Energy labels on household appliances, such as new washing machines, electric ovens and even lightbulbs, have been around for a good couple of years now, and provide a means of comparing efficiency. From 26 September, boilers, heating controls and renewables are subject to similar labelling.

The ErP, or Energy-related Products, Directive has been set up by the EU to drive improvements in efficiency and performance of heating and hot water products and their contribution to the overall energy use of the property. So, from the end of September all compliant products will need to display a label illustrating, among other things, efficiency and noise.

Heating and hot water accounts for around 75% of our home energy usage, so when replacing or choosing a new heating system, a significant energy reduction is possible with the right choice of appliance. What the ErP gives homeowners is a standardised, clear, ‘at-a-glance’ guide to how efficient you can expect your heating and hot water system to be, and inform your buying choices accordingly.

Boilers, Renewables and Cylinders are Included

The following all fall under this new regulation:

  • boilers
  • water heaters
  • heating products up to 70kW
  • hot water cylinders under 2,000 litres
  • heat pumps
  • solar thermal panels and controls.

The new system will also work alongside the current A–G SEDBUK or SAP ratings for boilers, but also adds the new efficiency classes of A+ and A++, which will tend to apply where renewable technologies are incorporated.

Where you are having a complete system installed with controls and perhaps a new cylinder, for instance, your installer will also be expected to work out the efficiency of your complete system as a whole and record this accordingly.

The label itself should be familiar to us all as it will look very similar to those we are already used to seeing on televisions and washing machines, and will show where each appliance sits on the rating scale — as well as its kW output and decibel ratings where applicable.

While the new Energy-related Products Directive sees efficiency classes introduced ranging from A++ to G, you will tend to find most high-efficiency boilers will fall into either band A or B. To reside in band A the boiler has to achieve over 90% efficiency, while band B is between 86% and 89.9%. Renewable technologies, such as heat pumps, are more likely to be in the A+ or A++ bands, depending on the flow temperature.

Heating Controls will also be Subject to Labelling

Controls are included in the ErP Directive, too, but are defined using a ‘class’ system. These run from Class 1 for a simple on/off room thermostat, through to Class VIII for a multi-sensor room control for use with modulating heating appliances. Each control class equates to a percentage uplift in efficiency, too. For example, a Class VI weather-compensating control and room thermostat, such as the new Worcester Wave, will add 4% efficiency to the heating system.

The Quick Read

  • Boilers, water heaters and cylinders, heat pumps, solar thermal panels and heating controls will be subject to energy labelling under the EU’s ErP (Energy-related Products) Directive, coming into force on 26 September 2015
  • New boilers need to be over 90% efficient to be A rated
  • If you’re specifying a complete system, your installer should calculate the efficiency of the combined system

About the Expert:

Martyn Bridges is director of technical support at Worcester Bosch Group.

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