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Energy labelling on the way for home heating controls
Published:  13 March, 2013

The European Association for Building Automation and Controls, has launched a voluntary labelling scheme for residential heating controls and balancing equipment.

This will complement the EU space heater energy label and help governments in member states to set meaningful standards for controls in heating systems, by clearly identifying those that perform best in their energy-saving function.

The labelling scheme is open to all manufacturers, not just to eu.bac members, and is based on existing European standards. The initial categories of controls that are open for labelling are room thermostats (both programmable and non-programmable) and electronic radiator controls.

The labelling criteria are built upon the eu.bac certification of electronic heater controls which has been in existence for many years. This should help deliver consumer trust through the fact that independent and neutral parties (eu.bac-authorised testing laboratories) have examined and confirmed compliance with the testing criteria.

The energy performance of control products for the purpose of labelling is determined through a combination of the minimum control accuracy (CA value) of the product, together with the presence within the product of additional functions. The control accuracy is determined in accordance with the European Standard EN 15500, and measured by an authorised test house, with the measured value converted into product energy classification points. Additional controller functions to increase energy efficiency are defined for different product applications and result in product function performance points.

It should be noted that there are minimum control accuracy scores required to achieve particular label classes, which are designed to prevent controls achieving a high-label class if they are feature-rich but actually score poorly in terms of control accuracy. It is possible that a product covers several applications and separate labels are available, each of which shows only one application with the specific rating for that application clearly identified.

[Manufacturers of controls who wish to get their products labelled can make applications through the eu.bac certification and labelling management system, which is available on at www.eubac.org.

There are also process flowcharts on the website which provide some detailed guidance on how to register and how to apply for a certificate and/or a label.

While these product labels for controls are only voluntary, they are intended to allow consumers and installers to easily identify those control products that perform best against defined criteria for energy saving performance. Ultimately the labels should also assist policy makers in setting standards for heating systems, and at the very least they should allow a greater recognition of the fact that controls are an important and effective energy-saving measure in their own right – even if they don’t themselves consume much energy.