A new series of European standards addresses the material efficiency of energy-related products 

The transition towards a Circular Economy is widely considered as a necessary step to address the challenges related to the creation of a more sustainable economy. European Standards (ENs) are essential complementing tools that support the implementation of EU legislation, as well as the climate and energy targets, by promoting best practices, improving energy efficiency, safety and providing tools to optimize installations and systems.

In the field of Ecodesign (2009/125/EC) and Energy Labelling (2017/1369/EU), CEN and CENELEC produce European Standards that provide dedicated methods for measuring the energy performance of various energy-related products against the compulsory values and thresholds laid down in the Regulations adopted by the European Commission.

In the past, standardization work related to energy efficiency mainly focused on the energy efficiency of products during their use phase. After the publication of the Circular Economy Action Plan in 2015, the European Commission requested the three European Standardization Organizations – CEN, CENELEC and ETSI – to develop standards on material efficiency that would establish future ecodesign requirements on, amongst others, durability, reparability and recyclability of products, thus introducing a new focus on material efficiency during the desing phase.

In this context, CEN-CENELEC Joint Technical Committee 10 on Energy-related products - Material Efficiency Aspects for Ecodesign (CEN-CLC/JTC 10) developed a group of eight standards containing generic principles to consider when addressing the material efficiency of energy-related products, such as extending product lifetime, ability to reuse components or recycle materials from products at end-of-life, and use of reused components and/or recycled materials in products.

These aspects are more important than the recycling and recovery of materials, which should occur as a last resort, at the end of the product’s lifetime, after all other lifetime extension strategies have been applied.

The eight standards were published over the course of 2019 and 2020 by CEN-CLC/JTC 10, whose Secretariat is held by NEC, the Dutch Electrotechnical Committee. They are:

The most recent of this group of eight standards is EN 45553:2020, which was published on 10 July 2020. This standard focuses on how the ability of an energy-related product to be remanufactured can be assessed.

It also enables product-specific Technical Committees to draft standards on the assessment of the ability of an energy-related product to be remanufactured. In addition, it also sets a definition for the term remanufacturing, which is at the moment used interchangeably with refurbishing in some industry sectors.

For more information, please contact Mercedes MIRA COSTA.