The European Union’s Energy Using Products (EuP) Directive came into force in July 2005 with Member States required to transpose it into their national laws by 11th August 2007.

The Directive otherwise known as the “Framework Directive for the setting of Eco-design requirements for Energy Using Products” is one of a number of laws aimed at reducing the environmental impact of products in the European Union. It creates a framework for the integration of various environmental aspects, such as: energy efficiency, hazardous substances, water consumption, noise emissions into the design of energy using products.

Companies will now have to include energy budgets into their product design.

The EU has defined 14 categories of products that have a significant environmental impact or an annual import volume exceeding 200,000 units per year. These products must comply with the directive by the deadline otherwise they will not be allowed on the market. The responsibility for conforming to the Directive lies with those who place the product on the EU market for the first time, whether it be the manufacturer, authorized representative or the importer. Once placed on the market in one country, the product may be freely circulated within the EU without further restriction by the legislation.

EuP - more responsible use of resources

The EuP Directive will significantly affect a manufacturer’s product development activities. It addresses the environmental impact of the product by examining the design aspects that can create significant adverse impacts across the entire life cycle of the product. These include the following life cycle phases:

  • Raw material selection and manufacturing packaging
  • Transport and distribution installation/maintenance
  • Usage phase end of life (end of its first use, recycling, reuse, until final disposal)

For each of these phases, the following environmental aspects need to be assessed:

  • Consumption of materials, energy, water
  • Emissions to air, water or soil
  • Anticipated pollution through noise, vibration, radiation, electromagnetic fields
  • Expected generation of waste material
  • Possibilities for reuse, recycling and material recovery

Although the use of energy is one of the main concerns it should be noted that the Directive addresses all environmental aspects of the product. Manufacturers must create an environmental profile of their product against the requirements of the legislation. They must then adapt their design to reduce the product’s environmental impact according to the identified parameters and store the results.

Conformance with EuP

The conformity assessment procedures will be specified within the implementing measures of the Directive. Manufacturers can choose to do the conformity assessment either by ecological product profiles or within a management system like ISO 14001 or EMAS.  

Implementing measures should be in place within the next two years which means that companies shouldn’t wait too long before beginning the process of examining their design processes and supply chains.

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