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Cutting energy use in ventilation products

Many ventilation manufacturers are gearing themselves up for the changes that will come about as a result of the second stage of the Ecodesign of Energy-related Products (ErP) Directive, which will be introduced later this year.  

Its aim is to cut energy use by at least 20% across Europe by 2020 by requiring motor and fan sets between 125W and 500kW to comply with stringent minimum efficiency levels.

Following the first stage of the direction coming into force in 2013, which required that all 125W-500kW fans comply with energy-reducing measures, the second stage focuses on domestic bi-directional fans and unidirectional fans over 30W.

These updates are designed to further enhance energy efficiency and promote localised control. For example, specific energy consumption (SEC) calculated for  the average climate should be no more than 0kWh/(m2.a). In addition, non-ducted units including ventilation products that will be equipped with one duct connection on either the supply or extract air side should have a maximum LWA of 45dB.

As stage two of the ErP requires all ventilation units (except dual-use versions) to be equipped with a multi-speed drive or variable speed drive, this means that many currently on the market will be obsolete. All bi-directional units will also be required to have a thermal bypass facility, an essential element of the design criteria.

These latest updates are set to have a major effect on the ventilation products that are available on the market. As the legislation applies both to fans operating as standalone devices and to those used as a component within a system, it will be illegal to sell a unit if the fan is less efficient than the requirements of the directive. The onus will be on heating and ventilation professionals to check that each product has a CE mark, alongside a date when the product was manufactured.

ErP legislation will become progressively more stringent, with 2018 updates requiring that SEC – calculated for average climate – be no more than -20kWh/(m2.a) (reduced from 0). Alongside this will be a maximum LWA of 40dB (reduced from 45dB).

Ventilation units will also be required to have a visual filter change warning signal designed to ensure continuous operation and performance, giving a clear indication of any issues to householders. Variable speed drives, filter warning lights and more sensors will also aid end users in identifying any problems.

Aside from providing homeowners with greater control, the new energy-efficient ventilation standards are expected to help cut daily running costs by up to 30%.

The ErP is being introduced to improve the performance of ventilation systems and to ensure that only compliant units can be specified. These new systems offer real benefits to users in terms of functionality and performance, ensuring that units work efficiently and that any issues are quickly identified and rectified.

ErP is redefining the market in terms of reinforcing minimum energy efficiency requirements. The new measures are enforceable across Europe and the responsibility is on manufacturers and ventilation system installers to ensure the units they offer are compliant.

Rory Percival is technical manager at EnviroVent

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