Massive investments in energy efficiency will create jobs

The Energy-related Products (ErP) Directive is one of several regulatory measures to meet European targets for energy efficiency and limiting the effects of climate change. As the European Commission Energy Strategy 2030 explains: “These targets aim to help the EU achieve a more competitive, secure and sustainable energy system and to meet its long-term 2050 greenhouse gas reductions target.”

The Energy Strategy describes the target objectives for 2030 as:

  • a 40% cut in greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990 levels
  • at least a 27% share of renewable energy consumption
  • at least 27% energy savings compared with the business-as-usual scenario

The third of these targets stands out for two reasons:

  • Energy savings can be implemented by everyone, from individual consumers to large scale industrial operations
  • Saving on energy means saving on costs, so there are economic as well as environmental benefits to be enjoyed

Fuel of efficiency

The ECEEE 2015 Summer Study on Energy Efficiency observes that: “In 2013, the International Energy Agency (IEA) dubbed energy efficiency the world’s First Fuel.”

The ECEEE (European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy) goes on to state that: “Energy efficiency is thus already a fundamental component of our energy and environment policies. Cutting energy demand reduces greenhouse gas emissions in a more cost-effective way than any other energy policy. Massive investments in energy efficiency will create jobs, make Europe more resilient and productive and improve our energy security. But energy efficiency still does not get the recognition from policy makers that it deserves.”

This lack of recognition can also extend to the media, because an energy saving initiative is not as tangible and newsworthy as the construction of an offshore windfarm or a bid to frack for shale gas. But promoting energy efficiency is vitally important and its effects are far reaching.

The ErP Directive sets energy efficiency targets for manufacturers of energy related products and the efficiency benefits in terms of cost savings and environmental benefits will have a positive impact on business and industry. However, ErP regulations do not work retrospectively on established installations and businesses will naturally be concerned about the financial impact of any upgrade they may be considering.
In this context, UK businesses are able to gain support from the Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) scheme based on the Energy Technology List. This states that “If you’re a business that pays income or corporation tax, you’ll be able to claim 100% first year capital allowance on a product if it’s on the ETL at the time of purchase.”

Radiant opportunities

Heating of industrial and commercial premises is a particularly important target for energy savings. In Schwank’s area of radiant heating, the Energy Technology Criteria List provides details of the products affected.

“Radiant heaters are available in a range of different types and efficiencies. The ECA Scheme encourages the purchase of higher efficiency radiant heaters. It also encourages the purchase of optimising controllers that ensure that radiant heating products and systems operate in an energy efficient manner that reflects weather conditions, occupation schedules and user requirements.

The ECA Scheme covers five categories of product:

  1. Unitary radiant tube heater units and packages.
  2. Multi burner radiant tube heater units and packages.
  3. Continuous radiant tube heater units and packages.
  4. Radiant plaque and cone heater units and packages.
  5. Optimising controllers for radiant heating systems (including both standalone unit and add-on module type products)”

Gas-fired infrared radiant heaters work on similar principles to the sun’s rays, penetrating the air without heating it and only converting to energy on reaching the people and objects where heat is needed. Input heat is reduced so less heaters are required, cutting both energy consumption and installation costs.

Radiant heating solutions consistently prove their worth in energy efficiency, achieving energy cost reductions of between 30% and 50% when compared to conventional heating systems. High quality radiant heating products already meet and exceed the ErP Directive’s energy efficiency targets and therefore deserve a leading position in a specifier’s choice list for a heating upgrade.