From September 26 2015, it will be easier to compare water heating products, thanks to the energy labels that will apply to water heaters with outputs of up to 70kW and hot water storage tanks with storage volumes of up to 500 litres. Alan Clarke, technical support manager at Heatrae Sadia, explains more.
In line with the EU Directive 2009/125/EC: establishing a framework for the setting of ecodesign requirements for energy-related products (commonly referred to as the ErP Directive), from September 26 2015 water heaters with a rated output of up to 400kW and hot water storage tanks with a storage volume of up to 2,000 litres will need to meet minimum energy performance criteria, and those with outputs of up to 70kW and storage volumes of up to 500 litres respectively will require an energy label.
The energy efficiency bands featuring on the labels will initially range from A to G, but will eventually extend to A+++, and band G will be removed in 2017. It is likely that conventional products will have an A-G classification (A-F from September 2017), while A+, A++ and A+++ will be reserved for renewable technologies.
As well as stating the energy efficiency band, directly heated water heaters will also include a size (load) profile, ranging from 3XS to 4XL. To provide a few examples, 3XS would be a water heater typically suitable for a small single basin at 35oC, S would be for a shower and single basin at 35oC, M would be for showers and a sink at 55oC, L would be for a bath, shower and sink at 55oC and XXL would be for simultaneous baths and showers.
Alongside the efficiency band and size profile, manufacturers of point of use direct electric water heaters (whether vented or unvented) will also have to declare the amount of water the product dispenses at 40 degrees - called the V40 (Volume at 40oC) figure.
It has been introduced because all direct electric water heaters are likely to be in the C category due to a 'fuel factor' applied to electrically powered products. By providing the actual amount of mixed hot water dispensed at 40oC, it is hoped the purchaser can make a more informed choice. The V40 figure means products can be compared on a like-for-like basis - thus levelling the playing field.
The V40 figure will become an important part of the product selection process, especially with direct electric products being a popular choice for some commercial and public sector applications - hospitals being a good example.
Having a number of lower capacity independent direct electric water heaters offers several advantages over the installation of one large-scale centralised solution; less pipework means fewer deadlegs, reducing the risk of legionella bacteria colonising in the system, and hot water can be maintained during periods of planned maintenance or when repairs are required, rather than the complete system being shut down. Furthermore, choosing electric water heating products over indirect ones heated via a gas boiler means there are no flueing issues to consider and legally required maintenance/servicing is reduced. The installation of point-of-use instantaneous water heaters can also be extremely economical in cases where hot water demand is intermittent, yet essential.
Manufacturers of all water heaters and hot water storage tanks in the scope of the ErP Directive will also have to provide additional performance and efficiency parameters via a 'technical fiche' and within product data, which must be included on company websites and in installation instructions included with the product.
Energy labelling will make product efficiencies clearer, but it will be important to refer to these technical fiches in addition to the labels; they will be particularly invaluable when water heating products in the same band are being compared against one another and there isn't a V40 figure to rely on.
Ultimately, energy labelling will make it easier to choose the most efficient products - in turn reducing carbon emissions, lowering energy costs and preserving depleting fossil fuels, and we welcome the creation of the V40 figure, which will enable like-for-like comparisons to be made.