The German Environment Agency (UBA) has released an interim report confirming that only heat pumps charged with natural refrigerants will be awarded the new German “Blue Angel” ecolabel certification.

The Blue Angel has been the ecolabel of the German federal government for more than 40 years, setting standards for environmentally friendly products and services and serving as a guide for purchasing. A revision of the ecolabel is in process.

In the report – “Domestic heat pumps with natural refrigerants: Development of requirements for climate-friendly and energy-efficient appliances for the Blue Angel” – the German Environment Agency notes that it intends to relaunch a Blue Angel ecolabel for domestic heat pumps, adding that “the use of natural refrigerants has already been established as a criterion.”

Released in August, the report aims to develop “specific criteria proposals for a Blue Angel for domestic heat pumps.” The report underlines that heat pumps should be as energy efficient as technologically possible and not rely on f-gases, due to their high global warming potential and atmospheric degradation products.

Final recommendations for the Blue Angel are expected by the end of 2022.

The report found that R290 in particular is “well suited for energy-efficient heat pumps” thanks to its specific thermodynamics. It added that another advantage of using hydrocarbons is their good solubility with oil, which leads to good removal from the evaporator due to viscosity reduction. “In practice, this has a positive effect on the efficiency of the heat pump,” said the report.

Source: Hauswärmepumpen mit natürlichen Kältemitteln, TEXTE 82/2022.
Representation from Heat GmbH.

Translation: Natural refrigerant + Efficient heat pump + Electricity from renewable sources = Heating with emissions close to zero

Other possible criteria for the Blue Label:

  • Noise reduction (indoor and outdoor)
  • Ensured long-term efficient and stable heat pump operation
  • Availability of spare parts and software updates
  • Clarity of recommendations on operation and maintenance in the user manual
  • Sensible setting options for the users such as flow temperature via a rotary control
  • Notification of users in case of malfunctions

ATMOsphere, publisher of this outlet, has recently concluded a study highlighting the market-readiness of natural refrigerant-based heat pumps across Europe that identifies Germany as a key country with multiple companies having these heat pumps in their portfolio.

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