1. Ecodesign and energy labeling for refrigerating appliances

  2. U.K. has left the European Union. What will happen with the legislation for HVAC&R?

  3. Ecodesign and Energy Labelling regulations published in the OJEU 
  4. F-Gas regulation –The incoming bans from January 1st, 2020

  5. New European regulations on Ecodesign and Energy Labelling

  6. Official publication of the new standard for flammable refrigerants

  7. IEC approves increase of charge limit for flammable refrigerants

  8. Epta, multinational Group specialised in commercial Refrigeration




BLOG by Francesco Mastrapasqua

Advocacy & Regulatory Manager of Epta

After graduating in electronics and telecommunications engineering he started his career as Commercial and Marketing Manager in the area of robotic and factory automation. He joined Epta in 2009 and today he is still working there with a focus on Natural Refrigeration and environmentally sustainable systems applied to Commercial Retail business. Epta has a predominant position as turn- key system provider and offers to its clients fully comprehensive assistance and training, from the choice of the ideal solution to its implementation and maintenance. Epta has a predominant position as turn- key system provider and offers to its clients fully comprehensive assistance and training, from the choice of the ideal solution to its implementation and maintenance.


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Ecodesign and energy labeling for refrigerating appliances

July, 1st 2020

On December, 5th, 2019, the Ecodesign (2019/2024) and Energy Labeling Regulation (2019/2018) for Refrigerating appliances with a direct sales function were published in the Official Journal of the European Union and will enter into force starting from March, 1st, 2021. The Ecodesign energy classification creates a selection of products according to their energy performance. Commercial refrigeration products will be chosen by the Client for their lower energy consumption: this will be the main driver of innovation. Ecodesign sets the minimum energy efficiency requirements, Energy Labelling highlights it.
The end user can finally compare products that apparently look identical but have very different energy and functional performances. Manufacturers on the other hand have a tool to prove that their products perform better than their competitors, and globally there is an increase in the average efficiency of the products sold in the European market.
But which products are the refrigeration appliances with direct sales function exactly? And will all the refrigeration cabinets actually be labeled or just some? And finally, what about "special" cabinets or custom-made products?
The Regulations clarify the scope of application and hence the products that will be labeled very precisely.
Refrigerating appliance with a direct sales function is an insulated cabinet with one or more compartments that are controlled at specific temperatures, cooled by natural or forced convection through one or more energy consuming means and intended for displaying and selling with or without assisted serving, foodstuffs and other non-food items at specified temperatures below the ambient temperature, accessible directly through open sides and/or through one or more doors or drawers.
In the Regulations these products are generally referred to as Lot 12, i.e. supermarket refrigerating (freezer or refrigerator) cabinets, self-contained plug-in cabinets, beverage coolers, small ice-cream freezers, gelato-scooping cabinets and refrigerated vending machines.

The refrigerated cabinets in our product catalog excluded from energy labeling are:

  • refrigerating appliances with a direct sales function for the sale and display of live foodstuffs, such as living fish and shellfish, refrigerated aquaria and water tanks;
  • saladettes, i.e. refrigerating appliances with one or more doors or drawer fronts into which temporary storage bins can be inserted for easy-access storage of foodstuffs such as pizza toppings or salad items;
  • horizontal serve-over counters with integrated refrigerated storage of at least 100 litres per meter length, designed to work at chilled operating temperatures;
  • corner cabinets;
  • vending machines that are designed to work at frozen operating temperatures;
  • serve-over fish counters with flaked ice;
  • professional refrigerated storage cabinets, blast cabinets, condensing units and process chillers as defined in Regulation (EU) 2015/1095;
  • wine storage appliances and minibars.

The so-called special cabinets, with strong customization for a customer, the prototypes and the so-called pilot projects, of which it is unknown if they will be repeated or not, are also subject to labeling if they are placed on the market and sold.

“Even if I only do one? …. YES!!”

Refrigerating appliances with a direct sales function that are displayed at trade fairs must bear the energy label if the first unit of the model has already been placed on the market or is placed on the market at the trade fair.

Besides, internet sales platforms are responsible for enabling the displaying of the label provided by the supplier and the product information in proximity to the price.

As you can easily understand the effectiveness of this energy measure directly depends on its coverage, and it is therefore essential that all products sold in the European market are labeled.

In fact, measures from the ecodesign applied to refrigerating appliances with a direct sales function will give an estimated 48 TWh of annual final energy savings in 2030, which can be further improved significantly by the energy labelling measure, an important contribution to the Green Deal goals which will make Europe the first climatically neutral continent in the world.

F-GAS Regulations in UK after Brexit

February, 5th 2020

On January 31 2020, after more than 3 years discussion, the U.K. has left the European Union.

What will happen with the legislation for HVAC&R?

Will the four countries in the U.K. – England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland - still apply the F-Gas regulation as before?

Brexit will not mean any immediate changes to the country’s F-gas regulations, which will stay in line with the EU until at least the end of this year during the so-called transition period.


According to draft legislation published on the U.K.’s Department of Environment website, U.K. will pursue the same HFC phase-down schedule as the EU.

This means that the U.K. still plans to phase down HFCs by 79% by 2030, as foreseen by the European F-Gas quota system, and most of the rules for f-gases and ozone depleting substances (ODS) will not change in the near future, although the U.K. will introduce its own f-gas quota system and a new national IT system to manage quotas and report on any f-gas use.

The U.K. has also reached an agreement with the EU to mutually recognize professional f-gas certifications, at least until the end of 2020, according to Refcom, the operator of the U.K. f-gas register.

Ecodesign and Energy Labelling regulations published in the OJEU 

December 2019

Both the ED (2019/2024) and EL (2019/2018) regulations covering ‘Refrigerating appliances with a direct sales function’ have been published in the Official Journal of the European Union on December, 5th,2019.

To support its climate change strategy, the European Union is committed to a 20 % improvement in energy efficiency by 2020 and a 32.5 % improvement by 2030


The measures which the Commission has established to achieve these targets include a focus on greener product design (“ecodesign”) and consumer information (through energy labelling).

From March 1st, 2021, only the products with the following minimum energy efficiency requirements will be sold in Europe:

All equipment

March 2021: EEI<100

September 2023: EEI<80 

Ice Cream freezers

March 2021: EEI<80

September 2023: EEI<50

(EEI, Energy Efficiency Index)

All products shall have a printed energy label with A to G scale and annual energy consumption directing the market towards more efficient products by better informing consumers.

F-Gas regulation –The incoming bans from January 1st, 2020

August 1st 2018

The Regulation on Fluorinated Gases (F-Gas Regulation) of 2015 introduced a series of measures to gradually reduce HFC consumption by 80% (expressed in percentage of CO2 equivalent) within 2030.

F-Gas Regulation-Epta

This reduction is happening in phases in which the quantities of HFCs placed on the market are gradually reduced by the assignment of quotas to producers and to importers of bulk HFCs by the European Commission and a series of bans which involve the applications of refrigeration and air conditioning.

Starting from January 1st, 2020 the following bans will come into force:

  • Supply of hermetically sealed refrigerators and freezers for commercial use that contain HFCs with GWP of 2500 or more
  • Supply of stationary refrigeration equipment that contains (or whose functioning relies upon) HFCs with GWP of 2500 or more, except equipment intended for application designed to cool products to temperatures below -50°C
  • Service and maintenance of refrigeration equipment with a charge size of 40 tons of CO2 equivalent (10 kgs di R404A/R507A) or more shall not be provided with virgin HFCs having GWP higher than 2500, with the exception of military and low temp (-50ºC) equipment.

The global warming potential (GWP) expresses the greenhouse effect (in 100 years) of a gas compared to CO2, whose reference potential is equal to 1.

The most commonly used refrigerants with a GWP of 2500 or more are R404A and R507A, whose price has risen significantly in recent months.


It needs to be also noted that from 1 January 2022 the limit for the supply of hermetically sealed refrigerators and freezers for commercial use and centralized refrigeration systems with a nominal capacity of 40kW or more will be further reduced to GWP <150 (except in the primary cooling circuit of cascade systems in which fluorinated greenhouse gases can be used with GWP lower than 1500), while for systems below 40 kW the limit of GWP <2500 will be maintained.

The effects of the F-Gas Regulation on the HVAC&R industry are the phase out of HFCs with high GWP from the refrigeration market and an increasingly widespread use of low or zero GWP refrigerants, mostly natural refrigerants,  like CO2 and hydrocarbons, and HFOs.

Concerning the maintenance of systems currently in operation with R404/R507A:

  • For equipment with a charge size of maximum 40 tons of CO2 equivalent (10 kgs di R404A/R507A) there is no service ban, it is possible to continue as previously, considering the critical points highlighted above regarding the availability and high price of the refrigerant;

  • Otherwise in all other cases after January 1, 2020 it will be necessary to choose between:
    • Replacing the equipment with new systems using natural refrigerants or other HFC refrigerant in compliance with the aforementioned limits;
    • Modifying / retrofitting (if technically feasible) the equipment for use with a new refrigerant with GWP lower than 2500, proceeding to its complete replacement and disposal of the old one according to the terms of the law;
    • Servicing refrigeration equipment only with recycled and reclaimed refrigerant (allowed until 31.12.2029).

f-gas_EpaSince over 2 years now, EPTA Group has abandoned the high GWP refrigerants R404A and R507A, offering a complete range of products and systems for retail with natural refrigerants CO2 and R290.

New European regulations on Ecodesign and Energy Labelling

July 15th 2019

The European Commission is preparing new rules on Ecodesign and Energy Labelling.

In fact, by the end of this year, the European Commission will publish new rules for several product groups.

The new regulations will replace and/or supplement the current Directive 2009/125/EC on Ecodesign that contains mandatory requirements and product information to access the community market and the Regulation (EU) 2017/1369, with the introduction of additional information to end users through Energy Labelling and the product information sheet.

For some product categories such as refrigeration appliances with a direct sale function, refrigerators, freezers, wine coolers, professional refrigerators, washing machines and washer-driers, dishwashers, lamps, tv sets and screens, ovens, cooker hoods, air conditioning units, boilers, water heaters, stoves and fireplaces, hoovers, both Energy Labelling and Ecodesign will apply. Other products, such as electric motors, transformers, pumps and circulators, external power supplies, air heating and cooling products, process chillers, fan coils, hobs will only have the Ecodesign.


The new regulations will allow consumers to reward innovation, ensuring that the market evolves in line with the European sustainability targets.

The new energy labels will appear from March 2021 and will be more reliable, visible and of greater impact, directing consumers to the most efficient and environmentally friendly products:

  • Re-introduction of the original A to G scale with periodic rescaling every 10 years (ratings A+, A++ and A+++ will disappear)
  • The energy efficiency ratings will have to appear on promotional materials and on online sale channels.
  • Obligation to register the product information in the European EPREL database which will help the market surveillance authorities to verify that the products fulfil the energy efficiency requirements and that the information on the label is accurate.

For the so-called Ecodesign Lot 12 sector, namely the display cabinets for direct sale, both the Energy Labelling and the Ecodesign that introduces precise energy efficiency limits for marketing the products, will apply.

  • Remote display cabinets
  • Plug-in cabinets
  • Ice-cream freezers
  • Commercial beverage coolers
  • Ice-cream display
  • Refrigerated vending machines


From March 1st, 2021, all products shall have a printed label that must comply, in format and information, with the new law.  

The information on the label must be obtained with reliable, accurate and reproducible measurement and calculation methods (according to standard EN/ISO 23953 for refrigerated display cabinets, EN 16902 for commercial beverage coolers and EN 16901 for ice cream freezers) based on technically supported and recognised procedures.

Moreover a product information sheet with the technical data will be required and, upon request of the market surveillance authorities of the member states, the full technical documentation will have to be provided.

The same obligations apply also to online sales.

Energy_labelling_European_UnionFor the first time, the new regulations introduce detailed rules on the circular economy, for which the European Union has a precise action plan.

The concept of circular economy envisages that all products and materials are highly valued, unlike the traditional linear economy model based on “take-use-dispose”.

When a product reaches the end of its life, the materials must be maintained, where possible, within the economic cycle, using them many times in the productive cycle, re-using, repairing, reconditioning and recycling them, thus creating further value.

The goals of the circular economy are to extend the product’s life, produce long-lasting goods, recondition and reduce waste production, in order to develop a sustainable economy producing less carbon dioxide emissions, using resources efficiently and staying competitive.

In particular, the new Ecodesign regulation contains specific requirements regarding the availability and the maximum delivery time for the spare parts, information on repair, maintenance and specific dismantling instructions to recover and recycle the materials to prevent disposal.

The controls and the surveillance, namely the activities carried out and the measures issued by the competent authorities to guarantee that the products are compliant with the applicable requirements established by the harmonisation legislation and do not endanger health, safety or any other aspect of public interest protection, shall remain the responsibility of the individual Member States of the European Union.


Official publication of the new standard for flammable refrigerants

July 2nd 2019

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) published the new version of IEC 60335-2-89:2019 for self-contained commercial refrigeration cabinets.

The new standard allows higher charge limits for A3 (flammable) refrigerants to 500 g from 150 gas well as a rise in the charge limit for A2 and A2L (low flammable) refrigerants to 1,200g from 150g.
The charge-limit increase was initially rejected, following voting by the IEC National Committees.
The reversal resulted from a procedural error in the vote cast by Malaysia.
The exclusion of the Malaysian vote reduced the negative vote total to eight (22.9%), which made the overall vote a positive one, thus approving the increase in the charge limits for A3, A2 and A2l refrigerants.

IEC approves increase of charge limit for flammable refrigerants!

June 16th 2019

An amendment to the 60335-2-89 standard with a higher charge for flammable refrigerants has been in development since 2014, when the IEC’s subcommittee SC 61C created a Working Group (WG4) to address raising the charge limit.

In a vote concluded on April 12th, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) initially rejected the proposal to increase the charge limit for flammable refrigerants to 500 g from 150 g in self-contained commercial refrigeration cabinets.
The vote included participating members (countries) on the IEC’s subcommittee (SC) 61C, which is responsible for the development of the proposed charge limit, as well as observer members.
Participating members are obliged to vote at all stages and to contribute to standard development, whereas observer members follow the work, receive committee documents and have the right to submit comments, attend meetings and can vote.
Out of 35 total votes cast by National Committees, nine (25.7%) voted against; for the proposal to be enacted, the opposing votes could not exceed 25%.
Hence the IEC vote – known as the Final Draft International Standard (FDIS) phase – fell just one vote short of being approved.
Following a surprising recount, few days later the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) circulated a corrected version as a result of a misapplication of IEC voting rules to the negative vote by Malaysia and consequently announced approval of the increase in the charge limit for A3 (flammable) refrigerants to 500 g from 150 g in self-contained commercial refrigeration cabinets under IEC standard 60335-2-89.

Voting-Result-61C/792/FDISThe charge-limit increase applies to hydrocarbons like propane, propylene and isobutene, and widens the use of hydrocarbons as natural refrigerants worldwide by allowing a single circuit to be employed in larger cabinets, rather than multiple circuits using no more than 150 g of refrigerant.

In fact with 150 grams normally you can just make a system up to only 1.5 kW in a medium-temperature unit.
The new standard also raises the charge limit for A2L (mildly flammable) refrigerants from 150 g to 1.2 kg.
Unlike the previous charge limit of 150 g for all flammable refrigerants, with the new standard the charge limit is calculated differently, i.e. as the minimum between 16 × LFL and 1.2 kg.
vote-on-flammable-refrigerantsIn the case of propane, which has an LFL of 0.031 kg/m3, the charge limit per circuit will be 500 g, whereas the maximum charge per circuit for A2L refrigerants (with LFL values higher than 0.075 kg/m3) becomes 1.2 kg.

The principle of the new standard is that the risk with a higher quantity of flammable refrigerant must be the same as there is with the current limit.

Hence a number of compensating measures and additional requirements appear in order to ensure that the safety level will not be reduced with respect to the current standard.

The concept of hermetically-sealed becomes very important, with a mandatory tested leaking rate of less than 3 grams per year, in order to demonstrate that a potential leak will not create an explosive atmosphere surrounding the appliance. Furthermore, ensuring a minimum air flow created by the appliance, having protected refrigerant-containing parts and avoiding low-temperature solder alloys for pipe connections will be important to maintain safety.

However, the IEC 60335-2-89 with amendment allowing an increase of charge of flammable A3 and A2L has not yet officially published.

Given the complexities of factors like a worldwide discussion and giant stakeholders, pros and cons, equilibrium of the party and lastly IEC reputation being challenged, it is particularly risky to make forecast on the possible proceedings. The discussion is hot inside IEC and news will come in the following month.

Epta, multinational Group specialised in commercial Refrigeration


Epta  has made a name for itself in the world, thanks to a solid industrial culture, great competitive strength and the Group's significant presence worldwide in numerous business areas.

The Group offers the widest and most comprehensive range of solutions for commercial refrigeration, ensuring the supplyinstallation and maintenance of systems, both directly and through an extensive network of distributors worldwide. EPTA Group also has a strong presence within the Food & Beverage market, working in partnership with major players in the sector. 

Epta's calling crystallises in its decision to combine the value of experience with innovation, to promote sustainable progress and constantly pursue a strategy for internationalisation. 

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