EuP Directive Concerns UK Heating Industry

by Tal Potishman

In August 2007 the Energy Using Products (EuP) Directive was put forward by the government. The directive provides an initial indication on the EcoDesign requirements for energy using systems and products. This information is very important for any company manufacturing or distributing heating equipment and central heating components in the UK, as it will become a pre-requisite for obtaining and retaining the CE mark. Without the CE mark it would be practically impossible to sell the products in the EU market.

It is proven to be difficult to evaluate to full scope of requirements the new directive will force upon the industry in the UK, as there little information available at the moment. UK manufacturers of boilers and other central heating components are approaching the government to release more information to allow them enough time to set up the right procedures and prepare accordingly in order to minimise disturbance to manufacturing and supply of essential heating components, which may ultimately impact the end consumer.

Evaluating currently available information regarding the Energy Using Products Directive shows that there are new guidelines regarding labelling and packaging of the heating components. An important new point in the new directive is that the heating components will have to be uniquely and separately labelled and packaged. Each boiler, central heating controller or Thermostatic Radiator Valve will have to be separately packaged and labelled in order to meet the new requirement. This requirement is thus expected to put a burden on small manufacturers and distributors within the plumbing and heating sector.

It is envisaged that such requirement might force some strategic alliances between small players. Small manufacturers of boilers, central heating controllers and other components may find it easier to partner up with their competitors, suppliers or even customers up and down the supply chain, in order to better cope with the new requirements.

Professionals within the heating components manufacturing industry highlight their concerns that as things stand, there is little time to prepare for the new requirements, especially since there is still limited information about the new directive. There are also calls to clarify the exact stage within the supply chain at which the new labelling will be required.

Initial indication shows that the directive will use the full system when calculating its performance. This is compared to the current approach which is based on the original heat source (such as a typical boiler). The performance will be scored against a rating scale of between A and G, with the performance and rating to be labelled on each component. The new directive instructs that systems that score below level D will be banned from 2011. Furthermore, systems that score below band A will be banned from 2013.

It is fair to say that there are several important issues addressed by the new directive that will help the customers as well as the manufacturers and distributors. However, it is crucial to make the implementation of the directive rigorous but at the same time smooth. It is therefore important to work with the key stakeholders within the process to ensure broad acceptance and successful roll out for the new directive.

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