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Energy Efficiency Regulations

Line-Voltage Thermostats
Bulletin on Developing Standards

May 2010

ecoACTION

The Canada's Clean Air Regulatory Agenda (as published in the Canada Gazette on October 21, 2006.) includes revisions to the Energy Efficiency Act. The revised Energy Efficiency Act (as of October 2009), with broadened scope, provides the authority to prescribe energy-using products, or classes of products, that affect or control energy consumption.

Under the expanded authority, Natural Resources Canada's (NRCan's) Office of Energy Efficiency (OEE) is proposing to amend Canada's Energy Efficiency Regulations (the Regulations) and add energy performance standards for line-voltage thermostats (LVT).

Although the thermostat itself consumes small amount of energy, its performance influences the total amount of energy consumed by space heating equipment.

According to numerous research studies, efficient line-voltage thermostats can reduce electricity consumption of baseboard heaters between 4.5 to 12% per year.

The purpose of this document is to provide stakeholders with background information on the proposed content of the Regulations so that they can submit comments before proceeding with pre-publication in the Canada Gazette, Part I. Depending on the nature of the comments received, NRCan may initiate further consultation.

This bulletin attempts to put the proposed amendment in plain language. The legal text of the proposed amendment will be pre-published in the Canada Gazette, Part I. The final legal text will be published in the Canada Gazette, Part II after a minimum 75 day comment period.

Background

Energy Efficiency Regulations, which came into effect in February 1995, is administrated by NRCan and references energy efficiency standards that must be used to test the products to ensure that they comply with the minimum requirements of the Regulations.

The CAN/CSA-C828-06 standard: "Performance requirements for thermostats used with individual room electric space heating devices", was published in March 2006 and will be referenced in the Regulations.

Electric space heating in Canadian households (27% of the households) is provided mainly by distributed electric resistance heaters (electric resistance baseboard heaters, radiant ceiling cable) individually controlled by wall-mounted or unit-mounted line-voltage thermostats (LVT). A small fraction of electrically heated houses have central forced-air or hydronic heating systems controlled by a centrally located low-voltage thermostat.

Over an entire year, the amount of electrical energy required for heating and cooling a dwelling accounts for between 50 to 60% the total electrical energy consumed by the an electrically heated homes. Regardless of the type of heating system in the house, a thermostat is one of the easiest and most cost-efficient home improvements that could improve the energy consumption.

The operational characteristics of LVTs can be defined in terms of the following properties:

  • differential,
  • droop, and
  • the accuracy or set point precision.

Line voltage thermostats are available in retail establishments and at electrical supply stores. The current choices include single-pole and double-pole (for higher loads up to 22 Amperes) versions of mechanical thermostats and electronic thermostats. Mechanical thermostats rely on a sensor that moves by bending (bimetallic plate) or by expanding (liquid or vapour filled membrane) to operate a mechanical switch that interrupts the current directly, or via a relay. Electronic thermostats use a thermistor to sense the air temperature and an electronic circuit to operate a solid-state switch (triac or silicon controlled rectifier). There are a number of variations in the control method used and in the switching arrangement of electronic thermostats. According to numerous research studies, using an electronic line voltage thermostat instead of mechanical to consistently control the home's temperature can result in substantial savings due to better and faster respond to temperature changing.

Market research done by NRCan, concluded that electronic LVT thermostats, when used in new construction and as replacements for mechanical thermostats, have the potential of saving up to 1,134 GWh per year in Canada

Province of Ontario has regulated LVT, by reference to an earlier version of the CSA standard (CSA/C828-99) since January 1, 2007. In the province of British Columbia, LVT have been regulated since January 1, 2007, referencing CSA/C828-06 standard. Presently, province of Quebec is in the process of legislation the regulation for LVT.

Product Description

For the purposes of the proposed Regulations, "line-voltage thermostat" is an electronic or mechanical regulating device that is intended for line-voltage (120 to 240V) switching of controlled resistive heating load including wall-mounted, built-in (up to 1,500 W) and two component thermostats.

Energy Performance Test Procedure

The standard CAN/CSA-C828-06: "Performance requirements for thermostats used with individual room electric space heating devices", will be the reference test procedure for this product.

The standard can be ordered from:

Canadian Standards Association
5060 Spectrum Way, Suite 100
Mississauga ON L4W 5N6
Tel.: 1 800 463-6727
Web site: http://csa.ca

Energy Performance Standards

The LVT under the scope of this regulation must meet performance requirements (as per clause 4.3 of the C-828-06 standard):

  Minimum Performance
Droop 1.5°C
Differential 0.5°C
Precision 0% within 0.5°C of the original set point of 22°C

Effective Date

NRCan is proposing that the energy efficiency requirements for LVT come into effect on January 1, 2012.

All LVT subject to the Regulations as described in this document that are manufactured after the specified date will be required to meet the stated test requirements and efficiency levels.

Labelling Requirements

NRCan is not proposing a mandatory EnerGuide labelling requirement in the Regulation for a LVT at this time.

Verification Requirements

The same verification requirements that apply to other products regulated under the Energy Efficiency Act will apply to LVT.

These products will carry a verification mark indicating that the energy performance of the product has been verified. The verification mark is the mark of a Standards Council of Canada (SCC) accredited certification organization that administers an energy performance verification program for this product. NRCan will also accept labels issued by a province indicating that the product meets the provincial energy efficiency levels as a verification mark, provided that the provincial level is equivalent to or more stringent than the federally regulated level.

Reporting Requirements

Energy Efficiency Reports

The energy efficiency report required for LVT will include the following information:

  • type;
  • nominal voltage in Volt
  • operating load in Watt
  • droop in °C;
  • differential in °C;
  • set point precision in °C;

This report must be submitted, by the dealer, to the Minister of NRCan before the product is imported into Canada or traded interprovincially for the first time.

Importing Reports

A dealer who imports these products into Canada must include the following information on the customs release document:

  • Type of product
  • Model number
  • Brand name
  • Name and address of the dealer importing the product
  • Purpose for which the product is being imported (i.e. for sale or lease in Canada without modification; for sale or lease in Canada after modification to comply with energy efficiency standards; or for use as a component in a product being exported from Canada).

Comments Invited

The information in the bulletin is being issued in advance of prepublication in the Canada Gazette to allow time for concerned parties to comment on the proposal.

All correspondence should be forwarded to:

Renata Mortazavi, M.A.Sc.
Senior Standards Engineer
1 Observatory Cres., Building #5,
Ottawa, Ont. K1A 0E4
Phone: (613) 992-5474
Fax: (613) 944-6365
E-mail
Web site: http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/regulations