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Integration of Standardisation, Ecodesign and Users in energy-using products (ISEU)

Research project SD/TA/07A (Research action SD)

Persons :

  • M.  ZACCAI Edwin - Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB)
    Coordinator of the project
    Financed belgian partner
    Duration: 1/1/2007-31/1/2009
  • Mme  ROUSSEAU Catherine - Centre de Rech. et d'Info des Organisations de Consommateurs (CRIOC)
    Financed belgian partner
    Duration: 1/1/2007-31/1/2009
  • M.  GOETGHEBUER Didier - Institut de Conseil et d'Etudes en Développement durable (ICEDD)
    Financed belgian partner
    Duration: 1/1/2007-31/1/2009

Description :


Electricity consumption is steadily increasing in Belgium, due to the very active market of appliances, supported a.o. by rising social standards of comfort and by the increasing number of households. The European Union has launched a legal framework for improving the environmental impacts due to energy using products. These appliances cover a wide variety of products but they have a common characteristic: their major environmental impact in their use phase, compared to the production phase. Yet, from a life cycle analysis (LCA) perspective, the use phase is generally the least known of the different phases. The impacts of these appliances is thus not fully known, nor the way they are used every day by the 4 millions Belgian households.

Project description


The project is conceived as an integrated socio-technological study about the manufacturing and the use of household energy consuming appliances. Its main objective is to examine how standards and ecodesign could take into account the use phase and the different kinds of users.How does normalisation influence the use of these products? Which norms should be implemented? Energy-using products (EuPs) will be studied as an agency of constraints of different kinds: technological, economical, ergonomic, social and cultural, health and safety, environmental.

The study will develop along three topics:

- Standard’s dynamics: How are standards elaborated? How do ecodesign schemes fit in the construction of standards?
- User’s dynamics: How do users appropriate appliances? What do they expect from their appliances? Which role could play appliances in teaching more eco-efficient behaviours?
- Producers’ dynamics: how do they take into account users’ practices and needs in the design phase? Which options do they take/not take that have an impact on energy use, and why?

The project will evaluate the potential for technological improvements from the point of view of energy consumption and will recommend policy measures making it possible to realize gradually this potential. In particular, the project will examine information and feedback tools as means for encouraging reduced energy consumption by users.


Besides literature review, the project will mobilise a range of methods in order to gather original data:
- interviews with manufacturers, designers, marketers, public authorities, users, …
- in-depth analysis of actual standards
- focus groups with users
- measurements of energy consumption of some appliances: in laboratories and in households.

The project will carefully study controversies about standards, failed endeavours of new appliances, how users are seen by the designers, appropriation of the appliances by the users.

The project will proceed in five steps:

- literature reviews in the fields of standards, ecodesign and life cycle analysis, making use of expertise networks in Europe;
- selection of a limited scope of appliances, on the basis of criteria stemming from the literature review; we want to concentrate on EuP for which user behaviour could be improved by ecodesign and would result in a significant improvement of environmental impacts;
- production and producers survey: we want to have the view of producers and designers on the use phase of their products, and on ecodesign in general;
- uses and users survey : the aim is to study users and their practices in their home environment; we will take advantage of this to also study their appliances and their energy consumption;
- confrontation of both surveys in order to identify levers and brakes for the use of standards and ecodesign to improve users behaviour.

Interaction between the different partners

CRIOC will bring its competencies in the fields of standardisation — for it represents consumers in several standardisation institutions — and of consumers studies. ICEDD will study more specifically technical aspects of appliances, a.o. their LCA. ULB will coordinate the research in constructing the theoretical framework and in studying controversies about standards.

Expected results and/or products

The project will end by recommendations about the implementation of standards and ecodesign for more efficient and user-friendly EuP’s, at different political levels (regional, federal, European, international). We will also determine to what extent Belgium can act on the identified levers and brakes, and which measures should be taken in order to improve both design and usage of EuP in Belgium.



The ISEU project will allow the Centre for Studies on Sustainable Development (ULB) and its multidisciplinary team to deepen its researches about the links between technology, environment and society.
ICEDD wants to broaden its experience on energy using products by a pluridisciplinary approach, building on its experience in life cycle analysis and rational use of energy.
CRIOC is devoted to lead researches about consumers’ attitudes and practices. It represents consumers’ point of view in various consultative Councils.

Contact Information

Edwin Zaccaï & Grégoire Wallenborn
Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB)
Centre d’Etudes du Développement Durable (IGEAT)
Avenue F.D. Roosevelt 50 - CP 130/02
B-1050 Bruxelles
Tel: +32 (0)2 650.43.68
Fax: +32 (0)2 650.43.12

Catherine Rousseau
Centre de Recherche et d'Information des Organisations de Consommateurs CRIOC - OIVO
Fondation d'utilité publique
Boulevard Paepsem, 20
B-1070 Bruxelles
Tel:+32 (0)2 547.06.89
Fax:+32 (0)2 547.06.01

Didier Goetghebuer
Institut de Conseil et d’Etudes en Développement Durable asbl (ICEDD)
Boulevard Frère Orban, 4
B-5000 Namur
Tel:+32 (0)81 25.04.94
Fax:+32 (0)81 25.04.90

Follow-up Committee

Guillaume Amand - ABEA
Françoise Bartiaux - Université Catholique de Louvain
Geoffrey Bodson - ALTERNATIS
Guibert Crèvecoeur - SPF Economie, PME, Classes moyennes et Energie
Marc Cumps - AGORIA
Yves de Coorebyter - FEEBEL
Maya De Groot - SPF Santé publique, Sécurité de la Chaîne alimentaire et Environnement
Marc Depoortere - Conseil Fédéral du Développement Durable
Bart Janssen - Vlaamse Instelling voor Technologisch Onderzoek (VITO)
François Jégou - Strategic Design Scenarios
Jean-François Koeune - Electrolux Home Products
Christine Kotarakos - Capital Research scs
Pierre Lannoy - Université Libre de Bruxelles
Carl Maschietto - Ministère de la Région Wallonne
Maries Merken - SPF Santé publique, Sécurité de la Chaîne alimentaire et Environnement
Wouter Ulburghs - Openbare Vlaamse Afvalstoffenmaatschappij (OVAM)
Jean-Paul Vetsuypens - CENELEC
Luk Warlop - Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

Documentation :

Integration de la normalisation, de l’ecoconception et des comportements des utilisateurs pour le developpement des appareils consommateurs d’energie : résumé (phase I)    Bruxelles : Politique Scientifique fédérale, 2009 (SP2064)
[To download

Integratie van normalisatie, ecodesign en het gedrag van gebruikers voor de ontwikkeling van energieverbruikende apparaten : samenvatting (fase 1)    Brussel : Federale Wetenschapsbeleid, 2009 (SP2065)
[To download

Integration of Standardisation, Ecodesign and Users in Energy Using Products : summary (phase I)    Brussels : Federal Science Policy, 2009 (SP2066)
[To download

Integration of Standardisation, Ecodesign and Users in Energy Using Products (fase 1) : final report    Brussels : Federal Science Policy, 2009 (SP2005)
[To download

Integration of Standards, Ecodesign and Users in Energy-Using Products (ISEU) : final report  Wallenborn, Grégoire - Orsini, Marco - Vanhaverbeke, Jérémie. ... et al  Brussels : Federal Science Policy, 2012 (SP2445)
[To download]  [To order

Integratie van de normalisering, het eco-ontwerp en het gedrag van de gebruikers voor de ontwikkeling van elektrische toestellen : samenvatting van de resultaten  Wallenborn, Grégoire - Orsini, Marco - Vanhaverbeke, Jérémie. ... et al  Brussel : Federaal Wetenschapsbeleid, 2012 (SP2446)
[To download

Integration de la Normalisation, de l’Ecoconception et des comportements des Utilisateurs pour le développement des appareils consommateurs d’énergie : résumé des résultats  Wallenborn, Grégoire - Orsini, Marco - Vanhaverbeke, Jérémie. ... et al  Bruxelles : Politique scientifique fédérale, 2012 (SP2447)
[To download

Household energy consumption, design, energy-using products, practice theory, ecodesign directive, standards, efficiency, sufficiency, electricity monitor, learning process, appropriation, experimental strategy : summary of results  Wallenborn, Grégoire - Orsini, Marco - Vanhaverbeke, Jérémie. ... et al  Brussels : Federal Science Policy, 2012 (SP2448)
[To download

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