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BEIS gives cool response to Doors On Fridges petition

Government department believes that manufacturers should remain free to choose how cabinet conserve energy

A petition calling on the government to put doors on open cabinets has received a cool response from BEIS. The petition from a member of the public, Jonathan Golding, passed the 20,000 signature mark.  This response amount triggers a response from government.

The petition on the government’s open petitions site, which called for mandatory doors on fridges: It said: ”Retailers in the United Kingdom unnecessarily waste huge amounts of energy on open fridges and freezers. Climate change threatens our planet. If all supermarkets had doors on their fridges and freezers it would save energy the equivalent of the entire residential population of Poland.”

BEIS, in its response, said that it would not intervene, because the Ecodesign energy regulations are non-prescriptive in terms of technology.

It said: ”Minimum energy performance standards, otherwise known as Ecodesign regulations, are technology neutral so do not prescribe that manufacturers should increase efficiency by putting doors on appliances. Rather they set a minimum energy efficiency limit that all manufacturers placing products on the market must meet. The legislation therefore leaves it up to the manufacturer as to how they meet the requirements, which could include but is not restricted to putting doors on fridges.” 

BEIS drew attention to the recent Ecodesign update, in which it noted that the UK had participated ’actively and fully’. It said: ”The new energy efficiency standards alongside a new energy label for commercial refrigerated appliances are due to take effect from 2021 and allows businesses and consumers to choose the most efficient appliances. In 2020, the ecodesign policy is estimated to save around 8 million tonnes of CO2 and £100 on bills for the average dual-fuel household…In addition, net energy savings of implementing the commercial refrigeration policy is estimated to be around 6 TWh between 2021 and 2040..

The government department added: ”The new regulations consider how the market will mature over the coming years in terms of technological improvements and other major factors such as the environmental impact. It also now sets requirements on material efficiency obligations on features such as repairability, dismantlability and recyclability to reduce their overall environmental impact. The government also supports the uptake of highly energy-efficient refrigerated display cabinets by the retail sector through the Energy Technology List Scheme. The Energy Technology List is the UK government’s register of energy saving commercial products. Retailers can identify some of the best performing refrigerated display units or the curtains, blinds, doors and covers for refrigerated display cases from products listed on the Energy Technology List.

The debate around doors on fridges has gathered new momentum in the wake of the UK signing up to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, with the move seen as ’low-hanging fruit.’ The perceived wisdom amongst merchandisers is that fitting doors will reduce purchasing by presenting a barrier to opportunistic buys, but the scale of energy savings - estimated conservatively to be 30 per cent - makes the change compelling, advocates say.

A number of retailers have adopted energy-reduction measures, such as aerofoil strips for open cabinets, which are now claimed to provide energy savings approaching those of installing doors.


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