Martyn Bridges: BRE is causing unnecessary confusion.

Unnecessary confusion over Sedbuk ratings

Published:  28 January, 2011

WORCESTER: The new Sedbuk 2009 ratings are causing unnecessary confusion in the domestic heating market and risk alienating consumers, according to one of the UK’s leading boiler manufacturers.

The warning, from Worcester, Bosch Group, comes in the wake of the Building Research Establishment’s clampdown on what it believes to be misleading boiler manufacturer efficiency claims.   The new 2009 ratings, introduced on 1 October 2010, have capped the efficiency figure a manufacturer can use to promote its product, in effect reducing the figure by approximately 2%. In reality, a boiler that has received 90.5%, Band A figure under Sedbuk 2005, is now reduced to circa 88.5-88.8% efficient product under Sedbuk 2009.

Martyn Bridges, director of marketing and technical support at Worcester, Bosch Group said: “The BRE has ignored the fact that it isn’t the boiler manufacturer which calculates the percentage efficiencies, it is the Test House or notified body used. To introduce very significant changes to the ratings is creating considerable confusion among both installers and consumers.

He continued: “We believe it is unnecessary as all the facts and the uncertainty of measurement were pointed out to the BRE some 10 or 11 years ago when Sedbuk was introduced. We have managed with this scheme, with its faults, since 1999 and consumers now have a knowledge about this particularly as it is similar to the labelling seen of fridges and freezers for example.”

In addition to changes to the efficiency ratings the Sedbuk bandings have also been changed.  The bands, currently A, B, C, D and E, have become the standard benchmarks recognised by the industry and consumers have also been dropped in favour of quoting the new Sedbuk 2009 percentage figure instead.

Mr Bridges commented: “At a stroke, the BRE has discarded more than 10 years of consumer education, causing unnecessary confusion in the marketplace, particularly in light of the fact that boiler ratings will have to change anyway when the EuP Directive comes into force in two years’ time.”

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