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ErP: Frequently asked questions

In 2013, the implementation of the Energy-related Products Directive of the European Union will bring with it minimum efficiency requirements for fans that affect many companies. In this regard, there is still a considerable need for information. Here, mag answers the most frequently asked questions

Does the Directive affect fans only, or does it also include products such as compressors, pumps and the like?

The environmental design directive or Energy-using Products Directive (EuP) 2005/32/EC and its successor, the Energy-related Products Directive (ErP) 2009/125/EC, affect all products that use energy in any way. The objective is to impose minimum energy requirements on all of these products in order to attain the original goal, which is to reduce CO2 emissions. This also means taking into account the products and devices you mentioned. Limits were imposed for pumps, for example, when directive no. 641/2009 was passed on 22nd July 2009. The directive for fans is expected to be passed in October of this year. The 27 countries of the EU agreed to the basic conditions on 11th June 2010. Accordingly, the first stage is to enter into force on 1st January 2013.

Questions: Steffen Wagner, Air-conditioning Product Marketing Manager at Rittal, poses the basic questions that concern his industry and others with respect to the ErP coming into force.

Answers: Uwe Sigloch, Head of Market Management Ventilation / Air-conditioning at ebm-papst Mulfingen, has been following the drafting of the Eco-design Directive and answering the remaining questions his customers have.

Which fans are affected by the new directive?

All fans with an electrical input power of at least 125 watts. The upper limit has been defined as 500 kilowatts. Like all rules, however, this one has exceptions: The directive does not pertain to fans for kitchen range hoods with electric power of less than 280 watts and fans used in clothes dryers. The minimum efficiency level is defined depending on the fan type, the measuring system and the electrical power consumed. Concretely speaking, this means: The efficiency requirements for small fans are less than the requirements for fans with greater power.

What consequences does this have for the fans used in our products?

These fans are affected only if their electrical input power is greater than 125 watts at the best point. If these fans have at least 125 watts of power and do not meet the efficiency requirements, they have to be replaced by more efficient fans.

Do existing installations have to be converted?

Existing installations do not have to be converted. Only fans and devices with built-in fans placed on the market on or after 1st January 2013 in the European Union are affected. A transition period will apply, allowing units replaced during service to be grandfathered in. However, the “old” fans must then be labelled accordingly.

What potential savings can be expected from the new fans? How is their energy balance?

Usually, efficient fans have more efficient motors. These motors, together with aerodynamically optimised impellers and demand-oriented open loop speed control, can provide energy savings of up to 70 per cent – over a long service life.

Will the new fans be more expensive?

It is impossible to give an unqualified answer to that question. There are definitely cases in which the existing non-conforming fans can be modified in a cost-neutral manner such that they meet the requirements. However, there will also be cases in which increased efficiency means increased costs. But these extra costs are amortised in a very short time, depending on the duty cycle. Ultimately, this is a classic win-win situation: The operator benefits – as does the environment!

As a rule, the market does not accept price increases based on legal requirements. What measures are ebm-papst taking to avoid a price increase or even offer the new fans at a lower price?

It will not be possible to uphold this basic rule in the case of the ErP directive for fans. As described above, there will always be situations in which it is necessary to resort to other motor technologies. This is true particularly in applications that use slowly rotating fans – there, extra costs cannot be avoided. Ultimately, though, the higher purchase price pays off quickly due to the lower energy costs. Of course, ebm-papst will do everything in its power to offer efficient and cost-effective solutions, even in these power ranges.

What consequences does the directive have for global companies – what is the situation in terms of worldwide validity and availability?

All ErP directives are, for the time being, binding for all relevant components and products placed on the market in the European Union. This includes both products produced in the EU and those imported from non-EU countries. The directive does not include products for export. However, we anticipate that countries outside the EU will address these issues if they have not done so already.

Are fans that meet the requirements for 2015 already available today?

Yes! ebm-papst GreenTech EC fans meet or exceed by far the limits prescribed for 2015. This means that ebm-papst can offer a future-proof solution for all fans used today.

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Additional product information can be found here:

ErP Directive: FAQ and data

High minimum efficiency ratings for fans