Current EU energy efficiency directives


Current EU energy efficiency directives

On January 1, 2018, EU Directive 2016/2281 officially entered into force. The Directive established new minimum energy efficiency indicators for air conditioning and refrigeration units manufactured, sold, and operated in the European Union.
This Directive – direct extension of the Directive ERP 2009/125/EU, is a basis for the establishment of requirements for ecodesign for the energy-intensive equipment. The purpose of these regulations is to gradually improve the efficiency of the equipment installed in the European territory, that is, to reduce the consumption of electricity, which should lead to various advantages both economically and environmentally.
The directives set new minimum levels of efficiency and performance for different types of plants depending on the way they are used: the calculation is actually made for the entire life cycle of the machine taking into account real operating conditions. Therefore, there is a clear difference between equipment used for comfortable cooling (air conditioning) associated with seasonal operation and equipment used in cooling processes when the operation of the machine is not dependent on seasonal fluctuations.


What is the Ecodesign Directive?

The Ecodesign 2009/125/EC regulatory framework establishes common pan-European standards to improve the performance of equipment in terms of environmental impact, including refrigeration equipment.
From September 26, 2017, all air-cooled reversible chillers and all water-cooled chillers used in heat pump mode, with a nominal thermal power of up to 400 kW, issued in ЕС-28 countries and other associated countries that require CE marking, must meet minimum energy efficiency standards. From January 01, 2018, regulatory act 2281/2016 was adopted with stricter minimum energy efficiency standards (level 1). The new stricter restrictions came into force in 2021 (Level 2 or ENER LOT 21).

What level of energy efficiency is considered minimum according to Directive Ecodesign 2281/2016 (level 1)?

SEER* Air/Water Water/Water
Chiller with cooling capacity < 400 kW
3.80 5.10
Сhillers and reversible heat pumps with cooling capacity from 400 kW to 1500 kW 4.10 5.88
Сhillers and reversible heat pumps with cooling capacity from 1500 kW to 2000 kW 4.10 6.33

* according to Bin UNI EN 14825, water 12/7 °C or water 23/18 °C, ƞ=2.5


Level 2 of the Ecodesign Directive (ENER LOT 21) – what is this and when comes into force?

At the beginning of 2021, approximately 40% of the refrigeration equipment with water cooling condensers and 65% with air cooling available on the EU market do not meet the requirements of the second level of the Ecodesign and, therefore, are not subject to sale from January 1, 2021. Replacing old equipment with ENER LOT 21 second-level equipment will increase the cost of the equipment itself and the entire project. ENER LOT 21 is a category that is largely related to commercial air conditioning and comfort cooling systems, as it covers eco-design requirements for air heating, cooling, high-temperature process chillers, and fan coils for systems over 12 kW. Importantly, ENER LOT 21 does not require manufacturers to publish energy efficiency markings for commercial systems over 12 kW, but manufacturers must publish energy efficiency data on their equipment online. New seasonal factors were put into circulation that more accurately describe the efficiency of the equipment:
for heating: ¼ s, h
for cooling: ¼ s, c

Which countries are required to comply with these EU standards?
Austria, Bulgaria, Great Britain, Hungary, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Finland, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Croatia, Estonia.