Consumers are used to seeing the familiar “A to G” labels when they buy any electrical appliance, but this scheme is now going to be extended to freezers and fridges in professional catering environments.
The new eco-design scheme means that professional refrigeration units sold in the EU have to have minimum energy performance thresholds. Any fridge or freezer using energy at a rate higher than the lower threshold will not be saleable in the EU as of July 1st 2016. This directive is going to apply to all imported refrigeration units, and equally to all units manufactured within the EU.
The idea is to drive energy-efficient and eco-friendly design, and this will be a continuing process with standards being tightened every year. That means that appliances that score A to begin with, will need to score A+++ to retain the highest rating by July 2019.
Display Cabinets Currently Exempt
The regulation is not going to apply to display cabinets at present, however it will cover storage cabinets that are for refrigerating both human and animal food. All items powered by mains electric are covered, but some units that are not powered by electricity are exempt. If the refrigeration cabinet is only used for thawing, or for “saladettes”, it is not covered. In case you don’t use them in your business, a saladette is a refrigerated counter used for displaying chilled salads. If you’re in any doubt about how the directive applies, talk to an expert on catering refrigeration equipment at https://www.fridgefreezerdirect.co.uk/.
Brexit Unlikely to Change This
There is still no indication as to what will happen to regulations like this one when Article 50 is triggered and the Brexit process starts. However it would be unwise to bet on the regulation being dropped, as the A to G scheme is already well understood in consumer markets in the UK and there seems little reason to create a different system for commercial refrigeration.
The Foodservice Consultants Society International (FCSI) points out that ovens, grills, hobs and dishwashers are also due to be brought into the guidance.
The Society has pointed to new products for refrigeration that are more eco-friendly. Some of these have very low global warming and ozone depleting effects, and equipment buyers should ask about these when procuring new catering equipment.