What future for the inspection of boilers?

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One of the latest documents from the Council of the European Union about the EPBD recast, dated 25 November 2009 (http://www.buildup.eu/publications/6620), allows to imagine what could be the future requirements concerning inspection of boilers, even if the content of this draft has still to be formally approved by the Council and by the European Parliament:

- The concept of “regular inspection of boilers” could be replaced by “regular inspection of heating systems” that use boilers of more than 20 kW for space heating of buildings. This regular inspection could concern the “accessible parts” of heating systems such as “the heat generator, control system and circulation pump(s)”.

- The present requirement asking for a regular inspection of boilers fired by non-renewable liquid or solid fuels could disappear, making the regular inspection required for all heating systems with boilers whatever the fuel used, even renewable.

- A new paragraph could be introduced asking Member States to take into account inspection costs and estimated energy savings when setting inspection frequencies. Inspection could also be less frequent or lightened “where an electronic monitoring and control system is in place”. For boilers of more than 100 kW, the requirement asking for an inspection at least every 2 years (possibly extended to 4 years for gas boilers) could remain.  

- The concept of one-off inspection for heating installations with boilers older than 15 years could disappear.

- One of the new recitals of the draft encourages Member States to combine inspections and certifications “in order to minimise the administrative burden on building owners and tenants”.

- As in the present Directive, Member States may decide, as an alternative to regular inspection, “to take measures to ensure the provision of advice to the users on the replacement of boilers, other modifications to the heating system and on alternative solutions to assess the efficiency and appropriate size of the boiler”. 

- Concerning the experts for heating systems inspection, Member States could be required to make available to the public information on training and accreditations, as well as updated lists of qualified and/or accredited experts or accredited companies.

- A new requirement could ask that Member States set up an independent body for a random control of issued inspection reports.

What future for the inspection of boilers?



We should be careful not to overestimate the possible outcome from heating system inspections. If you read the current EPBD directive it looks like the recommendations expected from a heating system inspection are the same as from an energy certificate. I don't think you can get the same results. Heating system inspection can reasonably trigger further investigation if there is an evidence of big problems. Example: high actual consumption. Then, who cares for the building? There is heating system, ventilation system, air conditioning inspection but no "building inspection...".

I would suggest that regular maintenance of systems should be compulsory instead, including a simple check of actual consumption versus design o certified values. If there is a significantly higher actual consumption, reasons should be investigated.

This could be very simple: just join certificates database with energy distributors database. 

By the way, this would be very effective, independent, cheap and straight to the objective (less actual consumption) way to check certificates....