The European Commission (EC) is inviting stakeholders to submit comments pertaining to ecodesign (efficiency) label requirements for air-to-air conditioners, air-to-air heat pumps and comfort fans, as well as comments responding to updates of the energy labelling of these products.

These “calls for evidence” are open until February 18. The EC’s adoption of changes informed by these comments is expected in the second quarter of 2022.

The European Commission is seeking to update the EU’s ecodesign and label legislation in light of technological advances made in recent years. The main objective is to contribute to energy efficiency and CO2e- emissions abatement and to realize a high level of environmental and consumer protection by phasing out inefficient and outdated products.

Moreover, the EC intends to include in the legislation circular economy concepts, such as durability and recyclability.

With regard to air conditioners, the EC noted that their use is expected to increase drastically in the next three decades, becoming one of the top drivers of global electricity demand. In a business-as-usual scenario, the EC reports, European energy consumption from these appliances is estimated to increase to 61.8TWh by 2030 and 96.0 TWh by 2040 due to increasing cooling demand across the continent. To this extent, efficient cooling is proposed as a means to reach Renewable Energy targets in a separate legislative effort.

According to the EC, the feedback gathered in these calls for evidence will contribute to the impact assessment backing the final proposal.

The European Ecodesign Directive (2009/125/EC) and the Energy Labelling Framework Regulation (EU/2017/1369) are elements of a broader product policy aimed at increasing the energy efficiency of products and simultaneously reducing their overall environmental impacts. HVAC&R products have consistently been part of these policies.

Both policies are considered critical to the EU’s fight against climate change; since their introduction, they have led to large energy and GHG-emissions savings. The EC has estimated that the Ecodesign Directive and the Energy Labelling Framework Regulation contributed to achieving about half of the EU’s energy saving targets for 2020, with the directive providing 85%, and the regulation 15%. Together, ecodesign and energy labelling provisions are expected to deliver around a third of all the emissions savings needed to achieve the EU’s 2030 emission reduction under the “Fit for 55” package.

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