The Energy-related Products (ErP) Directive is a key plank in the European Union’s carbon reduction plan and has a significant impact on the design of many energy-consuming products on the market today. It also incorporates a labelling scheme that helps end users to understand how energy-efficient a product is.
The ErP Directive (2009/125/EC) is designed to set specific performance requirements for a wide range of products that consume energy. Product groups are split into a series of ‘Lots’. For example, ErP Lot 10 covers air conditioning products up to 12 kW, these being the units that are typically used in light commercial and high end residential applications.
There are two key elements within the ErP Directive: Ecodesign and Energy Labelling.
The Ecodesign element of the ErP Directive dictates minimum energy efficiency and other environmental criteria. For heat pumps the Ecodesign Directive also set limits on noise levels. The requirements of the Ecodesign Directive are delivered by member states through their own national regulations, such as the Building Regulations.Any products that do not comply with the requirements of the Directive will not be allowed to carry the CE Mark and should not be available for sale in the UK. Importantly, the Directive is effective from the time products are ‘placed on the market’ or ‘put into service’. This means that it will apply to the replacement of existing air conditioning products as well as new installations.
In parallel with the Ecodesign requirements, a labelling scheme has been introduced to help consumers understand the energy performance of the products they are buying. Under this, air conditioners below 12 kW will require an energy label to denote the energy performance of the product, ranging from A at the top end down to G. This is the same, familiar type of energy labelling that has been applied to ‘white goods’ such as washing machines and refrigerators for some time.