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  • Feature Story

Keeping Energy Efficiency a Top Priority

June 28, 2018

By: Rolando Aries / UL Engineering Leader

In an increasingly energy consumptive market, governments and manufacturers alike are working intensively to reduce energy demands, gas emissions and costs. Additionally, consumers are expecting to find more energy efficient options. As a result of this new dynamic, manufacturers must remain constantly aware of changing requirements and standards for the appliances they produce.

One of the most power-hungry household appliances is the refrigerator. To help manufacturers develop and market products that meet the needs of today’s more energy-efficiency conscious customer base, three new international energy efficiency standards were published in February of 2015. These standards are:

  1. IEC 62552-1:2015 Household refrigerating appliances – Characteristics and test methods – Part 1: General requirements
  2. IEC 62552-2:2015 Household refrigerating appliances – Characteristics and test methods – Part 2: Performance requirements
  3. IEC 62552-3:2015 Household refrigerating appliances – Characteristics and test methods – Part 3: Energy consumption and volume

New and critical changes were introduced to update the previous edition, IEC 62552:2007. These changes are detailed below:

  1. The consumption test is now conducted at two ambient temperatures: 32°C and 16°C. The previous edition involved only a temperature of 32°C or 25°C, depending on the climatic class.
  2. Product setup must be conducted during the consumption test without “thermal mass” in the freezer. The previous standard edition of 2007 allowed for thermal mass in the freezer.

At UL, we understand that manufacturers will face additional development work to become compliant with these new requirements as new projects and product platforms must anticipate these new test conditions. Maintaining a high level of energy efficiency remains as the central goal, but it will now be measured according to these new methods.

The ultimate goal of these standards is to highlight technological innovations introduced by the industry and to support the energy efficiency development of products already on the market by adding a new labelling system representative of performance. Last but not least, these new standards will be adopted by many more countries than the prior versions were, which will allow a more uniform and balanced development of industrial platforms.

The table below summarizes the adoption status of the new IEC 62552: 2015 standards in many countries which have already introduced, or are introducing, energy efficiency and/or labelling requirements.

In the fields of energy efficiency and “energy class,” European manufacturers must also face the EN standard harmonization, which means the transition from IEC to EN standards with specific deviations for the European market. Today, the EN 62552:2013 standard, used in eco-design, is still based on IEC 62552:2007 as it has not yet adopted the February 2015 IEC update.

The test method for the new EN standard, which is still under discussion and without an adoption date, will mirror the European regulation for energetic classification. The new European regulation, EU 2017/1369, scheduled for publication on July 28, 2018, establishes a framework for the new energetic label and abrogates the Directive 2010/30/UE.

UL, with its global range of laboratories and a strong team of engineers, is ready to globally support those manufacturers looking for a partner in the evaluation of refrigerator energy performance. Completing this evaluation with UL can help manufacturers reduce time to market while gaining an essential competitive advantage.