Eco Design (2009)

European Commission Enterprise and Industry

How Ecodesign can help the environment by making products smarter

Ecodesign Your Future

How ecodesign can help the environment by making products smarter
All products have an impact on the environment during their life-cycle spanning all phases from cradle to grave, such as the use of raw materials and natural resources, manufacturing, packaging, transport, disposal and recycling. More than 80% of the environmental impact of a product is determined at the design stage. Ecodesign implies taking into account all the environmental impacts of a product right from the earliest stage of design. This especially avoids uncoordinated product planning (for example, eliminating a toxic substance should not lead to increased energy consumption, which on balance could have a negative impact on the environment). The Ecodesign Directive provides a coherent and integrated framework which allows for setting compulsory ecodesign requirements for some products. For instance, the Ecodesign measure on standby requires that much domestic electrical and electronic equipment such as washing machines, televisions or personal computers do not consume more than 1W in off mode as of 2010, and not more than 0.5W as of 2013. However, such ecodesign requirements shall not lower the functionality of a product, its safety, or have a negative impact on consumer’s health and its affordability. A medical device, for example, should not be designed to consume less energy at the cost of quality or patient safety. The European Commission has developed a methodology to assess whether ecodesign requirements should apply to a given product, and if yes, to identify which ecodesign requirements are appropriate (see also point 4). For more information on this Methodology for the Ecodesign of Energy-Using Products (MEEUP), please see website of DG Enterprise and Industry:...