Lot 20: face the facts

From January 2018, all local space heaters manufactured for sale in the EU must comply with a minimum efficiency standard under Lot 20 of the Energy Efficiency Directive. Chris Stammers (pictured), Product Marketing Director for Dimplex, brings electrical wholesalers up to date to help make sure they are prepared for the changes.

Despite the uncertainty of Brexit, one thing remains constant across the EU – our need to use energy more efficiently. The EU is committed to achieving a 20 per cent energy saving by 2020 and if this is to happen, all member states (including those that intend to leave) must continue to drive energy efficiency at all stages of the supply chain, from production to final consumption.

A number of ‘product lots’ have already been rolled out as part of the 2012 Energy Efficiency Directive (EED), covering everything from televisions, lightbulbs 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.

What is Lot 20?

Lot 20 of the EED (2015/1188) states that all local space heaters manufactured for sale in the EU after 1st January 2018 which use electricity, gaseous or liquid fuels, must comply with a minimum efficiency standard. This includes electric radiators, electric underfloor heating and electric and gas fires. A second regulation (2015/1185), sets out the same requirement for space heaters which use solid fuels, such as stoves and fireplaces, from 1st January 2022.

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.

How do I know which products are compliant?

The important thing for UK wholesalers is to ensure that all products available for sale were either a) manufactured before 1st January 2018 or b) compliant with the new regulations – or both of course. This means any stock in your warehouse at the end of this year can still be made available for sale and the same applies for any stock in manufacturer warehouses, even if it is delivered to the wholesaler after the deadline. Anything manufactured after this date must be compliant.

This is where it pays to work with a reputable supplier, because although the onus on such improvements is firmly with the manufacturer, any wholesaler found to be stocking non-compliant products manufactured after the cut-off date could be penalised.

The best advice is to think ahead. This regulation was ratified in April 2015 and Dimplex, like other reputable manufacturers, has been working hard since that point to redesign products to suit the regulation. As a result, our entire product portfolio will be compliant before the end of 2017, ahead of the January 2018 deadline.

How will compliance be achieved?

Lot 20 requires that the consumption and emissions for local space heaters must be reduced by applying “existing, non-proprietary technologies”, without an increase in the combined costs of purchasing and operating the products. In simple terms, this means driving efficiency of local space heaters by regulating their operation through the use of intelligent timers and controls.

There are a series of features that may be incorporated into relevant products, including mechanical and electrical room temperature controls, with day or week timers, many of which have actually been available for many years – often purchased as add-ons. These controls must now be integral to new devices, ensuring that they meet the requirements of Lot 20.

However, with the recent advancements in the Internet of Things and smart technologies, there is a real opportunity for electric space heaters, in particular, to drive efficiency through intelligent, adaptive controls.

The latest products can include temperature control with presence detection or open window detection, distance control via an app, and even adaptive start control to suit the requirements of the user.

Dimplex’s Q-Rad electric radiator, for example, a heater which is already Lot 20 compliant, includes ‘Eco-Start’, a delayed-start anticipatory control – the heater, rather than the user, decides when to turn on to ensure target temperature is achieved at exactly the right user-selected time.

By researching and developing combinations of these features, market leaders like Dimplex can provide consumers with functional, user friendly and economical products that comply with Lot 20 legislation.