Boilers at the smaller end of the commercial market is one of the main categories of heating appliance covered by the Energy Labelling Directive that comes into force towards the end of September. Jonathan Tedstone of Potterton Commercial explains what building managers should consider.
Although the forthcoming Energy Labelling Directive, which works in conjunction with the Ecodesign Directive (commonly known as ErP), applies to space heaters and combi space heaters of up to 70 kW, it will have a significant effect on the commercial, as well as the domestic, market. The reason is that boilers rated at 60 to 70 kW account for a significant proportion of the sales of commercial boilers sales.
Contributing 38% of the nation’s carbon emissions, the non-domestic sector has a significant role to play in meeting UK carbon-reduction commitments. Heating and hot water in particular can account for a considerable amount of an organisation’s energy use, so it makes sense that the systems specified should be as efficient as possible to help achieve these ambitious, yet achievable, environmental targets. With increased pressure on building managers to bring down operational costs, light commercial premises are naturally an important focus in the EU’s carbon-reduction strategy.
Cue ErP. From 26 September 2015 the Ecodesign Directive and the complementary Energy Labelling Directive will apply to commercial boilers of a certain size. The directives can be seen as the most important pieces of legislation for the commercial-heating sector since changes to Part L2 of Building Regulations were introduced.
The Ecodesign Directive is designed to drive carbon-emission reductions and help achieve the EU’s 20-20-20 energy and climate-change objectives. Many product groups (known as ‘Lots’) are under scrutiny. For our purposes the most important is Lot 1, which covers space heaters and combi space heaters, including LPG, oil and electric boilers, dual fuel boilers, small-scale CHP (less than 50 kW electrical) and air, ground and water source heat pumps.
Essentially, the directives will mean two things. Firstly, Ecodesign will ensure that space heaters and combi space heaters of up to 400 kW that do not meet certain efficiency criteria will not get a CE mark and therefore will not be legally available for sale in the UK.
Secondly, Energy Labelling will mean that space heaters and combi space heaters of up to 70 kW will require an energy rating and a label. The energy efficiency bands will initially range from A++ to G, but will eventually extend to A+++. Each manufacturer is responsible for printing their own labels and filling in the sections required. Additional performance and efficiency parameters will need to be conveyed via a ‘technical fiche’ and within product technical parameter sheets, which must be included on company web sites and in installation instructions supplied with the product.
Where a product is installed as part of a package — which, for the purposes of ErP, would include one or more space or combi heater/s, temperature control/s and/or solar device/s — a package label must be completed by the person supplying the package. In most cases this will be the installer, the merchant or specifier. It is important for building managers to ensure that they receive this energy label so that they can be certain that the installed system meets the new legislative requirements.
Responsible manufacturers have been preparing for this change, developing tools to make the transition for contractors installing these products as easy as possible. For instance, our ErP calculator will make the creation of package labels easy.
Ultimately energy labelling will help building managers make a more informed choice when selecting a boiler by providing a guide to system efficiency that is easy to understand.
But the labels are really just one part of the decision-making process.
For a more balanced view, building managers should look to their specifier to provide guidance on which system is right for them.
Specifiers can look to the technical fiches and technical parameter sheets for guidance and compare products in the same energy band against one another to ensure the most suitable package can be selected for the building’s individual heat requirements.
Commercial buildings do of course already require a form of energy-performance marking, with Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs). And as an EPC must be made available when buildings are constructed, sold or leased, the Energy Labelling Directive is a helpful tool for building managers to invest in high-efficiency appliances that enhance EPC ratings, reduce running costs and realise savings that outweigh initial financial investment.
Building managers should be safe in the knowledge that ErP is something to be welcomed and will help instil confidence in the efficiencies of the system specified. By offering greater clarity on the efficiencies of products, it will promote a greener way of working across the heating sector, while delivering long term energy cost savings for organisations.