Energy label promoted more efficient heating solutions in the market though the labelling of packages of space and water heaters faces poor implementation and installers scepticism.
Brussels, 26 September 2017 – The EU regulation and its guidelines for mandatory labelling of heating systems entered into force on 26 September 2015. Since then, all new space and water heating solutions, products or packages, with a capacity of up to 70 kilowatts; are required to have an energy efficiency label. Two years after, the LabelPack A+ partners, an EU project supporting the introduction of the package label on the market, give a mixed review of the implementation of this measure.
“As a result of the requirements associated with the energy efficiency label, the heating sector has brought to the market more efficient solutions. By now nearly all conventional heating systems fall under the efficiency category A, while systems using renewable options, such as solar thermal or heat pumps can reach A+ or above,” said Jörg Mayer, the German Solar Association’s (BSW-Solar) Managing Director.
The energy labelling of space and water heaters brought an important innovation into the labelling framework, going beyond the concept of product label and introducing the package label, an indication of the energy efficiency of a system, i.e., a combination of different components.
“The package label is an interesting concept, with the potential to empower consumers regarding their purchase decisions for heating solutions, easing the assessment of the most efficient and sustainable offers,” referred Pedro Dias, Secretary General of Solar Heat Europe (ESTIF). “Nevertheless, it risks becoming a lost opportunity due to implementation problems.”
According to the assessment of the project partners, the limited engagement from public authorities, which results in an absence of information campaigns and market surveillance initiatives, combined with the lack of interest from market actors, such as heating systems installers, lead to a poor uptake of the package label.
“We knew that this solution had gaps, not reflecting adequately the added value of solar heating options and not addressing the retrofit of existing systems”, continued Pedro Dias. “Still, we expected it to raise awareness among consumers and to promote a planned replacement of older, inefficient and polluting systems.”
Acknowledging these implementation problems in the ongoing review of the energy labelling for space and water heaters could be a turning point in exploring the untapped potential of this regulation.
“Reinforcing the positive contribution of renewable systems in heating systems, highlighting its advantages, would give a clear message to consumers and lead them to consider buying renewable heating solutions.” Said Jörg Mayer, the German Solar Association (BSW-Solar) Managing Director. Furthermore, following the German example of labelling of existing systems, other Member States could take a proactive stance in enlightening consumers on the advantages of planning the replacement of their old system by a new, more sustainable solution, he added.
While the Ecodesign Directive requires manufacturers to develop efficient products, labelling intends to enable customers to make better and easier purchasing decisions. Particularly efficient systems, which include renewable energies such as solar thermal, heat pumps or biomass, can attain the highest categories of A+ to A+++.
About LabelPack A+
LabelPack A+ is a project promoted by the EU Commission, within the framework of the Horizon 2020 program, for the introduction of energy efficiency labelling for heating systems, water heaters and combined systems. It is being implemented in six European countries by eleven participating organisations. Further information: www.label-pack-a-plus.eu
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