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Gearing up for the ErP

When the ErP Directive is applied to fans next year it could have serious implications for anyone manufacturing, specifying or installing products that incorporate fans, says Soler & Palau
The Energy-Related Products Directive (ErP) (formerly the Energy-using Products, or EuP, Directive) is designed to ensure that products used within Europe do so efficiently. To that end, it lays down energy performance criteria for particular products and from 2013 there will be criteria applied to fans. All types of fans will be affected, whether they are standalone or components in devices or systems.

According to fan manufacturer Soler & Palau (S&P), this will have serious implications for manufacturers and specifiers of products that incorporate fans with an input power figure between 125W and 500kW, such as air handling units (AHUs).

'The ErP Directive is the latest in a stream of new regulations to come from Europe,' notes S&P commercial director Alan Price. 'And like other initiatives it will have implications for all those parties involved, so it's important to understand what these are.

One obvious example is the potential need to upgrade fans within products such as AHUs. This will necessitate re-testing of the whole unit, resulting
in additional time and expense.

'Also, it's inevitable that some manufacturers will adhere more strictly to regulations than others, particularly when compliance affects their competitiveness in the current economic climate. Consequently, if the Directive is not policed properly we could end up with a two-tier system of AHUs and other products that use fans. Specifiers, therefore, will also need to be wary as part of their duty of care to the end client,' he warns.

S&P is one of the few fan manufacturers with a pan-European perspective and is also concerned that the new Directive may not be enforced equally in all European countries. 'Experience shows that some countries take such regulations more seriously than others and those that are in the middle of a sovereign debt crisis will probably have other fish to fry,' Mr Price continues. 'This could leave many manufacturers with an unfair advantage, depending on their home market, and could even lead to a 'grey market' in fans.

'There is now very little time until the ErP Directive will be applied to fans, so there is no room for complacency. All of us in the building services industry need to be aware of the potential problems - without scaremongering - and have a serious debate about how best to deal with them,' he concludes.

25 May 2012

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