Refrigerated Appliances – Energy Ratings
In line with Europe’s commitment to reduce energy consumption and improve the environmental credentials of household and commercial appliances, the MEPS (Minimum Energy Performance Standard) system of energy classification has been formalised, ready for introduction in July this year. The temperature and energy performance of products will be tested by the manufacturer of the product and ranked on a scale from A-G against an agreed test standard. The rating shall be displayed by means of an energy label (as seen currently on domestic appliances) thereby enabling rankings to be used as part of the buying decision. The ranking of G will be the minimum energy performance level with the highest ranking product being A +++. Any refrigerated appliance falling below the minimum ranking will not be eligible for sale within the European Union. This Standard will apply initially to refrigerated storage cabinets and counters. However, other types of catering equipment will be included later, including commercial display cabinets, blast chillers and coldrooms. In addition, over a period of time, products rated at the lower end of the scale (eg. F or G) will no longer be eligible for sale, thus ensuring that manufacturers continue to improve their products.
It is likely that future products will change significantly, particularly with regard to the design of compressors, coils, liner bases, hinges, ducts and fans. There will also be a change in refrigerants, as lower GWP materials become more readily available. It is expected that a move away from the use of R404A and R134a will begin this year. Importantly, the efficiency of the polyurethane insulation will change significantly with foam lambda values expected to approach 0.017 W/mK.
The latest offering from IFS Chemicals, based on an HFO/DMM blowing agent combination, has recently been trialled at several appliance manufacturers. An improvement of approximately 23% in lambda value has been achieved and tests are on-going to determine how this enhancement in material property translates to improved MEPS rating.