New energy standards for home boilers entering into force this month are expected to take offline the equivalent of 47 Fukushima-type nuclear power stations in Europe by 2020, according to the European Environmental Bureau (EEB).
Under the Energy Labelling Regulation, space heaters and combi space heaters <70 kW will have to meet minimum energy efficiency requirements and will require an energy label, as well as water heaters and hot water storage tanks <500 litres. The new requirements came into force on 26th September 2015 and as of that date, only gas boilers and water heaters using energy efficient condensation technology will be allowed for sale in the EU. In the UK, market surveillance will be carried out by the National Measurement Office.
The energy labels now required for all newly installed heating and hot water systems will range from A+++ to G. The highest rating of A+++ given to systems that run on renewable energy and G the least energy efficient.
The new Ecodesign Regulation for home boilers is another part of the measures being implemented as part of the EU’s commitment to cut energy consumption by 20%. After more than five years of haggling, the Ecodesign Directive’s regulatory committee voted through a text in 2013 setting minimum green requirements for boilers and water heaters with a rated output up to 400 kW and storage tanks up to 2,000 litres.
Paul Hodson, Head of Unit Energy Efficiency & Intelligent Energy at the European Commission commented: “This is the single most important package of Ecodesign and labelling regulations ever adopted by the European Union. The minimum standards will mean that nearly everybody who replaces their boiler will replace it with a condensing boiler, which are typically 50% more efficient than those found in European homes today.”
According to a recent research carried out by Ecofys, implementation of the Ecodesign Directive would save 400 million tonnes of CO2 emissions a year, a figure “comparable to the impact on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions expected of the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS).” It also noted that net savings for European consumers and businesses could reach €90 billion per year (1% of EU’s current GDP) in year 2020.
So what does this mean for social landlords and consumers?
There are cost implications for social landlords, as boilers with higher seasonal efficiencies are more expensive and the capital costs of installations are higher. However, as a result of the increase in boiler efficiency, tenants can save up to £340 on their annual energy bills according to the Energy Saving Trust. A possible solution would be to allow social landlords to recoup some of the investment costs from savings tenants make from lower energy bills, while ensuring that residents still benefit from net savings. Reduced pay-back periods would enable landlords to invest more in new build homes and retrofit more existing homes. We are campaigning to make this happen and welcome your support.
When space or water heater installations combine multiple ‘energy using products’ (e.g. boiler, controls, renewable, hot water cylinder), an overall system efficiency figure will need to be calculated and a single system energy label will have to be produced. The installer will be responsible for providing end-users with this information; however, select manufacturers can support you through this process with apps, calculators and other tools. SHIFT partner Vaillant have prepared a useful guide to help installers and landlords through the process.
For consumers, it will be easier to select the most efficient products as many are already familiar with the labels on white goods and other electronics. Standardised language and visualisation will help consumers choose products that consume less energy and ultimately save money.