The introduction of the Energy Related Products Directive or ErP (2009/125/EC) last year means that both residential and commercial heating products will now be required to display easy-to-read information about their energy efficiency.
This is to enable consumers to understand at a glance the energy efficiency of potential purchases, and the varying benefits they may bring. It will work in much the same way as the energy efficiency labels that can now be found as standard on high street fridges and freezers.
What is the Energy Related Products Directive?
The ErP is part of the EU’s legislation on Ecodesign and Energy Labelling, aimed at encouraging households and businesses to reduce their energy use by using greener products.
It is anticipated that the legislation, which came into force in September, will make a key contribution to EU’s 2020 energy efficiency objective, while promoting competition in R&D and innovation.
The Ecodesign directive lays out minimum energy efficiency requirements for products, while the Energy Labelling directive complements these requirements. Its aim is to reduce the adverse environmental effects of products which consume energy by improving their efficiency.
The ErP is therefore a two-part strategy. The first part requires heating manufacturers to meet strict performance standards in their products (EcoDesign regulations), while the second part demands clear labelling according to a standard format (Energy Labelling regulations).
As technology improves, the ErP Directive will develop accordingly, thereby raising performance standards and encouraging R&D investment into ever more efficient heating products. Over the next three or four years, different tiers will be introduced, each with higher standards than the previous one, which will help drive out the least performing, poorer products from the market.
What does this mean for the HVAC industry?
With HVAC products consuming around 15% of the total energy in the EU, and products varying greatly in how energy efficient they are, the onus is now on the industry to communicate the aims and requirements of the new directive so that its obligations can be met.
Those working in the sector – from manufacturers and installers to sales professionals – will need to be au fait with the new rules, and understand how they will affect both the commercial and domestic markets.
The industry also needs to be able to communicate the new rules and labelling to businesses and homeowners who will be purchasing the products. At the moment, it’s about laying the foundations and maintaining communication about a directive that looks set to have a significant impact on the industry and its products.