New energy efficiency legislation, the Energy Related Directive, which requires seasonal efficiency ratings to be calculated for air conditioning products of less than 12kW, came into force at the beginning of January.

The ErP requires seasonal efficiency ratings be displayed on a new style energy label and products not meeting its requirements can no longer be introduced to the market.

Daikin UK managing director, Peter Verkempynck, is warning specifiers and building managers to be vigilant when choosing new systems, as equipment that does not comply with the legislation - but which is already in the supply chain - can still be sold. However, this equipment will not be the most energy efficient available.

“It is important to realise that products meeting this new seasonal efficiency legislation will be much more energy efficient than older products and can therefore provide reduced running costs. It would be short-sighted and quite possibly a false economy to choose equipment which is effectively already out-of-date,” he said.

“What’s more, the minimum energy efficiency threshold will be redefined again in 2014 so even higher efficiency levels will be required. Those who specify or install non-compliant existing stock are missing the opportunity to benefit from higher energy efficiencies, reduced carbon emissions and lower running costs.”

Seasonal efficiency is a way of measuring the true energy efficiency of heating and cooling technology over an entire year. This new measure gives a more realistic indication of the energy efficiency and environmental impact of heating and cooling air conditioning products and must be used by all manufacturers. These ratings introduce Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) value when referring to cooling and Seasonal Coefficient of Performance (SCOP) value for heating.

SEER and SCOP measure annual energy consumption and efficiency in typical day-to-day use. In the longer term, they take into account temperature fluctuations and standby periods to give a clear and reliable indication of the typical energy efficiency over an entire heating or cooling season.