European Energy Label: A+++ for Solar Packages in 2015
 European Energy Label: A+++ for Solar Packages in 2015

European Energy Label: A+++ for Solar Packages in 2015

On 6 September 2013, the official journal of the European Commission published the regulations for the eco-design and energy labelling of water, space and combi heaters under the Ecodesign Directive (2005/32/EC). The documents were also translated into all EU-member states’ languages. Until now, this has been the latest official step after an eight-year political process. It also marks the start of a two-year transition period up to September 2015 when the regulations will come into effect.

“Solar thermal system suppliers, manufacturers of components for hot water and space heating systems, as well as public authorities and energy agencies nowhave time to prepare for the actual labelling obligation, which will begin on 26 September 2015,” Gerard van Amerongen from vA Consult in the Netherlands explained during a presentation held at the international conference SHC 2013 in the middle of September (see the attached presentation).

The 188-page document, which was published in the EU’s official journal, includes four chapters:

  • Energy labelling of space heaters, combination heaters, packages of space heater, temperature control and solar device, as well as packages of combination heater, temperature control and solar device
  • Energy labelling of water heaters, hot water storage tanks and packages of water heater and solar device
  • Eco-design requirements for space heaters and combination heaters
  • Eco-design requirements for water heaters and hot water storage tanks

“The eco-design requirements apply to the supply side and their objective is to phase out certain non-effective products from the market,” van Amerongen, who attended the political process as a consultant on behalf of the European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF), said. “In contrast, the energy labelling applies to the demand side and should give customers a good reference when choosing a new water heater.”

It was mainly due to the concerted efforts by the EU institutions and the solar thermal industry represented through ESTIF that the regulations now offer two different kinds of labels: a product label and a package label. This is a great chance for solar water heaters, which can be seen as a package together with variable boilers and can be labelled by the installer. Hence, “solar packages” with a reasonable solar share in hot water demand can reach A+++ from 2015 onwards, although the A+++ category of product labels will not be introduced before 2019.

“We welcome the happy ending to this long process,” Robin Welling, ESTIF President, said in a press release at the beginning of September. “As an industry, we intend to build on the fact that solar thermal packages for water heating will be the only A+++ technology, a trigger for the market uptake of solar heat, which the EU needs”. The category A is meant for the best gas-fired condensing boiler on the market.

Van Amerongen also describes the most decisive criteria for the package label: heat load profile, backup heater efficiency and solar system performance. It is now up to the component manufacturers to put easy-to-understand information on their products, so that installers or dealers can place the correct label on the package they sell. In cooperation with ESTIF, German association BSW Solar will organise a training session in Frankfurt on 31 October to discuss in German what information to put on and how to solve other implementation challenges (course is subject to a fee). More information is available from

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Baerbel Epp

Bärbel Epp is Founder and Director of the German communication and market research agency solrico and editor-in-chief of