From 1 January 2013 EuP legislation has meant that only energy efficient circulators can be sold. Now nearly a year down the road, and with even stricter legislation just around the corner, Glynn Williams, Director of Sales – Commercial Building Services, Grundfos Pumps Ltd looks at what impact has this had on the building services market. Have these changes managed, where other arguments have failed to switch consultants and contractors to ‘buy-in’ to energy efficient pump options?
We are all aware that products that incorporate an electric motor account for a significant amount of the total electricity consumed today. Back in 2005, the EU also recognised this and sought to address it by introducing the Energy Using Products (EuP) directive that was aimed at products that used generated, transferred or measured energy.
The main objective of the legislation was to encourage the widest use of improved energy efficiency equipment as an important contributor to achieving EU emissions targets through one single, consistent EU wide ruling.
The scope of the directive was then broadened in 2009 when some additional amendments were added, these were to have particular relevance for the pump industry. This new Commission Regulation EC 640/2009 specified the eco-design requirements for electric motors that included glandless standalone circulators as well as glandless circulators that are integral within other products.
This change followed an interim 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. The main life cycle cost impact for motor driven products such as pumps was at the user stage i.e. through its electrical consumption and there was a large potential gain to be made by reducing the electrical consumption. In addition very significant reductions of the LCC were possible from adopting more efficient motors.
It was thought 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 was found to be split incentives for the industry to specify variable speed as one company could be responsible for the purchase, another for the running costs and a third for the maintenance costs.
What all this meant for the pump industry, as well as the wider community, was that as of 1 January 2013 this directive determined the minimum efficiency requirements with regard to standalone circulators sold. So now all glandless standalone circulators, with the exception of those specifically designed for primary circuits of thermal solar systems and heat pumps need to have an energy efficiency index (EEI) of not more than 0.27. With ever stricter efficiencies scheduled to be introduced in 2015 and 2020.
The one thing that we can be sure of is that this new Directive has already, and will even more so in the future, result in considerable energy savings. To put this into perspective from a pump industry viewpoint, pumps currently consume 10% of global electrical power. Switching to high efficiency motors has the potential to save 5% of the total electrical power consumption which is equal to the total annual energy demands of 11 million people.
Legislation is a driving force
The focus on improving pump energy efficiency is now legislatively here to stay. Although for us at Grundfos this is not news as we have been committed to investing in sustainable products for many years and actually developed the first integrated product back in 1992. This was the year we originally introduced a new circulator pump for heating systems that combined pump, motor, frequency converter and sensor into one unit for the first time, thereby producing the worlds’ first e-pump. In 2001 we introduced the first magnetic pump to the market with MAGNA circulators, so sustainability has been part of our DNA for many years.
Ensuring that only electronically controlled pumps are used in projects sounds like a great argument to ensure that only energy efficient pumps are purchased. Indeed at Grundfos we have seen a significant increase in the number of variable speed MAGNA3 circulators – which already meet the stricter energy demands – being sold into the market during 2013.
So does this mean that it is all good news and that the legislation has done its job? Well in terms of new build commercial projects then the answer is yes, even though we are aware that this requirement has been forced upon the market and there has been some resistance and resentment to these changes.
However it is a different story when we look at the replacement market, as this currently accounts for 80% of the commercial circulators purchased in commercial applications, then the legislative answer is much less clear.
Another aspect is that pumps are rarely considered for change until they are at ‘end of life’, yet with so many pumps in circulation (excusing the pun) that are both over-sized and running at full speed, there are really good arguments to change these pumps out now. In fact the payback period can often be far less than was expected.
All this means that making the right pump decision really does add up because a 20% reduction in speed returns a 50% reduction in energy consumption and a 50% reduction translates into a huge 87% saving in electrical consumption – all based on cube law principles.
Starting to make a difference
We do know that a good start has been made and that legislatively the focus of energy using products is something that is here to stay and this is something that we have been prepared for. For a number of years our range of EuP ready products and super energy efficient BLUEFLUX motors have met the most stringent demands that not only were we ready for the legislative demands that came into force in 2013 but also those that will become law in 2015.
This time 13 has been lucky
The number 13 has many negative connotations, but the year 2013 has proved that even if it perceived to be unlucky for some, it has been a boon for energy consumption and the environment. There are now many more energy efficient pumps in the field saving money that will continue to bring significant return on investment year on year.