The story behind efficiency ratings

BSRIA has expertise and facilities for testing the efficiency of boilers at full and part load in accordance with the Boiler Efficiency Directive.
Behind all those SEDBUCK A and B ratings and seasonal-efficiency figures for boilers is a comprehensive programme of performance testing. DR ARNOLD TEEKARAM explains how it all works.Boiler manufacturers have for many years been required to quote efficiencies for their boilers and meet certain standards laid down by the European Boiler Efficiency Directive (BED) as well as existing British Standards. The Boiler Efficiency Regulations came into full effect in the UK on 1 January 1998, stating an obligation for all new gas and oil boilers to comply with the minimum efficiency requirements. From 1 April this year, all installations of central heating boilers fall under the control of Building Regulations. Although the change does not apply to oil-fired central-heating boilers until 1 April 2007, it is in the interest of manufacturers to take the initiative and develop products that meet the legislation and exceed consumer demand. Legislation The new legislation states that all gas boilers fitted in new homes must be condensing boilers with either an A or B SEDBUK efficiency rating (A is greater than 90%, and B is 86 to 90%). For existing installations, a condensing boiler must be fitted on replacement, unless the exemption criteria is satisfied. This is included in the update to Part L1 of the Building Regulations. SEDBUK (Seasonal Efficiency of a Domestic Boiler in the UK) was developed under the UK Government’s energy-efficiency best-practice programme and provides a basis for comparing the energy performance of different boilers. It was developed for calculating seasonal efficiency for individual boilers to use in the UK Building Regulations Part L. The SEDBUK scheme has been used by the Energy Saving Trust to determine which appliances and fuels have efficiency levels that they wish to support, and those are boilers that fall into bands A and B (the condensing boilers). To quote efficiencies for their boilers, manufacturers first need to have their product tested at full and part load in accordance with the standard. Conformity to standards is mandatory before the products can be sold. It can also be a powerful marketing tool to help build consumer confidence in the product. The minimum efficiency and compliance with the regulations can be achieved by tests carried out by an independent notified body. BSRIA is a notified body for the purposes of these regulations and has expertise and facilities for testing the efficiency of both gas- and oil-fired appliances at full and part load in accordance with the Boiler Efficiency Directive. BSRIA is also UKAS accredited to test boilers to several European and OFTEC standards. For oil-fired boilers, we provide independent certification and performance verification to Boiler Efficiency Directive BS EN 304:1999, BS EN 303 parts 1 and 2 and the OFTEC Oil Firing Equipment Standard OFS A100. Manufacturers of gas-fired boilers can have their products tested to BSEN 483: 2000 Type C, BSEN 297 1994 Type B11 and B11BS (for boilers fitted with atmospheric burners), and BSEN 677: 1998 (specific requirements for condensing boilers). After successful completion of testing, manufacturers receive EC Type Examination Certificates which adequately demonstrate the efficiency of products by independent testing. Testing and certification ensures that UK manufacturers can comply with the regulations and also compete in the UK and European markets. CE marking In Europe, CE marking is mandatory on virtually all gas-fired domestic and commercial equipment. The CE mark may only be affixed after successful completion of testing, auditing of factory production control (FPC) and the issue of a certificate by accredited independent authority. On the basis of BSRIA test results and the FPC assessment, manufacturers can apply a CE mark to their products. For domestic boilers, compliance with the Boiler Efficiency Directive requires testing of representative examples from a manufacturer’s range and an audited factory production control system, to ensure that the manufactured quality is consistent. The requirements of the Low Voltage Directive, Electro Magnetic Compatibility Directive and Gas Appliances Directive for gas boilers also need to be met. Furthermore, under the Boiler Efficiency Directive, production surveillance by a notified body is a legal requirement of ongoing CE Marking of most gas products for sale into Europe. The main purpose of the surveillance visit is to ensure that products that have been previously tested by a notified body under the directive still hold a valid certificate. Easier process Having expertise, experience and understanding of safety standards and the local certification schemes under one roof, BSRIA as a notified body makes this whole process easier, which for manufacturers means faster time to market. Dr Arnold Teekaram is head of testing and certification at BSRIA, Old Bracknell Lane West, Bracknell, Berks RG12 7AH.
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