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Get Your Kitchen Ready for the New EU Wide Ecodesign Directive

Posted on Friday 20 November 2015

If your restaurant kitchen refrigerators are a little on the shabby side, you’ve probably been looking for an excuse to upgrade and ditch your worn-out fridge for a more modern model. A great reason is that your current model is likely to be costing you an unnecessary fortune in operational running costs; this is something that the new EU Wide Ecodesign directive is addressing, as it lays out stringent energy requirements for professional refrigeration and freezer products that will reduce their impact on the environment, and as a bonus, on your businesses’ bottom line too.

Lockhart refrigerators 1

The Ecodesign regulations for professional refrigerated products were adopted in May 2015, along with new energy labelling requirements that will allow buyers to easily identify ‘at-a-glance’ the efficiency rating of products and their superiority in the market. On 1st July 2016 the labelling and tier 1 of Ecodesign will become mandatory, and will thus prohibit the import of unregulated (and inferior) Asian commercial refrigeration products that do not meet the new EU regulations.

What will be the effects of the Ecodesign directive?

EU Energy label refrigerators ecodesign directive

In the EU, Energy efficiency regulations indicate the daily energy consumption of a product. When the first tier of the Ecodesign directive comes into force in July 2016, professional refrigerators with an Energy efficiency class that is lower than G will be banned from sale in the EU.

The early introduction of the Ecodesign directive allows manufacturers the opportunity to cease manufacture of their refrigerators that do not meet these requirements, and to sell their existing stock. However there is a strong incentive for manufacturers of professional fridges to make drastic improvements to their product range sooner rather than later, as two more tiers of the Ecodesign directive will be introduced; all products that are class G will be banned on 1st January 2018, and all class F products will be banned on 1st July 2019.

Currently, the highest EU rating for a product’s efficiency is class A. To reflect the constant improvements that are being made, the A+ rating will be officially introduced on 1st January 2018, and by 1st July 2020, a maximum energy efficiency rating class of A+++ will be in place. Some manufacturers have already commenced the sale of products that exceed the current A rating, and will comfortably meet the A+ rating when it is in place – these include Gram Commercial, who explained their commitment to the Ecodesign directive with their Superior and Eco Plus products at the Lockhart Catering Equipment Expo back in September 2015.

What you can do now to meet the Ecodesign directive

As a hospitality business and purchaser of professional or commercial refrigerators, you are not obligated to do anything, as the regulations only apply to the manufacture and import of these products. You might even be tempted by the reduced prices of products with a low energy rating, as manufacturers and retailers attempt to clear their existing stock before the regulations and labelling become mandatory.

Lockhart refrigerators 2

However as a higher Energy rating indicates a more cost-efficient product, it makes good business sense to invest in a better product that will have lower operating costs, and will save you money over the course of its lifetime – not to mention being better for the environment. And of course if you wish to strengthen your commitment to being environmentally-friendly as a food service business, it makes sense to take all aspects of your operation into consideration.

Have you embraced the EU Ecodesign directive at your establishment yet, or will you be doing so in the near future? How do you think it will affect the market? Leave us a comment below; we’d love to hear your thoughts.

For more insight from our speakers at the Lockhart Catering Equipment Expo, take a look at our article on reducing your restaurant food wastage the smart way with Winnow Solutions.