Ecodesign vs clearSkies: What’s the Difference?
Ecodesign and clearSkies are two sets of standards for wood-burning and multi-fuel stoves in the United Kingdom. Both aim to reduce the environmental impact of stoves, but they have varying requirements.
Let's take a more in-depth look at the differences between the two.
At a glance
Ecodesign is a regulation set by the European Union to reduce the emissions and energy consumption of wood-burning stoves, with minimum requirements that all stoves must meet.
clearSkies is a separate initiative set up by the stove industry in the United Kingdom to reduce the environmental impact of wood-burning stoves further. It sets similar requirements to Ecodesign but includes levels with increasingly stricter standards. There is no legal requirement for stove manufacturers to be part of the clearSkies scheme.
- Minimum efficiency of 75%
- Must emit no more than 40 grams of particulate matter per hour
- Must meet or exceed the requirements for Ecodesign
- Includes four levels with increasingly stricter standards for stoves to meet
What is Ecodesign?
Ecodesign is a set of regulations by the European Union to reduce the environmental impact of certain products, including wood-burning stoves. It aims to improve the energy efficiency of products and reduce their emissions, thus reducing their overall environmental impact.
Research by the Stove Industry Alliance shows that Ecodesign stoves reduce particulate emissions by 90% compared to open fires.
Compared with wood-burning stoves from a decade ago, Ecodesign stoves release 80-84% fewer particulate emissions.
Ecodesign wood-burning stove requirements
The Ecodesign regulations for wood-burning stoves include minimum requirements for the efficiency and emissions of the stoves.
Ecodesign stoves must have a minimum efficiency of 75%. This means that no more than 75% of energy from the wood heats the room, while the remaining 25% escapes as heat in the flue gases. They must emit no more than 40 micrograms of particulate matter per cubic metre per hour. As a result, fewer harmful particulates are released into the air, protecting the air quality.
The regulations also require that manufacturers provide information on the efficiency and emissions of their appliances. Consumers can use this to make informed decisions when purchasing a stove.
The manufacturer must display this information on the stove or in the accompanying documentation. It must include the efficiency rating, emissions, and the type and size of the stove.
The regulations are minimum requirements, and manufacturers can exceed them.
Ecodesign for more than just stoves
Ecodesign applies to a wide range of products. This includes energy-related products such as boilers, heating systems, lighting, and appliances and non-energy-related products, such as vacuum cleaners, power tools, and sports equipment.
The goal is to reduce these products' environmental impact while improving their energy efficiency. Ultimately, this can lead to cost savings for consumers.
The process is continuous, with new regulations regularly proposed and adopted. The European Commission periodically reviews the rules to ensure they remain up-to-date and effective in achieving environmental objectives. The Commission also monitors the market to identify any new products that should be subject to the regulations.
What is clearSkies?
clearSkies is an initiative set up by the stove industry in the United Kingdom to reduce the environmental impact of wood-burning stoves and go a step further than the Ecodesign requirements.
clearSkies has four levels, two of which establish stricter standards for efficiency and emissions than the Ecodesign regulation set by the European Union. Stoves do not legally need to meet these standards.
The goal of clearSkies is to improve air quality and protect public health by reducing the amount of particulate matter emitted from wood-burning stoves.
clearSkies stove requirements
clearSkies Level 2 and 3 stoves must have a minimum efficiency of 75%, which means that at least 75% of the energy from the wood heats the room. The remaining 25% escapes as heat in the flue gases.
To be classified as clearSkies Level 4 or 5, the stove must have an even higher efficiency level than the minimum Ecodesign requirement.
Level 2 clearSkies stoves must emit no more than 40 grams of particulate matter, meeting the Ecodesign requirements. The stove should emit even fewer particulates to meet clearSkies Level 4 or 5 requirements.
clearSkies also requires manufacturers to provide information on the efficiency and emissions of their stoves so that consumers can make informed decisions when purchasing a stove. To display a clearSkies rating, the manufacturer must ensure this information is shown on the appliance or in accompanying documents. Just like with Ecodesign, they must also include the efficiency rating, emissions, and the type and size of the stove.
Besides meeting Ecodesign requirements for emissions and efficiency, clearSkies products labelled Level 3 and above must meet the requirements for DEFRA exemption, which means that they are approved for burning wood in a Smoke Control Area.
There are four different clearSkies levels:
- clearSkies 2: Ecodesign compliant but not listed as DEFRA-approved.
- clearSkies 3: Ecodesign compliant and DEFRA-approved.
- clearSkies 4: 15% improvement on Ecodesign and DEFRA-approved.
- clearSkies 5: 15% improvement on Level 4 emissions and efficiency performance, and DEFRA-approved.
Are all clearSkies stoves Ecodesign compliant?
It's worth noting that clearSkies is only applicable within the United Kingdom and is managed by an independent body, while Ecodesign is EU-wide government regulation. clearSkies Levels 4 and 5 have stricter standards than Ecodesign, while stoves must meet the basic Ecodesign regulations to be classified as clearSkies Level 2 or 3. So, a clearSkies-rated stove will always be Ecodesign-compliant.
The clearSkies scheme is an independent, not-for-profit organisation. Only stoves that meet the strict requirements can carry the clearSkies label. However, it’s not associated with the UK government, and stove manufacturers are not legally required to be part of the clearSkies scheme.
clearSkies also encourages manufacturers to go beyond the minimum standards set in the regulations. They can achieve this by testing their products to higher efficiency and emission standards. In doing so, they can carry the clearSkies Plus label.
To sum it up
Ecodesign and clearSkies are both sets of efficiency standards that aim to reduce the environmental impact of wood-burning stoves by setting minimum emissions requirements. While Ecodesign standards are developed by the European Union and apply to all member states and the UK, clearSkies is an independent, UK-specific scheme with levels that have even stricter standards for efficiency and emissions.
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