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Focusing on the efficiency of tanks and heaters

The Ecodesign and Energy Labelling Directives for water heaters and hot water storage tanks come into force on 26 September 2015.

The goal is to ensure that only the most efficient water heaters are being manufactured, specified, sold and installed.

When the Directives come into force, water heaters and storage tanks with an output of up to 400kW and storage volume of 2,000 litres will need to meet minimum energy performance criteria. Those with outputs of up to 70kW and storage volumes of 500 litres will require an energy label.

This is in line with the EU Directive 2009/125/EC: establishing a framework for the setting of ecodesign requirements for energy-related products, which was adopted in October 2009. Commonly referred to as the ErP Directive, Ecodesign applies to energy-related products sold in the domestic, commercial and industrial sectors in the European Economic Area (EEA).

Energy-related products are defined as those that use energy, or that do not use energy but have an indirect effect on energy consumption.

They account for a large proportion of energy consumption across the EU, but have significant potential to be improved to reduce their environmental impact and achieve energy savings for businesses and consumers.

The minimum energy-performance criteria required for water heaters and hot water storage tanks are set through the Ecodesign Regulations. These limits will need to be met in order for water heating products bearing the CE mark to be legally placed on the market in the UK and other countries in the EEA from 26 September.

The Energy Labelling Directive complements and works in conjunction with the Ecodesign Directive. From 26 September, water heaters and hot water storage tanks of up to 500 litres will require an energy label – but the energy-efficiency requirements still apply to units of up to 2,000 litres. 

The energy efficiency bands will initially range from A to G, but will eventually extend to A+++. Conventional water heaters will have an A-G classification, while A+, A++ and A+++ will be reserved for products that use renewable energy.

Additional performance and efficiency parameters will need to be conveyed via a “technical fiche”, which must be included in the product installation manual and be available in product literature and on company websites.

For specifiers, contractors and installers, product labelling is likely to make many things simpler and more straightforward. For example, it will be easier to select the most efficient products, helping to reduce end users’ carbon emissions and energy costs.

It will also be easier to explain product efficiencies to customers, as they will already be familiar with the product labels seen on white goods such as fridges and washing machines. 

The Ecodesign and Energy Labelling Directives should be welcomed. I believe they will ensure that only the most efficient water heaters are being manufactured, specified, sold and installed – in turn reducing carbon emissions, lowering energy costs and preserving depleting fossil fuels.

Jonathan Tedstone is category manager at Andrews Water Heaters

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