It has been two years since the EU regulation and guidelines for mandatory labeling of newly installed space and water heating systems in all EU-member states went into effect and the LabelPack A+ partners, an EU project supporting the introduction of the package label on the market, gave a mixed review of the implementation.
The regulation required all new space and water heating solutions, products or packages, with a capacity of up to 70KW to have an energy efficiency label.
“As a result of the requirements associated with the energy efficiency label, the heating sector has brought to the market more efficient solutions. By now nearly all conventional heating systems fall under the efficiency category A, while systems using renewable options, such as solar thermal or heat pumps can reach A+ or above,” said Jörg Mayer, Managing Director of the German Solar Association (BSW-Solar).
The energy labeling of space and water heaters went beyond the concept of product labeling and introduced the package label. The package label allows consumers to know the energy efficiency of a system combining several devices. Furthermore, the package label illustrates the overall efficiency of the system when combined with renewable energy systems, such as solar thermal.
“The package label is an interesting concept, with the potential to empower consumers regarding their purchase decisions for heating solutions, easing the assessment of the most efficient and sustainable offers,” referred Pedro Dias, Secretary General of Solar Heat Europe (ESTIF). “Nevertheless, it risks becoming a lost opportunity due to implementation problems.”
According to the assessment of the project partners, the limited engagement from public authorities resulting in an absence of information campaigns and market surveillance initiatives, combined with the lack of interest from market actors, such as heating systems installers, led to a poor uptake of the package label.
“We knew that this solution had gaps, not adequately reflecting the added value of solar heating options and not addressing the retrofit of existing systems”, continued Dias. “Still, we expected it to raise awareness among consumers and to promote a planned replacement of older, inefficient and polluting systems.”
“Reinforcing the positive contribution of renewable systems in heating systems, highlighting its advantages, would give a clear message to consumers and lead them to consider buying renewable heating solutions,” added Mayer.