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Inefficient circulator pumps will be outlawed in EU

28 March, 2009

The European Union is planning to outlaw the sale of low and standard efficiency circulator pumps from 2013, saving an estimated 23TWh of electricity consumption (worth €2.2bn) across the 27 EU member states by 2020 – equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of Ireland.

At a meeting on 27 March, the EU member states gave their support to the proposal from the European Commission, which reckons that the measure will also create 7,000 jobs and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by of 11Mt a year.

The proposed regulation covers standalone pumps used mainly to circulate water in heating applications in commercial and residential buildings, as well as circulators built into boilers. Most of the 140m circulator pumps in use today in Europe run constantly, irrespective of whether there is a need or not – unless turned off by the user. The EC reckons that these pumps account for around a fifth of the average household energy bill.

Considerable savings could be made by using high-efficiency circulators. The EC is proposing ending the sale of low and standard efficiency circulator pumps from 2013 and making high-efficiency “intelligent” circulators mandatory by 2015. These pumps function only when needed and are able to vary their speed to suit the demand.

The two-staged approach allows manufacturers – in particular, small and medium sized enterprises – to adapt to the new requirements. 

“The measure is a concrete contribution to reach the EU`s energy efficiency and climate protection targets and will result very quickly in significant energy savings and benefits for the society and industry,” says EU energy commissioner, Andris Piebalgs.

The proposal will now be scrutinised by the European Parliament and the Council and it is scheduled for formal adoption by the Commission in July 2009. Further Ecodesign measures will follow in the coming months to cover other groups of energy-consuming products.

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