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IEQ plea ahead of Euro vote

BELGIUM: Nine European HVACR trade associations have stressed the importance of indoor environment quality in advance of the EU vote on the revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive.

The joint statement has been sent to the European Parliament’s committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE), whose report on the revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive will be voted on by the European Parliament on October 11.

In preparation for the vote, the signatories to the statement, who include AREA and EPEE, stress the importance of setting regular inspections of building systems to improve air quality and achieve healthier buildings.

Despite significant scientific evidence on the health benefits of improved indoor environment quality (IEQ) in residential and non-residential buildings, the statement says the EPBD “has so far been implemented with insufficient consideration to IEQ”. The groups maintain that solutions are readily available and include source control, dedicated mechanical ventilation technology, air conditioning, building automation and control, adequate filtration of incoming air as well as room temperature, humidity, CO2 level, and lighting controls.

IEQ is described as the combination of indoor air quality, thermal comfort, lighting and acoustic environment.

Claiming that with one in six Europeans living in unhealthy buildings, the signatories describe this review as “a once-in-a-decade opportunity to drive much needed changes and improvements in the existing building stock and to promote systems and solutions that result in higher indoor environment quality, lower energy consumption and increase consumer empowerment.”

The associations urge the European Parliament to ensure compliance with the provisions of the existing and revised EPBD to promote refurbishment and set regular inspections and continuous commissioning, monitoring and control functionalities of technical building systems.

The groups call for the deployment of building automation and controls and stress the importance of enhancing the ability of occupants to maintain a higher indoor environment quality in actual building usage conditions, and to optimise energy costs.

With buildings becoming more air-tight and better insulated, a sufficient supply of fresh air is seen as essential to ensure the health of occupants and protect the building fabric. Indoor environment quality can be enhanced, it is said, through the use of mechanical ventilation and technical building systems. When properly maintained, inspected and controlled (including the leakage of ventilation ducts at regular intervals), these will deliver positive outcomes on health, productivity and comfort.

In addition to AREA and EPEE, the other signatories are controls association, eu.bac; EUHA, the Electric Underfloor Heating Alliance; Eurovent; European Ventilation Industry Association, EVIA; GCP Europe, the voice of the efficient building engineering services at EU level; and REHVA, the Federation of European HVAC Associations.

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