New energy label is big change for refrigerated vending machines in EU and UK

Feb. 8, 2021
Ecodesign regulations go into effect March 1

The new energy consumption regulations that go into effect March 1 in the European Union and United Kingdom will ban the sale of the least efficient refrigerated vending machines and require all new chilled machines to display an official energy label.

For the first time, according to the European Vending & Coffee Service Association (EVA), refrigerated vending machines will have an official energy rating – similar to those already displayed on TVs and washing machines in Europe – and be required to display this for vending customers and operators, while complementary energy performance targets will progressively ban inefficient machines and continue the drive by manufacturers to make vending machines more sustainable. 

The EVA withdrew its own Energy Measurement Protocol (EMP) for refrigerated machines in July 2019 to help prepare the industry for the changes the new regulations bring. The EMP, developed by EVA’s technical experts, enabled manufacturers to test and compare similar machines and has been credited with helping manufacturers introduce a raft of energy-saving measures for more than a decade. The new regulations and the official energy consumption standard EN 50597 go beyond this previous voluntary approach and introduce the most common refrigerated vending machines to stringent new targets and obligations.

Unveiled in 2009, the Ecodesign Directive provides consistent EU-wide rules for improving the environmental performance household and commercial appliances. The directive sets out minimum mandatory requirements for the energy efficiency of these products. 

At the time of its withdrawal, the EMP often produced an unofficial energy rating from test results for refrigerated vending machines of A or ‘A+, EVA said. The new official energy label – based on a A-G ratings – will not permit any refrigerated vending machine to be better than a class C at its introduction and has been designed so that most machines cannot be a class A until at least 10 years from now.

Due to inherent design differences among machine types, for example, between closed-front machines and glass-front machines, various model classes will typically have different benchmark results, EVA explained. Refrigerated drum and carousel machines are not expected to achieve better than the lowest rating of class G, while can and bottle closed-front machines, for instance, could be rated class D upon the label introduction.

EVA warned that new regulations may have huge consequences for procurement with many governmental and institutional buying guides currently requiring machines rated class B or better. This is simply no longer possible, the association said, and any guides not updated will need to do so immediately.

As manufacturers must enter all machine technical details and energy performance on a combined European product database–- with part of this available publicly – the best performing machines will be able to be easily viewed.

Ecodesign not only places targets on energy efficiency of machines but regulates a lot of “end of life” measures, such as accessibility and replacement of parts. As of March 1, manufacturers are required to make certain spare parts available for eight years.

EVA noted that an important practical change is that both vending machine operators and manufacturers must ensure that only authorized information is displayed for marketing and promotional purposes. “Claims such as ‘machine previously rated as class A++’ should absolutely not be promoted and could lead to enforcement measures,” EVA underscored.

The UK will introduce parallel regulations imminently for the Great Britain market, while Northern Ireland will apply the EU regulations, with the main visible difference in requirements being the flag on the label itself.

The EVA and its technical experts have been working with the EU Commission on these files since 2013 and has published guidance for members on how to comply with the new Regulations and complete the database.

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