Editor’s view: Clarity in the buying process may be nearer than you think

Andrew Seymour grayscale

Imagine a time where the foodservice equipment you buy comes with a label so that you know exactly where it ranks in terms of energy efficiency. No more concerns about exaggerated claims to contest or confusion caused by smoke and mirrors.

Well, for a number of mainstream refrigeration products this prospect is not actually far away. Equipment buyers may or may not be aware that for the last few years, a working group from the commercial refrigeration industry has been working with Brussels policy-makers to facilitate a set of uniform standards that will allow this to happen.

It is a contentious topic, fraught with numerous technical complexities, but the date when minimum energy performance ratings are enforced in Europe grows a step closer every day. As things stand, from 1 July 2016, manufacturers of professional refrigerated storage will be required to place an energy label on their appliances. The standard which they must use for testing has been published for public review by CEN the European standards body. This concludes on 15 April 2015.

Initial products covered by the legislation will include professional refrigerated storage cabinets, such as upright cabinets and open-fronted merchandisers. However, separate work is also ongoing regarding the development of labelling requirements for refrigerated display cases.

The new requirements are designed to drive energy efficiency and environmentally-friendly design, and will apply to all manufacturers and importers who sell and market products within the EU. It will be based on an A-G grade system, with A denoting the most energy-saving products, much like there already is in the domestic refrigeration market. To further improve energy efficiency the energy thresholds are set to be tightened at yearly intervals. Class A+ will be introduced on 1 January 2018 and A++ on 1 July 2019.

Buyers of commercial refrigeration should welcome the introduction of energy labeling and MEP standards. It will undoubtedly permit purchasers to distinguish the products not only by price, but by comparing performances and energy efficiency as well. And with the European Commission investigating the feasibility of energy standards for commercial cooking and warewashing equipment, too, buyers can look forward to far greater clarity in the buying process in the years ahead.

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