All local space heaters manufactured for sale in the EU must now comply with a minimum efficiency standard under Lot 20 of the Energy Efficiency Directive. Christian Hadley, Head of Product Marketing for Glen Dimplex Heating & Ventilation, examines the potential impact for installers
A number of “product lots” have already been rolled out as part of the 2012 Energy Efficiency Directive (EED), covering everything from TVs, light bulbs and washing machines to machine tools and compressors.
Next is Lot 20, focusing on local space heaters – and when you consider that more than half of energy consumed in our homes is used to heat water and space, it is easy to see the difference it could make.
Lot 20 of the EED (2015/1188) states that all local space heaters manufactured for sale in the EU after 1 January 2018 that use electricity, gaseous or liquid fuels, must comply with a minimum efficiency standard. This includes electric radiators, electric underfloor heating and electric fires.
Local room (or space) heating products are defined as appliances that provide heat to indoor spaces by generating heat in the location within which they are situated. Like other product categories, the aim is to rule out inefficient technologies and reduce the energy used in our homes, helping to achieve our overall carbon reduction targets.
The new regulations are set to drive the biggest change in electric heating for decades. Many products sold in Scotland are being redesigned to include more advanced controls with smart features such as temperature control via presence detection or open window detection, distance control via an app, and even adaptive start control to suit the individual requirements of the user.
Other products already have this functionality included. Dimplex’s Q-Rad electric radiator, for example, includes Eco-Start, a delayed anticipatory control which sees the heater decide when to turn on to ensure target temperature is achieved at the selected time.
Entry-level products will also have integral controls such as mechanical and electrical temperature/timer controls to meet the requirements of the new regulations.
The emphasis on product redesigns, of course, lies with manufacturers. So what does this all mean for installers?
Set-up and installation
One of the areas where installers will see the biggest difference is with the set-up of devices at the point of installation. More sophisticated controls place greater responsibility on the installer – both setting up the controls and educating the customer. However, it is not a responsibility you should dread.
This is a chance to add value to your installation and, more than anything else, spend time with your customers. Remind them of the benefits of Lot 20 from a product development point of view and explain the advantages of their new appliance with intelligent controls.
There is also an opportunity to revisit old customers, with a compelling reason to make contact and sell them the efficiency and cost-cutting benefits of modern, Lot 20-compliant products.
Remember, intelligent controls with added features such as adaptive start can (and should) be set up at the point of installation to meet the specific usage requirements of the user, with greater individuality than ever before.
If set up correctly and matched to the lifestyle of the specific user, features like this can result in better comfort and lower costs – the two most commonly identified factors that people are looking for from any electric heating system.
There will be an element of time involved here, but once you get to grips with the functionality provided by your manufacturer of choice, it will not be an issue for any forward- thinking installer.
Dimplex, for example, has developed innovative control units which are consistent across different electric radiators throughout our vast range to ensure consistency and speed for installers.
Become a trusted partner
Above all else, there is an opportunity here for installers in Scotland to demonstrate their expertise. Keeping homeowners informed about the latest changes in EU legislation will help gain trust – especially when the resulting product redesigns could potentially save them money in the long term.
Show your customers what you know, not just about the new legislation but about smart controls, energy efficient usage, the automatic controller modes and, for that matter, whatever else you can glean from your chosen resources, whether that is industry magazines, manufacturers’ literature or the internet.
Become a trusted partner and you will have a customer for life. And this is especially important for electrically heated homes, the majority of which have no access to the gas grid because of geography or local restrictions and are unlikely to switch to a different fuel source.
Another area set to be enhanced by intelligent controls is the ongoing repair and maintenance of electric heating appliances. Look for products that offer the potential for wireless connectivity like the Dimplex Q-Rad electric radiator and Dimplex Quantum off-peak heater, both smart-ready devices which can be connected to each other and to a central monitoring device.
This offers the potential for remote diagnostics and monitoring capabilities, thus saving time and money by identifying and analysing faults via sophisticated data records – sometimes without even stepping back into the customer’s home.