Has the green agenda slipped?

With all the recent doom and gloom about the economy and the impact that government cuts will have on various projects within the broader construction industry, some of the focus on green issues seems to have moved down the agenda. This is not too surprising as in hard economic times there is a tendency to slip into survival mode and longer term objectives are often overlooked.

There has certainly been less media coverage of late on the whole area surrounding the green agenda, although selecting energy efficient variable speed pump options is as important as ever as they use a fraction of the energy of their fixed speed counterparts. But because there is so much pressure on capital expenditure, this option is frequently getting dropped even though any initial additional cost is recouped several times over in energy savings during the lifespan of the pump(s).


This has however not stopped the EU wheels from turning and although you may not be aware of it there have been some changes in terms of an EuP Directive that will potentially have an impact on your pump selections.

It was back in 2005 that the EU initially introduced the Energy Using Products (EuP) directive. The objective at that time was to encourage the widest use of improved energy efficiency equipment as an important contributor to achieving EU emissions targets.

The directive has been under review more recently and its scope was broadened in 2009 when some amendments were added that have particular relevance for the pump industry. This new Commission Regulation EC 640/2009 now specifies the ecodesign requirements for electric motors that include glandless standalone circulators as well as glandless circulators that are integral within other products. This change followed a preparatory study that looked at technical, environmental and economic analysis of motors and motor drives.

It was seen as necessary to make these changes as the conclusions of the study showed that although technical solutions in terms of low energy consumption motors were available, the market penetration of high-efficiency motors was lower than it could be and the main life cycle cost impact for motor driven products such as pumps was at the user stage i.e. through its electrical consumption. There was also a large potential gain to be made by reducing the electrical consumption and very significant reductions of the LCC were possible from adopting IE2 and IE3 motors.

In addition it was necessary to legislate based on ecodesign requirements because years of EU policy of self regulation and awareness raising campaigns have not significantly increased the use of energy-efficient electric motors and there were split incentives for the industry to specify as one company’s budget could be responsible for the purchase, another for the running costs and a third for the maintenance costs.

What all this means for the pump industry, as well as the wider community, is that from 1 January 2013 this directive will determine the minimum efficiency requirements with regard to standalone circulators sold. The main goal of this new directive is to improve the life-cycle environmental impact of electric motors that is expected to lead to estimated LCC energy savings of 5,500 PJ (1 TWh=3.6 PJ) and electricity savings of 135 TWH in 2020.

To put this into perspective from a pump industry viewpoint, pumps currently consume 12% of global electrical power. Switching to high efficiency motors would save 5% of the total electrical power consumption which is equal to the total annual energy demands of 11 million people.

To make sure that you will meet the requirements of the Directive there are some questions you need to ask of your pump suppliers such as do your products that fall within the remit of the EuP Directive meet the specified energy criteria now? If they do, is there currently any additional cost for purchasing pumps with energy efficient motors? Can they currently meet the IE2 motor standard and if not when will their motors comply? Can any of their motors meet the IE3 standard or meet the IE2 standard with a variable speed frequency drive and if not when will their motors comply?

Many of the motors supplied by Grundfos Pumps already meet and exceed the IE2 requirements, at no price premium, and some IE3 motors will be available by the end of 2010 – five years before the IE3 deadline and once again at no extra cost.

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