On 25 January 2017 the Finnish member association FINVAC arranged in Helsinki the second half-day seminar on the impact of CE marking and EU regulation on HVAC industry and profession. The seminar, like the first one held in January 2016, was well-attended, again by nearly 100 participants: Product manufacturers, system suppliers, HVAC designers and consultants, HVAC inspectors, contractors and construction clients. The topics presented by the speakers included an updated introduction to the national implementation process of relevant EU regulations including expectations on the next EPBD, overview on EPB standards, news about Ecodesign and Construction Products Regulations, and points of view of national legislators, market surveillance, test house and product/system suppliers.
Concerning the Construction Product Regulation (CPR), HVAC people are still more or less “asleep”. This partly because still only some 20% of HVAC products are subject to mandatory CE marking as construction products, while for nearly 80% of other construction products harmonized European Standards exist. So, for most HVAC products national product approval will be needed to make it possible for the designer to evaluate the fitness of the product to its purpose. Different pieces of EU legislation still bring different requirements to the same product, maybe also contradictory requirements although no such cases have yet been revealed.
For multifunctional products, subject to requirements from several regulations, and for products exposed to very different weather conditions in different installations, the complete evaluation of conformity may become very complicated and confusing. One difficulty is that the CPR does not give any requirements on the product performance – although evaluated using harmonized European Standards – but these requirements are defined in national building regulations.
The seminar reveled also clear improvement in the field: Now that the eco-design regulations and labelling regulations for ventilation units and certain types of heat pumps have been in force a bit more than one year, the awareness among consumers and professionals has increased, as well as demand for high quality and energy efficient products. But the overall confusion seems still to be growing – this is also a big challenge to REHVA and its member associations. HVAC professionals everywhere will need practicable and reliable information and knowledge about the new regulations, and practical tools! It is a long way from regulation into common good practice, and also a long way from a good HVAC product to healthy and energy efficient technical systems and whole buildings!