The Ecodesign Directive – Introduction and Definitions


The Ecodesign Directive is the legislative framework that sets requirements on all energy related products in the domestic, commercial and industrial sectors throughout Europe. The full title is the Ecodesign Directive for Energy Related Products (ErP) 2009/125/EC.

The Ecodesign Directive aims to reduce the environmental impact of energy-related products during their entire lifetime. Therefore requirements are set for the design of the products.

The Ecodesign Directive is the Directive 2009/125/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council. It is also known as the Energy-related Products (ErP) Directive, because all energy-related products – domestic, commercial, and industry – with potential for energy savings  fall within the scope of the directive.

Focus on ErP is the main difference from the previous edition of the directive (2004/32/EC) which focused on Energy-using Products (EuP) only.

Legal requirements are set by a European regulation based on the Ecodesign directive. The regulation sets requirements for minimum efficiency performance standards (MEPS).

Principle and validity 

Various energy efficiency-related regulations around the world are often based on the same technical standards. The differences between different countries and regions are the timing and the efficiency levels (IE2, IE3, etc.).

The Ecodesign requirements which are set for Europe can be easily compared with similar initiatives in North America or Australia.

Defenition and Scope of EN 50598

EN50598 is a standard that supports, or is harmonized under the Ecodesign Directive. The EN 50598 standard defines efficiency classes for motor systems. EN50598-2 defines efficiency classes for motor systems and frequency converters. The technical terms used in EN50598(-2) for defining the classes are still unfamiliar to many people.

1. Complete Drive Module

The Complete Drive Module (CDM) consists of all components installed between the mains supply and the motor. It includes the power electronics components of the inverter and rectifier, auxiliaries such as protective devices, fans, auxiliary power supply transformers, cabling and filters.

Components such as the RFI filter can also form part of the CDM.

2. Power Drive SystemScope-EN50598

The Power Drive System (PDS) is the combination of motor and frequency converter. It consists of the CDM, the motor cable and the motor. The motor technology used is not specified – it can be any motor, for example an asynchronous, permanent magnet or synchronous reluctance motor.

3. Driven equipment

The driven equipment is the load machine, including mechanical transmission by means of belts or gears.

4. Extended product

It is optimisation of the system, not the individual components, which ultimately saves energy in an application. This is why the extended product approach considers the effects of the combination of motor systems with load. The duty profile of the system is used to calculate the Energy Efficiency Index (EEI). The EEI is used to assess the energy efficiency of the system. The duty profiles and specific definition for EEI for different products are defined by the respective standardisation bodies. The first standard to use this principle is a pump standard, due to be published in 2016.

5. Motor System

Control of the power supply to the motor is always required. The simplest solution is a switch. The PDS is a part of the Motor System.

For more information about Ecodesign watch Danfoss VLT Drives’ video What the Ecodesign Directive Means for Your Business

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