Brussels, 28 November 2019
Centre Albert Borschette, room 1.D (first floor)
Rue Froissart 36

Part I. Inspection of stand-alone ventilation systems

The 2nd stakeholders' meeting on the inspection of stand-alone ventilation systems was physically attended by 31 stakeholders representing the building construction sector, building associations, associations of architects and engineers, associations of product and technical building system suppliers and installers, certification companies, standardisation bodies, national policy instruments and research & academia from several EU Member States.


Opening of the meeting - by Sylvain Robert, European Commission, DG ENERGY

The meeting was opened by Mr. Robert, policy officer at DG ENER, assigned on behalf of the European Commission with the supervision of the feasibility study. Mr. Robert reminded participants of the context of the feasibility study and summarised relevant EPBD provisions. He explained that this meeting is the concluding stakeholders meeting of the technical study performed to support the feasibility analysis of the European Commission as part of the obligation under Art. 19a of the EPBD, and aims to present possible policy options related to the inspection of stand-alone ventilation systems and expected impacts.

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Presentation of policy options– by Francois Durier, INIVE-CETIAT

The first part of Mr. Durier’s presentation was about a methodology for defining and building a suitable inspection scheme. The procedure starts by answering a number of questions on technical aspects (defining the aim, objective, target, as well as rules for measurements and reporting), organisational aspects (related to periodicity, operation, status, sanctions, conformity rules and economy) and other factors (e.g., stakeholder support). The answers to these questions form modules which, when assembled together, give a comprehensive inspection scheme.

Further to various types of inspection schemes, the study considered also alternative measures, in particular, awareness raising, product data, education and training, quality assurance, qualification and certification, requirements for indoor environment and smart systems.

The following policy options were selected for further analyses during the study:

  1. Awareness (collection of data on the state of the art, organisation of and information to stakeholders)
  2. Training (of installers)
  3. Visual inspection (mandatory for newly installed systems in residential buildings)
  4. Inspection with measurements (mandatory for newly installed systems in residential buildings, including measurements of specific parameters)
  5. Inspection with measurements and obligation for compliance (as above plus obligation to meet minimum requirements and to repeat the measurement for verification of compliance)
  6. Indoor environmental requirements (mandatory CO2 requirements for newly installed systems in residential buildings)

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Analysis of impacts of policy options – by Arnold Janssens, UGent

Mr. Janssens first introduced the specifications and scope of the impact analysis methodology. These included the definition of impact scenarios for each policy option in 2030, 2040 and 2050, considering expected evolutions in building and system stocks as well as in supporting measures, and quantifying fan/heating primary energy use, CO2 savings as well as indoor environmental indicators.

Building stock data is derived from the smart readiness indicator (SRI) study and combined with estimated data on the evolution of building renovation rates and on the overall market share of the ventilation stock for 5 climate regions. Finally, 10 ventilation system typologies are defined, including one for no ventilation.

Overall, the building renovation rates are expected to start to increase in 2025, whereby the number of buildings without ventilation is expected to reduce, and mechanical ventilation, demand controlled ventilation and smart systems are expected to increase. Half of the retrofit is expected to have no (new) ventilation. In parallel, evidence has shown that in a vast majority of European countries the quality of ventilation systems is very poor and about 50% of countries does not have a regulatory framework for ventilation in place.

All in all, the focus of the impact analysis has been on new systems installed in new or renovated residential buildings (initial inspection).

For the purposes of the impact analysis, ventilation-related energy and health indicators have been defined and calculated for the 6 predefined policy scenarios, without taking into consideration that one policy option may reinforce another (e.g., increased awareness and indoor environmental requirements may lead more users to install ventilation, even though inspection may not be mandatory).

All policy packages show a positive impact on the health indicator with a parallel increase in energy use. The reason for the increase in energy use is the fact that, on average, many of the installed ventilation systems currently do not deliver the required air flow rates and the expectation is that with better design, execution and operation of the systems, the airflow rates will increase and thus so will the fan and energy use. The impact varies depending on the type of system, e.g., for smart features, the policy options have smaller impact.

In general, it has to be noted that conclusions are quite sensitive to the different assumptions on, e.g., market share, input data and evolution. Moreover, it is important to note that the study does not have the objective to compare the performances of different types of ventilation systems.

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First questions and discussion round

During the first discussion round, a stakeholder noted that, on average, the policy options’ impact expected in 2050 is very low and wondered what other options could have better impact. Mr. Wouters explained that the showcased impacts are calculated for the total of all EU residential buildings assuming no change in regulation up to 2050, whereas at individual building level the impact may be very high. He also highlighted that, in practice, a combination of options is expected to have higher impact. Mr. Janssens further explained that the impact is the highest for the indoor air quality, where the reduction to exposure at EU level reaches on average up to 15%.

There was a question about whether f-factors relate to different scenarios and whether a sensitivity analysis has been performed. Mr. Janssens explained that the factors are based on experience collected from different countries and studies, where available, or estimated based on expert expectations.

A stakeholder pointed to a possible bias of the study results due to the major differences between countries, giving the example of Spain where no regulations nor f-factors exist. Again, it was noted that the study deals with the evolution and impacts at EU level due to the lack of sufficient data at national level.

Another stakeholder questioned why, despite the increase in smart systems, there seems to be an increase in energy use, while other studies seem to show the opposite. It is explained that the trends shown in energy use concern the whole ventilation stock but are clearly different per type of system and in certain types may also show a decrease. In addition, some important assumptions, including that the air flow rates on average have to increase, that the total number of buildings increases and that there is no change in regulation up until 2050, clearly bring the total energy use up.

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Highlights – by Peter Wouters, INIVE-BBRI

During his summary of the study, Mr. Wouters, coordinator of the feasibility study, highlighted three main points:

First that, whatever policy option is chosen, a prerequisite is to increase awareness on the status on the ground, and to acquire societal support for defining a suitable action plan.

Second, that it is important to recognise that the 6 policy options entail various sub-options, and that these sub-options may substantially influence the impact of each option.

And third, a combination of the various options might be necessary and/or interesting to increase the impact of these measures.

Mr. Wouters gave some practical examples of how policy options are or can be combined, to showcase the possibilities. He also highlighted examples on how policy options 4 to 6 can serve as drivers for innovation. Then, he noted considerations on relevant costs and benefits for defining and running relevant schemes.

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Interactive voting and discussion round – by Francois Durier, INIVE- CETIAT

In this part of the meeting, a set of 11 questions were opened to trigger discussion among participants.

On Question 1 about awareness raising, 54% of participants voted that awareness raising is probably effective and another 19% that it is very effective, against 23% who voted for not effective, although there was some discussion about the definition of ‘effective’ which could further influence the results. It is clear that it is very difficult to come to options 2-6 if there is no awareness, however awareness on itself is not effective in terms of directly influencing energy use and indoor air quality.

Question 2 was about the level of awareness considered existing in EU countries. 44% of participants voted for an overall lack of knowledge about performances in EU countries.  

Training, considered in Question 3, received 21% votes for being considered very effective and 63% for probably effective. Question 4 was about the extent to which training can affect performances. Here, 60% of stakeholders answered that training needs to be supplemented by other measures, and 36% that training of both designers and installers can lead to improved performances. Discussion highlighted that other factors, e.g., cost and time, may affect the performance even in cases where training is available. It was also noted that system effectiveness decreases over time despite of training. It was questioned whether training is beneficial on its own, but its value as supportive measure is clear.

Visual inspection, Question 5, is considered by 12,5% to be very effective and by 29,2% probably effective, under the condition that the inspector is qualified. It was noted that visual inspection cannot detect all problems, therefore its’ effectiveness depends on the type of ventilation system. There seemed to be consensus that visual inspections could be included in the EPC. On the question whether stakeholders would support visual inspection, Question 6, 33% said “yes, but by a limited share of stakeholders” and 21% “yes, by most stakeholders”. There was a note that the content of visual inspections is already part of the initial handover and the need to make sure that the system also functions properly.

On Question 7, on whether stakeholders would support requirements on inspection with measurements, 4% of participants voted for “yes, full support” and 48% for “yes, supported by most stakeholders”. Concurrently, on stakeholder support for inspection with requirements and obligation to make the system compliant, Question 8, 9,5% of participants answered “yes, full stakeholder support” and 38% “yes, supported by most stakeholders”.

Comparing the results of the previous questions, in Question 9, there was discussion about the need or not to have inspection at hand over and the role of the customer in this.

Stakeholders consider requirements on indoor air quality, Question 10, to be either very effective (16,7%) or probably effective (63%). There was some discussion around how to check compliance with such requirements (e.g. continuous monitoring).

Finally, in Question 11, stakeholders were asked which policy option they would prefer in their national context for new residential ventilation systems. The options chosen, presented by number of votes, were:

  • Inspection with measurement and compliance
  • Inspection with measurement / requirements for indoor air quality (same votes)
  • Awareness raising
  • Training

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End of the morning session

Concluding, Mr. Wouters explained the finalisation steps for the study to be concluded and informed that minutes, presentations and reports will be made available on in the coming weeks. 

Finally, Mr. Robert expressed his thanks to all participants and contributors and closed the morning session.

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