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High efficiency pumps and the European Union

In order to meet the European Union's plans for carbon reduction, the total energy consumption of all circulating pumps used for heating must be halved by 2020. Christian Engelke explains the new ErP directive for high efficiency pumps
To achieve the European Union's plans for carbon reduction, and regulate the efficiency of circulating pumps, the EU launched the European ErP (Eco-Design) Directive in January this year.

Overall, changes under the ErP are expected to provide a reduction in EU-wide carbon dioxide emissions of about 11 million tonnes per year - so what is it that installers need to know to help make this goal a reality?

A new requirement
The energy efficiency index (EEI) is the crucial measurement used under the EU's directive; it will determine which pumps can be made available to customers.

From January 2013, the maximum EEI value of glandless circulating pumps installed outside the heat generator will be 0.27.

All energy efficiency classes currently used to rate pumps will be discontinued as the new high efficiency pumps will be better performing than the current A-rated models.

The ErP directive will tighten further in August 2015.

High efficiency regulations will also apply to the small pumps incorporated in combi and system boilers installed on new and retrofit systems.

At this point, the EEI limit value will be reduced to 0.23, and extended to circulation pumps designed to operate in newly installed heat generators or solar thermal systems.

The final stage of the directive is expected in 2020, when regulations will also apply to the replacement of integrated pumps in existing heat generators.

The EU Commission estimates as much as €2.2billion in electricity could be saved by 2020 across the EU from the fitting of high efficiency pumps; a figure equivalent to the total annual electricity consumption of Ireland.

In order to achieve its goal set in January this year, the EU has allowed UK manufacturers one year to clear existing stock.

By offering high efficiency pumps on all affected products as standard, Viessmann is already ahead of the game.

All existing Vitodens 200-W commercial boilers above 45kW are currently supplied with the high efficiency externally-mounted pump, and are the first products in the market to be supplied with the technology as a standard accessory.

The high efficiency pumps are operated by the boiler's Vitotronic controller, which modulates their speed according to the boiler heat output; ensuring energy is not consumed unnecessarily.

The pumps are DC driven and as a result, electricity consumption is reduced between 50% and 70% depending on the system, saving the customer the equivalent of £100 per boiler per year.

Market penetration
In June 2013 the Vitodens 200-W range will be further revamped, this time focussing on models up to 35kW for the domestic market.

As these boilers have an integrated pump fitted, we will be launching the product more than two years in advance of the second phase of the ErP directive.

High efficiency pumps come at a greater cost for the manufacturer both to purchase and to integrate into products.

This is likely to be why there is general reluctance in the market place to make any immediate change when it comes to the first stage of the ErP directive.

Indeed, due to the significant price difference between standard and high efficiency pumps, many cynics believe the legislation has been pushed through to raise profit margins for pump manufacturers.

We, however, feel the change is not only necessary if carbon reduction targets are going to be met, but also a natural progression.

Once a new technology has been deemed the most efficient product for a job, it should, where feasible, be installed. That's how the industry will evolve and customers will ultimately benefit.

With the immediate addition of high efficiency pumps as a standard feature of our products our customers can benefit from savings ahead of time. Come January 2014, all manufacturers will need to be acting in accordance with the ErP directive, however early they updated their product lines.

With high efficiency pumps coming at a greater cost to manufacturers, and with lack of end-user understanding of the change, it may be difficult to explain the relative difference in cost.

This means products updated ahead of the January 2014 deadline could fail to penetrate the market. But ultimately, it is installers that will drive the change.

// The author is technical director for Viessmann //

8 July 2013


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