European Court of Auditors: Ecodesign and Energy Labelling policies improve energy efficiency (GEN - 1084.00)

Obstacles to greater effectiveness of the policies remain though, say Auditors

GEN - 1084.00. The European Court of Auditors’ recent Special Report ‘EU action on Ecodesign and Energy Labelling’ shows that the EU’s Ecodesign and Energy Labelling measures have contributed to greater energy efficiency. Delays in the legislative process, overestimations of the effects of the policies, and non-compliance by manufacturers and retailers remain problematic.

The Ecodesign and Energy Labelling policies help achieve the binding target of improving energy efficiency by at least 32,5% by 2030. According to the report of the Court of Auditors, the methodologies used to select products with the highest energy-saving potential to be regulated under Ecodesign and Energy Labelling were sound and transparent.

However, the impact accounting is likely to overestimate the energy savings because it does not take into account the differences between theoretical consumption calculated according to harmonised standards and real-life consumption.

Moreover, long delays in the regulatory process reduce the effectiveness of the measures. By the time Ecodesign and Energy Labelling requirements enter into force, they may no longer reflect the technological and market realities.

The aim to integrate circular economy aspects in the Ecodesign methodology has so far been achieved only for a few product groups.

Although market surveillance efforts have been strengthened, with increased coordination between national market surveillance authorities, the Court of Auditors reports that the amount of product testing remains low. It is estimated that 10 to 25% of the products sold on the EU market do not comply with applicable Ecodesign and Energy Labelling requirements.

The Court of Auditors’ findings show that Eurovent will have to continue working with the European Commission to better align the pacing of the regulatory process with industrial and market realities, to extend the scope of Ecodesign to cover products with lower energy-saving potential as well in order to encourage further energy savings and level the playing field, to significantly strengthen market surveillance and improve the recognition for independently tested products, and to sensibly integrate circular economy aspects in the Ecodesign regulations covering the HVACR industry.

Recommended Actions

Members may find it insightful to read the full report and are advised to closely follow the development of the new Ecodesign and Energy Labelling Working Plan as well as the revision of the Methodology for Ecodesign of Energy-related Products.

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  • GEN – 1084.01 – EU action on Ecodesign and Energy Labelling report