With new technologies getting smarter by the minute and the Governments ErP Directive becoming compulsory in September, it should be a very interesting year for gas engineers.
As part of the Kyoto Protocol the EU are required to meet 20-20-20 targets in reducing energy by 20 per cent and increase the share of renewable energies by 20 per cent by 2020. To help achieve this the Government are implementing the ErP Directive and it will becoming compulsory in September.
ErP will affect all goods that have an impact on energy use, such as boilers and heating systems and will require manufacturers to label their products with labels similar to those already used on white goods with the aim of helping improve efficiency.
Products that don’t comply with the standards with not be given CE approval and can then not legally be sold within the EU Community.
All products below 70kW will require an energy label which will be classified with an efficiency band which will range from G to A+++ (A being the most efficient).
The label will show details that are product specific, identifying the efficiency band for heating and hot water production and sound power level.
How will this affect Gas installers?
Installers will only be able to fit and install products that are ErP compliant and that make the overall system more efficient, they will also need to be aware of what they can and can’t fit legally.
The installer will also be responsible for labelling the systems they install, and this is where things get interesting. The various components of the system will be labelled by the manufacturers but the installer will be responsible for calculating the efficiency of the overall system and this calculated figure will be required to be added to a package label to complete the installation.
This may be reasonably straight forward when all the individual system parts come from the same manufacturer but it could be a very different story when parts from different manufacturers are used together or when a new item is added to an already established system.
As the directive is still being worked through it is not known quite how the labelling requirements are to be put into operation, however manufacturers are dedicating a great deal of time to finding a practical solution that the installers can then put into use. Smartphone and web-based solutions to help enable calibration of the overall rating are thought to be the order of the day which would then enable printing out onto a system specific label.
Like the government, home owners themselves are also seeking greater energy savings so the rise of Smart Meters is of no surprise, although it is surprising to find out that 40 per cent of British homes still don’t even use a thermostat to control their central heating. A vast area for companies to exploit with various technologies are already out in the market place.
Hive by British Gas, Google’s Nest Learning thermostat or Honeywells Lyric just some of the many systems all vying to lead the race. All remote controllable from your smart phone, voice activated or just plain smart in that they self adjust after learning your lifestyle.
Its certainly going to be an interesting year and one where the gas engineer is going to have to keep up with ever improving technology and be ready with all the information these systems and the new directives demand.