In the light of world-wide demand for more efficient products to reduce energy and resource consumption, the EU has implemented the Ecodesign Directive, aiming to improve the energy efficiency of products and to eliminate the least performing products form the market. As from 2018, the Ecodesign Directive also applies to heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) products in the European market.
The EU has set five targets it wants to achieve by 2020. One – that 75% of 20-64 year-olds are employed. Two - that 3% of the EU’s GDP should be invested in research and development. Three – to bring the rate of early school leavers below 10%, with at least 40% of 30-34 year-olds completing further education. Four - the EU wants at least 20 million fewer people in, or at risk of, poverty and social exclusion.
These are all important ambitions. However, arguably the most critical of the EU’s five concerns is climate change and energy sustainability. The EU wants greenhouse gas emissions at least 20% lower than 1990 levels, 20% of energy to be generated from renewables, and a 20% increase in energy efficiency.
To achieve these targets – also known as 20-20-20 – the EU has developed the Ecodesign Directive 2009/125/EC (also sometimes called the Energy related Products or ErP Directive). A directive is a legal act of the EU which requires member states to achieve a particular result without dictating the means of achieving that result.
The Ecodesign Directive is designed to address the environmental impact of energy-related products beginning at the earliest stages of design. It regulates the environmental impact of products that use energy (except for products in the transport sector). The Directive sets out minimum mandatory requirements for the energy efficiency of products such as TV’s, washing machines, lights but also HVAC products and components.
Reducing energy consumption in buildings
Buildings are insatiable consumers of energy; they are responsible for around 40% of energy consumption and 36% of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the European Union (EU), according to the European Commission.
Heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems account for a significant proportion of a building’s energy consumption, with air conditioning systems being seen as particularly energy intensive.
The application of the Ecodesign Directive for chillers and heat pumps is enforced through regulations specific to various products and operating ranges. Once a regulation is published and active, products affected must comply with the minimum efficiency performance, sound emissions, etc., to receive CE marking.
CE marking shows that the manufacturer has checked its products meet EU safety, health or – in the case of the Ecodesign Directive – environmental requirements. The letters ‘CE’ are the abbreviation of French phrase ‘Conformité Européene’ which literally means ‘European conformity’.
Under the Ecodesign Directive, energy-related products are grouped into ‘lots’ applicable to HVAC products:
Heat pump and chiller lots
ENER Lot 1 – Space heaters (heat pumps) – Regulation 813/2013 relates to all air and water-cooled heat pumps with a rated heating output below 400kW (measured at -10°C ambient). The heat pumps impacted by this regulation are classified as ‘low temperature’ if heating outlet fluid temperature cannot be supplied at 52°C (measured at -7°C ambient).
ENTR Lot 1 – Professional refrigeration (process chillers brine) – Regulation 1095/2015 relates to all process chillers operating at design capacity that can generate outlet fluid temperature of -25°C (low temperature) or -8°C (medium temperature).
ENER Lot 21 – Central heating and cooling products (comfort chillers, high temperature process chillers) – Regulation 2016/2281 relates to high temperature process chillers and comfort cooling chillers with rated cooling capacity below 2,000kW. For comfort cooling chillers, compliance is based on either fan coil application or cooling floor application.
All YORK products on the EU market comply with applicable Ecodesign regulations. Indeed, in many cases, YORK products offer significantly better energy efficiency than required by regulation, resulting in an attractive, low-cost of operation and lighter environmental footprint.