22 HPM 1216

HPM-12-DEC-2016

22 INDUSTRY WATCH New Regulation to bring economies of scale Steve Sutton, technical manager at HHIC, discusses the ErP regulations likely to be introduced in the coming years, and how these will affect both HVAC manufacturers and the How far back does the word ‘gas’ date? 19th century? 18th? In fact, it dates back to the 17th century when Flemish chemist, Jan Baptist van Helmont, first introduced it. He is thought to have formed the word from the Greek ‘chaos’, which was the primal unformed mass out of which the world was created. Chaos may have been fitting in the 17th century when very little was known about gas and its properties. Jump forward to the 21st century and gas is an industry in its own right, delivering heat and comfort to over 85% of the UK’s population. Contradictory to chaos, the gas industry today is one of organisation and normality. Part of that organisation is the rules and regulations which surround it. Over the last 12 year or so there has been considerable discussion around the ErP regulations, several of which were implemented during 2015. Now it’s time to consider the additional ‘tiers’ of regulation that will be introduced in the coming years, affecting HVAC manufacturers and the engineers who specify and install their products. As a Gas Safe engineer or manufacturer placing an appliance on the market you will understand that the number one priority when completing any work is safety. So how does Europe legislate for this? Gas appliances placed on the European market have to meet the requirements of the Gas Appliance Directive (GAD), soon to become the Gas Appliance Regulation (GAR). Meeting these safety requirements allows the manufacturer to put a CE mark with a unique reference number on the rating plate of the appliance. Appliances have additional requirements on top of the GAR such as performance and electrical safety. The GAD was introduced in 1990 and modified in 1993 to make it a formal CE mark. As of April 2018 the EU Gas Appliances Directive will be replaced by the new GAR. The GAR consists of one consistent set of safety requirements that are applied to gas appliances across the entire European Union and associated free trade areas, as opposed to having several country-specific requirements. This allows appliances to be sold across Europe and helps to create the single market. So what is the Gas Appliance Directive? As an installer you may not know what the GAD is, but a quick Google search will inform you that ‘this directive applies to a range of gas burning appliances that operate up to a normal temperature of 105°C and some components the GAR calls fittings which include safety, regulating and controlling devices and sub-assemblies.’ Under GAR the temperature 105°C limit will be removed so appliances, such as steam boilers, will need to meet the GAR requirements The legal framework established by the GAR aims to provide access to the EU market for appliances and fittings, in so far as the gas safety of these products is concerned. The GAD also deals with the energy efficiency of these products where no more specific EU Eco-design legislation applies. The Directive applies to gas products such as heating for thermal comfort, hot water production, washing, refrigeration, cooking and lighting. Moving to a regulation will assist in maintaining a single market throughout Europe for domestic and some commercial gas appliances by using the common safety requirements. Consumers will have the added protection of a common approach to the safety of gas appliances and should also benefit from the economies of scale and the reduction in costs that this brings. So what is the difference between a Directive and a Regulation? Directives dictate certain results that must be achieved, but each European Member State is free to decide how to introduce directives into national laws. Regulations have binding legal force throughout every European Member State and come into force on a set date in all the Member States without the need for national legislation. So why are we moving to a Regulation? Directives aren’t perfect or immune from the demands of the future. Modifications and reviews are constantly required in order to provide clarity and ensure legal certainty, particularly with regards to the scope and definitions of the directive. Better communication from Member States’ on the gas supply conditions that are used within their territory is also often required. The EU council recognise that published information is often not adequate enough to allow designers to correctly adjust their appliances to meet standards across the EU. So basically they want to make improvements to keep up with the requirements of the single market. So there you have it, more changes on the horizon. You may not be able to foresee the impact on your day to day business, although the economies of scale will spark interest. Speaking of ‘spark’- electrical safety is also of equal importance but perhaps for another day. Remember, when taking the information from the appliance rating plate to complete a Benchmark form you may also see the initials of the ‘CE mark, the identification number of the notified body involved in the production control phase, and the last two digits of the year in which the CE marking was affixed. engineers who specify and install their products www.hpmmag.com December 2016


HPM-12-DEC-2016
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