Go Green With Gram
 
11
July
2016

Deciphering the EU Ecodesign Directive

Deciphering the EU Ecodesign Directive

Last week saw Gram UK’s latest webinar tackle the topical issue of the EU Eco Design Directive and its relevance following the referendum. 

Joined by Mark Kendall, director at Inox Equip and vice chairman at CEDA, Richard Smith, heavy equipment category controller at Bunzl Lockhart and Peter Farrell, sales director at C&C Catering; Glenn Roberts, managing director of Hoshizaki Gram UK navigated the conversation through the tempestuous subject.

Given that refrigeration is responsible for in excess of 30 percent of a kitchen’s energy consumption, it is little wonder that the refrigeration category is the first to be scrutinised by legislators. Launched on the 1st July, all refrigeration units must now adhere to a rigorous testing process and clearly label their energy efficiency rating against new Minimum Energy Performance standards (MEPs) set by the EU.

The webinar tackled several key issues, What is the EU Ecodesign Directive? Who does is affect? And who is aware of its launch? As well as, what role the EU Ecodesign Directive plays following the referendum vote.

The webinar panel agreed that there seems to be a fundamental lack of awareness on the EU Ecodesign Directive and how it impacts the whole supply chain from manufacturer through to the end user. Peter Farrell brought the discussion back to Gram’s first webinar, which examined the need for education in the industry to help work towards a more sustainable future. Peter suggested that the directive was currently somewhat of a grey area, with manufacturers largely in the know through necessity, while end users relied on kitchen houses, consultants, designers and distributors to provide legislative compliant equipment. Mark Kendall continued the debate by acknowledging that consultants, distributors and designers had a responsibility to understand the EU Ecodesign Directive enabling them to properly inform their clients. Richard Smith picked up on this point by adding distributors and designers play a major role in conveying industry relevant messages. He continued that manufacturers had worked hard to make information on the EU Ecodesign Directive readily available to the supply chain with still more to come over the next six to eight weeks and it now needs to utilised correctly to ensure the information gets the cut through required.

Glenn agreed that preparations for the EU Eco design directive had hugely impacted refrigeration manufacturers with a considerable amount of time and financial resources invested. Glenn added the Hoshizaki Gram had worked hard to be completely transparent with its labeling information and offer some clarity on the new directive.

When quizzed on the EU Ecodesign Directive and whether it should be seen as a positive thing for the industry, the panel agreed that largely it should be accepted as a positive step towards safe guarding a sustainable future for foodservice. Peter Farrell sees the new legislation as the optimum way of providing an approved like for like comparison, allowing buyers to confidently purchase the most energy efficient equipment for their budget.

Whilst Glenn added, it is always possible that dealers and purchasers will opt for a unit, which has an initial cheaper purchase price, however these are becoming a minority as more and more buyers are considering the lifetime running cost over the initial purchase price. With a lot of work having already been done to met MEPs the manufacture of a lot of the models that don’t meet the minimum standards has ceased, meaning that it won’t be possible for buyers to opt for a unit that doesn’t have at least a G rating. With a lot of the work already having been done to meet the MEPs and operators looking to reduce overheads as the cost of energy continues to rise, energy efficient credentials of refrigeration and heavy kitchen equipment in general is going to become paramount.

On the subject as to whether the EU Eco Design Directive is here to stay, the panel absolutely agreed that it was. Whether its because as suggested by Mark Kendall, Britain will continue to export and import to and from Europe, which means that manufacturers will have to adhere to the MEPs. Or that over the coming months and years the new standards will set a benchmark for energy performance not just within refrigeration, in either case the panel predicts this kind of labeling system is expected to be launched across all heavy kitchen equipment.

Top five webinar themes:

  • There needs to be more done to raise awareness of the EU Ecodesign Directive. This is something that should be actioned by the associations as well as kitchen houses and distributors
  • There needs to be a bigger focus on education within the industry to help operators understand the benefits of being energy efficient
  • The benefits of considering the overall life cycle cost over the initial purchase price needs to become the mindset of operators
  • It is likely that the EU Ecodesign Directive will be seen not only as a benchmark for the category but for heavy equipment as a whole
  • The EU Eco Design Directive MEPs are here to stay whatever guise it may take 

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