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New EU legislation that requires transformers meet stringent energy efficiency targets is likely to drive up the price of some transformers. According to one of the industry’s leading manufacturers – Bowers Electricals – businesses that act quickly could save money as well as reducing their carbon footprint

Bowers Electricals, one of the UK’s largest manufacturers of energy saving medium power transformers, is setting the pace when it comes to meeting the new Ecodesign regulations.

Anthony Hall, the firm’s senior transformer design engineer, explains: “The new regulations have cost implications across the industry, however these new rules bring with them the potential to save millions of tonnes of CO2 emissions a year – and in that respect, we at Bowers welcome them.

“As a company, we’ve been at the forefront of energy efficiency for much of our 67 year history. The family behind the business is passionate about the environment and our products combine first class materials and many years’ engineering expertise in such a way that we believe they’re among the most efficient available in the world.”

This November, Bowers will launch a new range of medium power transformers up to 3150kVA at Emex, where the company will be exhibiting following their success at Sustainability Live this spring. This new Bowers Ecodesign range – which will be on show on stand B18 – is fully compliant with the new directive, ensuring Bowers’ customers can be confident that the equipment they purchase will meet or exceed the performance requirements that will soon become a legal obligation.

The legislation, which came into force this summer and relates to small, medium and large power transformers, means that all new units put into service from July 2015 onwards must comply with strict minimum energy efficiency requirements.

Equipment that’s already in situ is exempt, but if you are considering a replacement transformer it may be prudent to explore the options to replace it before the new rules take effect.

The Ecodesign loss requirements for medium power transformers are at their most efficient between 27.1-30.5% loading, whereas the current Bowers BEST range is tailored to provide the most economical solution for users operating their equipment at significantly higher load.

Bowers advise customers to not only take account of the effect of minimum efficiency requirements on the initial cost of the transformer but to opt for more efficient transformers than the regulation requires if these can be economically justified on a whole life cycle basis. The company offers a rigorous economic and technical justification that enables the customer to assess the total cost of ownership – and achieve the optimum balance between increased investment costs and reduced running costs.

The Bowers top-selling ‘BEST’ range of transformers already offers a significant saving over the lifespan of the equipment, making it a solution worth considering by any business looking for replacement transformers before July 2015. Featuring advanced technology that works as a cost-effective alternative to voltage optimisation, and the highest grade of commercially available low-loss core steel and low-resistance copper, this super-low loss transformer offers substantial no-load and load-loss savings, efficiently reducing the carbon footprint of a business while offering a short return on investment.

The fact that, over the course of its lifespan, the average unit will save in the region of £110,000-£115,000, has made this range Bowers’ biggest-selling to-date. Since its launch in 2010 BEST transformers have been installed everywhere from National Trust properties to high street superstores and within the NHS.

With transformers representing between 2.4-2.8% of the EU’s total electrical energy consumed, the new legislation is all part of plans to achieve a 20% reduction in the consumption of primary energy by the year 2020. Implementing the new directive will eliminate the use of high loss transformers and will result in savings of approximately 16TWh a year – or a staggering 3.7 million tonnes of CO2 emissions – by 2020. While the changes that 2015 will bring represent Tier 1 of this long-term strategy, a second tier will come into force in 2021, requiring transformers to be a further 10% more energy efficient.

“By introducing legislation that defines high levels of efficiency, the Ecodesign directive will ensure transformers like the Bowers Ecodesign range can make a real difference to the EU’s energy consumption,” adds Anthony. “Research shows that power transformers contribute significantly to the total losses of each EU member state, so even a marginal improvement in efficiency can bring about dramatic savings when you consider the lifespan of a unit. If every transformer installed in the EU was a Bowers Ecodesign unit, the CO2 savings would be equivalent to taking more than half a million family cars off the road.

“In order to remain at the forefront of industry standards we are already working closely with our material suppliers on the use of the best available technology. Our aim is not only to meet European Commission requirements for Tier 2 but to exceed our clients’ expectations by offering a highly competitive and well proven British built product.”

Bowers’ commitment to energy efficiency is reflected in the firm’s involvement with both the national and international standards bodies responsible for producing the new harmonised Ecodesign transformer standards.

To find out more about the Ecodesign directive, how it will affect your business, and to see if you could benefit from the BEST range already in production, contact Bowers Electricals on 01773-531531 or email 


The Ecodesign Commission Regulation 548/2014 came into effect on June 11, 2014, following publication in the Official Journal L152 of the European Union. A one-year period of grace has been allowed and transformers failing to meet the new minimum requirements can no longer be placed on the market or commissioned. Manufacturers will be responsible for applying the law in association with a Notified Body designated by the Member State. As the directive is a measure for implementing the Ecodesign Guideline 2009/125/EC, the CE marking and corresponding EU conformity certificate will be used to demonstrate proof of compliance.

The legislation does not apply to products manufactured for export to countries outside the EU. Within the EU, transformers already in operation may remain in service.



With its headquarters in Derbyshire, Bowers Electricals is one of the UK’s biggest manufacturers of Medium Power Transformers.

Proudly designing – and crucially still manufacturing – here in Britain, where our expertise and cutting edge engineering are world renowned, the firm boasts a prestigious list of clients from across the public and private sectors. Projects include everything from small industrial developments to major infrastructure schemes including large scale power stations, government buildings, hospitals, schools and universities, wind and solar farms and throughout the heavy power engineering industry.

Since its beginnings in 1947 as an electric motor and transformer rewinding business, Bowers Electricals has moved into the supply of new and refurbished power and distribution transformers, HV and LV switchgear and all manner of associated products and services. Over the years the team has built an enviable international reputation for quality, customer service and speed of delivery and it doesn’t stop at manufacturing; Bowers offers a full turnkey operation that includes the overhaul, rewind and repair of customer property, installation, on-going service, maintenance and expert project management of all developments, regardless of size.

Bowers prides itself on being able to offer a total engineering solutions within the voltage management sector including first generation through to third generation voltage optimisation, Low loss transformers and the unique Bowers Intellivolt Transformer which combines the two technologies. We will survey your site with a view to offering the best energy saving package including considerations of power factor correction equipment and and where necessary harmonic filtration.

Still managed day-to-day by the family that set it up, Bowers Electricals is now part of the Bowers Group of Companies which turns over in excess of £12m a year and employs 80 personnel.

MEET THE TEAM: Join the Bowers team on stand B18 at Emex – the new Energy Management Exhibition taking place at London’s ExCel from November 19-20.

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