The EU could take a step towards its 2050 climate target – if new ecodesign rules phase out sales of fossil fuel boilers

Member States and other stakeholders meet today to debate ecodesign rules for ‘stand-alone’ fossil fuel boilers. Raising energy efficiency requirements for heating appliances could effectively phase out fossil fuel operated boilers, since they are significantly less efficient than other solutions, like electric heat pumps. If the EU wants to respect its legal commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and mitigate the current energy crisis, the moment to act is now. 

Today, national experts from EU Member States are discussing ecodesign and energy labelling regulations for space and water heaters in an extraordinary Ecodesign and Energy Labelling Consultation Forum [1], presided over by the European Commission. ECOS, the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) and Coolproducts experts, along with other stakeholders, are attending the closed meeting.

Marco Grippa, Programme Manager – Heating Decarbonisation, ECOS – Environmental Coalition on Standards, said:
“This consultation forum will determine the future of decarbonisation in the built environment. Preventing the installation of new non-hybrid fossil fuel boilers within this decade is the bare minimum the European Commission must do to ensure the EU reaches climate neutrality by 2050.

Existing clean solutions are more efficient, less polluting, and cheaper. Clean tech solutions such as heat pumps are no longer the alternative, they are mainstream. The EU’s ecodesign rules can now make clean tech the products of choice.”

Davide Sabbadin, Deputy Policy Manager for Climate – European Environmental Bureau (EEB) said:
“One year into the war in Ukraine and we still witness solid resistance by several stakeholders and Member States against phasing out gas from our homes, both in high-level and technical meetings such as the ecodesign ones.

The upcoming Ecodesign and Energy label rules cannot continue to allow for yet another generation of gas boilers to be installed in the EU, perpetuating our dependency on Russian gas and other foreign power for decades to come. Efficient and renewable technologies are the only financially and environmentally sound way forward”.

This is a watershed moment for domestic heating in Europe – and timing is important. Space and water heating accounts for 80% of average household energy consumption in Europe – with more than half of this generated by fossil fuels. Phasing out sales of new ‘stand-alone’ fossil fuel boilers would result in dramatic emissions savings, as well as a reduced reliance on fossil fuel imports.

The Coolproducts campaign, jointly led by ECOS and the EEB, wants the energy efficiency threshold of heating appliances to be raised to 115% [2]. This would introduce a de facto end to the sale of new ‘stand-alone’ fossil fuel boilers in Europe. They would simply not meet the minimum energy efficiency requirements, and so would be pushed off the market.
Each new boiler can have a lifespan of 20-25 years. For Europe to reach climate neutrality by 2050, fossil fuel boilers would need to stop being installed as close as possible to 2025 [3]. The Commission’s proposal to reach an EU-wide end to the sale of ‘stand-alone’ fossil fuel boilers from September 2029 [4] is an important development. However, waiting until 2029 means wasting precious time to secure Europe’s carbon neutral future.

The Coolproducts campaign believes the phase-out date of fossil fuel boilers should be set as close as possible to 2025, and 2027 could be an acceptable compromise [5].

Europe is running out of time to take this bold – and necessary – step.

Notes to editors
[1] Read through our background briefing and join us tomorrow (28 April) for a press call at 10:30AM (CEST) for more insights into this topic from our experts. Registration required.


The EU could take a step towards its 2050 climate target – if new ecodesign rules phase out sales of fossil fuel boilers
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