BAM, BMWi and the market surveillance authorities analyse testing methods for energy-related products

Source: BAM

or how market surveillance should receive stronger support

In January 2016, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung (BAM), commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Economics (BMWi), started the "Support for market surveillance" project. Today, representatives of BAM, BMWi and the market surveillance authorities of the states (Länder) meet to coordinate the project plan.

In this project, test methods for energy-related products themselves are being tested. This should create more transparency and strengthen consumer confidence in product information on energy consumption or energy efficiency.

Test methods regulated by the European Directives on Ecodesign and Energy Labelling are being tested in the project. While the latter is recognised in the form of labels with a colourful scale on washing machines, refrigerators or televisions, Ecodesign includes the minimum requirements for "Eco-design of energy-related products".

The regulations derived from the two directives describe how products are labelled and what properties they have. The manufacturers themselves must declare these and how they comply with the requirements of the related regulations.

"Compliance with these regulations must be effectively monitored. This requires a high level of technical tests to ensure market surveillance authorities can deliver legally watertight evidence that the label really states what is inside, including energy efficiency", says Dr. Floris Akkerman from the BAM Section Ecodesign and energy labelling who heads the project.

In Germany, market surveillance is the responsibility of the states (Länder). Therefore, BAM will also closely cooperate with the states’ (Länder) market surveillance authorities.

Specifically, test methods are scrutinised using the example of four product groups. Weak spots must be uncovered and test methods updated, simplified or further developed. For this purpose, BAM coordinates interlaboratory tests involving external testing institutes. After the public debate in connection with the VW scandal, BAM will also address the issue as to how robust the technical surveillance is against fraud.

The findings from the project should support market surveillance authorities and help promote a level playing field in the market and strengthen consumer confidence in the information printed on the labels and data sheets.

The results are used at both national and European level. The project implements the "National Action Plan Energy Efficiency" (NAPE) initiative of the Federal Government.

About BAM

BAM promotes safety in technology and chemistry.

As a BMWi departmental research institute, BAM performs research and testing and advisory activity to protect people, the Environment and material goods. Its activity in the fields of materials science, materials engineering and chemistry is focussed on the technical safety of products and processes. BAM’s research is directed towards substances, materials, building elements, components and facilities as well as natural and technical systems important for the national economy and relevant to society and tests and assesses their safe handling and operation. BAM develops and validates analysis procedures and assessment methods, models and necessary standards and provides science-based service for the German industry in a European and international framework.

Safety creates markets

BAM sets and represents high standards for safety in technology and chemistry for Germany and its global markets to further develop the successful German quality culture „Made in Germany“.