The Ecodesign Directive provides a framework for the European Commission to develop mandatory standards (or alternatively self-regulation by industry) on the environmental impact, primarily energy efficiency, for various product groups. Ecodesign regulations do not prescribe the method for achieving higher energy efficiency but only the required objective in order to allow manufacturers to determine their own technical solutions. The Netherlands government has the responsibility for checking compliance and can influence the standard setting process through the consultation forums.
The Ecodesign Directive provides minimum requirements for energy efficiency and product labelling. It supports the energy efficiency and renewable energy targets laid out in the long term agreements between the government and the industry.
The Directive was originally passed in 2005 (2005/32/EU)  and was amended in 2008 (2008/28/EU)  and 2009 (2009/125/EU) . It aims to reduce the environmental impact of products throughout their entire lifecycle. The Ecodesign Directive provides a framework for the European Commission to develop mandatory standards (or alternatively self-regulation by industry) on the environmental impact, primarily energy efficiency, for various product groups. Ecodesign regulations do not prescribe the method for achieving higher energy efficiency but only the required objective, e.g. the energy consumption of a TV per TV screen surface area, in order to allow manufacturers to determine their own technical solutions.
Initially, the Ecodesign Directive targeted energy using products (EuPs). However in its 2009 revision, it was extended to target “energy related” products (ErPs) more broadly. EuPs are products that consume energy to perform their function (e.g. televisions). ErPs are products that do not use energy to perform their function, but do have significant impact on energy use (e.g. insulation).
According to the Directive, a product group can potentially be regulated under Ecodesign when it:
- Has more than 200,000 units sold annually in the EU
- Has a significant environmental effect, judging by the number of products in use
- Has significant improvement potential
Examples of products covered by the Ecodesign directive having a direct impact on industrial energy consumption are: pumps, electric motors, fans, compressors and insulation.
The European Commission introduced product-specific regulations called implementing measures (*1). Implementing measures are product-specific regulations agreed under the framework of the Directive. Manufacturers marketing products covered by an implementing measure in the EU area must ensure that it complies with the energy and environmental standards set out by the measure.
Ecodesign implementing measures for specific product groups should:
- Have no significant negative impact on (1) functionality, (2) health and safety, (3) affordability, (4) industry’s competitiveness.
- Not impose proprietary technology on manufacturers
- Not be an excessive administrative burden for manufacturers
Furthermore, Ecodesign parameters:
- Consider all phases of the life cycle (manufacturing, transport, use, disposal)
- Consider the essential environmental aspects (consumption, material, emission, waste etc.) for each phase
- Determine energy efficiency or energy consumption levels which allow minimum life cycle cost for end consumers
Within the Ecodesign directive, the Netherlands governement can influence in the standard setting process through the consultation forums. The Netherlands Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment is responsible for verifying the compliance of manufacturers of products sold on the Netherlands market but can commission commercial third parties to do this work.
The Netherlands Energy Efficiency Action Plan 2011 states that the government will: “Support the Commission for the preparation and formulation of ambitious minimum efficiency requirements and energy labels. It will cooperate with the trade organisations within the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers to distribute practical information about the current regulations. Furthermore, it will inform designers and manufacturers about Ecodesign as a design strategy that exceeds the minimum requirements of the regulations. The Netherlands government has opted not to implement stricter minimum requirements but urges industries to voluntarily go beyond minimum requirements. It will also continue effective enforcement of energy labelling (both checking the presence of energy labelling in shops and testing products to check the accuracy of the label statement) and set up an effective enforcement structure for Ecodesign, as far as possible in cooperation with the EU” .
Policy Information Expand this section for information on the key features of the policy, such as its date of introduction, categorization, main objective(s) and linkages with other policies.
Policy Instrument Type: Administrative, Standards
Position in the PyramidAbout Us
Start Date: 2005
|Complements||EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS)||Effort Defining|
Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment
Primary Objective: Energy
Phasing out of non energy efficient products and stimulating investments in energy-efficient technologies
Energy-related product manufacturers (i.e. manufacturers of products that either consume energy, or products that do not use energy to perform their function, but do have significant impact on energy use).
Driver of energy consumption or emissions affected by policy: Specific energy consumption.
Implementation Information Expand this section for information on targets, monitoring, verification and enforcement regimes, and implementation requirements and tools.
The products covered by the Ecodesign regulations include energy-using products, which use, generate, transfer or measure energy (electricity, gas, fossil fuel), such as boilers, computers, televisions, transformers, industrial fans and industrial furnaces. The products are currently split into six areas : • Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning - including products like water heaters and boilers • Domestic Appliances - including tumble dryers, ovens and freezers • Lighting – including domestic and non domestic lighting products • Transformers and Machine Tools • Consumer Electronics and Information and Communication Technologies (CE/ICT) – including computers, prints and televisions • Motors – including products such as electric motors and machine tools  In case of specific implementing measures, all users and manufacturers of the product are covered. In case of a voluntary sector agreement, the European Commission requires a large majority of the relevant economic sector to partake. As of 2012, except for machine tool producers, there are no voluntary sector agreements for industrial equipment.
Quantitative Target? no
Progress Monitored? no
Verification Required? no
Sanctions: Exclusion from the European market and a fine in line with the severity of the non-compliance
Requirements on the Target Group
Market only those products that meet the minimum agreed energy efficiency standards. These are defined in the ‘Implementing Measures’ (*1). The development of standards for various product groups are at different stages accroding to different Working Plans. Each Working Plan sets out an indicative list of product groups that are considered as priorities for the adoption of implementing measures .
During the 2005-2008 period known as the Transitional Phase (between the entry into force of the Ecodesign Directive in 2005 and the adoption of the first Working Plan in 2008) implementing measures were prepared for a number of products identified as priorities by the European Climate Change Programme (see Article 16 of the Ecodesign Directive).
13 implementing measures (including motors and fans) have been adopted, and are estimated to allow yearly savings by 2020 equivalent to more then 12% of the EU final electricity consumption in 2009 .
During the 2008-2011 period, a number of Ecodesign preparory studies are undertake to inform the development of implementing measures. For examples, the Ovens and furances study ENTR Lot 4 covers a wide range of laboratory and industrial equipment, available at http://eco-furnace.org/
For the 2012-2014 Work Plan, s study was carried out to provide the Commission with the necessary background on environmental impacts, saving potential and market conditions in order to select the most appropriate energy related products for this Second Working Plan .
Support by Government
Agentschap NL provides information to manufacturers and importers of products regulated under Ecodesign
Complexity of Implementation
The Government is responsible for checking compliance and reporting back to the European Commission on these activities.
Feedback from industry indicates that the long lead times, which is the period between the setting of the standard and the moment the standards becomes effective, enable the market to minimise any cost implications from increased efficiency regulations by integrated design and manufacturing changes into normal industrial cycles 
Impacts, Costs & Benefits Expand this section to find information on policy effectiveness and efficiency.
|Impact||Quantitative Estimate||Qualitative Estimate|
|Estimated effect on energy consumption or emissions||In the EU-27 Ecodesign has the potential to save 600 TWh of electricity and 600 TWh of heat in 2020 ||N/A|
|Estimated costs/benefits for industry||N/A||Feedback from industry indicates that the long lead times, which is the period between the setting of the standard and the moment the standards becomes effective, enable the market to minimise any cost implications from increased efficiency regulations by integrated design and manufacturing changes into normal industrial cycles |
|Estimated cost for government||N/A||N/A|
References & Footnotes
 EU Ecodesign Directive 2005/32/EU available at http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/sustainable-business/documents/eco-design/legislation/framework-directive/index_en.htm#h2-3
 EU Ecodesign Directive 2008/28/EU available at http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/sustainable-business/documents/eco-design/legislation/framework-directive/index_en.htm#h2-2
 EU Ecodesign Directive 2009/125/EC available at http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/sustainable-business/documents/eco-design/legislation/framework-directive/index_en.htm#h2-1
 Government of the Netherlands (2011). Second National Energy Efficiency Action Plan for the Netherlands (June 2011)
 MURE II Database on Energy Efficiency Policies and Measures (Industry). Available from: http://www.muredatabase.org/public/mure_pdf/household/UK13.PDF
 Ellis, M. (2007). Experience with energy efficiency regulations for electrical equipment. IEA Information paper, OECD/IEA
 Molenbroek E., Cuijpers M., Blok, K, (2012). Economics benefits of the EU Ecodesign Directive, improving European economies. Ecofys, commissioned by Natuur en Milieu
 European Commission (2012). Enterprise and industry - Sustainable and responsible business - Products and Working Plans. Available at http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/sustainable-business/ecodesign/product-groups/index_en.htm#h2-1
(*1) Implementing measures are product-specific regulations agreed under the framework of the Directive. Implementing measures are available at: http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/sustainable-business/documents/eco-design/legislation/implementing-measures/index_en.htm