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Principles of Ecodesign in the Lighting Industry

Ecodesign is a current trend in product and services design which takes into account a product’s environmental impact throughout its useful life. In other words, when designing a product, ecodesign integrates and prioritises the concern for minimising the environmental impact it will have throughout its useful life.

We could say that ecodesign is to product design what bioclimatic architecture is to building design. Ecodesign is more about the content than the container, which is why it is a philosophy that has a significant bearing on different industries, including the lighting industry.

The idea of designing products with the lowest possible environmental impact has gone from simply being a way of thinking about design to an actual obligation. Reducing CO₂ emissions has become a priority for the European Union and, among the actions and regulations it imposes to achieve the green objectives included in the "2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development", we have Ecodesign Directive.

This EU directive establishes ecodesign requirements for all products that involve energy expenditure, except those related to transport, which have their own regulations. According to EU data, the lighting sector is one of the largest consumers of electricity in Europe, accounting for approximately 12% of total electricity consumption, which is why special work has been carried out on ecodesign regulations for lighting sources.

EU Lighting Ecodesign Regulation

The EU Ecodesign Directive was established in 2009, but the lighting regulations have been revised several times, most recently in 2019. Regulation (EU) 2019/2020, which establishes ecodesign requirements for lighting sources, comes into force on 1 September 2021.

It became necessary to revise the directive when it was realised that the previously established requirements for eco-lighting were not enough to achieve the expected electricity savings; while the expected savings were 110 terawatt-hours by 2020, it became clear that barely 70 TWh would be achieved. The aim of the revision is to update both efficiency requirements and energy labels, in order to improve the competitiveness of the lighting industry in the European Union, and to be able to provide better information to consumers.

We expect that, if these guidelines are complied with, then the benefits of ecodesign for the sustainability of the planet will be complemented by the differentiating factor for products manufactured in the EU, which is of added value for the consumer.

Ecodesign requirements for lighting refer to several different aspects:

  • Energy efficiency - limits are set on energy consumption.
  • Functional requirements – these are applied to different aspects of the light sources, such as lumen maintenance factor, LED survival, flicker or colour consistency, colour rendering and others.
  • Information requirements – this refers to the technical information that should be provided on the light source itself, on the packaging, or on the manufacturer's website, and also indicates the information and documentation required for product-independent control mechanisms.
  • Several types of light sources will be phased out in the coming years: from 1 September 2023 halogen lamps with a G4, G9 or GY6.35 base and T8 linear fluorescent lamps. In addition to this, most halogen lamps and CFLi lamps will be phased out from 1 September 2021.

With the new directive coming into force, the labelling system will change as well. In addition to being a more demanding labelling system than the current one, it will be compulsory to include it only on products considered to be "light sources", with the labelling of luminaires disappearing. This classification is based on the recyclability criteria applied throughout the product’s life, allowing it t be separated for repair, recycling, etc.

Energy labels are a way of ensuring greater energy efficiency and product sustainability, not only because they’re a mechanism to control compliance with the standards, but also because this system helps to create environmental awareness and commitment among both manufacturers and consumers.

Sustainability and ecodesign

The concept of ecodesign refers to the entire product life cycle and focuses on two main aspects: the energy required both for its manufacture and during its use, and the resulting harmful emissions.

Thus, ecodesign isn’t just about energy efficiency, but aims to produce eco-sustainable products. Ecodesign includes consideration of what materials are used, how they are sourced, and how they will affect the environment when discarded.

At #WorktitudeForLife, we prioritise all actions that will make us a more sustainable company, collaborating with the building of a lighting industry that is increasingly respectful of the environment, carrying out actions that help us to improve as a company in the management of our day to day lives, as well as in the solutions that we provide to our customers, incorporating recycled materials or researching the use of new, environmentally friendly materials.

The Mun Light range is a good example; this family of surface-mounted downlights and wall lights now features a new diffuser that is made from recycled PMMA. Also, the Fil series luminaires, Lamptub, and many other models that make up more than 50% of our current catalogue, use recycled material – in fact, these modular structures are made from 80-85% recycled extruded aluminium.

Every detail counts in ecodesign; energy efficiency is as important as the composition of the materials or the resources used during the manufacture of every component of the luminaires.

Knowing the vital importance of this matter, we will endeavour to keep you informed about all the latest measures and developments here at Lamp. #WorktitudeForLife.

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