This section includes all published material of the part of the feasibility study that addressed the inspection of stand-alone ventilation systems.

  • Existing regulations, standards and guidelines on the inspection of stand-alone ventilation systems

  • This report provides a review of existing regulations, schemes, guidelines and standards on the inspection of stand-alone ventilation systems, and other relevant initiatives and projects.

    A total of 81 items has been found and analysed. A detailed analysis was carried out for a selection of 34 of them, seen as the most interesting or representative ones.

    Most of the identified items do not only cover inspection. They often describe installation, commissioning or maintenance guidelines or requirements, including an inspection part.

    The identified items include:

    • regulations in 12 EU countries, a part of them being dedicated to workplaces in the framework of the protection of workers,
    • 11 European standards and some national standards in the EU and outside the EU,
    • a wide range of guidelines (47 items) covering different levels of inspection, from checklists based on visual checks to measurement protocols.

    Measurements, if any, are mainly focused on airflow rates, but also to a less extent on measurements of fan electrical consumption and ductwork airtightness. Measuring indoor air quality parameters and noise is rare.

    The report also identifies interesting results from European, international and national projects that help to identify what could be the contents of an inspection scheme. Standards and guidelines for the inspection of ductwork airtightness have been specifically listed and analysed.

    Other initiatives than inspection, aiming at improving the quality of the stand-alone ventilation systems and thus reducing the needs for inspection, have been identified. They include: performance product certification and database, clear design, installation and commissioning procedures, training/qualification/certification of the competence of professionals, increase of occupants awareness and use of smart ventilation systems.

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  • Stock of ventilation systems in EU buildings and foreseen evolution

  • This report provides an assessment of the stock and sales of stand-alone ventilation systems in EU countries, along with an assessment of the evolution of this stock for 2030, 2040 and 2050.

    Existing data about the stock and sales of ventilation systems in the EU have been searched, collected and analysed.

    Information on natural ventilation systems was not sufficient to be able to assess their stock and market.

    The current stock (2020) of mechanical ventilation systems is estimated to 139 million (mean value of the existing data), ranging from a minimum value of 86 million to a maximum value of 190 million, of which 93% residential and 2/3 of decentralised unidirectional residential systems. The current annual sales are estimated to almost 8.5 million units, of which 93% residential and 60% of decentralised unidirectional units.

    The evolution of the stock and sales up to 2050 has been estimated from the consolidation of the existing data. The values show a 2050 stock of 206 million units (mean value) with an increased percentage of sales of balanced ventilation systems.

    Examples of publications that show characteristics of stand-alone ventilation systems in the existing stock have been analysed and show that a large proportion of systems do not provide the designed or required air flow rates.

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  • Analysis of the relevance, feasibility and possible scope of measures at EU level for the inspection of stand-alone ventilation systems

  • This report describes a broad range of options for possible approaches for the inspection of stand-alone ventilation systems in buildings. In order to define an inspection scheme, first the technical contents of the inspection need to be described: What must be checked and how? Does inspection require measurements? How are inspection results reported?

    Organisational aspects must also be defined: Is inspection mandatory or voluntary? When does it take place? By whom is it operated? Is training, certification, qualification or surveillance of inspectors required? What are the sanctions if the rules are not respected? The report lists a series of such technical and organisational questions which have to be answered when choosing an approach for inspection. A comprehensive list of answers is provided, including information on their respective feasibility, advantages and drawbacks, e.g. in terms of cost or relevance in a given context.

    Furthermore, legal and economic aspects are addressed, as are market and societal acceptance, options for the involvement of different types of stakeholders, and resulting barriers and risks. The report looks further into measures other than inspections that can contribute to enhancing the performance of stand-alone ventilation systems, and on the different possibilities to introduce requirements on the inspection of stand-alone ventilation systems at EU or Member State level. It finally highlights which policy options could be considered in a next part of the technical study for assessing their potential impacts, in order to cover the most feasible and relevant approaches, including a range of non-legislative, legislative and mixed approaches. 

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  • Selection of policy options for inspections of stand-alone ventilation systems and analysis of related potential impacts

  • Potential impacts have been analysed for six policy options applied to newly-installed stand-alone ventilation systems in residential buildings. They include three options with mandatory inspection, one option with voluntary measurement of indoor air parameters, and two options with other measures than inspection: awareness raising of stakeholders and training of installers.

    All these options result in a better indoor air quality but also in a higher energy consumption: this is the consequence of the fact that, in the vast majority of European countries, the current quality of installed ventilation systems is often poor, and delivered air flow rates are often insufficient. Therefore, air flow rates in the dwelling stock increase on average due to the implementation of one of the policy options. Nevertheless, the choice for implementing these options should also take into account the cost of poor IAQ on health, impact on productivity, and other factors.

    It is not evident to rank the various options in terms of priority; they could be implemented consecutively, by looking at societal support in case of a mandatory implementation. The direct impact of stakeholder awareness raising might be limited but is essential for achieving the societal support for implementing other options. Moreover, awareness raising campaigns can contribute to the decision to implement IAQ or ventilation requirements in countries which do not have such requirements. Inspection schemes can be implemented with various sub-options. An interesting alternative to inspection can consist in defining indoor air quality requirements. Inspection and/or IAQ requirements might be a strong driver for the development of innovative systems.

    Full report