As of 1 January 2016 a new Ecodesign Regulation will ensure that newly produced residential ventilation units will have to fulfil minimum energy efficiency requirements as well as maximum noise emission requirements, with a further step in the ambition level of these requirements as of 1 January 2018. Ventilation units consume more than 2% of total EU electricity consumption, which makes them the most important electricity consumers in the building environment after lighting, heating and cooling. Ventilation units are systems composed at least by "an impeller, one motor and a casing", and they are intended to replace the "utilised" air in buildings by outdoor air. With such systems, it is possible:
- to drastically reduce the frequency of windows opening
- to use some of the residual heat of the "utilised" air to prewarm the outdoor air before circulating it into the building.
The Regulation is also expected to play a positive role in the improvement of the design of ventilation units: they will be assembled with more efficient components (such as variable speed electric motors, which lead to a finer control of the system) and the aerodynamics of the overall system will be optimised.
The new regulation concerns ventilator units used for the replacement of indoor units in both residential and non-residential buildings. It will soon be complemented by a harmonised scheme for indicating the energy efficiency class by labelling which will be a combination of minimum Ecodesign requirements, mandatory product informations. For residential units energy labelling was evaluated as the most appropriate policy approach.
The conjoint action of the two measures shall contribute to exploit the large cost-effective potential for the products, to reduce electricity consumption and increase space heating energy saving. The measures contribute significantly to push the take-up of efficient technical innovations in the ventilation industry sector. They will also facilitate the removal of the poorest performing products from the market, where their life cycle cost disadvantages have proven insufficient to drive this, thereby reducing the problem of split incentives which exist between builders and building owners or landlords and tenants as regards the costs and efficiency of ventilation systems. The building-owners, i.e. the ones paying the energy bill, have an interest in energy-efficient ventilation systems, whereas the builders are working on a strict budget, where ventilation systems are one of the last items in the building process where a cost saving is possible.
Additionally, by 2025 this policy is estimated to save 1300 PJ primary energy per year which corresponds to the annual gross primary energy consumption of Austria or Greece. The total savings in end-user spending is projected to be over € 26 billion.
This new Ecodesign Regulation adds to the list of more than twenty already adopted Ecodesign Regulations1 covering both household and industrial products, such as electric motors or pumps. In particular, this Ecodesign Regulation, together with the Energy Labelling Delegated Regulation on residential ventilation units, follow and complement other ecodesign and energy labelling regulations for technical building products like heaters (fuels, solid fuels, local space heaters) and air-conditioners.
Another Ecodesign Regulation for industrial products is close to adoption, and it is related to the professional refrigeration sector.
All in all, it has been estimated that the combined effect of all Ecodesign Regulations will significantly contribute to the EU’s 2020 energy efficiency target.