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Lot20 and Electric Underfloor Heating

How does EcoDesign Lot20 affect electric underfloor heating?

24 November, 2017

Ecodesign Lot20 – EED (2015/1188) EU Directive 

Ecodesign Lot20 regulations come into force on 1st January 2018 and affect the sale of local electric space heaters, including underfloor heating systems, throughout the EU. 

The Ecodesign rules have already had a significant impact on other product categories such as lightbulbs, televisions and vacuum cleaners. These regulations ensure improved energy efficiency from the categories they cover and are part of the EU’s plan to drive down our energy usage. 

Each time a new section of the rules comes into force it has the capability to shake up a category. Less energy-efficient products have to be withdrawn from the market, whilst at the same time new opportunities are provided for energy efficient and compliant products. 

With Lot20 it’s finally time for the electric underfloor heating category to be put under the spotlight of this legislation. The information below provides some insight into how this legislation will affect this category. 

Which electric underfloor heating systems are covered by Lot20?
All electric underfloor heating systems being used for space heating must comply with these new minimum efficiency standards, so in-effect this is nearly all electric underfloor heating sold in the UK. The only major exceptions are ice and snow melting systems, which are obviously being used for a non-space heating function. 

When does Lot20 come into effect?
Lot20 comes into effect on 1st January 2018; from then on all local space heaters manufactured for sale in the EU must comply with the legislation for new energy efficiency standards and achieve a minimum score of 38 out of a possible 40. Whatever form Brexit takes it is highly unlikely that the UK Government will roll back these changes as our trade is so integrated with the EU (although with the current political landscape never say never).  

What will happen with non-compliant stock on 1st January 2018?
The legislation only covers the manufacture of new systems for sale and allows manufacturers to continue to supply non-compliant products if they had been produced before 1st January 2018. This means that manufacturers can continue to supply distributor’s non-compliant products as long as they were manufactured before that date. Distributors can continue to sell any stock of non-compliant products that they already held on 1st January 2018 as well as anything they buy in, subject to the manufactured date noted above. 

In reality, many distributors will stop supplying any non-compliant products from 1st January 2018 regardless of the manufactured date as this keeps things straightforward. 

How is compliance achieved?
For electric underfloor heating systems achieving compliance is all down to using a compliant thermostat. There are a number of features that thermostats need to include to allow them to reach the magic score of 38 out of 40. All of these features ensure that a correctly programmed thermostat will be energy efficient to use. To achieve compliance: 

The thermostat must provide electronic room temperature control plus a weekly timer 

  • And at least one of the following three features; 
  • Adaptive start control – the thermostat alters the time the heating system comes on according to the actual temperature in the room; this feature is also known as seasonal adaptive control 
  • Distance control option – the thermostat must allow remote operation; for instance via WiFi or a wired night-setback mode 
  • Open window detection – this function allows the thermostat to detect if there is an open window or door which is overwhelming the heating system and, in that circumstance, turns off the heating 

It is worth noting that the thermostat only has to have these features available; they do not necessarily need to be operational at all times. For this reason our fully compliant NGTouch thermostat can still be used in a fully manual mode if desired. 

What does Lot20 mean for the marketplace? 
Firstly, these changes should not result in increased costs for wholesalers, contractors or consumers; the legislation states that compliance with the new standards should be achieved by using ‘existing non-proprietary technologies’ and should not increase the cost of purchasing or running the heating systems in questions. 

It will see the end of ‘manual’ electric underfloor heating controls, as without an additional timer these components cannot form part of a compliant system. 

The legislation will force a move to compliant thermostats utilising the most energy efficient technologies; this will also lead to a reduction in the number of lower quality programmable timer thermostats in the market as many of these cannot be made compliant. 

What opportunities does this legislation present?
The greatest opportunities are available to those manufacturers and distributors who offer compliant products and are well informed on how the legislation will affect their customers. Heat Mat is one of these manufacturers and can work with its distributors, specifiers and installers to help them promote Lot20 solutions. 

It is a chance for distributors to inform and educate their customers on the new regulations and to offer them compliant and energy efficient products. 

On 1st January 2018 what compliant systems will Heat Mat offer?
The legislation was ratified in 2015 and Heat Mat has been working towards these rule changes since that date; in fact when the legislation was ratified our main underfloor heating thermostats were already compliant. 

At 1st January 2018 Heat Mat’s distributors will have the thermostats listed below available to them. For products to be compliant they are scored on efficiency and they need to reach a score of at least 38 out of a possible 40 to pass: 

  • NGTouch thermostat – all models – 39/40 
  • This range of advanced 2.0” colour touchscreen thermostats complies due to its weekly timer function, adaptive start control and open window function. 
  • NGL 3.5” thermostat – all models – 39/40
  • This range of large screen 3.5” colour touchscreen thermostats complies due to its weekly timer function, adaptive start control and open window function. 
  • NGT digital thermostat – all models – 38/40
  • This older range of button thermostats complies due to its weekly timer and adaptive start control. 

Will Heat Mat offer any other compliant solutions?
Heat Mat recognises that there is a desire among some consumers for systems that reach the top possible score of 40/40. Additionally we are also aware that a separate demographic of end users want the most simple to use thermostats possible and they shun touchscreen technology; in short, these users wish to continue using a basic ‘manual’ thermostat. Heat Mat has been working hard on our thermostat designs and has solutions to fulfil both these wishes. 

NGTouch WiFi – achieving a perfect 40/40 

The top possible rating for an electric underfloor heating control is 40, and in early 2018 Heat Mat will be introducing its latest thermostat, the WiFi and App controlled NGTouch WiFi which achieves this gold standard. 

The NGTouch WiFi is a simple to operate touchscreen thermostat with a manual mode and a wide variety of programming options. In addition the NGTouch WiFi also includes the obligatory weekly timer as well as adaptive start control, open window detection and distance control via WiFi enabling it to hit the perfect Lot20 score of 40/40. 

A compliant ‘manual’ thermostat
Although Heat Mat fully supports the aims of the Ecodesign legislation we also recognise that in some scenarios simpler thermostats are desirable. Although all of our programmable thermostats feature a manual mode there are some projects where a more classic ‘manual’ thermostat is desirable; essentially a simple thermostat with the most basic controls of an on/off switch and up and down buttons to increase or decrease the temperature. 

In early 2018 Heat Mat will release the latest iteration of its long running TPS digital/manual thermostat line. At first glance this thermostat appears to be a classic manual model with only the on/off button and up and down arrows on show. However, behind the scenes is a full thermostat/timer, which is fully compliant with the Lot20 legislation and this feature can be enabled if desired. 

This thermostat will be particularly suitable for installation in retirement properties, communal areas and anywhere else where an old-style ‘manual’ thermostat is desirable. 

How can Heat Mat help with projects that still desire the classic manual TPS thermostat in 2018?
Heat Mat has already manufactured enough manual TPS thermostats to ensure availability until mid-2018. Once this stock has been exhausted we will no longer be able to offer our classic TPS thermostat, however we are sure that our Lot20 compliant replacement will be comparable. 

For more information on Lot20 and how it affects electric underfloor heating please contact us.