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Directive 2005/32/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (repealed)Show full title

Directive 2005/32/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 July 2005 establishing a framework for the setting of ecodesign requirements for energy-using products and amending Council Directive 92/42/EEC and Directives 96/57/EC and 2000/55/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (repealed)

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Directive 2005/32/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council

of 6 July 2005

establishing a framework for the setting of ecodesign requirements for energy-using products and amending Council Directive 92/42/EEC and Directives 96/57/EC and 2000/55/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (repealed)


Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community, and in particular Article 95 thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the Commission,

Having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee(1),

Acting in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 251 of the Treaty(2),


(1) The disparities between the laws or administrative measures adopted by the Member States in relation to the ecodesign of energy-using products can create barriers to trade and distort competition in the Community and may thus have a direct impact on the establishment and functioning of the internal market. The harmonisation of national laws is the only means to prevent such barriers to trade and unfair competition.

(2) Energy-using products (EuPs) account for a large proportion of the consumption of natural resources and energy in the Community. They also have a number of other important environmental impacts. For the vast majority of product categories available on the Community market, very different degrees of environmental impact can be noted though they provide similar functional performances. In the interest of sustainable development, continuous improvement in the overall environmental impact of those products should be encouraged, notably by identifying the major sources of negative environmental impacts and avoiding transfer of pollution, when this improvement does not entail excessive costs.

(3) The ecodesign of products is a crucial factor in the Community strategy on Integrated Product Policy. As a preventive approach, designed to optimise the environmental performance of products, while maintaining their functional qualities, it provides genuine new opportunities for manufacturers, for consumers and for society as a whole.

(4) Energy efficiency improvement — with one of the available options being more efficient end use of electricity — is regarded as contributing substantially to the achievement of greenhouse gas emission targets in the Community. Electricity demand is the fastest growing energy end use category and is projected to grow within the next 20 to 30 years, in the absence of any policy action to counteract this trend. A significant reduction in energy consumption as suggested by the Commission in its European Climate Change Programme (ECCP) is possible. Climate change is one of the priorities of the Sixth Community Environment Action Programme, laid down by Decision No 1600/2002/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council(3). Energy saving is the most cost-effective way to increase security of supply and reduce import dependency. Therefore, substantial demand side measures and targets should be adopted.

(5) Action should be taken during the design phase of EuPs, since it appears that the pollution caused during a product's life cycle is determined at that stage, and most of the costs involved are committed then.

(6) A coherent framework for the application of Community ecodesign requirements for EuPs should be established with the aim of ensuring the free movement of those products which comply and of improving their overall environmental impact. Such Community requirements should respect the principles of fair competition and international trade.

(7) Ecodesign requirements should be set bearing in mind the goals and priorities of the Sixth Community Environment Action Programme, including as appropriate applicable goals of the relevant thematic strategies of that Programme.

(8) This Directive seeks to achieve a high level of protection for the environment by reducing the potential environmental impact of EuPs, which will ultimately be beneficial to consumers and other end-users. Sustainable development also requires proper consideration of the health, social and economic impact of the measures envisaged. Improving the energy efficiency of products contributes to the security of the energy supply, which is a precondition of sound economic activity and therefore of sustainable development.

(9) A Member State deeming it necessary to maintain national provisions on grounds of major needs relating to the protection of the environment, or to introduce new ones based on new scientific evidence relating to the protection of the environment on grounds of a problem specific to that Member State arising after the adoption of the applicable implementing measure, may do so following the conditions laid down in Article 95(4), (5) and (6) of the Treaty, that provides for a prior notification to and approval from the Commission.

(10) In order to maximise the environmental benefits from improved design it may be necessary to inform consumers about the environmental characteristics and performance of EuPs and to advise them about how to use products in a manner which is environmentally friendly.

(11) The approach set out in the Green Paper on Integrated Product Policy, which is a major innovative element of the Sixth Community Environment Action Programme, aims to reduce the environmental impacts of products across the whole of their life cycle. Considering at the design stage a product's environmental impact throughout its whole life cycle has a high potential to facilitate environmental improvement in a cost-effective way. There should be sufficient flexibility to enable this factor to be integrated in product design whilst taking account of technical, functional and economic considerations.

(12) Although a comprehensive approach to environmental performance is desirable, greenhouse gas mitigation through increased energy efficiency should be considered a priority environmental goal pending the adoption of a working plan.

(13) It may be necessary and justified to establish specific quantified ecodesign requirements for some products or environmental aspects thereof in order to ensure that their environmental impact is minimised. Given the urgent need to contribute to the achievement of the commitments in the framework of the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and without prejudice to the integrated approach promoted in this Directive, some priority should be given to those measures with a high potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions at low cost. Such measures can also contribute to a sustainable use of resources and constitute a major contribution to the 10-year framework of programmes on sustainable production and consumption agreed at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in September 2002.

(14) As a general principle, the energy consumption of EuPs in stand-by or off-mode should be reduced to the minimum necessary for their proper functioning.

(15) While the best-performing products or technologies available on the market, including on international markets, should be taken as reference, the level of ecodesign requirements should be established on the basis of technical, economic and environmental analysis. Flexibility in the method for establishing the level of requirements can make swift improvement of environmental performance easier. Interested parties involved should be consulted and cooperate actively in this analysis. The setting of mandatory measures requires proper consultation of the parties involved. Such consultation may highlight the need for a phased introduction or transitional measures. The introduction of interim targets increases the predictability of the policy, allows for accommodating product development cycles and facilitates long term planning for interested parties.

(16) Priority should be given to alternative courses of action such as self-regulation by the industry where such action is likely to deliver the policy objectives faster or in a less costly manner than mandatory requirements. Legislative measures may be needed where market forces fail to evolve in the right direction or at an acceptable speed.

(17) Self-regulation, including voluntary agreements offered as unilateral commitments by industry, can provide for quick progress due to rapid and cost-effective implementation, and allows for flexible and appropriate adaptation to technological options and market sensitivities.

(18) For the assessment of voluntary agreements or other self-regulation measures presented as alternatives to implementing measures, information on at least the following issues should be available: openness of participation, added value, representativeness, quantified and staged objectives, involvement of civil society, monitoring and reporting, cost-effectiveness of administering a self-regulatory initiative, sustainability.

(19) Chapter 6 of the Commission's ‘Communication on Environmental Agreements at Community level within the Framework of the Action Plan on the Simplification and Improvement of the Regulatory Environment’ could provide useful guidance when assessing self-regulation by industry in the context of this Directive.

(20) This Directive should also encourage the integration of ecodesign in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and very small firms. Such integration could be facilitated by wide availability of and easy access to information relating to the sustainability of their products.

(21) EuPs complying with the ecodesign requirements laid down in implementing measures to this Directive should bear the ‘CE’ marking and associated information, in order to enable them to be placed on the internal market and move freely. The rigorous enforcement of implementing measures is necessary to reduce the environmental impact of regulated EuPs and to ensure fair competition.

(22) When preparing implementing measures and its working plan the Commission should consult Member States' representatives as well as interested parties concerned with the product group, such as industry, including SMEs and craft industry, trade unions, traders, retailers, importers, environmental protection groups and consumer organisations.

(23) When preparing implementing measures, the Commission should also take due account of existing national environmental legislation, in particular concerning toxic substances, which Member States have indicated that they consider should be preserved, without reducing the existing and justified levels of protection in the Member States.

(24) Regard should be given to the modules and rules intended for use in technical harmonisation Directives set out in Council Decision 93/465/EEC of 22 July 1993 concerning the modules for the various phases of the conformity assessment procedures and the rules for the affixing and use of the CE conformity marking, which are intended to be used in the technical harmonisation directives(4).

(25) Surveillance authorities should exchange information on the measures envisaged within the scope of this Directive with a view to improving surveillance of the market. Such cooperation should make the utmost use of electronic means of communication and relevant Community programmes. The exchange of information on environmental life cycle performance and on the achievements of design solutions should be facilitated. The accumulation and dissemination of the body of knowledge generated by the ecodesign efforts of manufacturers is one of the crucial benefits of this Directive.

(26) A competent body is usually a public or private body, designated by the public authorities, and presenting the necessary guarantees for impartiality and availability of technical expertise for carrying out verification of the product with regard to its compliance with the applicable implementing measures.

(27) Noting the importance of avoiding non-compliance, Member States should ensure that the necessary means are available for effective market surveillance.

(28) In respect of training and information on ecodesign for SMEs, it may be appropriate to consider accompanying activities.

(29) It is in the interest of the functioning of the internal market to have standards which have been harmonised at Community level. Once the reference to such a standard has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union, compliance with it should raise a presumption of conformity with the corresponding requirements set out in the implementing measure adopted on the basis of this Directive, although other means of demonstrating such conformity should be permitted.

(30) One of the main roles of harmonised standards should be to help manufacturers in applying the implementing measures adopted under this Directive. Such standards could be essential in establishing measuring and testing methods. In the case of generic ecodesign requirements harmonised standards could contribute considerably to guiding manufacturers in establishing the ecological profile of their products in accordance with the requirements of the applicable implementing measure. These standards should clearly indicate the relationship between their clauses and the requirements dealt with. The purpose of harmonised standards should not be to fix limits for environmental aspects.

(31) For the purpose of definitions used in this Directive it is useful to refer to relevant international standards such as ISO 14040.

(32) This Directive is in accordance with certain principles for the implementation of the new approach as set out in the Council Resolution of 7 May 1985 on a new approach to technical harmonisation and standards(5) and of making reference to harmonised European standards. The Council Resolution of 28 October 1999 on the role of standardisation in Europe(6) recommended that the Commission should examine whether the New Approach principle could be extended to sectors not yet covered as a means of improving and simplifying legislation wherever possible.

(33) This Directive is complementary to existing Community instruments such as Council Directive 92/75/EEC of 22 September 1992 on the indication by labelling and standard product information of the consumption of energy and other resources by household appliances(7), Regulation (EC) No 1980/2000 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 July 2000 on a revised Community eco-label award scheme(8), Regulation (EC) No 2422/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 November 2001 on a Community energy efficiency labelling programme for office equipment(9), Directive 2002/96/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 January 2003 on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE)(10), Directive 2002/95/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 January 2003 on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment(11) and Council Directive 76/769/EEC of 27 July 1976 on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States relating to restrictions on the marketing and use of certain dangerous substances and preparations(12). Synergies between this Directive and the existing Community instruments should contribute to increasing their respective impacts and building coherent requirements for manufacturers to apply.

(34) Since Council Directive 92/42/EEC of 21 May 1992 on efficiency requirements for new hot-water boilers fired with liquid or gaseous fuels(13), Directive 96/57/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 September 1996 on energy efficiency requirements for household electric refrigerators, freezers and combinations thereof(14) and Directive 2000/55/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 September 2000 on energy efficiency requirements for ballasts for fluorescent lighting(15) already contain provisions for the revision of the energy efficiency requirements, they should be integrated into the present framework.

(35) Directive 92/42/EEC provides for a star rating system intended to ascertain the energy performance of boilers. Since Member States and the industry agree that the star rating system has proved not to deliver the expected result, Directive 92/42/EEC should be amended to open the way for more effective schemes.

(36) The requirements laid down in Council Directive 78/170/EEC of 13 February 1978 on the performance of heat generators for space heating and the production of hot water in new or existing non-industrial buildings and on the insulation of heat and domestic hot-water distribution in new non-industrial buildings(16) have been superseded by provisions of Directive 92/42/EEC, Council Directive 90/396/EEC of 29 June 1990 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to appliances burning gaseous fuels(17) and Directive 2002/91/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2002 on the energy performance of buildings(18). Directive 78/170/EEC should therefore be repealed.

(37) Council Directive 86/594/EEC of 1 December 1986 on airborne noise emitted by household appliances(19) lays down the conditions under which publication of information on the noise emitted by such appliances may be required by Member States, and defines a procedure to determine the level of noise. For harmonisation purposes noise emissions should be included in an integrated assessment of environmental performance. Since this Directive provides for such an integrated approach, Directive 86/594/EEC should be repealed.

(38) The measures necessary for the implementation of this Directive should be adopted in accordance with Council Decision 1999/468/EC of 28 June 1999 laying down the procedures for the exercise of implementing powers conferred on the Commission(20).

(39) Member States should determine the penalties to be applied in the event of infringements of the national provisions adopted pursuant to this Directive. Those penalties should be effective, proportionate and dissuasive.

(40) It should be remembered that paragraph 34 of the Interinstitutional agreement on better law-making(21) states that the Council ‘will encourage the Member States to draw up, for themselves and in the interests of the Community, their own tables which will, as far as possible, illustrate the correlation between directives and the transposition measures and to make them public.’

(41) Since the objective of the proposed action, namely to ensure the functioning of the internal market by requiring products to reach an adequate level of environmental performance, cannot be sufficiently achieved by Member States acting alone and can therefore, by reason of its scale and effects, be better achieved at Community level, the Community may adopt measures, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity as set out in Article 5 of the Treaty. In accordance with the principle of proportionality, as set out in that Article, this Directive does not go beyond what is necessary in order to achieve this objective.

(42) The Committee of the Regions was consulted but did not deliver an opinion,



Opinion of the European Parliament of 20 April 2004 (OJ C 104 E, 30.4.2004, p. 319), Council Common Position of 29 November 2004 (OJ C 38 E, 15.2.2005, p. 45), Position of the European Parliament of 13 April 2005, and Council Decision of 23 May 2005.


OJ L 297, 13.10.1992, p. 16. Directive as amended by Regulation (EC) No 1882/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 284, 31.10.2003, p. 1).


OJ L 37, 13.2.2003, p. 24. Directive as amended by Directive 2003/108/EC (OJ L 345, 31.12.2003, p. 106).


OJ L 262, 27.9.1976, p. 201. Directive as last amended by Commission Directive 2004/98/EC (OJ L 305, 1.10.2004, p. 63).


OJ L 167, 22.6.1992, p. 17. Directive as last amended by Directive 2004/8/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 52, 21.2.2004, p. 50).


OJ L 52, 23.2.1978, p. 32. Directive as amended by Directive 82/885/EEC (OJ L 378, 31.12.1982, p. 19).


OJ L 196, 26.7.1990, p. 15. Directive as amended by Directive 93/68/EEC (OJ L 220, 30.8.1993, p. 1).


OJ L 344, 6.12.1986, p. 24. Directive as amended by Regulation (EC) No 807/2003 (OJ L 122, 16.5.2003, p. 36).

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