The European Union’s carbon reduction plan sets stringent targets, both for energy efficiency and environmental impact. The Energy related Products (ErP) Directive has been introduced, to support the achievement of these targets, and specifies minimum efficiency requirements which must be integrated into energy-using products.
In 2013, the ErP Directive (2009/125/EC:Eco-design) established EcoDesign requirements for air conditioning systems. Non-compliant products, which do not meet minimum seasonal efficiency legislation, cannot carry the CE-mark and thus can no longer be imported or sold in Europe.
Products of less than 12kW are governed by the ErP Directive (Lot 10), and these are usually used for high end residential and light commercial applications. Low efficiency products were banned from the market in January 2013. Moving forward, minimum requirements will be reviewed and updated, so even higher efficiency levels will be required to meet the ever-stricter energy efficiency requirements.
SEER and SCOP
Until 2013, the air conditioning industry used a ‘nominal’ ratio for cooling (EER) and heating (COP). Nominal efficiency gives an indication of how efficient an air conditioner is when operating at full load in nominal conditions (not often achieved).
Seasonal efficiency is a term used to describe a new and more realistic way of measuring the true energy efficiency of heating and cooling air conditioning products over the course of a calendar year.
As part of the ErP legislation, a new energy efficiency rating system has been developed, and this must be adhered to by all air conditioning unit manufacturers. These ratings are based on;
Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) value in cooling
Seasonal Coefficient of Performance (SCOP) value in heating
By measuring annual energy consumption and efficiency in typical day-to-day use, these standards take into account temperature fluctuations and standby periods to give a clear and reliable indication of the typical energy efficiency over an entire heating or cooling season.
Environmental Policy for business
While the ErP legislation is designed to promote the phasing out of non-compliant systems, it targets manufacturers of air conditioning systems, resellers and installers, rather than the end user. It is important however, to consider your business’s environmental policy alongside the potential energy cost savings when determining whether you should upgrade to a more energy efficient system.
An environmental policy is a written statement, usually signed by senior management, which outlines a business’ aims and principles in relation to managing the environmental effects and aspects of its operations. Although putting one in place is voluntary, an increasing number of businesses are choosing to do so.
Having an environmental policy is essential if you want to implement an environmental management standard such as ISO 14001. It’s also vital if you currently work or intend to work with large organisations, or if you need to demonstrate to customers and other stakeholders that you are committed to managing your environmental impacts in a responsible way.
If you need advice on air conditioning installation options, the cost and benefits of a top rated energy efficient system, or would just like to ask a few specific questions, you can talk to our experts to get an opinion that takes the circumstances of your business and building into consideration.