Ecodesign Explained

You may have been made aware recently of the Governments intentions to better promote the use of clean-burning solid fuels, appliances and operation techniques through its Clean Air Strategy, in order to continue to reduce the impacts of solid fuel appliance use on the UK’s air quality.

One question that continues to arise amongst installers, retailers and manufacturers surrounds the new Ecodesign Regulations that solid fuel roomheater appliances will need to meet by the 1st January 2022, but what exactly does this new legislation require, and how will it affect the industry after the 2022 implementation date?

What is Ecodesign?

In simple terms, the Ecodesign Regulations set new minimum seasonal efficiency and maximum emission requirements for solid fuel burning roomheater stoves, roomheater stoves with boilers and cooker appliances. Only those appliances that have been tested and verified as meeting these new limits will be able to be sold. The emission limits include those for Particulate Matter (PM), Organic Gaseous Compounds (OGC), Carbon Monoxide (CO) and Nitrogen Oxides (NOx).

What efficiency and emission requirements for solid fuel appliances are currently enforceable?

Currently solid fuel appliances made for sale on the UK market are required to meet minimum gross efficiency limits of 65%, when operated at the appliances nominal heat output, as prescribed within the current UK Building Regulation requirements. This is to ensure that any new or replacement solid fuel appliance installation does not significantly reduce the properties overall energy usage and performance. Where pellet roomheater appliances are concerned, this efficiency limit is increased to 70%, in most cases due to the higher levels of controllability associated with pellet burning appliances.

The only emission performance limits for appliances are prescribed with the Construction Products Regulations, which currently stipulate a maximum emission limit for CO at 12,500mg/m3. Current manufacturing standards do not at present stipulate a maximum emission requirement for PM, OGC’s or NOx.

So, what exactly will change after 1st January 2022?

After 1st January 2022, all solid fuel burning roomheater appliances will be required to have been independently tested to show that they meet the seasonal efficiency and four emission limit provisions as laid down within the Ecodesign regulations. This will include a dramatic reduction in the CO minimum emission limit stipulated above, with the other new prescribed limits summarised as follows;

Solid Fuel Roomheater Appliances

Appliance Type Fuel Seasonal Efficiency (%) PM (mg/m3) OGC (mg/m3) CO (mg/m3) NOx (mg/m3)
Open Fire Wood 30 50 120 2000 200
Open Fire Smokeless 30 50 120 2000 300
Closed Appliance Wood 65 40 120 1500 200
Closed Appliance Smokeless 65 40 120 1500 300
Closed Appliance Pellet 79 20 60 300 200
Cooker Wood 65 120 1500 200
Cooker Smokeless 65 120 1500 300

As you can see, the introduction of these new efficiency and emission limits go a long way supporting the governments intended strategy of improving the way in which solid fuel appliances perform under everyday use in terms of their overall efficiency and emission level performance.

All appliances sold will include performance criteria within both sales and marketing literature, to allow consumers to make more informed choices on selection of the more highly efficient and clean-burning appliances, as well reference in the appliance manufacturer installation instruction, for installers to make reference against during the installation design stages.

Will existing legacy installations be affected?

No. The new regulations proposed only cover those newly produced roomheater appliances that are “placed on the market” and made available for sale on the UK market after 2022. Installers should ensure any products placed on the market after this date have been independently tested and verified as meeting the new provisions within Ecodesign legislation, and are accompanied with the necessary technical and performance information to confirm this within appliance manufacturer literature or sales websites. Those appliances that meet all current and future UK performance requirements can be accessed in the HETAS guide, or by using the search facility on the HETAS website here.

I’ve been informed of earlier implementation dates by 1st January 2020

This is correct, in that independent boiler appliances are required to meet the Ecodesign legislation 2 years earlier than the implementation date of 2022 for roomheater stove appliances. Independent boilers are those classified as not providing heat into the room in which they are installed, and are those appliances that simply link to an exiting or new hot water heating system, the majority of which are installed in a type of boiler room.

The efficiency and emission limits for independent boilers are slightly different for stoves, with their ability and technology to better control the heating environment. The new emission and efficiency requirement for independent boilers are summarised in the table below;

Independent Boilers

Appliance Type Operation Fuel Output Seasonal Efficiency (%) PM (mg/m3) OGC (mg/m3) CO (mg/m3) NOx (mg/m3)
Independent Boiler Manual Biomass ≤20kW 75 60 30 700 200
Independent Boiler Manual Smokeless ≤20kW 75 60 30 700 350
Independent Boiler Manual Biomass ≤20kW 77 60 30 700 200
Independent Boiler Manual Smokeless ≤20kW 77 60 30 700 350
Independent Boiler Automatic Biomass ≤20kW 75 40 20 500 200
Independent Boiler Automatic Smokeless ≤20kW 75 40 20 500 350
Independent Boiler Automatic Biomass ≤20kW 77 40 20 500 200
Independent Boiler Automatic Smokeless ≤20kW 77 40 20 500 350

HETAS Cleaner Choice

HETAS Cleaner Choice Product Approval Scheme is focused on raising industry standards and driving consumers towards the cleanest burning biomass and solid fuel appliances proven to go above and beyond in minimising harmful particle emissions, reducing the impact of their use on air quality and the environment.

Products approved by the HETAS Cleaner Choice scheme are independently proven to meet the most stringent emissions criteria, going further than any other industry scheme and exceeding Ecodesign and Defra Exemption requirements. In fact, products listed under the HETAS Cleaner Choice scheme achieve a 50% improvement on particulates against currently recognised requirements within UK Smoke Control Areas.


HETAS, Severn House, Unit 5 Newtown Trading Estate, Green Lane, Tewkesbury, GL20 8HD