Representatives of European Heating and Ventilation Associations

In the early sixties of the past century, leading professionals who regularly met at conferences recognized the need for international co-operation between technical associations in the field of heating, ventilating and air-conditioning. On 27 September 1963, representatives of technical associations from nine European countries met in The Hague, Netherlands invited by the Dutch association TVVL. Our founding members were: ATIC (Belgium), AICVF (France), VDI TGA (Germany), IHVE (United Kingdom), CARR (Italy), TVVL (The Netherlands), Norsk VVS (Norway), SWKI (Switzerland) and Swedish VVS (Sweden). First, the association operated in a less formalised way, meeting twice a year hosted by one of the national associations. The name of REHVA – standing for Representatives of European Heating and Ventilation Associations – was approved in the second meeting in London in 1964. This acronym is kept till today although the name has changed since. The first logo of REHVA was created in 1964


First REHVA president and formalised operation

REHVA honorary members Henry Meijer, Neville Billington, Erik Erichsen and Mario Costantino were instrumental in the creation of REHVA and the development of the statutes and a membership based formalized operation. The first Board of two members with president Henry Meijer from TVVL and Neville Billington from IHVE was formed in 1696 after the statutes were approved and members started to pay a membership fee. A permanent “Clearing center”, later the secretariat, was also created. 



First REHVA seminar in Bath, UK

REHVA members started to organise joint events to exchange views and information on topics of common interests form the very beginning. The first REHVA seminar was organised as a two-days event in the University of Bath, UK about the topic education of HEVAC professionals. The secretariat conducted a survey among members to analyse the situation of education in each member country. This was the first occasion where REHVA assessed the state of the art in member countries with the aim of learning from each other, combine efforts and thus harmonise engineering education and practice.


REHVA Awards and Recognitions

Every association honours its outstanding members for their voluntary work, and scientific excellence. In October 1979, the REHVA General Assembly set up the first REHVA award category by creating the Honorary Fellow award. The REHVA Board obtained the mandate to nominate and decide about the Honorary Fellow award that can be granted to retiring members whose activity was instrumental for the development of REHVA. The first Honorary Fellows were Henry Meijer and W.H Knoll. In the coming decades, REHVA has created many other award and distinction categories, among others, the Gold Medal for outstanding scientific and technical achievements that was first granted to Professor Ole Fanger in 2001.




CLIMA 2000 World Congress

Before the existence of REHVA, national associations have been organising conferences with international outreach that served as the initial meeting occasion of the founding fathers. REHVA aimed at fostering international exchange with help in coordinating triennial joint events from 1958. In 1971, REHVA as organisation was invited the first time to the opening ceremony of such a conference in Copenhagen and in 1975 the first REHVA steering committee was set up to up to organise an international conference in Milan. The name CLIMA 2000 was born soon after and the first CLIMA 2000 congress was organised in 1980 Budapest. The second one, in 1985, was organised in Copenhagen chaired by Professor Fanger. All REHVA Delegates chaired a session and had to write reports about them. The proceedings of CLIMA1985, edited by Fanger, were printed in 3 bands. In 2019, REHVA is organising it’s 13th CLIMA HVAC World Congress in Bucharest, Romania.


Technical Programme Committee

As the technical and publication related activities grew, the REHVA Board discussed the establishment of a Technical Programme Committee under the presidency term of M. Erichsen to help the Board in technical matters following an agreed work programme. The first Technical Programme Committee was established in 1981 in Gothenburg with the following members: Ole Fanger, Istvan Fekete, Ken Dale. The committee oversaw the organisation and coordination of conferences and seminars among national member associations, developed first guidelines of joint technical work and selected papers and authors for later publications. This committee can be considered as the predecessor of the current Technology and Research Committee and is the first of the later standing committees




REHVA Dictionary

The mission of REHVA has been since it’s foundation to enhance information exchange between its member countries. To help this, REHVA experts started the setup of a multilingual dictionary from the 1980’s. The first dictionary was published in 1982 as printed version with ten languages, the 2nd in 1996 with twelve. In the late 1990´s the terms of the dictionary were expanded and soon REHVA shifted to an electronic version. Derrick Braham (UK) and Koos Mast (NL) oversaw the development of a master list with more than 12 000 terms and distributed it to members to translate in their languages. Since the mid-2000’s the dictionary has been available online at the REHVA website as an interactive tool with more and more languages and terms. Today the dictionary is available also as an App. 



REHVA Journal

REHVA has been publishing a journal irregularly form many years, on average 4 times a year printed with different publishers in various locations. REHVA was sending bulk mailings to Member Associations´ offices to distribute the journal further to individual members. Since the late 1990’s the REHVA Journal has been produced under the leadership of the REHVA Publishing Committee chaired by Per Rasmussen until 2000, followed by Dusan Petras. The journal went through a major development under the BoD member and PMC chairman Numan Sahin reaching the current format of the REHVA European HVAC Journal. Mr Sahin moved the printing to Turkey in 2007 with individual shipment to subscribers. At the peak, REHVA journals were sent to over 5000 addresses. In the early 2010’s, due to cost reasons and the trend of digitalization the number of printed copies decreased and is mostly distributed at REHVA events. The Journal is also available for free online in the REHVA website giving the opportunity to search, read or download individual articles or entire journal issues.



EU research projects

REHVA’ participation in EU projects is important to increase visibility, disseminate information and found additional financial resources for key activities of the federation. The first EU project that REHVA implemented was a guideline for commissioning of HVAC systems published on a CD in four languages in late 1990´s.  Starting from early 2000´s the EU projects were managed by the late Thierry van Steenberghe, who, together with REHVA Presidents Dusan Petras, Francis Allard, Olli Seppänen and others, significantly increased REHVA’s participation in EU projects.  The rapid increase in the number of projects was due to the international reputation and contacts of REHVA presidents and strategic external partners.  EU projects were instrumental for REHVA´s growth and visibility on the road from a technical club to an influential professional organization.


International cooperation

REHVA has been cooperating with international organisations from the 1990’s, IIR, Eurovent and ASHRAE being the first partners. The first formal partnership agreement was signed with Eurovent/Cecomaf in 1999 which was renewed and improved in 2006 with a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) This led to significant cooperation between REHVA, Eurovent and Eurovent Certification lasting till today.

To increase its international visibility and to promote European HVAC engineering knowledge, REHVA expanded its connections worldwide based on MoU with fellow professional organizations across the globe. The first MoU with ASHRAE was signed in 2007, boosting cooperation between the two organizations. This was soon followed by CCHVAC, China, ISHARE, India, SASHE, Japan and many other associations till today.




1st EPBD, the need for building codes and standards

REHVA has been promoting the harmonisation of building regulations and policies in the EU from the late 1990’s by developing guidelines, disseminating information and contributing to the early European standardisation efforts. In 1998, REHVA office has been transferred to Brussels and technical activities of the association have further increased, REHVA kept more frequent connections with the European Commission.

In 2001, REHVA prepared a report about the differences between the national building codes and regulations across the EU, coordinated by Francis Allard. REHVA dedicated this topic a workshop at CLIMA2000 in Naples in 2001 with the objective to define the needs for future standards addressing building design rules related to energy and indoor environment quality. As a result, REHVA called for more building codes and standards at EU level.

2002 saw a key turning point of our sector with the release of the first Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) that has a major effect on REHVA as well. REHVA focused on the implementation of the EPBD after 2002 and REHVA became an acknowledged stakeholder supporting the implementation of the directive.


First REHVA guidebook

The idea of developing European guidelines was raised at the GA in 2000. At the same period REHVA developed the concept and structure of Task Forces, which are groups of experts from at least 3 European countries with the task to develop a guidebook. In 2002, REHVA published its first guidebook on Displacement ventilation. This work boosted also cooperation with European HVAC manufacturers, as the book was written with the support of Halton and Swegon. The interest in cooperation between industry and REHVA lead to the supporters’ programme. 

Later, REHVA established procedures to professionalize the production of guidebooks, including English proofreading and typesetting. For many years, Verity Braham and Derrick Brahman took care of the challenging task of poof reading and improving the technical language of the books written by non-native speakers. REHVA will be always grateful for their valuable volunteer contribution.

REHVA guidebooks are available for all Member Associations to be translated to national languages allowing the transfer of European knowledge to professionals in their mother tongue. 



CLIMA Workshops

In 2005 REHVA introduced the first series of REHVA workshops during the CLIMA 2005 Congress in Lausanne, Switzerland. This was the first time the workshops were organized at CLIMA conference and REHVA published a report booklet with the outcomes of the workshops which has been done at every CLIMA ever since. In the following conferences the workshops became also an income source for REHVA and the congress organisers.  The REHVA Board established the bidding procedure for the organisation of CLIMA and synchronised the event series with other major conferences from 2007. In the beginning ASHRAE was heavily involved in the promotion of the conference and participated in the related advisory committees.


REHVA Student Competition

REHVA promotes the education and development of engineer student and young professionals. To assess students’ work at international level, REHVA established its own contest in 2005 to award the best HVAC student in the network. The first REHVA Student Design Competition was organised during CLIMA 2005 in Lausanne. REHVA Member Associations can nominate one entry per country to the competition, which is organised now during the REHVA Annual Meetings. The 3 best students receive a financial reward and a certificate. Since 2013, the winners also receive a trophy with the winners’ names engraved on it, which is handed over next year to the next winner. The trophy has been traveling for 9 years now, carrying the names of all the proud winners since 2005.



REHVA Supporters Programme

REHVA started cooperation with European HVAC industry already in the 2000´s working on guidebooks and organising events. The first technical seminar for supporters dealing with EU energy regulations and policy was organized already in 2004 in Brussels at the Finnish Cultural Center. In 2005 REHVA changed its by-laws allowing companies to become supporting members and established, in 2006, the Supporters Club with 9 members. Seven of them from Scandinavia, FläktWoods, Halton, Swegon, Lifa Air, Rettig, Ulefos, Uponor, IMP- Klima from Slovenia, and Friterm from Turkey. Board member Numan Sahin was instrumental in the creation of the programme developing rules and REHVA services offered for the benefit of supporters. This was an important advancement within REHVA´s activities. With the supporter programme REHVA gained both financial support and reputation among the European HVAC industry. This programme has led to many beneficial actions like special REHVA Journal Issues, guidebooks of industrial interest, seminar at supporters’ events, and REHVA seminars at exhibitions.


Bringing REHVA to the next level

From the early 2000’s REHVA’s governance and working structure went through a massive modernisation architected by Presidents and BoD members Dusan Petras, Francis Allard and Olli Seppänen. REHVA developed a new strategy and improved its governance and management structure. REHVA adopted the practice of nominating a President-elect one year prior the end of the sitting President’s term. Olli Seppänen was the first President-elect voted to this position in 2003. In 2004, 4 new standing committees were established, including the new Awards Committee that revised the REHVA awards programme and defined new awards with transparent rules.

The REHVA Board elaborated the first REHVA vision and strategy in 2005. The REHVA articles have been updated to reflect the increasingly sophisticated working structure and environment of the association. The new by-laws were accepted in 49th - 50th general assembly in Moscow in 2006.



REHVA Office in Brussels

From 1998 REHVA secretariat was run by the Belgian Member Association, Atic in their premises. As REHVA grow and increased its presence and activities in Brussels, there was a need for more staff and own space in the country. In 2008, REHVA registered its own subsidiary office in Brussels and started to increase the number of employees empowering the secretariat to broaden and boost technical activities in EU projects and in EU policy affairs. Since 2008, REHVA office is in the Maison des Association Internationales in 40 Rue Washington, Brussels.


Boosting cooperation with EU policy makers

The cooperation with the European Commission increased during the first EPBD recast with enhanced liaisons with EU officials dealing with energy efficiency related policies and the development of Eco-design regulation. REHVA worked also with DG SANCO advocating to focus on indoor air quality in EU programmes and policies. As a result, this issue was included the EU Health programme and the programme supported the Health Vent project with REHVA´s significant contribution to develop Health based ventilation guidelines for Europe.

With the ever-increasing importance of European and global policies on energy and climate policies, the active participation in the preparation of EU regulations gained more and more importance for REHVA, which resulted in our increased reputation and acknowledgment as a key stakeholder in Brussels. REHVA has been able to serve its members and supporters by disseminating information on EU regulations in various seminars, newsletters and publications. EU policy monitoring and political advocacy became one of the most important activity field of REHVA with the third EPBD review in the focus in recent days.



REHVA 50th anniversary celebration at CLIMA2013

In 2013 REHVA turned 50 years old. The anniversary was celebrated during the Annual Meeting linked to a very successful CLIMA 2013 congress with the leading theme “Energy efficient, smart and healthy buildings” hosted by STP in Prague. The event was coordinated and chaired by then REHVA President Karel Kabele. REHVA celebrated with an exclusive 50th Anniversary Gala Dinner and invited every international cooperation partners and received several recognitions. The event was an excellent opportunity to look back at the half-century of history and celebrate the future.


REHVA World Student Competition

In 2016, REHVA founded a REHVA World Student competition with 4 MoU partners from India (ISHRAE), ABRAVA (Brazil), North-Amerika (ASHRAE), China (CCHVAC) and Korea (SAREK). Every three year at the CLIMA World Congress REHVA is organising the competition, having 1 candidate from each partner continent or region. The candidates ae selected by the MoU partner association. The winner of the REHVA Student Competition is the European candidate in the World Student Competition.

Between the CLIMA years, the other MoU partners organise the HVAC World Student Competition according to the same rules around the world with the participation of REHVA in the jury. The first competition was held in 2018 in China, organised by CCHVAC. REHVA co-finances the participation of the European candidate in these global competitions.



REHVA Brussels Summit & REHVA revamp

For a decade REHVA has been organised an annual technical seminar in Brussels along with the standing committee meetings.  REHVA experts, supports and representatives from the European Commission were usual speakers of these events. In 2017, following the new strategy of President Stefano P. Corgnati, REHVA decided to reinvent these meetings by putting stronger accent on the cooperation with the EU policy makers and Brussels based fellow associations. The new REHVA Brussels Summit formula was launched in 2017 as a 2-days event organised early November. I day is dedicated to REHVA BoD and committee meetings, followed by a full-day conference. The new REHVA Brussels Summit came along with the full revamping of the associations corporate design to make also the look of REHVA attractive for young professionals and more progressive in the ecosystem of Brussels based associations. A key element of the revamp was the update of the REHVA guidebooks, called today REHVA European Guidebooks with a different design


Moving the REHVA HQ to Brussels

REHVA was de facto operating in Brussels Belgium since 1998 but kept its seat for administrative reasons in the Netherlands where the association was founded in 1963. REHVA office has been operating all activities in Brussels for two decades, having a growing number of employees. In 2017, the REHVA GA decided to move the REHVA headquarter from the Netherland to Belgium. REHVA ceased it’s its legal address in the Netherlands and the Brussels office in the headquarter since 2018. Being a professional organisation with a wide range of activities linked to the European Union, REHVA’s future is bound to Brussels, which is reflected now by having the seat in the city.

And the story continues...

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