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Developing measurement methods for EU Ecodesign and Energy Labelling measures. A discussion paper.

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Since 2005 the European Union has engaged in a challenging programme of setting energy performance requirements and new energy labels for a wide range of energy-using product groups. At the end of 2013, 21 Ecodesign regulations and 9 labels had been adopted, and 2 voluntary agreements recognised.

Measurement methods, also referred to as test procedures, are a fundamental building brick in such a framework. In the EU they are enshrined in EU-wide ‘harmonised standards’.

The EU approach to standardisation and therefore to the development of measurement standards grew out of the 1970s and 1980s internal market project which sought to reduce trade barriers between Member States in order to encourage growth in Europe.

This paper examines the relationship between the development of Ecodesign and Energy Labelling requirements on the one hand, and of measurement methods on the other. In particular, it examines the effectiveness of the development of measurement methods with respect to underpinning the requirements.


A historical overview of the development of measurement methods in support of the 2005 Ecodesign Directive is provided, particularly looking at the way measurement standards have been mandated by the EU to standardisation bodies. Three phases are distinguished: early mandating (2004-2008), product specific mandates (2009-2011), and the so-called ‘horizontal Ecodesign mandate’ (since 2011).