New Heating Regulations That Could Save You Money
European heating regulations don’t sound like the sort of topic everyone should care about, but Lot 20 is definitely something worth knowing about. It’s a new set of energy efficiency laws that could massively reduce your energy bills. If that sounds good to you, keep reading – our jargon-busting guide will prove that it really can be easy being green!
What is Lot 20?
Lot 20 is part of the EU’s EcoDesign Directive. This is a set of laws designed to reduce our energy usage by 20% before the end of 2020. The EcoDesign Directive governs every single electrical appliance, from phone chargers to TVs to panel heaters, so they had to divide it up into different sections – known as “Lots” - to make it easier to understand. Lot 20 is the bit that covers electric heating.
Lot 20 and Brexit
Your first question upon reading the above paragraph was probably “will all this be affected by Brexit?” At the time of writing, nobody’s sure what’s happening with Brexit, but what we do know is that the UK has already signed up to this change and copied it into UK law. Whatever happens between us and the EU in future, Lot 20 is here to stay.
How Will Lot 20 Save Me Money?
Lot 20 states that every heater made after 1st January 2018 must meet a certain efficiency standard. This is good for the planet, but it’s even better for your wallet – an efficient heater is much cheaper to run, resulting in lower energy costs without compromising on performance. In simple terms, Lot 20 compliant heaters give you much more for your money.
You might think that Lot 20 heaters will be much more expensive as they use more advanced technology, but actually, this isn’t true. The Directive itself says that these eco-friendly features “should not affect the functionality or affordability” of new panel heaters. In plain English, that means they should only use existing technology – such as timers and thermostats – to offer an improved performance without driving the price up. If anything, you might find good quality heaters are better-value than ever as more and more manufacturers are forced to make more efficient heaters. As these manufacturers all try to undercut one another, this will start to drive prices down.
How is Lot 20 Worked Out?
These heating regulations sound complicated, but when you boil it down, it’s just a simple points system. Every heater starts with a score of 30 points. It then earns points for every energy-saving feature it has. For most electric heaters, the target is a score of 38 points. If the heater can only be used as a portable unit (i.e. it can’t be mounted on a wall), its target is 36 points. For low-wattage heaters of 250W or below, the target is just 34 points. Storage heaters also have a slightly different target; theirs is 38.5% (although they start at a higher baseline score). You can check each how much each eco-friendly feature scores in this handy calculator. Realistically, you’ll notice that if your heater has a thermostat with a 24/7 timer and one other eco-friendly feature, it’ll be considered efficient enough to pass.
Remember, most heaters start at a baseline score of 30, then use the calculator below to work out whether your heater meets its target. Storage heaters with an electronic heat charge control (which is every storage heater you'll find these days) start on a score of 33.5%
Choose a fixing type
|Then choose the heat setting|
|No heat settings||0|
|Several heat settings, no thermostat||1|
|Digital thermostat & countdown timer||8|
|Digital thermostat & 24/7 timer||9|
|Finally choose the features|
|Open window detection||1|
|Remote control or Wi-Fi control||0|
|Adaptive start function||0|
|Working time limit||0|
|Black bulb sensor||0|
In addition to its target score, a heater must be properly tested and have a valid Lot 20 certificate to be considered compliant. Some heaters may reach their target score but may not be certified. We only stock heaters that are officially Lot 20 certified, so you're in safe hands here!
Everything Covered by Lot 20
There’s a bit of confusion over what is and isn’t covered by Lot 20 regs. The Directive itself covers every electric heater, but each heater is given slightly different targets. If your heater gives you the option of fitting it to the wall – even if you choose not to – then it must be Lot 20 compliant.
- Panel heaters
- Oil filled radiators
- Radiant panels
- Electric fires
- Air curtains
- Infrared heaters
- Storage heaters (with a target of 38.5%)
- Low wattage heaters (with a target of 34%)
It doesn’t include;
- Outdoor heaters
- Boiler systems
- Solid fuel stoves
Not Every Heater is Lot 20 Compliant
It’s important to remember that not every heater has to be compliant. As we mentioned above, some portable heaters are exempt from these new laws. It’s also still legal to sell heaters that were manufactured before 2018. Some of these older models might be compliant anyway, but many won’t be.
What Does Lot 20 Mean for Me?
Lot 20 rules are a good thing, and they’ll help save you money on your heating bills. They also act as a sort of seal of quality. If your heater is Lot 20 compliant, you’re guaranteed a high level of performance by law. For most people, this is about as far as it goes. However, if you’re a landlord or a building contractor, you might want to learn a little more about it.
Lot 20 and Landlords
All rental properties need to meet new energy efficiency standards before 1st April 2020 at the latest under new MEES (Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard) regulations. You may already know about EPC ratings – the colour-coded rating system that ranks a property’s energy efficiency from A-G. Under the new MEES standards, rental properties must be awarded a grade of E or higher before that April 2020 deadline.
You’re expected to pay up to £3,500 to improve your property to meet these standards, so every pound really does count. Electric heaters are a great, cost-effective way of ensuring your property is up to scratch, but remember they will need to abide by Lot 20 rules if you want to fit your heaters into your property.
Lot 20 and Building Contractors
When speccing for work, building contractors must be aware of all the above legislation. Builders and electricians can still technically buy and install old, non-Lot 20 compliant stock, but the clients and customers will still need to abide by these efficiency laws even if their contractors don’t. Be aware that some clients might not know about or fully understand these laws at first, but they certainly will be if they get hit with a government fine because of the heaters you installed!