On April 6 2011 EU Regulation 327/2011/EC was published in the Official Journal, imposing a novel ecodesign measure on manufacturers and importers of fans. Businesses which are active in the electrical and electronic equipment industry are already familiar with the framework EU Ecodesign Directive (2009/125/EC), which potentially applies to all energy-related products.(1)

The 2009 directive, which influences the manner in which a wide range of products are manufactured from the raw materials stage and how they function by means of an environmentally friendly design, sets framework provisions for energy-related products. Products covered by the directive:

  • must represent significant volumes of sales and trade in the European Union;
  • must have a significant potential for improvement in terms of their environmental impact; and
  • must not, in their design, entail excessive costs on producers.

Examples of products already covered by implementing measures under the framework directive include lighting equipment, televisions, fridges and freezers, household dishwashers and household washing machines.

The new regulation establishes ecodesign requirements for the placing on the market or putting into service of fans, including those integrated in other energy-related products covered by the framework EU Ecodesign Directive. However, some exceptions apply; for example, the scope of the act does not cover fans that are integrated in laundry and washer dryers with an electrical input power of no more than 3 kilowatts (kW) or kitchen hoods whose fans have a maximum electrical input power of no more than 280 watts (W). Other exceptions are set out in Article 1 of the new regulation. Interested parties should analyse the ecodesign provisions of Article 1 in order to ascertain which fans fall within the scope of the implementing measures.

For the purposes of the new regulation, the term 'fan' means a rotary bladed machine that is used to maintain a continuous flow of gas, typically air, passing through it. Other technical terms are used in the definition of 'fan' and other important definitions are set out in Article 2 of the new regulation. These definitions relate to the ecodesign requirements which are set out later in the legislative text.

Article 3 states that the ecodesign requirements for fans are laid out in Annex I. Each energy efficiency requirement set out in Section 2 of Annex I will apply according to a phasing-in timetable. Thus, from January 1 2013 the efficiency requirements laid out in Table 1 of Section 2 will begin to apply – that is, ventilation fans will not be permitted to have a lower target energy efficiency than that defined in Table 1. From January 1 2015 ventilation fans will not be permitted to have a lower target energy efficiency than that defined in Table 2.

Section 3 of Annex I sets out product information provisions. These provisions also set out how the information must be displayed. For example, all information that is required to be displayed must be visibly displayed on technical documentation and posted on free-to-access websites of the relevant fan manufacturers. The information requirements will apply from January 1 2013.

The regulation also addresses member states' surveillance authorities. Article 5 states that when performing market surveillance checks, the competent authorities must apply the verification procedure set out in Annex III of the new regulation. Annex III stipulates that, among other things, during surveillance checks the authorities will test a single unit, which must be considered to comply with the provisions set out in the regulation. If such a result is not achieved, Annex III provides the next steps in the surveillance procedure. The text also demonstrates to economic operators, in broad terms, the steps that an authority will take when checking for compliance.

For further information on this topic please contact Reshad Forbes at Van Bael & Bellis by telephone (+32 2 647 73 50), fax (+32 2 640 64 99) or email ([email protected]).


(1) EU Regulation 327/2001/EC has direct effect in the member states and entered into force on the 20th day of its publication (ie, on April 26 2011). The regulation can be accessed at