What is the directive all about?
The directive is a framework for all member states of the EU to work to and is aimed at reducing energy usage, and therefore carbon emissions, by 20% throughout the EU by 2020. The directive also aims to increase reliance on renewable technology within this time frame as well. Effectively there are two parts of the directive: Eco Design and Energy labelling. The directive has been transposed into UK law in the form of a statutory instrument and therefore must be complied with once implemented. In fact the National Measurement and Regulation Office (NMRO) have been tasked to monitor and enforce the directive by the British Government.
The EU ECO Design initiative requires manufacturers to ensure that their products are as efficient as possible and that energy consumption is reduced. This part of the directive will virtually illuminate the selling and installation of High Efficiency Non Condensing Boilers that have been allowed to be installed under certain circumstances in the past.
Energy labelling is an indicator to the consumer that the product that they are buying is energy efficient. Items such as refrigerators and freezers have carried an energy label for a number of years and this level of information has now been extended to products such as water and space heaters (including combi boilers). The label will indicate the efficiency rating from A++ to G of the appliance, but effectively any product in the lower bands will become non compliant in the spirit of the directive. Some products already used in the heating sector have already been subject to the directive in earlier rounds. For instance, circulating pumps fitted now have to be of the high efficiency type.
How does the directive affect us as a manufacturer?
From 26TH September 2015 the boilers that we manufacture and sell to market, along with Solar Thermal systems and Cylinders, will have to comply with the directive. In fact we have been very pro active in this area ensuring that the boiler ranges that you have become to trust for reliability and quality meet the stringent requirements of the directive. At Firebird we are just not meeting the minimum requirements of the directive but we are surpassing them with the introduction later in the year of the Blue Supreme boiler – the most efficient domestic boiler in Europe – not only is this boiler extremely efficient but Nox levels produced are beating targets set for future legislation. Also from that date a new energy labelling system will be used along with technical information available on our web site and in the product manual. This does, however, mean that our current range of standard efficiency range of boilers will be dropped from our manufacturing list. It is only correct, as a responsible manufacturer, that we adopt this approach.
How does the directive affect you as an installer?
It is very important as an installer to appreciate that the directive will have a major impact on the way that you install and commission heating appliances from the 26th September 2015. You will be responsible for generating an energy efficient label for the complete system including Boiler, Solar Thermal, Cylinder and any controls that you install and this includes heating packages and combinations of the above.
Is there any help out there to help meet the directives requirements?
Yes, as an industry it is important that guidance is available. There are training courses and seminars being held around the country by many manufacturers and suppliers and the EU Commission has issued guidance on how compliance can be achieved.
Can you still buy unlabelled products after 26th September?
Yes, as long as the supplier/merchant had the product already in stock. This is to ensure fair stock rotation. It is envisaged however, that Firebird will be labelling their products by the end of June 2015. However, if you purchase a product before the deadline, but intend to install after the 26th September, then it is still your responsibility to ensure that an overall energy rating for the system is provided to the end user. Although the product will not carry an energy label the manufacturer must be consulted on the rating of the appliance.
On combination packages such as Boiler/Cylinder/Solar Thermal do you have to use the same manufacturer’s products?
Absolutely not! It is your choice to use any manufacturer’s products (as long as they carry the energy label after 26th September). However, it is your responsibility to input all the correct information from those manufacturers so that an energy label can be generated. Here at Firebird we understand that there will be an initial period of adjustment and we aim to be able to give you advice when the need arises. If you are unsure of the impact of the directive on your business – do not hesitate to contact our Technical team who will be pleased to discuss your concerns and questions