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Why 2021 will be a disrupting milestone for cooling and heating products

Despite all industries currently focusing on minimizing the business impact of COVID 19 and trying to predict and react for the future evolution of the post-pandemic economy, our HVAC-Chiller/Heat pumps industry is facing another challenge at the same time.

Various European programs related to the reduction of carbon footprint and sustainability have been impacting our technologies and product roadmaps over the last few years through various steps, but during 2020 and 2021 we are facing an exceptional challenge due to four major events happening at the same time.

1. Eurovent has dismissed the Energy Classes

The Ecodesign directive (EU) 2016/2281 or ENER LOT 21 introduced in 2018 a new set of coefficients to measure the product efficiency. Nevertheless, for a while we kept also the old coefficients that the whole market was used to, but now Eurovent has announced the dismission of current energy classes for certified chillers and heat pumps. Energy efficiency classes have been based on nominal full capacity but are now being replaced by new parameters introduced by Ecodesign ErP based on Seasonal performance ratios (SEER/SCOP).

What does seasonal efficiency mean?

Seasonal efficiency measures the energy efficiency of heating and cooling devices over a period of one year taking in account different energy demand and variability of source temperatures. The calculation method refers to EN 14825 standard, where Bin hours state for an average climate how many hours throughout the year a particular temperature occurs. This is used to calculate the seasonal efficiency, based on actual year-round performance and not just on a single test result at peak load, otherwise known as nominal efficiency.

It will be easier to compare different heating technologies

Lot 21 also introduces a new measure of seasonal efficiency referred to as ETA or ŋs, h and ŋs, c. It is the seasonal coefficient of performance (SCOP) or seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) –divided by the primary energy conversion factor, minus the negative contribution of auxiliary devices such electrical heaters and pumps. In fact, ETA allows to compare different technologies for heating such as heat pumps, electrical heaters and boilers. All of them use a certain quantity of primary energy, i.e. energy from the grid. 

In short, the known ratios SEER/SCOP are put in relation to the primary energy use, also considering additional auxiliaries energy waste/use such electrical heaters, pumps, etc.

2. Step two of Ecodesign directive enter into force in January 2021

Step two (Tier 2 of) of the Ecodesign directive (EU) 2016/2281 or ENER LOT 21 enter into force in January 2021 . Chillers and Heat pumps available today in the market are compliant with Ecodesign directive-Tier 1 since Jan 2018. From Jan 2021 products must comply with a new challenging threshold of minimum seasonal efficiency to be CE marked and installed within the EU territory.

"Approximately 40% of water cooled and 65% of air cooled products currently available in the marketplace are not compliant"

To understand the impact of such regulation, it is assessed that according to the Tier2 scheme, approximately 40% of water cooled and 65% of air cooled products currently available in the marketplace are not compliant, and therefore not sellable from Jan 2021. For currently ongoing projects designed with Tier 1 product in terms of specification and budget cost, these products must be delivered into the market before the end of December 2020, otherwise the projects must necessarily be upgraded with Tier2 products. The upgrade to Tier 2 products, depending by type, capacity and design, might influence the respective cost of product, but also cost and design of the whole installation to fit the product in.

3. New step down of F-Gas regulation

In 2018 we went through the first big step reduction of CO2 equivalent emissions caused by refrigerants as -35% versus the baseline (emissions in 2015). This reduction has largely impacted the refrigeration industry and domestic A/C appliances, with a smaller impact on so called commercial and industrial chillers and heat pumps.

In 2021, we’ll have a second big step with another -31% reduction versus the 2018 step, an equivalent to -55% versus the baseline. Since refrigeration and domestic appliances have already made the big part of the transition, the 2021 step will definitely have a bigger impact in our industry (Commercial & Industrial chillers/Heat pumps). As a consequence, we’ll move from choosing product with 2-3 different possible refrigerants as in 2015 towards more than 10 different refrigerants with different features for different application. All new products designed to comply with the new Ecodesign standards must also take into account the F-Gas matter.

4. COVID-19 is delaying the development

The unpredictable outbreak is delaying the natural development towards the said compliances. Product development, testing, homologations, design/project reviews from basic technologies to the building constructions site are affected by the restrictions and delayed.

The challenge and the answer

The main consequence of all these simultaneous challenges might be a certain confusion among consultants, designers, contractors and end-users as to what is valid and what is needed to fulfil the new requirements.

Swegon has followed the developments closely, and we are ready to support and help all stakeholders to understand all the new rules. Just get in touch with us, and we can advise on the best solution for different types of projects, both for short-term and long-term realization.