There were of course national differences or priorities but these have been accommodated in the ISO standard ISO 12759 which was published in December 2010. For instance, in Europe the requirement is mostly for motor and fan impeller combinations, whereas in the US the majority of fans are sold as bare shaft fans with the motor or drive mechanism being supplied separately. The ISO standard sets Fan Efficiency Grades for both bare shaft fans (FEG) and Fan-motor Efficiency Grades (FMEG) for driven fans.
Shortly after that, on 30 March, 2011, the European Commission published its regulation number 327/2011 on the ecodesign requirements for fans driven by motors with an electric input power between 125W and 500kW.
The target energy efficiencies that particular fans have to achieve is being introduced in a phased timetable. The "first tier" date is 1 January, 2013 and UK fan manufacturers are working towards that introduction. To that effect the FMA has already held briefings with its members on compliance and will be holding another training session on 14 May. The "second tier" date when the target energy efficiencies will be further increased is 1 January, 2015.
So what practical difference will the new regulations make? The classification system of efficiency bands will lead to greater transparency of a fan's energy efficiency. Future energy labelling requirements coming from legislation will further aid that transparency. And with future improvements in technology and manufacturing processes the minimum efficiency grades may be reviewed and increased in time.
Nobody believes that energy efficiency targets will remain constant. Both the users, who have to pay for the energy to run the fans, and the legislators who want to push the boundaries, will be looking for incremental increases in efficiency levels. The ISO fan efficiency standard and the resulting EC regulation have been developed in such a way that it can accommodate those changes.
// The author is technical manager of the Federation of Environmental Trade Associations, a part of which is the Fan Manufacturers' Association //