Are you looking to replace an old, tired boiler or perhaps buy a new one? If the answer is yes, you’ll want to get familiar with what you might have known as SEDBUK ratings, how they affect your home’s heating and what the heating industry is now calling them.

What is SEDBUK?

 

SEDBUK once stood for Seasonal Efficiency of Domestic Boilers in the UK, and it was a great way of seeing, at a glance, how efficient a boiler was and exactly what you were getting for your money!

This simple rating system was first introduced in 1999, by boiler manufacturers and the government. Since it’s introduction, the system has been used in SAP assessments (that’s the UK Governments method of measuring the energy efficiency of a house), and as part of building regulations.

Energy Related Product Label from Worcester Bosch

The details of the scheme were updated in September 2015 and SEDBUK was replaced by the Energy related Products (ErP) directive – a scheme first dreamt up by EU boffins in 2009. The main aim of which was to phase out poorly performing products, with the ultimate goal of achieving the EU’s 20-20-20 targets:

  • A 20% reduction in EU greenhouse gas emissions (from 1990 levels)
  • A 20% improvement in overall energy efficiency across the EU
  • A 20% increase in energy produced from renewable resources.

What Do You Need To Know About The ErP Directive?

 

As a consumer, you don’t really have much to worry about when it comes to ErP. The main responsibility of implementing the directive is shared between manufacturers, retailers and installers.

It is an extension of what SEDBUK set out to do, in placing more importance on energy efficiency in the home and in the appliances that we all use on a daily basis.

ErP has two parts – Ecodesign and Energy Labelling – and depending upon who you are and what it is you do, one may be more important than the other.

What is Ecodesign?

 

The Ecodesign facet of the ErP directive is aimed at the people who make the boilers and heating equipment – the manufacturers.

This is good news as it basically means that boilers, heat pumps and a lot of other heat related items, must meet certain energy efficiency criteria before they can be sent out to the shops and merchants.

The requirements are mandatory for anyone wishing to sell their products into EU countries (so I’m not sure what that means for us now…).

Image of the UK splitting from the EU - Brexit

The regulations set out many things ranging from emission levels, volume for storage water heaters, energy efficiency and the heat losses of hot water storage tanks.

It’s great news for people like you and me, though, because it will no doubt reduce the number of low-efficiency products on the market. The new directive has even seen a lot of manufacturers rolling out new boiler models in line with the ErP directive – meaning that, as consumers, we have even more of a choice when it comes to choosing one that is perfect for our home.

Another important part of the Ecodesign angle is that non-condensing boilers will slowly be phased out of production altogether, a welcome and somewhat long-overdue change that is sure to increase efficiency, reduce bills and mean that those homes with a condenser boiler are so much more environmentally friendly than those without.

How Does Energy Labelling Work?

 

As a consumer, this is the most important part of the ErP directive.

To help you make the best choice when buying a new boiler and having it installed, manufacturers now need to ensure that each of their products comes with a label showing the energy performance rating from A+++ to G.

ERP energy label with explanation

The labels don’t look too dissimilar to those that you may have already seen on the doors of fridges and washing machines.

As with those larger white goods, the higher efficiency boilers fall into the ‘A’ band, so be sure to look out for that when you’re buying a new boiler.

What Does ErP Mean For Me?

 

Girl looking upwards in front of a chalkboard covered in question marks

If you are a contractor, consultant or specialist, the new directive makes it far more straightforward for you to select the most efficient product for your customers – and also allows you to explain these efficiencies in greater detail to them, thus helping to reduce energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions from central heating systems.

But the fun doesn’t stop there.

Under the new guidelines, installers will be required to provide an overall energy efficiency label for all newly installed packages and products.

This procedure will require your heating engineer to calculate the efficiency of your system based upon its various components – the boiler, controls, whether you have solar thermal etc.

They will then have to leave you with a ‘package label’ once they have completed the installation.

This is pretty good news for the consumer, as it means manufacturers and installers will have to be more stringent in ensuring that they remain within the law and meet all the legal Energy Labelling requirements – failure to achieve this could lead to very expensive disciplinary measures being taken.

How Is My System’s Efficiency Calculated?

 

The manufacturers will supply your gas installer with all the information they’ll need to calculate the efficiency of your system.

They will give each of the individual components an energy rating and the installer has then only to calculate the sum of the different percentages – easier said than done though I’d reckon.

Child doing loads of equations on a blackboard

This will be relatively simple if you are only having a boiler installed but can start to get a little more complicated if some of the new fangled temperature control devices are added to the system.

So if you’re having a NEST control system installed for example, alongside some solar thermal panels and a new boiler (lucky you!), then your installer will have to add the efficiency percentages of each individual component together and provide you with a package label that incorporates all of the details of the new system.

Why Is This A Good Thing?

 

We all need to be better at consuming energy and not consuming energy.

By that, I mean that anything that makes it easier for us to be more energy efficient has to be a good thing.

Say what you want about EU regulations, but the ethos behind the 20/20/20 idea is one that we could all adopt in our own lives.

There’s a reason that we want to buy the most energy-efficient products – it saves us money – but there’s definitely more to it than that. It helps us to make a better world too.

Make sure you’re keeping a keen eye out for ErP tickets the next time you buy anything electrical, it could go a long way to making a big difference.

stay safe and happy heating