Europe’s heating equipment is responsible for about 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.
Energy efficiency measures on boilers and water heaters have the potential to reduce home energy bills by billions each year, and to promote renewable energy solutions.
What is the European Union doing?
Energy labels for boilers, water heaters, and combination kits (e.g. with solar panels) have been introduced in the EU in 2015, after very long delays. Under these labels, fossil fuel boilers can still get an A grade (if they are condensing gas boilers), while renewable energy solutions are ranked from A+ to A+++. Minimum ecodesign requirements have also been set on the energy performance and pollutant emissions (with differentiated levels according to the technology). The last stage entered into force in 2017.
These measures are estimated to have led to a reduction in EU CO2 emissions by about 80 million tonnes annually so far, equivalent to taking almost 45 million cars off our roads.
A review study was launched in 2017, with the aim to suggest improvements to the regulations. However, the current energy label is unlikely to be revised before 2025, due to a strong pressure from the heating industry to keep it favourable to fossil fuel models.
What does the coolproducts campaign want?
Set 2030 as the phase-out date for fossil fuel boilers (i.e. ones that cannot operate with renewable energy or alternative greener fuels);
In the meantime, close all loopholes (such as for B1 boilers), to ensure only the very top-performing technologies can be purchased. In particular, fossil fuel boilers that do not condense to the optimal level should be banned;
Stricter requirements for heat pumps, particularly regarding refrigerants and testing procedures;
Rescaling the energy labels to promote renewable solutions more aggressively; reducing gas consumption in particular is crucial to meeting the EU climate objectives;
NOx and greenhouse gas emissions warnings on the energy labels.
Setting 2030 as the phase-out date for electric storage water heaters, which are by far the least efficient type. In the meantime, a prominent warning about product inefficiency should be shown on the product label, fiche and user manual;
Phasing out fossil-fuel operated water heaters by 2030;
Rescaling the energy labels to promote renewable solutions more aggressively.