Analysis of the changes occurring in the Regulations 2019/2020 and 2019/2015
Since the European Union exists in its current form, i.e. since 2009, one of its main objectives has been concern for the environment. For this reason, among others, it formulates regulations requiring manufacturers to use such technologies that will be ecological and thus most beneficial to our planet. From time to time, as knowledge and technological progress advance, the European Union evaluates its regulations and adapts them to the current situation. In practice, this often means that requirements are made stricter or even more numerous. However, this is not a sign of excessive bureaucracy, but of an awareness of how strongly modern industry affects the environment, which must be protected from pollution for future generations. A good example is the decision of the European Union in 2012, when through its regulation it banned the production and import of traditional light bulbs in the member states. This was directly related to the spread of energy saving light bulb technology, i.e. fluorescent lamps, halogen bulbs and then the so-called LEDs, which consume less current than traditional light sources. They also have a much lower energy loss factor, as they do not convert electricity into heat to the same extent as traditional light bulbs. In this way, the European Community wanted not only to reduce energy consumption, but also to significantly reduce the amount of waste going into landfill, as the new light sources had an incomparably longer lifespan than traditional ones.
First Directive 2005/32/EC and Regulations 2019/2020 and 2019/2015
The first directive related to the topic of electronic equipment, including lighting in the context of ecology and consumption of natural resources was Directive 2005/32/EC. It was in this document that the term Ecodesign was first formulated. Although this directive is no longer in force today, it cannot be ignored when discussing the requirements related to Ecodesign. To some extent, this Directive has been continually evolving through successive regulations. Ecodesign is the term used to describe the energy efficiency rating of products related to electricity and requires them to be labelled accordingly. It applies to electrical household appliances and consumer electronics, as well as light sources and luminaires. As early as 1 September 2021, new requirements for the energy classification of electrical appliances, including light sources, will take effect. These requirements are contained in Regulation 2019/2020, which replaces the previous Regulation 1194/2012. The new classification system will entail significant changes to the way the electrical equipment and lighting listed in the regulation is labelled. However, these are not the only changes that will come into force with the arrival of autumn. We will try to explain them in this article. Every manufacturer, importer and seller of the above mentioned products is obliged not only to familiarise themselves with the new EU requirements, but also to comply with them under penalty of a fine.
What new the 2019/2020 and 2019/2015 Regulations bring us
The changes will mainly concern three areas:
- energy efficiency
- functional requirements
- information and labelling requirements for professional users and end-users
Let us begin with the changes relating to the energy efficiency of electrical equipment and lighting. EU legislators have rightly pointed out that the current system of classifying appliances according to their energy efficiency is becoming less and less adequate for today’s consumers. This is due to the rapid development of technology. In the past, to choose an appliance that consumed less and was more efficient than others, it was enough to look for the A+, A++ or A+++ label. If a product was not classified as an energy-efficient appliance, it obviously did not have these labels. However, today practically all electrical appliances available on the market are labelled with these marks. It is slowly becoming impossible for the average consumer to distinguish which product is technologically superior to the others in this respect. In order to open the way for new, greener solutions and thus encourage consumers to reach for more environmentally friendly appliances, the European Union is changing the classification of energy efficiency. This incentive is also directed to manufacturers to look for new even more ecological solutions. Appliances marked A+ will be placed in group G or F, while those marked A++ so far will be placed in group C or D. From the 1st of September only those appliances that belong to the most advanced group of appliances in terms of energy efficiency will be marked with the letter A. Please note, however, that only the labelling itself will change, not the appliances. The look of the labels will also be changed. You can find more information about this on our website.
It can be said that the European Union is “raising the bar” on energy efficiency requirements for electronic equipment and lighting. This means that some of the eclectic appliances listed in the regulation will from now on be tested in a different way. This is in order to obtain more reliable measurements. For MLS LED and OLED lighting, for example, it is now mandatory to test the light amplitude, i.e. the probability of flickering and the so-called stroboscopic effect. Also the power of the device / lighting in the so-called Pon-mode calculated in watts, must not exceed the maximum permitted power, i.e. Ponmax (in W) The regulation defines Ponmax as a function of the declared useful luminous flux (in lm) and the declared colour rendering index CRI, which can be expressed by the formula: Ponmax = C × (L + Φuse/(F × η)) × R. These are clear novelties that were not included in the previous regulation.
Regulation 2019/2020 also formulates detailed requirements for the correct labelling of lighting products, as well as how to access the technical information of the device. Thus, it imposes many new obligations on manufacturers and distributors in this regard. From 1 September 2021, the packaging of the above-mentioned products should obligatorily include, in addition to the energy label, a QR code generated during the registration of the product in the EPREL database. This is an important change. As a reminder, the EPREL database is a collection of data created at the request of the European Union. It consists of two parts:
- A closed database for market surveillance, which is used by authorities such as Office for Competition and Consumer Protection, OEC and Trade Inspection. Thanks to the data contained in this base, they can monitor the accuracy of energy labels and verify them with the energy efficiency declared by the manufacturer of a given product.
- A public database to which all consumers have access. They can search the data set for energy labels and product information sheets.
Until now, manufacturers and distributors were only obliged to register their products in EPREL with their technical documentation. Now they will have to generate the aforementioned QR code for each product. This should help consumers navigate the database even faster and more efficiently and find specific issues (information). In addition, a certain novelty introduced by Regulation 2019/2020 are guidelines as to what should appear on the front and back of the product packaging.
How to correctly register a device in the EPREL database
As a Research and Development Centre, we have been helping manufacturers and suppliers for years to bring safe and compliant lighting and electrical equipment to the market. We carry out a number of necessary tests and analysis, which allow to verify the products in terms of European Union requirements. We are aware that official wording may not be easy to interpret. Navigating through this maze can be very confusing. This is why we provide practical training on how to register products in the EPREL database. Step by step we go through all the necessary steps with our customers, providing knowledge and professional support.