The world has changed in so many ways over the past few years that it would be difficult to consider all the effects simultaneously. However, two key topics have risen quickly and with global resonance: the need for more conscientious energy production and use and the importance of healthy living and workspaces on our overall well-being.
These elements have impacted business and social dynamics globally, driving behavior changes at domestic and professional levels. Many people are now more sensitive to how much energy they consume and whether the environment we live and operate in has appropriate conditions.
While each country determines the appropriate regulations for its citizens, many have taken action to improve energy consumption and create healthier indoor environments. This can be as simple as reminding people of the value of selecting a more efficient washing machine or as concrete as creating laws and regulations.
An example of action in this direction is the United Kingdom’s (U.K.) expansion of the Energy Technology List (ETL) scheme. The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, which provides details of energy-saving products for businesses and the public sector, created the ETL and update it monthly. Offering a list of products provides consumers with visibility about the expected energy consumption and encourages manufacturers to consider efficiency when developing future models.
Recently, the ETL also listed professional food service equipment (PFSE), including combination steam ovens, convection ovens, under-counter dishwashers and hood-type dishwashers. These dishwashers are now listed next to professional refrigerated cabinets (display and storage), which were already part of the program.
To understand more about this program, read the interviews with Tom Lock, consulting director at ICF International, speaking on behalf of the ETL, and Andy Threlfall, Foodservice Equipment Association (FEA) technical and policy director.
Questions to Tom Lock, consulting director at ICF, speaking on behalf of the ETL
Can you please tell us more about the goals the ETL program has? What would be the future evolution of the program?
“The scheme has made it a priority over the last two years to develop and launch energy efficiency performance criteria for the technologies that exist in professional kitchens — a key part of its commitment to support the U.K. government’s net zero goals — and the scheme is keen to drive this forward in the future with consultation on the introduction of the fifth and sixth sub-technologies on the ETL (hobs and grills) as a priority.
Now that the first tranche of criteria has launched, the ETL, the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero and the FEA are keen to see how the market responds, from encouraging manufacturers to submit applications to get products verified and accredited to marketing the scheme to buyers to increase adoption of the energy-efficient versions of many of the products they need for their operations.
So far, we are pleased to say we have seen positive signs from manufacturers of their intentions to submit applications and are supporting them through the application process.
Finally, if proposals in the government’s public sector food and catering policy consultation on Government Buying Standards for Food and Catering Services are implemented, it will be mandatory for the central government to procure professional ovens and dishwashers that meet the criteria in the ETL. This would be a potential game-changer.”
Questions to Andy Threlfall, technical and policy director, Foodservice Equipment Association (FEA)
How have FEA associates welcomed the PFSE inclusion in the ETL? What are the expectations from the ETL program?
“The FEA represents and supports the needs of U.K. food service equipment manufacturers and suppliers and has close ties with our EFCEM European counterparts. We are fully involved and support the development of standards and regulations.
The principles we work toward are information, involvement and influence. When the U.K. government announced that it was looking at including professional food service equipment in the ETL scheme, the FEA and its members sprang into action and were actively involved with stakeholder feedback. The FEA found that its members were keen to be involved with the process, and members of the product group forums worked with the ETL scheme operators to assist with developing the testing standards used.
Many types of professional food service equipment fall outside the scope of the eco-design directive, and though most manufacturers are chasing higher efficiencies, there is currently no “A to G” energy classification they can shout about. The addition of these product groups for inclusion in the ETL scheme is encouraging to manufacturers, as this is a way of displaying their energy-efficient products. We have seen a lot of interest, and members are keen to have their products listed. UL Solutions has kindly offered support to our members so they can use UL Solutions testing facilities to carry out testing to the required standards. We look forward to additional product groups like hobs and grills, which will be added. We anticipate further discussions and meetings with the product group forums to assist with stakeholder feedback later. We expect to see that designers and specifiers are specifying products listed in the ETL register to select energy-efficient equipment for their project schemes in the U.K.”
Why UL Solutions
In this context, UL Solutions has been collaborating and supporting the FEA to explore the dynamics of the ETL program. Our laboratories (accredited to ISO/IEC 17025 by an accreditor that is a signatory of the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) are capable of testing the performance of professional refrigeration equipment according to the BS EN 16825/BS EN ISO 23953-2/BS EN 16902 standards, and we can test ovens according to the DIN 18873 standard. All of these standards are reference requirements called out by the testing protocols established by the ETL.
In addition to performance testing to BS EN IEC 63136 for professional dishwashers, UL Solutions assesses the appliances to EN 17735: 2021 and NSF/ANSI 3. These last two standards — alternative options in the ETL protocol — lay out the requirements for hygiene verification. While NSF/ANSI 3 relates more to temperature, EN 17735 involves tests using bioindicators and chemical analysis, for which UL Solutions has state-of-the-art facilities and competencies.
Offering an extensive suite of performance and safety services, UL Solutions supports manufacturers seeking business continuity in the U.K. and European Union (EU). As an Approved Body for gas-fired appliance assessments in the U.K. and a Notified Body in the EU, UL Solutions can provide continuous support for customers needing the U.K. Conformity Assessed (UKCA) marking, CE marking and other global market access services.