The contribution of the whole electrical installation to sustainable development can be significantly improved through the design of the installation. Actually, it has been shown that an optimised design of the installation, taking into account operation conditions, MV/LV substations location and distribution structure (switchboards, busways, cables), can reduce substantially environmental impacts (raw material depletion, energy depletion, end of life), especially in term of energy efficiency.
Beside its architecture, environmental specification of the electrical component and equipment is a fundamental step for an eco-friendly installation. In particular to ensure proper environmental information and anticipate regulation.
In Europe several Directives concerning electrical equipments have been published, leading the worldwide move to more environment safe products.
RoHS Directive (Restriction of Hazardous Substances)
In force since July 2006 and revised on 2012. It aims to eliminate from products six hazardous substances: lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) or polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) from most of end user electrical products.. Though electrical installations being “large scale fixed installation” are not in the scope, RoHS compliance requirement may be a recommendation for a sustainable installation
WEEE Directive (Waste of Electrical and Electronic Equipment)
In force since August 2005 and currently under revision. Its purpose is to improve the end of life treatments for household and non household equipment, under the responsibility of the manufacturers. As for RoHS, electrical installations are not in the scope of this directive. However, End of Life Product information is recommended to optimise recycling process and cost.
Energy Related Product, also called Ecodesign
Apart for some equipments like lighting or motors for which implementing measures are compulsory, there are no legal requirements that directly apply to installation. However, trend is to provide electrical equipments with their Environmental Product Declarattion , as it is becoming for Construction Products , to anticipate Building Market coming requirements.
REACh (Registration Evaluation Authorisation of Chemicals)
In force since 2007, it aims to control chemical use and restrict application when necessary to reduce hazards to people and environment. With regards to Energy Efficiency and installations, it implies any supplier shall, upon request, communicate to its customer the hazardous substances content in its product (so called SVHC, Substances of Very High Concern). Then, an installer should ensure that its suppliers have the appropriate information available.
In other parts of the world new legislations will follow the same objectives.