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Europe’s influence is never far away from us and for those of us who manufacture, specify or install pumps in the buildings and projects on which we work, there’s a series of major changes coming up that start with effect from 1st January 2013 – and that’s not far away.

2013 will effectively see the start of a pumping revolution.

And although a pumping revolution sounds a bit grand, it’s every bit as important as that statement sounds. The European Union has recognised that in order to achieve anywhere near its requirements for carbon emission reductions, and to see significant reductions in the energy needed to power heating and hot water systems across the twenty seven member states, it has to lay down the law.

Clearly one of the key components of a heating or cooling system that currently uses too much energy – although quite small in size and overlooked by many as a key user of electricity – is the pump.

The total electricity consumption of all glandless circulating pumps operated in the European Union for heating and air conditioning – which includes the normal small circulating pumps – has to be halved by 2020. This is the objective of an EU ordinance under the European ErP (Eco-Design) Directive which will regulate the energy efficiency of this type of pump, from 1 January 2013 onwards, with a further tightening of requirements planned for 1 August 2015. Overall, these changes are thought to be likely to provide an energy saving that equates to the electricity generated by about six medium-sized coal-fired power stations, or a reduction in EU-wide carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of about 11 million tonnes per year.

In order to achieve this goal set by the European Commission, the EU ordinance prohibits the sale of technically outmoded, inefficient pump models from 2013 onwards. This will mean a ban on sales of about 90% of the glandless circulating pumps that were on the market in 2009. The reality is that the new efficiency requirements will be practically impossible to achieve without using high-efficiency pumps with EC – electronically commutated – motor technology.

The important new yardstick for determining which pump models can continue to be used in future is referred to as the energy efficiency index (EEI). From January 2013, the limit EEI value of glandless circulating pumps installed outside the heat generator – external pumps – not those incorporated in combi or system boilers at this stage – will be defined as 0.27. The energy efficiency classes specified at present will then become superfluous, because as a rule, pumps will be better than the minimum requirements of the current A rated pumps. From August 2015, the EEI limit value will be reduced to 0.23. This will also apply to glandless circulation pumps, designed to operate in newly installed heat generators or solar thermal systems (integrated pumps). In the last implementation stage, the regulations starting from 2020 will also apply to the replacement of integrated pumps in existing heat generators. The regulations apply to all glandless circulating pumps in heating and air conditioning applications with the exception of drinking water circulation pumps.

As an example of what is possible, the “Wilo-Stratos” and “Wilo-Stratos PICO” series of single pumps offer potential electricity savings of up to 90% compared to standard pumps without speed control. They already comply not just with the first stage requirements for 2013 but with the limit values of the second stage of the glandless circulating pump ordinance due for 2015. The electronically controlled glandless circulation pumps with maintenance-free frequency converters automatically adjust their power to the changing operating status of the heating system. Especially in the partial load range, which makes up as much as 94% of the operating time of a heating pump, a considerable reduction in power consumption can be achieved compared to an uncontrolled pump. In addition, they have electronically commutated motors (ECMs). These make it possible to double the efficiency compared to electronically controlled pumps with conventional drives.

The new regulation on circulators will shift the market towards the intelligent high efficiency circulators that Wilo has been championing for several years, capable of adjusting their performance to meet the specific needs of the heating system.

There are currently about 140 million small circulators in Europe running constantly, whether they are needed or not. It simply makes sense that all small circulators should respond to the needs of the heating or cooling system they are part of, using the minimum necessary energy to run them – and none at all when they aren’t required to operate.

The EU Commission estimates that inefficient circulators are responsible for about a 20% share of household energy bills and removing them and replacing them with intelligent circulators could save as much as €2.2 billion by 2020 across the 27 European member states – equivalent to the total annual electricity consumption of Ireland!

For more information, have a look at the brand new Wilo web site at www.wilo.co.uk.

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