How to make sense of the new energy labelling system

As we have written about before on our blog, a Europe-wide labelling system for components of central heating systems will be introduced from September 2015. The aim is to make it easier for consumers to recognise the most energy-efficient products and to also introduce minimum efficiency standards in order to remove the most inefficient products from the market completely. This mandatory labelling system will be found on products such as water heaters, commercial and domestic generators, and hot water storage products and will be similar to the labels found on white goods, such as refrigerators and freezers. The government has predicted that these directives will save the UK over £850 million per year by 2020 and should significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This new system is part of the Energy Related Products Directive (ErP), which is actually made up of two directives - Ecodesign and Energy Labelling. The Ecodesign Directive will ensure that manufacturers produce products with minimum efficiency requirements, while the Energy Labelling Regulations will ensure that products are clearly labelled with A - G ratings. Low carbon and renewable heating products will also have A+ and A++ ratings, to really give consumers the best possible chance of getting the most efficient products. The labels must remain with the products and all quotations must include the energy ratings of the components. Any products not clearly labelled or not meeting the minimum efficiency required will be considered illegal if they are attempted to be sold. This is all great news for the customer, but it does require a bit of an adaptation in behaviour of heating engineers and installers. This is due to the fact that a heating system is made up of several different components that will each have an individual energy rating, with some components operating differently when installed alongside other heating components (like boilers and heat pumps). For this reason, the European Commission has introduced ‘Package Labels’ which aims to give an energy efficiency rating for the different components as a whole. Heating installers are legally obliged to give the customer a Package Label if they sell a combination of these products: - A boiler, heat pump or a microCHP product in combination with - a temperature control system - another heat generator - a solar water heater - a solar water heating and solar hot water cylinder This is quite a complicated change for the heating industry, but many manufacturers are already giving their engineers training and many are working hard to develop information and products (e.g apps) that will make accurately calculating a Package Label as simple as possible. In the short term, there will be a period of transition while the heating industry gets to grips with the changes brought about by the Energy Related Products Directive. However, in the long term, installers will be more knowledgeable, better educated, and will be able to provide excellent service to customers in terms of helping them select the most efficient heating systems they can. Ultimately, this will help householders reduce their heating bills and dramatically reduce their carbon emissions. Article by Benjamin Clarke
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