OFTEC Urges Installers To Prepare For Energy Related Product Directive
With a little over 6 months to go until new EU energy efficiency regulations come into force covering the production, testing and labeling of heating appliances, OFTEC is urging installers to fully prepare for the changes or face the prospect of criminal prosecution.
According to Brussels bureaucrats, the forthcoming Energy Related Products Directive (ErPD) will improve the energy efficiency of domestic and commercial heating systems, reduce emissions and help end users make smarter buying choices. For manufacturers, installers and technicians, that translated into more paperwork, more bureaucracy, more hassles, more expenses and more red tape from Brussels.
The first tier of changes will be implemented from 26 September this year. The regulations cover two main areas – performance standards, placing responsibility on manufacturers; and labeling, which involves the entire supply chain, including installers.
To ensure ErPD compliance, manufacturers will need to meet minimum energy performance standards, nitrogen oxide and noise emissions on all products covered by the regulations in order to carry a CE mark and be available for sale. Relevant products will also need to carry a specific label to identify the energy efficiency band (from A++ to G) for heating and, where relevant, a similar banding scheme for hot water production – very similar to labels currently seen on white goods.
Where various products are assembled together to form a heating installation, it will be the responsibility of the installer at the point of sale to calculate the overall energy efficiency of the system and produce a label for the customer.
Enforcement of the directive will be carried out by The National Measurement Office through product testing and market surveillance. Any installer or manufacturer seen to be non-compliant could face legal action and, at worst, criminal prosecution. Albeit, the continued flouting of numerous EU directives and standards elsewhere within the heating industry, has caused some to already question the vigour with which the latest Brussels directive will be enforced – CE marking being a case in point.
Paul Rose, OFTEC’s Technical Director however says, “We fully endorse the new legislation which offers a good step forward in improving the energy efficiency of heating related products.
“However, the ErPD is a complex set of regulations which places the responsibility on technicians to correctly calculate the energy efficiency of heating systems they install using supporting information from manufacturers known as ‘product fiche’.
“As part of our comprehensive support package for technicians, we are currently looking at ways to help registered technicians complete this process.
“We would like to see an online tool made available whereby installers can input product information from website fiche numbers and produce a label. This has been alluded to but we haven’t seen any evidence of it materialising as yet, or of the product information technicians will require to fulfil their responsibilities under ErPD.
“It is imperative that manufactures and installers comply with the new regulations as failure to do so could, at worst, result in prosecution. OFTEC will continue to lobby in the best interests of its registered technicians – and the industry as a whole – and to provide the on-the-ground support technicians need to meet or surpass industry standards.”