AREA, the European organisation for refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump contractors (RACHP), has called for a series of legislative and training changes to improve energy efficiency.
In a published position paper its states that RACHP contractors are responsible for a significant part of the energy consumed, and have the potential to make sizeable savings, particularly in small and medium AC applications.
It adds that such savings could be achieved without major capital investment and plant refurbishment, using instead education, good maintenance, energy saving practises and enforcement.
The purpose of the paper is to provide an overview of the actions and solutions that can contribute to increasing energy efficiency of RACHP systems in order to diminish the environmental and financial impacts.
Whilst AREA sees the development and promotion of new alternative refrigerants as a natural evolution, it must be pointed out that the energy efficiency level of new (non fluorinated) refrigerants can only be assessed by comparing it to the existing HFC energy usage on a like for like basis.
Impact of F-Gas
The regulations need to be enforced as they are not being fully implemented in EU Member States. With the implementation of the F-Gas legislation across the EU there is continued opportunity to communicate energy efficient behaviour and practise.
So far implementation has been slow and unequal in the 27 Member States. AREA finds it of the upmost importance that every member state commits.
Energy performance of buildings
Regular inspections of AC systems can contribute to energy savings. AREA supports the objectives of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, however, though most AREA members have their engineers trained to carry out inspections but in practise there has been little call for these skills due to the limited scope of the Directive.
With a proposed extension AREA hopes it will be applied more extensively.
The contribution of heat pumps
AREA welcomes the recognition of heat pumps as a renewable energy source (RES), however a substantial part of their development depend on proper implementation of F-Gas legislation.
Though Member States are in the process of establishing national schemes, the benefits will not materialise unless design installation and maintenance are executed by trained professionals.
It’s recommended that RES requirements closely match those of the F-Gas regulation in order to avoid duplicate legislation that would impede heat pump growth.
- Correctly implemented and properly applied legislation is a very minimum requirement to ensure effective energy efficiency measures.
- Coordinated and synchronised implementation of training and certification schemes applicable to RACHP contractors must be ensured to avoid duplicate or divergent requirements (F-Gas, EPBD and RES).
- A holistic approach on heating and cooling applications must be followed to ensure harmony among complementary pieces of legislation. This is particularly important when it comes to the practical implementation of regulations under the responsibility of different authorities, who often act with a complete lack of coordination.
- In view of the role played by RACHP contractors in the field of energy efficiency, training and education must be fostered in order to enable a constant update with technological innovations.
- EU Member States must commit to thorough implementation and application of the existing EU legislation so that energy efficiency gains can be achieved.
The full paper can be accessed HERE