Nine Things You Need To Know About Ecodesign

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Ecodesign Directive promotes energy efficiency improvements for a range of equipment including electric drives. In 2011 the EU introduced minimum requirements for the efficiency of AC motors. These requirements have been gradually intensified.

Are you involved in electric motors and frequency drives, then this is what you need to know about Ecodesign.

1. What is the Ecodesign directive?

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.

2. What are the Ecodesign requirements for electrical motors?

After January 1, 2015, the minimum energy efficiency limit will be raised to class IE3. An alternative is to use an IE2 motor with a frequency converter. These IE2 motors will be equipped with a label indicating that it is mandatory to operate them with a frequency converter.

3. What markets does the Ecodesign directive affect?

The Ecodesign requirements are only mandatory within the European Union. The European requirements can easily be compared to the requirements in North America or Australia.

4. Does Ecodesign affect motor-frequency converter systems?

The EN 50598-2 standard defining the IE classes for frequency converters also defines the IES class for motor-frequency converter systems. The “S” is added to indicate that the class is related to the motor-frequency converter system. Minimum efficiency requirements for these systems will likely be beyond the scope of Ecodesign until 2020.

5. What impact will Ecodesign have on my business?

At the very least, the Ecodesign Directive will positively impact your energy usage. The main goal of the Directive is to improve the energy efficiency of products throughout the EU, and you should be able to see this as soon as you start using products that meet the directive.

6. How are frequency converters and motors classified?

Motors, frequency converters and motor-frequency converter systems are classified in energy efficiency classes. The standards used for classifications are different, as is the number of efficiency classes.

7. How do I classify a motor-frequency converter system when the components are sourced separately?

Direct addition of frequency converter IE class and motor IE class is not possible. To determine the IES class, add the losses of the motor at nominal load (100% speed and 100% torque) to the losses of the frequency converter at nominal load (100% frequency and 100% load). Compare the sum to the reference value for the IES class, given in the EN 50598-2 standard. Note that some frequency converter manufacturers provide only the loss values for the 90% frequency and 100% load point. In these cases, determine the value at 100% frequency and 100% load by extrapolation.

8. How are the Minimum Efficiency Performance Standard (MEPS) regulations updated?

Requirements for minimum efficiency performance are set in Europe as a consequence of the implementation of the Ecodesign Directive for Energy Related Products (ErP) 2009/125/EC. The regulation is introduced step-by-step and the requirements gradually intensify over time.

9. What is the timeline for the implementation of the European MEPS regulations?


MEPS requirements also apply outside Europe. The timing and levels of implementation differ from
region to region.

Still have questions? Contact your frequency converter expert or read the Danfoss Drive’s Energy-efficiency directives pages.