Know your ErP
Danny Packham says installers and end-users need to be aware of ErP.
Gas fired warm air and radiant heating systems are well established heating technologies for large, open spaces.
One of the benefits of radiant heating for these projects is that burning the fuel at point-of-use provides good thermal and seasonal efficiencies. However, the way manufacturers will calculate seasonal efficiency is changing from 1st January 2018 when ErP (Energy related Products) legislation comes into force.
ErP is part of the Ecodesign regulation (EU) 2015/1188 which, along with the implementing Directive 2009/125/EC is an EU policy aimed at improving the energy efficiency and other environmental performance criteria for energy-related products (ErP).
ErP divides products into product ‘Lots,’ with warm air heaters using gaseous or liquid fuels contained within Lot 21 and radiant heaters within Lot 20.
Each Lot provides the minimum energy efficiency and environmental values for each heating technology. Any product that does not comply with the requirements cannot be marketed and sold within the EU – including the UK.
Even though the UK is planning to leave the EU, the requirements of Ecodesign will still have to be complied with while that process continues. Even then, unless new UK legislation is introduced, ErP will continue to be one of many methods employed by the Government to reduce the environmental impact of heating technology.
• Lot 20 (radiant) has a max NOx emission of 200mg/kWh input plus a minimum seasonal efficiency of 74%. Seasonal efficiency is a combination of thermal efficiency, radiant efficiency & electrical power consumption.
• Lot 21 (warm air) has a max NOx emission of 100mg/kWh input plus a minimum seasonal efficiency of 72%. Seasonal efficiency is calculated from airflow temperature rise, thermal efficiency and electrical power consumption. Lot 21 also applies to AHU’s and includes the performance of any heating / chilling coils, where human comfort is the primary heating purpose.
These required NOx emission reductions are likely to affect products and ensure that some older technologies are withdrawn or modified to ensure compliance.
Essentially, other than outdoor (heating an outdoor space) units, air curtains or ambient units, all products need to comply with either Lot 20 or Lot 21, as well as the motor efficiency ErP regulation.
The second tier for ErP will be 2021, whereupon seasonal efficiency will increase to 78% and maximum NOx emission for gaseous fuels will be <=70mg/kWh input.
Crucially, the minimum criteria for Lots 20 and 21 are applicable for new installations and when replacing existing products. As a result, customers can be assured that the heating equipment they are purchasing is highly energy efficient and emissions of harmful environmental pollutants are constrained.
Unlike other products, warm air heaters and other commercial heating appliances are directly planned and purchased by HVAC professionals. The Regulation 2015/1186 excludes warm air heaters and other commercial heaters from mandatory energy labelling. However, product literature and free access websites of manufacturers must indicate the seasonal efficiency and NOx emissions for each product or system.
On initial appearance, the ErP seasonal efficiency looks to be a lot lower than the current Building Regulations seasonal efficiency calculation. However, when these minimum thermal and radiant efficiencies are added into the ErP seasonal efficiency calculator, the approximate results are as follows:
Gas fired warm air heaters (atmospheric) = 70% (2% below)
Radiant (unitary) heaters = 71% (3% below)
Therefore, a net increase of approximately 2% will be realised for warm air heaters and 3% for unitary radiant heaters manufactured from 1st January 2018 onwards.
As ErP seasonal efficiency is calculated differently and produces a different result, designers can expect a figure that is far lower than those previously used in the National Calculation Methodolgy tool (i.e SBEM). It is wise therefore to ensure that the relevant seasonal efficiency figure is entered when carrying out calculations.
It should also be borne in mind that the seasonal efficiency shown by manufacturers on websites, technical manuals and sales brochures post 2018 will be ErP seasonal efficiency.
Danny Packham is European product manager – warm air and radiant, from Nortek Global HVAC