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  • Feature Story

Energy Performance Testing: Not Only for Household Appliances

October 8, 2018

By: Elena Finocchi, Program Manager Performances, Appliances & HVAC

Hotel/Restaurant/Café (also known as HORECA, a commercial term used to identify the food service industry) is confirmed as a steady growth sector for 2017. In Europe about 36% of total family food consumption is spent outside the home, with significant differences between countries (e.g. Germany 30%, UK 47.6% and Ireland 59%).

This trend will increase the number of professional refrigerating appliances on the market and, even if they represent only a small portion of total appliances market, they have a big impact on energy consumption as they constantly draw power.

Within the Horizon 20/20 program, the aim of the climate-energy package is to drive consumers to a more environmentally friendly attitude. The hope is that this program will lead to purchasing more energy efficient products as a way of reducing energy demand and saving customers money on energy bills. The introduction of an energy labeling program for Professional Equipment also helps in this effort by enabling restaurateurs to better estimate energy costs and make more environmental friendly decision.

Since 2016 the following European Regulations on Energy Efficiency Measurement have been issued:

  • Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2015/1094 of 5 May 2015 supplementing Directive 2010/30/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council with regard to the energy labeling of professional refrigerated storage cabinets
  • Commission Regulation (EU) 2015/1095 of 5 May 2015 implementing Directive 2009/125/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council with regard to eco-design requirements for professional refrigerated storage cabinets, blast cabinets, condensing units and process chillers.

Products under scope are professional refrigerated storage cabinets and counters intended for the storage of foodstuffs or animal feed in non-household environments such as commercial kitchens, hospitals, canteens, preparation areas of bars, bakeries, ice-cream shops, institutional catering and similar. Commercial Refrigerators such as fridges or vending machines used for the storage and display of food, beverages and Ice cream in shops and supermarkets are excluded from this regulation.

Following the same principle as the one for household appliances, the energy label for professional products indicates the product class within an energy efficiency scale, settled by regulation; the class is defined by an Energy Efficiency Index (EEI) that is the relationship within the product energy consumption, calculated by laboratory tests, and its volume. Lower numbers indicate a higher energy class.

To stimulate energy awareness, contribute to innovation in energy efficiency and enable the industries which develop and produce the most energy efficient products to gain a competitive advantage, energy efficiency index limits have been set: since July 2016, when the regulations came into force, three different limits were set and the most restrictive will be effective from July 2019. Product with an energy index above this limit cannot be sold in the market.

Each energy label should be clearly visible on the product and will provide the following important information: the company/trade mark, the model, its energy efficiency class, the annual energy consumption in kWh, the net volume in liters of chilled and frozen compartments and the climate class (3, 4 or 5) together with the associated ambient temperature and relative humidity.

In this market framework, with a lack of testing capacity in the market as a result of the growing demand from manufacturers and the huge investment needed for the chamber that small producers can’t afford, UL found an opportunity to better serve the industry by building a new dedicated climatic chamber in the Gavirate Laboratory (In Gavirate, Italy) in which we will be able to perform testing.

As professional appliances have to work in higher stress environments than domestic appliances, the new testing room was designed with horizontal air flow and parameters of power, temperature, air circulation speed and humidity to guarantee the right testing condition. An ambient temperature range 10°C to 45°C , humidity up to 85 and more than 100 temperature sensors, dedicated electrical parameters, humidity and light sensors allow us great flexibility in testing all types of professional cabinets.

During the test, we simulate real-life use and measure the product’s energy consumption, as required by the standard, while keeping the required internal temperatures in each compartment in the declared climatic conditions. To simulate food loading, we equipped the chamber with more than 500kg of test packages and a dedicated modular doors and drawers opening rig that automatically opens the product during testing.

UL’s experienced engineers will support our partners performing tests according to identified standards or to personalized performance tests defined together with customers to evaluate specific needs.

As per above European Regulation requirements, we will enlarge our laboratory scope to the European test method EN 16825, Refrigerated storage cabinets and counters for professional use, classification, requirements and test conditions. We will also be able to conduct tests according to the following North America Standards for Commercial equipment (NA standards do not differ within Professional/Commercial products):

  • Mandatory DOE requirements – Uniform test method for the measurement of energy consumption of commercial refrigerators, freezers, and refrigerator-freezers 10 CFR Part 431 Subpart C
  • Voluntary ENERGY STAR® Program Requirements For Commercial Refrigerators and Freezers – Eligibility Criteria Version 4.0.

Our new chamber will give UL the flexibility to fulfill a demand for different markets (Europe & North America) on additional appliances categories (professional and commercial) easing global market access for our customers and strengthening our position on major domestic appliances.