Different types of commercial refrigerators and freezers are available on the market today, such as beverage coolers, refrigerated vending machines, display cabinets in supermarkets, etc. Mostly used in supermarkets and grocery stores, they consume a substantial amount of energy: 85 TWh in the European Union in 2013 according to the European Commission, corresponding to over 3% of total EU final electricity consumption.
Fortunately, very affordable technologies to increase energy efficiency exist: the physical closing of open cabinets saves on average 40% of energy annually, while energy management demand devices that would reduce energy consumption (e.g. lighting, power of components) when the fridge is not being used (night time, weekends) could save between 20 and 50%. Up to now, these options have not been systematically exploited.
The reasons for this are multiple. Data shows that, currently, the purchase decision is driven by the acquisition price, with little consideration for life-cycle costs. Moreover, there is an issue with split incentives, where the retailer covering the energy running costs of the machines is rarely the owner of the device.
What’s the EU doing?
The Commission decided to encourage the uptake of these new solutions by removing the least-performant products from the market through an Ecodesign measure, and bringing transparency on the products performance thanks to an energy label.
Draft measures were presented to the Ecodesign Consultation Forum in July 2014.
They are expected to gain impressive annual electricity savings of up to 58 TWh by 2030, enough to offset the electricity production of almost 25 medium-size coal power units.
The development of the measures has been stalled under Juncker’s presidency, without any justification. They are now due to be adopted by the end of 2018.
What does the Coolproducts campaign want?
Tighten the proposed Ecodesign and Energy Label measures. Coolproducts is concerned about a clear lack of ambition of the 2014 proposal, which shall now be corrected.
No action is proposed on the use of refrigerants. The use of low-GWP refrigerants leading to environmental benefits without affecting energy efficiency should be encouraged.
The Commission proposes end-of-life requirements which, apart from easier recovery and recycling, will increase reparability and longevity of products. We have recommendations on how to strengthen them.