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April 1, 2022
Compliance drives sustainability
Written by: Tore Ledaal
Think back 15 years. How much electricity did your household products consume compared with today? The number of energy-consuming products in your house has probably increased, but today each has a lower energy consumption and much better efficiency.
The reason is not only a natural development in technology. Because in many cases, technology has been boosted and driven by new directives, which have made it necessary for manufacturers to develop less energy-consuming models.
Regulations impact emissions.
How the light bulb regulation reduced CO2
In 2009, the Eco-design regulation EC 244/2009 was introduced in Europe and was in full effect from 2012. The goal of this was to phase out incandescent lamps. In incandescent lamps, more than 98% of the power is emitted to heat, so for obvious reasons, this initiative was low-hanging fruit to save energy.
The whole of Europe hoarded incandescent lamps, afraid that LED and energy-saving lamps could not replace the light (and heat). Some first movers tried these for the first time, and the house was shining blue-ish initially. The technology was, to some extent, immature, and the efficiency of the new LED light bulbs was relatively low.
Ten years later, 40 TWh of electricity is saved every year due to phasing out the Incandescent lamps. This number translates into reducing CO2 emissions of 15 million tonnes in Europe (calculated).
Conclusion? The Ecodesign regulation resulted in the technology within light bulbs getting a real boost. The regulation drove a technology that would result in a more CO2-efficient solution.
Small steps, great result
The standby regulation introduced in 2010 has also made a considerable contribution. The focus has been to require that the products go into energy-saving mode when not operative. This introduction is why you need to answer your TV after a while that you still are watching or that you need to power on your new printer every day.
In addition, the requirements on max effect at 900W allowed on your vacuum cleaner is implemented today – and it still gets the job done. 10 years ago, 2000W was not uncommon.
Conclusion? The standby energy regulation, which impacted millions of TVs and household products, has impacted sustainability!
The Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS) regulates the usage of hazardous substances. It has also already significantly impacted our environment as they are drivers to reduce poisonous chemicals in electrical and electronic products.
Compliance – a necessary partner for sustainability
Even if these regulations are European, it does not mean that the rest of the world does not act; quite the opposite. The US, China, and India – as major players with significant numbers of inhabitants are rolling out similar requirements locally like their energy labeling schemes and energy marks like Energy Star.
Sustainability is on the agenda in all companies around the world today. The examples above are just a few that shows that compliance is a significant and necessary player in driving sustainability in societies. Regulations already affect and influence companies and consumers, and several new laws are already in progress. Luckily, requirements will continue to change and help us drive both technology and sustainability further in the right direction.
Tags: Sustainability , Energy , Environment & sustainability , Compliance
Tore Ledaal is Vice President of Lab Operations in Nemko Group. His background is in Safety testing. He has over 20 years of experience in Nemko and, for a period, has been working for Nemko China to assist in setting up their laboratory. He is the leader of the national committee NK 34 for luminaires and represents...