SEER - The new way to measure efficiency

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What is it?

Seasonal efficiency is a new and more realistic way of measuring the true energy efficiency of heating and cooling air conditioning products over an entire year. A new rating system has been developed and must be used by all manufacturers. These ratings introduce:
 - Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) value in cooling and
 - Seasonal Coefficient of Performance (SCOP) value in heating.

These ratings measure annual energy consumption and efficiency in typical day-to-day use and they take into account temperature fluctuations and standby periods to give a clear and reliable indication of the typical energy efficiency over an entire heating or cooling season.

Nominal versus seasonal efficiency

Until 2013, the air conditioning industry used a ‘nominal’ ratio for cooling (EER) and heating (COP). Nominal efficiency gives an indication of how efficient an air conditioner is when operating at full load in nominal conditions which is not often achieved.

A more accurate method – the ‘seasonal efficiency’ ratio (SEER) – has been developed, which gives a better measure of the real-life energy efficiency of systems. Seasonal efficiency indicates how efficient an air conditioner is when operating over an entire cooling or heating season, giving a more realistic efficiency measure.

The new energy label

The new energy labelling indicates the energy efficiency of the product from A+++, A++, A+, A, B etc and, unlike the old label, it includes cooling and heating. It also states the sound emissions of the unit.

It is not possible to simply compare new and old energy classes (i.e. an old ‘A’ label’ is not equivalent to a new ‘A label’). There is no direct relation between SEER and EER.

The Energy Related Products (ErP) Directive

The new method of rating energy efficiency is driven by the EU’s Energy Related Products (ErP) Directive which, through Lot 10, specifies the minimum energy efficiency requirements that manufacturers must integrate into their air conditioning systems up to 12kW, from January 2013 onwards. This means that products not meeting these requirements are banned from the market from January 2013.