notes from JK

Energy ratings for electric heaters?

There’s a room at the top of our house that gets really cold when the winds get blowing. It’s in a loft conversion, done by previous owners in around 2000. The good folks at Earthwise Construction checked it over and found minimal insulation in the dormer’s walls and roof. There is double glazing but not of a particularly high quality. Making all this good was going to be very expensive and the landlord wasn’t keen.

So I went shopping for an electric heater to help on those particularly cold days. What struck me was the absolute lack of clear labelling or information about the energy efficiency of these products. Looking online and in the usual DIY stores I found very different levels of information on each product. Many used Watts to refer to heat output, some also used Watts to refer to the electrical power usage of the device. Some did one or the other but didn’t specify if these were maximums or averages or something else. Others referred only to BTUs of heat output (that’s British Thermal Units) but not power usage.

Based on my A-level physics level of knowledge I wasn’t able to make easy energy efficiency comparisons between many of the choices. If there is a standard out there which I haven’t unearthed with my Googling, it’s certainly not apparent to the consumer.

Our older housing stock is going to be with us for a long time to come, regardless of whether any Green New Deal of sorts gets implemented. So people are going to need ‘top up’ heating in some rooms at least on colder days. Why not help them make the most efficient choices so they get the most heat per pound spent on electricity? We need a simple clear energy rating system for electric heaters – just like we see for other electrical goods these days.

A similar point is being made about car emissions and fuel efficiency by We Are FutureProof in this video:

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