The revised Energy Performance Buildings Directive came in the force in summer 2018. The directive is available in 24 EU langauages at the website, which can be found easiest with its number (844/2018/EU). The background for the directive is the EU´s energy policy, which requires the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions 80-95% by 2050 from the level in 1990.
I have described the contents of the directive in my earlier blogs. Now I focus on four items in the directive, which will boost the HVAC business in Scandinavia and offers also business opportunities for Nordic technology in the other EU countries.
The building stock in EU has to be nearly zero energy level by 2050
The most extensive measure in assisting to reach the goal is the refurbishment of building stock in all member countries to nearly zero energy level by 2050. The directive sets quite stringent requirements to member counties regarding the implementation of this goal. The member states must report to the commission on the progress in 2020, 2030, 2040, 2050. The directive tells also in detail what the member states have to report. To reach the goal requires significant increase in the refurbishment activities. The measures have to be cost effective. I believe that the most cost-effective measures can be found with HVAC technology, like heat recovery from ventilation air and sewage water, heat pumps, control of ventilation and heating by demand etc.
The directive even requests the member states to evaluate the effects of various measures, not only in energy use but also on environmental impact. When the cost effectiveness of various measures is calculated also the benefits of improved indoor environment have to be included. What is now needed are compact sets of measures which are tailored for each building type and climate. This calls for cooperation between Nordic countries.
Models are needed to be able to estimate the effect of various measures in building stock on national level. This kind of model could be also a useful tool for market analysis for HVAC business. Could the Scandinavian HVAC industry assist the national governments in this issue?
Another important requirement in directive is related to training. The member states have to report their educational activities in building and energy technology. This requirement could be beneficial for Scanvac members in developing their training activities.
All non-residential buildings have to have BACS by 2025
One way to improve the energy efficiency of buildings is to improve the control of the technical systems. The directive set requirements for the building automation and control systems. All buildings with the power of air conditioning and ventilation system over 290 kW have to have a very advanced BACS by 2025. The commission has defined in detail what those BACS has to do, and how they perform.
(a) continuously monitoring, logging, analysing and allowing for adjusting energy use;
(b) benchmarking the building’s energy efficiency, detecting losses in efficiency of technical building systems, and informing the person responsible for the facilities or technical building management about opportunities for energy efficiency improvement; and
(c) allowing communication with connected technical building systems and other appliances inside the building, and being interoperable with technical building systems across different types of proprietary technologies, devices and manufacturers.
These EPBD requirements mean significant improvement of the building automation systems. Point (a) means that in addition to the monitoring the BACS has to also analyse the data and adjust the operation of building systems accordingly to optimise the energy use.
Point (b) requires the BACS to identify the energy losses and advise also the building management how to improve the performance.
Requirements in point (c) are most likely the toughest to fulfil. Communication and interoperation between systems and equipment should be possible and independent from manufacturers. This has been a dream of building owner for a long time.
The developing EPBD type BACS is a huge challenge and opens new business opportunities regarding the smart and effective use of technical systems.
Expansion of inspections of technical systems
The revised directive requests still the inspections of technical systems. Two important changes are presented. On the other hand the power of the system in raised from 20 to 70 kW but at the same time the scope is expanded to all heating and air conditioning systems with or without ventilation. It still is unclear how the 70 kW is defined and if the intent is to cover also the independent ventilation systems. At any rate the Commission is preparing guidelines for the interpretation of the wording in the directive. However, the directive required the Commission to make a feasibility study on the benefits of independent ventilation inspections. This is an area where Nordic countries, especially Sweden could offer help.
At any rate the expansion of inspections to more complicated systems offers business opportunities to competent HVAC professionals.
Smart readiness indicator (SRI)
The revised directive introduces a new tool for evaluating the potential of building performance regarding the smart control. The Commission is requested to develop a method for evaluation and calculation of an indicator, which tells with a single number the capability of a building to response to the selected target areas which are energy efficiency, needs of occupants and integration of building with energy networks. A selected consult, VITO, drafted a method in a study which ended in September. This study proposed that the indicator should focus on eight specific target areas: energy efficiency, integration with energy networks, energy generation at building site, comfort, convenience in operation, health of occupants, monitoring of performance and reporting the performance.
It is important to note that most of the target areas are very much affected by the HVAC systems, it is also remarkable that three of them (comfort, convenience in operation, health of occupants) are directly related to indoor environment. This is the first time when the indoor environment is recognised in the documents from the DG Energy.
The SRI will be developed further in a second study which will take place in 2019. The final method is supposed to be available in the end of 2019.
The calculation of the SRI for a building is a demanding task and calls for a competent expert for the work. The first study indicated about 120 services of building systems which should be evaluated for SRI. Most of these services are provided by HVAC systems, like control of room temperature, control of ventilation etc.
When the SRI evaluation system is completed it will offer new business opportunities to competent professionals. When the final system is developed during 2019 the Nordic countries should make it sure that the SRI includes also the technical systems and equipment which are used in Scandinavia. This would be beneficial for Nordic building industry and HVAC industry.
Olli is the former Secretary General of REHVA and editor-in-chief of the REHVA Journal. He was REHVA president from 2005 to 2008. He has served as the professor of Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning at Helsinki University of Technology, Finland and supervised over 250 Master´s Theses and 20 PhD-level theses.