Martyn Bridges: Ecoboiler model is not practical.

EuP deadlock leaves heating industry in limbo

Published:  02 August, 2010

WORCESTER: An impasse between the European Commission and the European heating manufacturers is threatening to leave the UK's heating industry in limbo. The disagreement concerns Commission plans, part of the Energy Using Products (EuP) Directive

…to insist that boilers up to 70 kW conform to a seasonal energy efficiency target of 75%.

The target, which is due to be in place by January 2013, is calculated using the Ecoboiler interim model which consultants for the Commission have designed to help drive the design and manufacture of increasingly energy efficient boilers.

However, during laboratory testing in the UK, best-in-class oil-fired condensing boilers have struggled to reach the 75% minimum seasonal efficiency levels demanded by the Commission.

Martyn Bridges, director of marketing and technical support, at Worcester, Bosch Group, commented:  "As it stands, the Ecoboiler model would, overnight, make all of the highly efficient oil-fired condensing boilers, currently available in the UK, obsolete. In order to comply with the Directive, as it stands, manufacturers would have to fast-track R&D and make significant extra investment which would only increase costs for installers and householders."

The European Heating Industry (EHI) has responded to the Commission's proposals by putting forward its own simplified spreadsheet model which adopts an initial boiler-only approach before adding on other heating types, such as solar, and boiler management systems. "This approach, combining boiler and room temperature controls, is capable of surpassing the 75% minimum threshold," said Mr Bridges.

However, until a decision is made on which model to use the UK's heating industry remains in limbo. "There is a stand-off at the moment between the Commission and manufacturers," said Mr Bridges.

"As manufacturers, we believe it is possible to deliver the boiler efficiency that the Commission wants but through a different approach. Boiler management controls can do the job, but until we get a decision on the acceptability of the proposed EHI model, we remain in limbo."

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