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Frequently asked questions
Why is the change happening?
The Ecodesign Directive aims to set mandatory minimum requirements for individual product groups.
It provides EU-wide rules putting a duty of care on manufacturers to improve the efficiency of their products. It also means that products that are unable to achieve compliance will no longer be manufactured or imported, removing inefficient products from EU and UK markets.
What products are covered?
Lot 20 states that all local space heaters manufactured for sale in the EU after 1st January 2018 which use electricity, gaseous or liquid fuels, must comply with a minimum efficiency standard. This includes:
· Storage heaters
· Direct acting heating (panel heaters and electric radiators)
· Portable heaters
· Underfloor heating
· Radiant heaters
· Electric and gas fires
A second regulation (2015/1185) sets out the same requirement for space heaters which use solid fuels, such as stoves and fireplaces, from 1st January 2022.
How do you define a space heater?
Local room (or space) heating products are defined as appliances that provide heat to indoor spaces by generating heat in the location within which they are situated. Like other product categories, the aim is to rule out inefficient technologies and reduce the energy used in homes, helping to achieve the UK's overall carbon reduction targets.
Does Brexit affect our involvement?
No, the legislation has been written into UK law, so when we leave the EU, Lot 20 will still apply.
When does it come into use?
From 1st January 2018, non-compliant products can no longer be manufactured for sale in the EU/UK. Products manufactured before this date will still be available for sale, predominately those kept in the warehouses of wholesalers and distributors.
This means that you may and eventually will need to change the products that you buy, install and recommend as the new regulations come into the market.
Will existing products change?
To ensure compliance, products will have to incorporate technology to improve their energy efficiency.
Higher specification products from leading manufacturers may already be compliant with the new regulations – but you may find that some entry-level products now have integral timers or controls to meet the requirements of Lot 20.
Will it increase costs?
Lot 20 requires that the consumption and emissions for local space heaters must be reduced by applying “existing, non-proprietary technologies” without an increase in the combined costs of purchasing and operating the products. This means that whilst the initial product price may increase to cover the cost of the new technologies, the lifetime running costs will be lower.
How do timers and controls help efficiency?
The latest compliant products can include temperature control with presence detection or open window detection, distance control via an app, and even adaptive start control to suit the requirements of the user. These features help the heater to know when it should be on, for how long, and if it should turn itself off, saving energy and therefore money.
How will it impact spares, maintenance and warranties?
Warranties, by law, have to be honoured if advertised – even if you buy a non-compliant product after 1st January 2018, the manufacturer will have to uphold the warranty and ensure they have enough spares to be able to maintain their products or replace the product.
Will I have to replace my existing, non-compliant heating products?
Whether you are a consumer, landlord or housing association, you do not need to replace your existing heaters. Just be aware that non-compliant products will no longer be manufactured from the 1st January 2018, but can still be sold after that date until they are cleared through the market. This means that there is no immediate need for a review of your heating, just a change in what is available to you if you do look to undertake refurbishment and replacement projects in the future.
How long can non-compliant products continue to be installed/repaired?
Non-compliant products can continue to be sold until a cut-off date has been specified. Warranties sold with non-compliant products have to be upheld by the manufacturer by law and spares will have to be readily available to honour this.
How long can non-compliant products be specified/sold?
Non-compliant products can continue to be sold until a cut-off date has been specified, however, it would be advised to begin specifying compliant products as soon as possible to ensure they are the best for your customers. You should also be careful to not specify products that will be discontinued by the time the project needs to purchase them. The best way to overcome this is to keep a close relationship with your chosen wholesaler to ensure you are kept up to date with any discontinuation dates.
What if I don’t require all the extra technology?
The extra technology ensures the product complies with the new minimum energy efficiency standard. The aim is to significantly contribute to the EU’s 2020 energy efficiency objective, as with lightbulbs, boilers and TVs, the industry standard has changed – lowering energy usage (and also costs).
How can I find out more?
Speak to your wholesaler or manufacturer about the new product ranges available to you.