Two European Directives – the Ecodesign and Energy Labelling Directives – and their accompanying regulations have introduced new requirements for fossil fuel boilers, as well as a label to inform about their performances. This article presents these requirements and the foreseen label.
The Ecodesign Directive for gas and oil boilers
The Ecodesign Directive 2009/125/EC (sometimes called the ErP Directive) requires that energy-related products fulfil ecodesign minimum levels of energy efficiency and environmental performance. The Directive is implemented through Commission Regulations, for various specific products.
For example, Commission Regulation N°813/2013 refers to space heaters up to a heat output of 400 kW, i.e. devices feeding heat to a building’s water-based central heating system. The regulation also applies to combination heaters, which provide domestic hot water in addition to space heating.
The regulation covers both gas and oil boilers, as well as electric boilers, heat pumps and cogeneration (CHP, combined heat and power) boilers. It also applies to “packages” (for example, space heater + supplementary space heater + solar thermal device + temperature control).
For gas and oil boilers, this regulation includes the following requirements:
- minimum seasonal space heating energy efficiency for boilers and combination boilers up to 70 kW;
- minimum space heating energy efficiencies at 100 % and 30% of the declared heat output, for boilers and combination boilers between 70 and 400 kW;
- a minimum water heating energy efficiency for combination boilers according to the declared load-profile (i.e. a given sequence of domestic hot water draw-offs);
- maximum nitrogen oxide emissions.
The thresholds for nitrogen oxide emissions come into force on 26 September 2018.
In practice, Regulation N° 813/2013 effectively phases out non-condensing gas and oil boilers, with an exemption for a specific category of boilers (B1 boilers) commonly operated in apartment houses with a common chimney. This is because retrofitting one condensing boiler would force a retrofit of all the other boilers as well as the common flue system, in order to ensure continued safe operation of the system.
The regulation also lists which data must be published in the products' technical documentation .
In addition, the regulation defines the way to assess the products' energy efficiency and nitrogen oxides emissions. For example, the seasonal space heating energy efficiency of gas and oil boilers must be a weighted average between the useful efficiency at rated (declared) heat output and the useful efficiency at 30% of the rated heat output, corrected by contributions accounting for temperature controls, auxiliary electricity consumption, standby heat loss and ignition burner power consumption, if applicable. More details are given in a Commission Communication, for example the coefficients for this weighted average efficiency: 0.15 for useful efficiency at 100% of rated heat output, and 0.85 at 30% of rated heat output. All these measurement and calculation details have been or will be included in relevant European standards.
The Ecodesign Directive requires that manufacturers keep and make available EC declarations of conformity, and affix CE markings. For gas and oil boilers, the implementing Regulation N° 813/2013 defines rules for the conformity assessment: space heating energy efficiency assessments have to rely on an examination by a third party (notified body), as stated in Directive 92/42/EEC; water heating energy efficiency and nitrogen oxide emissions can depend on manufacturer decisions concerning either internal design control or management systems - as described in the annexes to the Ecodesign Directive. Regulation N° 813/2013 also describes the verification procedure for market surveillance by Member States.
Harmonised European standards exist in order to define how to measure and test relevant parameters for performance assessments as required by a Commission Implementing Decision on a standardisation request (Mandate M535) approved by the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN).
Frequently Asked Questions on the Ecodesign Directive and its implementing regulations have been published by the European Commission. FAQs dealing with Regulation N° 813/2013 were also published in the Guidelines accompanying this regulation.
The Energy Labelling Directive for gas and oil boilers
The Energy Labelling Directive 2010/30/EU imposes mandatory labelling and information requirements that indicate the consumption of energy and other resources by energy-related products.
A Commission Delegated Regulation supplementing Directive 2010/30/EC has been published for space heaters up to 70 kW (Commission Regulation N°811/2013). The Regulation defines energy efficiency classes, the contents of the label and the product information that should to be made available to consumers.
Note that space heaters between 70 and 400 kW must fulfil Ecodesign requirements even though they are not covered by the energy labelling regulation.
For gas and oil boilers, the label must include the following information:
- the supplier's name or trademark;
- the appliance name (supplier’s model identifier),
- the rated output;
- the seasonal space heating energy efficiency class (from G to A++);
- for combination boilers, the water heating energy efficiency class (from G to A);
- the sound power level;
- for combination boilers able to work only during off-peak hours, a pictogram showing this.
Examples of labels for a boiler and for a combination boiler, from 26 September 2015
The Energy Labelling Directive requires that suppliers produce technical documentation which is sufficient to assess the accuracy of the information contained in the label. The supplementing Regulation N°811/2013 describes the verification procedures for market surveillance purposes.
In May 2013, the European Commission launched the review process of the Energy Labelling Directive and of certain aspects of the Ecodesign Directive – see the evaluation report to prepare this revision.
Impact of the two Directives on gas and oil boilers
The Ecodesign and Energy Labelling Directives have significant implications for gas and oil boilers:
- they rely on new methods to assess product energy efficiency; these methods are generally very different from those used to take into account the performance of HVAC products in the calculation of the energy performance of buildings (national transpositions of the EPBD);
- they create a need for revision of the corresponding European standards;
- they define requirements that largely phase out of the market non-condensing boilers, and impose very ambitious nitrogen oxide emission thresholds from September 2018;
- they govern the labelling of products for the better information of consumers.
The European Commission published Guidelines that summarise the most relevant information that would help stakeholders (including industry and public authorities) to implement these regulations. A Consumer's Guide presenting the label has also been made available in several languages.
Several stakeholders have also published documents providing guidance, e.g., the Danish Energy Agency, and the Federal Association of German Heating Industry (Bundesverband der Deutschen Heizungsindustrie - BDH). Others, such as the UK's Heating and Hotwater Industry Council (HHIC), have presented the regulations in their websites.
NOTE: A first article in this BUILD UP series presented the overall impact of the Ecodesign and Energy Labelling Directives on HVAC products. The present article focuses on gas and oil boilers, while future articles will cover electrical heat pumps, water heaters and ventilation units.