Page 11 - European Energy Innovation - Spring 2016 publication
P. 11

Spring 2016 European Energy Innovation    11

                                                    ENERGY LABELLING

the most easily understood and it         needs to be achieved this time.           To improve surveillance the draft
seems that there will be an agreement                                               legislation on labelling proposes the
to (eventually) revert back to it - this  The emphasis on Lowest Life Cycle         creation of a pan-European database
improved clarity will almost certainly    Cost (LLCC) also needs to be              for products that are sold with an EU
improve consumer understanding and        reconsidered, though we may perceive      energy label. The premise behind
purchasing behaviour.                     this direction to be the best course      this idea is that it will assist market
                                          of action today, it may preclude          surveillance authorities to access
However, perhaps the most important       channels that offer better life cycle     the information they need, as well
aspect of the rescaling should be         costs in the long run. Instead, allowing  as ensure that a business only has
ensuring that the top energy classes      more focus on equivalent costs and        to provide the information once to
are not reached too early. They must      potential learning curves would not       the database rather than responding
remain empty as an incentive for          only offer more flexibility but it can    to numerous requests. However,
manufacturers to develop new and          also extend possibilities for greater     this proposal has triggered intense
innovative products. This is why it is    technological advancement over time.      political debate. Selected parties on
important to develop a system where       The legislation must remain cognisant     the left want to turn it into a do-it-all
we consider the future evolution of       of the extent to which innovation is      database of sales data; resource use;
a product category over the longer-       possible within a product category.       and anything else they can think of.
term development cycle. In simple         If the technologically reasonable         This has benefits; the creation of this
terms this would mean introducing a       limits of energy efficiency innovation    dataset could enable data mining so
label today where, say, no products       has been reached, then categories         that consumers searching for products
are in the top one or two categories      shouldn't necessarily be marked           can do so not only on purchase price,
(A or A and B) and are unlikely to be     down - at the very least other factors    but also on energy consumption or
populated by more than 25% - 35% of       such as resource efficiency should be     even costs over time. However, the
the products available on the market      considered.                               other side of the argument is that the
within the next 10 years. Achieving an                                              idea of having such a vast amount of
A therefore offers a clear incentive to   An issue that has been raised is a        sensitive commercial material held on
develop a product and invest in the       number of products that do not            servers at the European Commission
innovation process.                       comply with eco design requirements       or with market surveillance authorities
                                          are still in circulation. The lack of     is a step too far. Further, it would be
Beyond the label we also need to          market surveillance has stymied           remiss of the group not to explore
look at what more can be done within      the motivation of manufacturers to        the cost implications of creating such
the legislation to improve the market     innovate. The effect of this is that      a database, both in monetary terms
for energy using products as well as      manufacturers lose confidence in          and time. It is without question that
boost the innovation potential of the     the system and therefore the energy       market surveillance has to improve,
product categories. Therefore we need     efficiency gains (and costs savings for   or else there will not be an incentive
to identify and optimise the regulation   consumers) do not materialise in the      for manufacturers to provide the
- which will include focussing on         volume that they should. This requires    innovation required to achieve the
ambition; the participation of industry   not only greater efforts by the market    high energy efficiency ratings. Though
in the process; and improving market      surveillance authorities in the EU's      a product database provides a solution
surveillance. Finally we will also need   28 Member States but also requires        to this and certainly makes the job of
to provide the long term stability        improvements to the legal terms for       surveillance authorities easier; we must
and predictability of the regulatory      following up on non-compliance as         carefully consider all possible options
process, which given the number of        well as specific clauses related to       and guarantee that commercially
revisions to this legislation to-date,    defeat devices.                           sensitive data is never put at risk. l
   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16