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Eco-design Regulations for Electronics

Have you ever wondered which guidelines a new product must follow before it can join the global market? Electronics design is evolving, and so is our understanding of the environmental impact associated with our favorite devices. Let’s explore some modern eco-design regulations for electronics that govern some of the most popular electronics on the planet!

Eco-design Regulations for Electronics - A Crash Course

In 2009 the European Union established a framework of eco-design requirements for energy-related products in the form of Directive 2009/125. This document was a cornerstone piece of policy developed to encourage new products that are more energy efficient. Since then, the EU has steadily become a leader in eco-design regulation, with the current ESPR – Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation. Any product entering the global marketplace needs to consider how influential these standards have become.

Additionally, some products are subject to further energy labeling guidelines under Regulation (EU) 2017/1369. The standards intend to provide more information to consumers and retailers, especially about the environmental impact of target products. If we know more, we can all make better purchasing decisions.

These two policy documents are eco-design framework directives. They’re part of a collection that has helped set the tone for further regulatory documents across specific product groups. In fact, about thirty different groups have had eco-design or energy labeling regulations drafted for them – sometimes both!

With this in mind, let’s explore the environmental regulations governing some of the world’s favorite products.

Computers, Servers, and Data Storage Products

Computers are governed under (EU) Regulation 617/2013, and data storage products like hard disks, SSDs, and cloud storage devices fall under (EU) Regulation 2019/424.

Together, these documents also provide regulations for servers. For example, 617/2013 addresses small-scale servers and local hosts, while 2019/424 covers many larger-scale applications. An important note: the latter does not cover specialized applications like resilient, network, or fault-tolerant servers.

Eco-design Regulations for Electronics
Repair Eco-design Regulations for Electronics

For example, computers that qualify under (EU) 617/2013 include desktops, laptops, notebooks, and mobile workstations, but not things like cell phones and game consoles. Similarly, (EU) 2019/424 handles physical share points and local resource networks but not large network servers or servers for embedded applications. Products that are new to the market, therefore, require careful classification.

Fortunately, both documents contain extensive eco-design guidelines for computers. Key parameters to track and report include:

  • minimum performance efficiencies
  • the presence of hazardous substances
  • maximum power consumption
  • operating mode performances
  • allowable operating ranges for temperature and humidity

Eco-design Regulations for Electronics - External Power Supplies

External Power Supplies (EPSs) fall under (EU) Regulation 2019/1782. They comprise devices used for converting mains AC power for component-level use. A laptop power brick is a familiar example. However, other products like travel-style voltage converters and battery charging docks do not qualify. In fact, the technical definitions can become rather specific. Therefore, take care when classifying a new product. This process is essential for determining whether eco-design regulations for power supplies will apply.

New products should meet power supply efficiency standards for throughput and usage. The baseline compliant operating efficiency is 86%. However, this figure is often higher: the exact value depends primarily on the rated power output and changes across different modes of operation.

Energy Efficiency
CE marking IEC 63000

EPSs are a bit unique in that they have not received any extra documentation derived from Regulation 2017/1369, the framework document for environmental labeling. However, you can expect localized power supply labeling requirements across most major global marketplaces.

A well-known example is the International Efficiency Marking Protocol, which implements a simple system of Roman numerals. Eligible products sold in participating countries must bear this marking on the product nameplate somewhere.

Be aware that other energy labeling standards might also apply, depending on the marketplace. Examples can include RoHS compliance and CE marking, among others.

Televisions and Electronic Displays

Displays are governed by (EU) Regulation 2019/2021. If a device is a standalone display unit or has an integrated display, then eco-design regulations might apply. However, exceptions may apply if the screen is integral to the base product. In this case, standards based on that product class might be more appropriate.

Electronic displays that do qualify must meet several product guidelines, including:

  • Displays that contain certain substances (like plastics and heavy metals) should disclose relevant quantities.
  • Displays must meet various electronic device repairability standards. Packaging should include spare parts (or info about where to get them) and any instructions for simple maintenance the end user can perform.
  • Displays also need to demonstrate compliance with minimum efficiency ratings (measured using an energy efficiency index, or EEI) during all modes of operation.
Ecodesign of Electronic Displays
2019_2013 Annex III Label - Eco-design Regulations for Electronics

As well, displays and televisions must possess appropriate energy labeling. This requirement is governed under (EU) Regulation 2019/2013. The document provides guidelines for labeling standards, advertising, technical promotions, and user handbooks. It is an essential reference after a new display has finished its production phase.

However, (EU) 2019/2013 is just one of the energy labeling regulations for displays that might apply in your target marketplace. Your products might be subject to several standards at the same time, including:

Light Sources and Separate Control Gears

(EU) Regulation 2019/2020 provides the official definition of light sources. It includes most products that create illumination (light) as a primary function. If the critical parameters of such a product fall within prescribed ranges, it is subject to eco-design guidelines for light sources.

Specifically, light sources fall under these guidelines if they

  • use a combination of incandescence, fluorescence, HID, or LED technology
  • exhibit an appropriate chromaticity, flux, luminous area, and color-rendering index


However, light sources are also essential components in many more general products. Consequently, dedicated regulations for such products might apply instead. Examples include LED chips, dies, and packages. Other products with easily removable (and testable) light sources also do not qualify. Suppliers should be aware of these exceptions and ensure their compliance with 2019/2020 if required.

Light sources -Eco-design Regulations for Electronics

The definition under 2019/2020 also includes separate light source control gears. These devices help feed electricity to the light source and include components like starters or limiters. A “separate” control gear is simply one that is distinct from the light source itself. It might be one of the spare parts or even sold as a separate product. Control gears do not include external power supplies nor light control parts, like dimmers or effects boards.

Finally, suppliers should know about the separate guidelines concerning energy labeling for light sources. Standards are governed in the EU by Regulation 2019/2015. Much like electronic displays, manufacturers of light sources must disclose certain information to their dealers and end users. This expectation covers labels, info sheets, and promotional material. Key parameters include:

  • product model name and number
  • energy usage rates
  • the efficiency class, calculated from:
    • useful luminous flux and
    • on-mode power consumption

Are you looking for more information about eco-design requirements for electronics? Contact Enviropass, and we can help answer your questions.