Incredibly, Europe’s heating equipment is responsible for 25% of the continent's CO2 emissions, around the same level as road transport or industry. Heating is by far the largest source of energy consumption in our homes.
Europe lagged behind for decades, with no strong policies to ensure that only energy efficient equipment (such as renewable heating or gas condensing boilers) reaches the market. It has finally put in place measures that will reduce home energy bills by billions each year.
What is the European Union doing?
After 5 years of delay and heated political discussions, staggered Ecodesign requirements will enter into force in 2015, 2017 and 2018, while energy labels became mandatory in September 2015. A legislative review is planned for 2018.
These measures are expected to trigger savings of around 56Mtoe per year from 2020, reducing CO2 emissions by 136 million tonnes annually, equivalent to taking almost 58 million cars off our roads.
What does the coolproducts campaign want?
B1 combi-boilers with efficiencies below 86% are limited to 10 kW heat output, similar to other B1 boilers; these inefficient combi-boilers can still be used (in the range of 10 to 30 kW) instead of condensing ones, thus creating a loophole, which should be closed.
Heat pumps should have a minimum efficiency of 115% at the advanced Ecodesign stages. Requirements for low-temperature heat pumps should be stricter, e.g. 140%.
Energy labels could include NOx and greenhouse gas emissions warnings.
Electric boilers and storage water heaters are by far the least efficient of the equipment to be covered and should be phased out at a certain point. In the meantime, a prominent warning about product inefficiency should be shown on the product and user manual.