The EUP directive and what it means for the heat pump market

In 2005 the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union passed the EUP directive, with the goal of reducing the environmental impact of energy-using products and support sustainable development. It establishes a framework of rules and criteria for setting on the ecodesign of energy-using products (EuPs).

It is this year, however, that the heating market begins to feel the impact of the change as the grace period given to manufacturers to bring their products up to these new standards ends. From 2013 circulating pumps must meet these new standards as the ecodesign requirements for glandless standalone circulators (laid down in Commission Regulation No 641/2009 of 22 July 2009) will now be a part of the
Declaration of Conformity (CE). Without a CE mark, a product may not be sold within the EU.

Why so much focus on the humble circulating pump? Well, the simple fact is that they are ubiquitous, and therefore, although each pump may use relatively little energy, the cumulative usage across Europe is enormous.

The savings potential for standalone circulators is required by the EU to be 13TWh and 6.2m tons of CO2 — which represents the total electricity consumption of 21,500,000 people or the combined populations of Berlin, London, Brussels, Sofia, Paris, Rome Amsterdam, Warsaw, Copenhagen and Riga.

Up until recently, most existing pumps were D labelled under the European Energy labelling scheme, and according to pump manufacturers, these made up 70% of the pumps sold to installers. This is perhaps not surprising since these old fashioned pumps were far cheaper than the more sophisticated newer pumps. The newer standards require an inverter-driven pump, which automatically scales its effort (and therefore energy consumption) in line with the demand being placed on it. So if you only have one radiator on in a bedroom at night the pump will just tick over rather than running continually at the speed set (which for older pumps was inevitably the highest setting to cope with maximum demand).

Only those pumps with an A rating meet the new standards. Replacing older pumps with A labelled products can mean huge energy savings, as A-labelled circulator pumps can use up to 80% less energy, and cut up to 10% off an average household’s energy bill (compared to a D-rated pump).

So what does this mean for Stiebel products? With any product Stiebel Eltron manufactures, efficiency is paramount. So, in fact, most of our heat pumps were ahead of the legislation and already contained the high efficiency circulating pumps. As of the beginning of this year all of our range is fully compliant with the new standards. Because it’s the way we think we’ve also taken the opportunity to increase the flexibility and efficiency of our single phase WPF ground source sets.

We are able to accommodate a lot of customers with this product that would otherwise not be able to have a heat pump because of a weak electricity supply. The modular sets have always been able to match the demand of the building by running only one heat pump if the demand is low and running both when demand is high. Now however the customer has the option to run two small circulating pumps (one dedicated to each heat pump) to make this even more efficient. So in effect when demand is low you can run only one heat pump and one small circulating pump, rather than always running a circulating pump sized for both heat pumps. The design of the interconnecting pipe work has been changed to easily allow both options (one large or two smaller circulating pumps) out-of-the-box.

All of our wall mounted pre-insulated pump stations have also been updated to contain the new high-efficiency pumps. These kits offer a clear and easy means of connecting the heating system to our range of buffer tanks. They contain flow and return gauges, mixer valves (model dependent), gravity break and lock-off valves and high efficiency circulation pump all neatly packaged in one box.

With even more stringent requirements for circulating pumps coming for 2015 there will be more changes ahead.