Choosing an EU-compliant, energy-efficient pump

Choosing an EU-compliant, energy-efficient pump

The European Commission has set an ambitious target – to cut EU member states’ carbon dioxide emissions by 50 percent by 2020. To reach this goal, several directives have been passed to improve energy efficiency in products that use energy or impact energy consumption. Impeller spoke with Amedeo Valente, Director of Innovation and Technology at Xylem, to find out what buyers and specifiers should consider when choosing an EU-compliant, energy-efficient pump.

What kinds of pumps are affected by the EU legislation?

The legislation affects end-suction pumps, in-line pumps, vertical multistage pumps, submersible multistage pumps and wet rotor circulators. In the near future, the European Commission is planning to regulate almost all type of water pumps.

How can contractors or installers become compliant?

Actually, they don’t need to do anything to be compliant. With the directive in place, non-compliant products can no longer be sold, and the legislation doesn’t require that old equipment be updated. However, upgrading old equipment might be a good investment for future energy savings.

A good example of this is upgrading pumps with a variable speed pump control system like the Hydrovar. This can cut the energy consumption of a pump by up to 70 percent and quickly pay for itself.

One issue, though, is that pumps and circulators have been entering the European market with labels stating that they meet the EU requirements, when in fact they don’t. So you need to ensure that your equipment actually has the values stated on the labels.

What should be considered when choosing equipment?

EU regulations require a minimum level of efficiency, but many products on the market have even higher levels of efficiency. Good examples of this are the Lowara multistage pumps, and the recently launched Lowara end suction pump series that has an MEI value higher than 0.7, although the legislation only requires 0.4 (see below for more details).

It’s also crucial to analyze different options for the duty point required in order to find the most energy efficient solutions. It’s important to note that a high MEI value won’t tell you the actual energy consumption at a specific duty point, so it’s often more important to choose a pump where the duty point is close to the best efficiency point of the pump.

What else is being done to increase energy efficiency in pumps?

Europump – the European Association of Pump Manufacturers – is working with the European Commission to make pumps and pumping systems even more efficient. The association promotes an extended product approach, which means that instead of just looking at the pump, you need to look at how the pump, motor and variable speed drive work together.

When just looking at the pump, the MEI rating of 0.4 can save 5 TWh a year in the EU, but with the extended product approach there is the potential to save 59 TWh annually. If you go on to look at the entire pumping system, including the pipes and valves, you can save an additional 59 TWh annually. So taking a wider perspective can create much more significant energy savings.


EU pump legislation in brief


Pump manufacturers must comply with the Minimum Efficiency Index (MEI), which is determined by a pump’s head, flow, speed and a constant depending on the design of the pump being measured. In 2009, an EU commission mapped out all of the pumps available on the market and measured their efficiency. Based on this they decided that the least efficient 10 percent of pumps would be removed, meaning pumps that had an MEI of 0.1 or less. This took effect in 2013. From January 1, 2015, all pumps are required to be operating with an MEI rating of more than or equal to 0.4.

Electrical motors

Electrical motors are rated according to the IEC standard for Rotating Electrical Machines. In 2011, motors with an IE2 efficiency level became mandatory. From January 1, 2015, motors with a rated output of 7.5 – 375kW must meet the IE3 rating, or the IE2 rating if they are fitted with a variable speed drive. The next change is coming in 2017, where all motors with an output of 0.75 – 375kW must also meet IE3 legislation, or IE2 if fitted with a variable speed drive.

Wet Rotor Circulators

For wet rotor circulators used in heating systems, the classification changed in 2013 from the A-G rating to the Energy Efficiency Index (EEI). The maximum EEI level was set to 0.27. As of August 1, 2015, all circulator pumps must have an EEI value of 0.23 or less to comply with the ErP Directive. From January 1, 2020, replacement circulators that are integrated in products must have an EEI rating less than or equal to 0.23.

by Simon