2013 will see the start of a pumping revolution. The EU has recognised that in order to achieve its requirements for carbon emission reductions, and to see significant reductions in the energy needed to power heating and hot water systems across the twenty seven member states, it has to take action.
The UK Government has set out very ambitious targets for energy and carbon reduction and it is looking for help from the UK heating and hot water sector to achieve these. Having addressed the issues relating to the energy efficiency of boilers, and begun the process to encourage the introduction of renewables on a wider scale, it has had to turn its attention to other components of the heating system to find other sources of savings. Clearly one of the key components of a heating system that currently uses too much energy - although quite small in size and overlooked by many as a key user of electricity is the pump.
The total electricity consumption of all glandless circulating pumps operated in the European Union for heating and air conditioning the normal small circulating pumps - is to be halved by 2020. This is the objective of an EU ordinance under the European ErP (Eco-Design) Directive which will regulate the energy efficiency of this type of pump, from 1 January 2013 onwards, with a further tightening of requirements planned for 1 August 2015. Overall, these changes are thought to be likely to provide an energy saving of 23 terawatt hours for the EU as a whole. This corresponds to the electricity generated by about six medium-sized coal-fired power stations, or a reduction in EU-wide carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of about 11 million tonnes per year. Thats a hefty reduction by any standards.
In order to achieve this goal set by the European Commission, the EU ordinance prohibits the sale of technically outmoded, inefficient pump models from 2013 onwards. This will mean a ban on sales of about 90% of the glandless circulating pumps that were on the market in 2009. The reality is that the new efficiency requirements will be practically impossible to achieve without using high-efficiency pumps with EC motor technology.
The important new yardstick for determining which pump models can continue to be used in future is referred to as the energy efficiency index (EEI). This is calculated using a process defined in the ordinance - (EC) 641/2009. The average electrical power of a pump is calculated on the basis of a load profile in relation to a reference pump, that is, an average pump with the same hydraulic output.
From January 2013, the limit EEI value of glandless circulating pumps installed outside the heat generator - external pumps not those incorporated in combi or system boilers at this stage - will be defined as 0.27. The energy efficiency classes specified at present will then become superfluous, because as a rule, pumps will be better than the minimum requirements of the current A rated pumps. From August 2015, the EEI limit value will be reduced to 0.23. This will also apply to glandless circulation pumps, designed to operate in newly installed heat generators or solar thermal systems (integrated pumps). In the last implementation stage, the regulations starting from 2020 will also apply to the replacement of integrated pumps in existing heat generators. The regulations apply to all glandless circulating pumps in heating and air conditioning applications with the exception of drinking water circulation pumps.
There are currently still many heating and air conditioning systems which are equipped with pumps that have no speed control. Because of this, an unnecessarily high amount of electricity is consumed up to ten times more than the newest pump generation requires. Models with extremely low electricity consumption are already available including many from Wilo. These not only benefit the environment but also offer significant benefits to the building owner and the consumer because of lower electricity bills, whilst making no concessions in terms of comfort and performance. So its no surprise that pump manufacturers with the technology to offer high efficiency pumps, such as Wilo, are recommending that specifiers and installers exclusively use high-efficiency pumps now.
It still comes as a surprise to many that small circulating pumps can guzzle quite so much electricity. The reality is that the old, uncontrolled pumps that are still operating on millions of domestic and small commercial heating systems in this country are responsible for much higher energy bills, far higher CO2 emissions and far higher energy usage than is necessary. But because in many cases they are out of sight, out of mind, the simple act of replacing them with a new high efficiency pump that can reduce the costs of the energy the pump is using by up to 90% - gets overlooked.
The regulation on circulators will shift the market towards the intelligent high efficiency circulators that Wilo has been championing for several years, capable of adjusting their performance to meet the specific needs of the heating system.