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Why does the Government of Canada require that residential gas fireplaces and stoves be tested for energy efficiency?

Since September 2003, manufacturers and distributors who sell gas fireplaces in Canada have been required by federal law to test and verify the energy performance of their units to the new Canadian test standard, the CSA P.4.1-02.  This was initiated in order to;

  • provide consumers with independent, reliable testing of gas fireplace efficiency reported by manufacturers€™
  • allow consumers to compare the performance of different makes and models
  • encourage consumers to opt for more efficient gas appliances
  • determine the range of energy efficiencies available in the marketplace
  • allow this sector to contribute to Canada’s overall goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

The resulting fireplace efficiency (FE) ratings must be reported to Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) for inclusion in a national directory (click here for the online directory) .

What products are affected by the EnerGuide Energy Efficiency rating?

This requirement affects all Natural gas and propane freestanding stoves, inserts and Zero Clearance fireplace models sold in Canada. It does not apply to gas logs, which are by design not efficient.

Why has Canada developed its own fireplace energy efficiency rating?

Different methods have historically been used to measure the efficiency of gas fireplaces. Steady state (SS) and annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) ratings are based on test methods originally created for wall heaters, space heaters and furnaces. The energy efficiency numbers generated by these test methods did not reflect the actual energy performance of gas fireplaces. Working with industry, the Government of Canada set out to develop a new test method for gas fireplaces.

The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) P.4.1-02 test method, introduced in 2003, was developed as a consensus standard (keep in mind, there is no such thing as a perfect standard). It mainly provides an €’apples-to-apples’€ comparison when appliances are operated in a realistic mode using a standardized test methodology. The CSA P.4.1-02 test method generates an FE rating, expressed as a percent efficiency. €“ The higher the number, the more energy efficient the product.

**** The CSA P.4.1 standard is the ONLY efficiency used to determine EnerChoice Eligibility ****

Why do some product brochures show multiple energy efficiency ratings for the same equipment?

The multiple energy efficiency ratings reflect the numbers derived using the different test methods. Manufacturers publish these ratings, such as the AFUE or SS, in their brochures and distribute their gas fireplace products and brochures across North America. The only ratings recognized in Canada are those generated by CSA P.4.1-02 (EnerGuide).

Where should I look for a unit’€™s fireplace efficiency rating?

For fireplaces, the fireplace efficiency rating appears on a special EnerGuide label printed in the manufacturer’s product literature. EnerGuideFireplace Efficiency (FE) Labels for multiple products represented in a single literature look like the label to the right.

This label appears in product literature that describes a single model of fireplace.  The EnerGuide FE rating is printed right on the label.

How are retailers and salespeople affected by these changes?

Retailers of hearth products need to be aware that the EnerGuide fireplace efficiency (FE) rating is the only FE rating recognized by the Government of Canada, and is supported by the Canadian hearth industry.  Salespeople should be aware of the difference between the EnerGuide FE rating and other efficiency ratings applied to fireplaces.  They should also be able to explain why the EnerGuide FE rating is a better measure of fireplace efficiency and to list the advantages of the new rating for consumers.

What is the difference between the EnerGuide Fireplace Efficiency (FE) rating and those other ratings?

Steady State

The Steady State rating reported in manufacturers’€™ literature is the efficiency a fireplace can achieve were it placed in the middle of a room, radiating heat from all its surfaces, running continuously and suffering no energy losses.

AFUE

The Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating averages out a unit’s efficiency over an entire heating season, selectively taking into account some energy losses but ignoring others.

 CSA P.4.1 (EnerGuide)

The EnerGuide FE rating reports a fireplace’s true energy efficiency by taking into account all its energy losses and by considering its overall performance during an entire heating season, not just on the day of testing

Why is the EnerGuide Fireplace Efficiency (FE) rating lower than the Steady State or Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratings?

All fireplaces are subject to some energy losses. Some of the heat escapes up the chimney (stack losses), and some is lost to the house from the appliance’s hidden surfaces (casing losses). A pilot light running continuously can account for a significant portion of a fireplace’s annual fuel consumption, all the while producing little useful heat. Because P.4 test methodology is based on how fireplaces are typically used in the home, the EnerGuide FE rating for a particular make and model of fireplace will often be lower than the SS or AFUE ratings.

How do the efficiency ratings compare with the other ratings found in the manufacturer’s product literature?

Steady State AFUE EnerGuide FE
Applies to all fireplaces sold in Canada ♦ˆš
Testing is required by Canadian law
Recognized by the Government of Canada
Uses a test standard designed for fireplaces
Testing simulates typical conditions of use ♦ˆš ♦ˆš
Testing takes into account all energy losses
Test results are subject to independent verification

How does the EnerGuide Fireplace Efficiency (FE) rating benefit Canadians?

Retailers

The EnerGuide FE rating creates a level playing field for all products, based on a recognized national standard.

The hearth industry

FE test results reflect the state of fireplace technology today and will serve to encourage technological innovation, resulting over time in meaningful increases in the EnerGuide FE rating.

Consumers

EnerGuide FE rating lets buyers easily and reliably compare the energy efficiency of different makes and/or models of fireplaces.

Canadians

By helping buyers choose the most energy-efficient equipment, the EnerGuide FE rating acts to reduce energy demand, thereby reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and helping to protect our environment.

NRCan’s national directory of FE ratings is available at
http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/pml-lmp/index.cfm?action=app.search-recherche&appliance=FIREPLACE_G