One of the first industrial groups of products improved by ecodesign were power transformers. Transformers are an integral part of any power grid as they transmit, distribute and allow for the utilisation of electrical energy.

The energy performance of power transformers is being improved around the globe. In the EU alone, total losses from inefficiencies in 2008 amounted to 93.4 TWh per year, equivalent to almost 12% of the continent’s residential electricity consumption.

What’s the European Union doing?

A regulation covering this group was adopted in May 2014. The cost-effective improvement potential through more efficient design was estimated in about 16.2 TWh per year in 2025, which corresponds to 3.7 Mt of CO2 emissions.

A first stage of ecodesign requirements entered into force in 2015, with a further tier foreseen for 2021. The European Commission has completed a partial legislative review resulting in revised – but unambitious – requirements.

What does the Coolproducts campaign want?

  • Restrict the list of exemptions from the scope to avoid loopholes in the regulation;

  • Reconsider the regulatory concessions. The derogations based on costs or technical infeasibility fully undermine the political objective of the Ecodesign Directive;

  • Phase out pole-mounted transformers as this obsolete technology does not belong in the future efficient grids;

  • Introduce stricter limits for medium power transformers as the EU requirements are weaker compared to all other economies;

  • Set minimum performance requirements for small transformers.

Coolproducts technical input and position papers:

2018 – Final recommendations on Power Transformers – November

2017 – Coolproducts position paper on the possible Ecodesign revision of transformers

2017 – Technical contribution to draft review study report

2012 – Position on Working Document regarding the Ecodesign requirements on transformers

Last update: June 2019


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With the support of thr European Union (LIFE Programme and European COmmission). This work reflects the author's views and does not commit donors.