December)
  • An economy that works for people
  • A Europe fit for the digital age
  • Protecting our European way of life
  • A stronger Europe in the world
  • A new push for European democracy

The Green Deal will include the preparations to develop a first European Climate Law to enshrine the 2050 climate neutrality targets into law. It includes the desire to go beyond the Paris Agreement goals. One objective is to develop a “future-ready economy” that is to include further steps towards circular economy. The construction industry is mentioned as priority for the circular economy.

President von der Leyen will have three Executive Vice-Presidents: Timmermans, Vestager and Dombrovskis, plus five Vice-Presidents, including Sefcovic who was responsible for the Energy Union in the 2014-2019 Commission.

The relevant actors for Eurovent would be:

  • Frans Timmermans (Netherlands) – Executive Vice-President for the Green Deal and Commissioner for Climate Action
  • Margrethe Vestager (Denmark) – Executive Vice-President for the Digital Age and Commissioner for Competition
  • Kadri Simson (Estonia) – Commissioner for Energy
  • Thierry Breton (France) – Commissioner for Internal Market
  • Virginijus Sinkevicius (Lithuania) – Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries
  • Paolo Gentiloni (Italy) – Commissioner for Economy

One may note that 435 of MEPs (out of 751) are newly elected and were not members of the European Parliament before. 295 MEPs were also members of the previous Parliament. It is expected that the 73 UK MEPs would not take up their position. Thereafter the number of MEPs would be reduced to 705, bringing along 27 new MEPs from the 27 Member States.

The Commissioners are still in the process of setting up their cabinets.

Meanwhile in the European Parliament the chairs for the Parliament Committees have been appointed. Of note are:

  • Chair of the ENVI (Environment) Committee is Mr Pascal Canfin (France)
  • Chair of ITRE (Industry, Research, Energy) is Ms Adina-Iona Valean (Romania)
  • Chair of IMCO (Internal Market and Consumer Protection) is Ms Petra De Sutter (Belgium)

The national Member Associations have been recommended to check their national representation in these three Committees as these could be useful contacts in the coming years. The links to ENVI, ITRE and IMCO are provided at the end of this document.

Ecodesign and Energy Labelling Working Plan 2019-2024

The Commission (DG Grow) had prepared the tender to draft the 2020-2024 Ecodesign and Energy Labelling Working Plan. It will be the first time both are combined. The tender ran until 20 November and DG Grow hopes the study could start by April 2020.

It is realised that few product groups with important energy saving potential can be identified. It is expected that the study would recommend extending the scope ‘energy’ to other ‘circular economy aspects’ and an increased use of Life Cycle Assessment methods.

Possibly the study will also make some recommendations for the revision of the MEErP (Methodology for the Ecodesign of Energy-related products). The tender for this revision would still appear in 2019.

Revision Methodology for Ecodesign of Energy-related Products (MEErP)

On 28 May 2019, DG Grow hosted a workshop titled ‘The future of the MEErP – reinforcement of circular economy aspects in the methodology’. The aim of the workshop was to gather views from stakeholders related to the review of the MEErP that is to be launched in early 2020.

Several presentations identified possible ways to include circular economy considerations into the future MEErP such as: Least Life Cycle Costs (LLCC) of material efficiency aspects, the use of environmental assessment tools (e.g. Eco-report, Product Environmental Footprint), Lifetime aspects including durability, energy consumption, water consumption, material consumption and life cycle cost. Investment in data acquisition for these aspects would be important to progress in these areas.

It was highlighted that few product groups could bring important energy savings. The current product groups may get a more thorough analysis from a Life Cycle Assessment point of view. It is possible that the consultant for the Working Plan will recommend a revision of the MEErP.

It is possible that the revision of the MEErP may be handled by the Joint Research Centre.

Product Environmental Footprint

In the Ecodesign file relating to batteries the Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules (PEFCR) are addressed. The Commission informed it would make available a tool to calculate the PEFCR for batteries within 6 months after a decision to go this route has been made.

The proposal would be to initially develop an information obligation and to not impose immediately thresholds. This should allow stakeholders to first work and become acquainted with the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodologies.

Batteries were among the pilot cases for PEFCR between 2014 and 2016:

https://ec.europa.eu/environment/eussd/smgp/ef_pilots.htm

It is not clear if similar exercises will be conducted for HVACR products. It can be expected that this would take time (estimated at least 2 to 4 years).

Because there are initiatives at national level that advocate LCAs, the Commission is reflecting if in future LCAs should be included in ecodesign measures to reinforce the Single Market.

EEPLIANT3

At the request of a Market Surveillance Authority (MSA), associations (APPLiA, EPEE, EVIA, Eurovent, etc.) have been asked to participate in the Advisory Board of EEPLIANT3 and, where appropriate, provide experts to the work packages (WP) with input. The first meeting of the Advisory Board will take place on 12 December 2019. There will be four Advisory Board meetings per year.

An active contribution to the meetings of the Advisory Board is requested (preparing documents, collecting feedback from Eurovent members, etc.).

Eurovent represents the HVACR industry and will contribute to:

  • WP 6: Professional Refrigeration (EEPLIANT2)
  • WP 7: Air Conditioning
  • WP 10: Ventilation Units

To a lesser extent, contribution can be provided to:

  • WP 9: Water Heaters
  • WP12: Local Space Heaters

For WP5 ‘Training and Exchange Programme’ a request was made by the lead (MSA) to find tools that can help to check if products comply with energy labelling requirements based on calculating parameters from these products. The inspiration for this comes from an Australian approach for RDC.

Within that context access to product data will be addressed as well and this may involve bodies that could provide data.

Publication of new and revised Ecodesign and Energy Labelling Regulations

The Commission Regulation (EU) 2019/1781 laying down Ecodesign requirements for electric motors and variable speed has been published on 25 October and will enter into force on 1 January 2021.

The Ecodesign and Energy Labelling measures for Refrigerating appliances with a direct sales function (Refrigerated Display Cabinets) will be published on 5 December.

Progress review Fan Regulation

The revised Impact Assessment was submitted to the Regulatory Scrutiny Board (RSB) in June 2019. The RSB approved the Impact Assessment early in November. The arguments defending the maintenance of cascading and the issue of large fans were accepted by the RSB.

Some adaptations to the text are still required before it can be submitted to the Inter Services Consultation (ISC). The ISC can only start when the new Commission is in place. The Commissioners should be in place on 1 December 2019, but it is expected that it could take some months before the cabinets of the Commissioners are in place.

Ms Inge Bernaerts (ex-cabinet Marianne Thyssen) will become the Head of Unit of C4 (Robert Nuij will remain Head of Sector). She was introduced to the staff of DG Energy on 21 November2019. Between 2010 and 2014 she was in DG Energy the Head of Unit for Internal Market for electricity and gas. So, one can expect it will take some time before she gets used to her new field of activities.

It is hoped that Ms Bernaerts will continue to inform Member States and relevant stakeholders in advance of the formal agenda (i.e. unofficial availability of the text at the time of the interservice consultation).

The best guess is that at earliest the interservice consultation would start in March 2020 and take 4 to 6 weeks.

Most likely the date for implementation would not be 1 January 2021.

For the future revision (possibly 2024) the Commission may consider extended product and system approaches as well as other information from other sources, such as the Fan Energy Index.

Smart controls for electric motors, fans and other products

Given their specificity, the 2016-2019 Working Plan includes a separate track for ICT products. The consultants VHK and Viegand Maagoe are drafting an ICT impact study for DG Energy.

For this ICT impact study, VHK is preparing an inventory of smart controls for fans, motors, engines, compressors and pumps for non-residential and industrial applications. These are smart controls that are, for example, connected to cloud servers and intelligently monitor and analyse the performance of these devices.  

Eurovent was asked if the following information would be available:

  • Are data on sales or installed stock available for fans with smart controls?
  • Would there be tools or standards regarding the measurement of performance for such smart devices?
  • Are there significant trends in technology for these smart devices?

Progress review Ventilation Units

The Commission would, if possible, not host a second stakeholder meeting but move directly to a Consultation Forum meeting in April or May 2020.

The Task 1, 2 and 3 reports were published in November. In the view of the Commission, the consultant has addressed well the issues raised by industry. The proactive input by industry has been very much appreciated (defining terms for the review, input at the start of the review and proposed solutions).

If there would be serious discontent or opposition to the reports, a second stakeholder meeting could be organised.

Review Air Conditioner Regulations

In response to the Consultation Forum held on 9 September 2019 the Commission will set up a Working Group to address and compare the test methods (dynamic test, compensation test, test proposed by APPLiA, current test method). The Commission is also still looking for input regarding the double duct appliances to develop a base case (preferably still in 2019).

Because the Commission still has to conclude an agreement with a consultant, this Working Group would not meet in 2019. There are Member States and NGOs that would like to see the introduction of the dynamic test method (proposed by the German BAM- BundesAnstalt für Materialforschung).

Most industry associations, including Eurovent, have requested that a new test method should only be introduced if it has proven to be robust. DG Energy (responsible for the file) will most likely ask DG Grow to include in the standardisation mandate the request to develop a robust test method and that the budget should be sufficient to include Round Robin Tests. The results should be available before the second revision would start.

It could be different if the manufacturers would wish to introduce the dynamic testing (BAM) method at an earlier date. It is likely that industry would prefer to wait for the outcome of Round Robin Tests.

The Commission has not yet started the Impact Assessment.

Merging of the labels of air conditioners, heat pumps and local space heaters

The Consultation Forum on 10 September was controversial regarding the proposal to merge the labels covering different heaters (from heat pumps to wood fired stoves) with the energy efficiency classes A and B reserved for heat pumps. This approach was supported by the Japanese Business Council Europe, the Japan Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Industry Association, EPEE and consumer NGOs. EHI, APPLiA and Eurovent opposed to such a merger.

The Commission intends to wait with further steps until the revision of the labelling of local space heaters that should be available by 1 January 2024.

Meanwhile the Commission will launch additional studies into the understanding of energy labels by consumers.

For the impact assessment of lot 10 (air conditioners – see earlier) the Commission will ask the consultants to analyse the impact of reduced energy classes for air conditioners and heat pumps, in particular what would be the impact of reducing the current seven energy classes to three.

Review Space and Water Heater Regulations

The consultant VHK has received the contract to further accompany the revision. Four Working Group meetings will be set up:

  • WG water heaters (a first meeting likely in January 2020)
  • WG hydrogen and biomass (meeting likely between February and April 2020)
  • WG laboratory tests & tolerances (meeting likely between February and April 2020)
  • WG calculation methodology (meeting likely between February and April 2020)

The outline including the proposed participants for these activities is enclosed as GEN 1078.01. The Policy Officer would host a Consultation Forum, still in 2019, so that the Member States representatives can be informed about the developments. The main reason being the fact that many Members States did not participate to previous Stakeholder and Consultation meetings. The Objective would be having a final Consultation Forum meeting for Water Heaters by mid-2020 and for Space Heaters by the end of 2020.

Rescaling of Energy Labelling

As a result of the development of more and more energy efficient domestic appliances, and because the difference between A++ and A+++ is less obvious to the consumer, the categories will be gradually adjusted to reintroduce the simpler A to G scale. The A class will initially be empty to leave room for future more energy efficient models.

This means that five product groups will be ‘rescaled’ in or by 2021. This applies first to domestic appliances such as fridges, dishwashers, washing machines, electronic displays, televisions and lamps.

For space and water heaters (including heat pumps) existing A++ to G scale becomes A+++ to D, thus eliminating the worst performing heaters and introducing a A+++ class for the most energy efficient products. The 2017/1369 Energy Labelling Framework Regulation provides for adoption of the revised related Regulations (811/2013, 812/2013, 2015/1187) by 2 August 2026. The rescaled A to G labels should be in place at latest on 2 August 2030.

Refrigeration appliances with a direct sales function (Refrigerated Display Cases)

The Ecodesign and Energy Labelling regulations will be published on 5 December 2019.

EPREL has been prepared to allow for the pre-registration ahead of time of the implementation deadline, however there could still be some bugs that need fixing.

The Commission will only develop a guidance document if requested by industry and if there are sufficient items to be covered in the guidance document. If there would be few issues needing further details, the questions will be dealt with and developed by the Administrative Cooperation (ADCO) and included in the updated general FAQ (the lasts update dates 2019-08-22).

European Product Register Energy Labelling (EPREL)

EPREL has suffered from lack of resources, as some were reallocated within the Commission to other projects. Manufacturers subject to Energy Labelling regulations should be uploading their data.

If all would function, EPREL would be accessible for Market Surveillance Authorities from December (not October as announced earlier) onwards. The public access is now scheduled for early 2020.

For information – Overview of the process towards regulations

Recommended Actions

The outline above should help associations and manufacturers to plan for the upcoming activities at European level.

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All related documents and articles can be found in the respective sections in the right sidebar.

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