On 31st March, the EU Member States approved the Commission proposals on reducing the energy consumption of television sets, cooling appliances and washing machines in the Regulation Committee. Hence, these appliances have to conform to certain efficiency criteria in future, if they are produced for the European market.
The planned measures go back to the Eco-design directive 2005. The Directive provides the framework for determining certain (minimum) requirements for products that have a significant impact on the environment, a high sales volume and a clear potential to improve their environmental compatibility. Concrete implementation measures, however, will only be taken if the industry does not introduce any relevant self-regulating initiatives. To enable the Commission to finally endorse any proposals by the Commission with respect to implementation measures requires the approval of the Regulation Committee, EU Parliament and the Council.

In the current Regulation Committee, the EU Member States came out in favour of gradually increasing the energy efficiency of the household products named above. Hence, from July 2010 refrigerators have to achieve a lower Energy Efficiency Index (EEI) than 55. In order to be sold on the European market, from July 2012, refrigerators must be under an EEI of 44 and under an EEI of 42 from July 2014. In accordance with the proposal of the Commission, from July 2010 the EEI of new washing machines must be under 68 and under 59 from July 2013. From July 2010, the energy efficiency standard for new television sets must be under the current average and even 20 % below this from July 2010.

The Work Programme of the Eco-design directive for the period between 2009 and 2011 indicates that implementation measures for the following products will be submitted to the Regulation Committee in 2009: kettles, warm water heaters, industrial refrigerators, air conditioning systems, domestic ventilators, ventilators for non-residential buildings, electric pumps, imaging appliances, computers and electric engines.

Further information:

Work Programme for the period between 2009 and 2011 in accordance with the Eco-design directive

Press release of the Commission

Summary of Eco-design requirements and Energy Labels for household appliances