Tackling the ErP Directive head on

The Energy related Products (ErP) Directive is having a huge impact on the industry both for new build and refurbishment projects, with many companies facing the issue of having to develop new products to meet the changes in legislation. Tracey Rushton-Thorpe looks at how Baxi Commercial Division is tackling the issue head on.

First introduced in 2009, the ErP Directive establishes a framework which enables specific performance requirements to be set for products which consume energy. It replaces the first Ecodesign of Energy Using Products Directive (commonly known as EuP) by expanding the scope beyond products which simply use energy to include products which have an impact on energy consumption during their use.

The purpose of this EU wide Directive is to decrease the environmental impact and promote sustainability with a longer term aim to benefit both businesses and consumers with better, more efficient products and a reduction in energy use along the supply chain.

As far as implementation goes, it is taking a staged approach and therefore products have been split into a series of ‘lots’ which deal with specific categories. Over the coming months you can therefore expect to see a number of new products entering the market to meet the new requirements.

Whatever your views, the simple truth is that it is here to stay and because it covers all products which are ‘placed on the market’ or ‘put into service’ it is equally applicable to both new build and refurbishment projects.

Commercial water heating

One of the many product areas which will be affected by the ErP Directive is the commercial water heating sector which will be addressed inLot2 and encompasses water heaters with a rated output ?400kW and hot water storage tanks with a capacity of ?2000 litres. This essentially captures small point of use electric water heaters and showers right through to large commercial direct fired water heaters with both instantaneous and storage type designs included in the remit. It will also cover gas, LPG, oil and electricity fuel sources and as a result will have a huge effect on the water heating market.

Jeff House, Marketing & Applications Manager for Baxi Commercial Division says: “Technical proposals relating to Lot 2 have been in development for many years and although it has been subject to a number of delays there is now a strong will withinBrusselsto complete and ratify the Directive. Based upon the latest proposals we envisage that it will have a marked effect upon the market with non-condensing direct fired water heaters, in the affected output range, being removed from the supply chain. In addition it is expected that current oil fired appliances will struggle to meet NOx restrictions without further development work.”

Clearly this will raise a series of challenges for manufacturers, installers and end users alike, one example of which is the fact that ‘like for like’ replacements of non-compliant product will no longer be possible once ErP efficiency limits are enforced and therefore everyone needs to be prepared for the change.

New product development

As theUKmarket leader for the supply of high efficiency gas-fired commercial water heaters, Andrews Water Heaters, which is part of Baxi Commercial Division, faces a tough challenge to meet the requirements of the ErP Directive. But it is one which they have faced head on with the development of an extension to the ECOflo range of high efficiency commercial condensing storage water heaters which meet the requirements of the ErP Directive.

The range extension, which will be previewed at Ecobuild, will be fully condensing with efficiencies of up to 96% (gross), offering heat outputs up to 45kW and storage capacities up to 285 litres.

The high efficiency units will incorporate Vitraglas silica glass lined tanks to provide protection against the corrosive effect of hot water and will feature a low NOx pre-mix power burner that is quiet in operation. In addition, all of the models incorporate Correx Powered (maintenance free) Anodes as standard which substantially reduce service time and costs, and the factory fitted Hydrojet sediment reduction system on the cold inlet connection which helps to prevent sediment build-up at the base of the tank giving a longer and more efficient working life.

Jeff says: “The development of the extension to the ECOflo range has not been without its challenges but as a company we have to stay ahead of the game and ensure that we continue to provide the market with a range of products which will suit both their needs and meet the requirements of the ErP Directive.”

Working in partnership

The new products have been brought to fruition as a result of a partnership with Bradford White, aPennsylvaniabased company which was established in 1881 and is now one ofAmerica’s oldest and most respected names in the industry.

Andrews Water Heaters first started working with Bradford White in 1976 and since then the partnership has gone from strength to strength. Michael Gordon, Senior Vice President of Engineering for Bradford White says: “We take a tremendous amount of pride in our ability to be a global supplier and meet the needs of our customers, but our relationship with Andrews is much more than that because the company is woven into the fabric of Bradford White. They are our oldest and most loyal export customer but it is a mutually beneficial relationship because the challenge to develop new products for Andrews provides us with an opportunity to strengthen our global offering.

“A good example of this is the recent development of the extension to the ECOflo product range. Andrews came to us with a requirement for a new product to meetUKlegislation, but there is also a need in theUSfor a small to medium sized product of this type. Because of the costs involved it would have been difficult to justify the development of such a product if it was only for the UK or the US market, but by integrating the needs of two different markets with vastly different legislation we have developed a better overall product which gives us global access to a number of diverse markets.”

There are numerous technical challenges in bringing a new product to market and this is one area where Bradford White’s passionate determination to build the best quality and most reliable products in the industry, has proved to be a winning formula. Their commitment to new product development is second to none and the team are constantly working on new innovations which will take the industry forward.

This is another area where the partnership between Andrews Water Heaters and Bradford White brings many benefits. Michael says: “The great thing about working with Andrews is that they challenge us technically which results in better products. If they have a requirement for a new product then we look upon this as an opportunity for us to further our knowledge of the global market. Through working together we now have a better understanding of theUKmarket and have gained a vast amount of knowledge which we can use in other products which we manufacture.”

And finally

The introduction of a range of new products to meet the requirements of the ErP Directive has not been without its challenges but through product innovation and the relationship with Bradford White, Baxi Commercial Division will face the challenges head on.

This is not just about bringing a new product to market; it is about working together and combining the considerable expertise of two organisations to meet the needs of an ever growing industry. Michael concludes: “Any business relationship should not just be about two people – it should be a relationship between the whole of two organisations because it is this type of relationship which forms the
backbone for the success of any new product.”

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