REHVA, the Federation of European HVAC Associations representing close to 100 000 experts in Europe, has developed significantly its technical and professional activities during the 2000 millennium to respond better to challenges posed by a united Europe, the need to protect the environment and the demand for better indoor climate and energy efficiency of buildings. A significant and visible beginning of these technical activities was the publication of the REHVA Guidebooks, intended to disseminate new technology in Europe. The first Guidebook on Displacement Ventilation was published in 2002, and was translated into twelve languages. Now more than 20 Guidebooks with over 50 translations are well recognized as sources of non-commercial, technical information. Current REHVA Guidebook activities are described in detail in an article in this issue.
The Guidebooks are created by REHVA Task Forces working under the Technology and Research Committee. The Committee structure of REHVA has been expanded and strengthened significantly during last ten years. In addition to the two original committees (Technical and Education), REHVA has established five more committees: Marketing and Publication, Awards, Supporters, External Relations and Membership. These committees are the backbone of REHVA activities, and allow everybody to participate in REHVA activities.
A significant impact of REHVA on European Technology and its development has been its participation in EU funded projects (close to 30 projects), mainly in the area of energy efficiency of buildings but also related to Indoor Environment. Participation in these projects has also been helpful in establishing the professional reputation of REHVA and a European network. The most significant projects are described at www.rehva.eu. Among these, one of the most significant is the European Portal BUILD UP (www.buildup.eu), which aims at providing information services to help the implementation of the European Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) and energy efficiency of buildings.
The close connection with the EU has allowed REHVA to have an impact on European legislation and regulations. REHVA has participated in the development of Energy Performance of Buildings Directive and Regulations based on Eco-design of Energy Related Products Directive. REHVA is now recognized as an independent professional federation by the European Commission. The REHVA secretariat was transferred to Brussels in 1990´s but the increasing activities called for its own office which was established in 2006, and professional personnel to run the EU project and take care of the increasing activities. A Secretary General for REHVA was appointed in 2008.
REHVA is a Federation of national professional associations, and independent of the industry; however, REHVA has felt that its impact would be greater if its relationship with the HVAC industry is strengthened. That was behind the REHVA Supporters programme which was launched in 2005. Now about 50 HVAC manufacturers, design offices and contractors are REHVA supporters, with close connections to REHVA but without voting rights. The information exchange is in both directions; REHVA supplies independent technical information and the HVAC industry points out the areas where neutral, reliable information is needed. REHVA also gives some publicity to its supporters through its website, REHVA Journal and various seminars.
REHVA Journal, the only pan-European HVAC Journal, has a long history and is now producing its 50th volume. REHVA Journal has changed significantly during the last few years. It offers an overview of the entire HVAC technology in Europe, focusing during the last few years on energy efficiency and indoor environment of buildings. The journal has found its role as an independent technical periodical between scientific and commercial publications. It is truly pan-European with authors from 25 countries in 2012. The authors include scientists, practitioners and industry professionals, especially the experts from REHVA supporters. The journal is still distributed free of charge to subscribers, which limits its circulation; it is mailed only to selected top experts and decision makers.
REHVA Journal is published six times a year focusing on technology. The journal does not cover all the society news. This was the reason for establishing a special bimonthly newsletter (2007) for members and a specific bulletin (2010) for REHVA supporters focusing on EU regulations. The REHVA website plays an even more important role than the newsletter, journal and bulletin. In the 2000 millennium it was first established in Demark, then transferred and developed further in the Czech Republic, and recently transferred to Belgium where the revised website was launched in May 2013. Important discussion forums for information exchange are also the platforms of social media where REHVA is visible.
REHVA was originally established for information exchange between its members. In the 2000 millennium it was realized that relations between other European and international organizations are also important. A series of framework agreements (memorandums of understanding) have been signed with several organizations including International Institute of Refrigeration, Eurovent Association, ASHRAE, International Energy Agency (AIVC/INIVE), China Committee of HVAC (CCHVAC), Indian Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Engineers (ISHRAE), and Society of Heating, Air-conditioning and Sanitary Engineers (SHASE). In addition to these, REHVA has working relations with almost all European Associations related to HVAC, and has liaison status in several CEN technical committees.
International activities of REHVA have been boosted with the series of Clima Conferences. The first International Clima 2000 conference was organized in Milan, Italy in 1975. Since then, it has been held in Budapest (1980), Copenhagen (1985), Sarajevo (1989), London (1993), Brussels (1997), Naples (2001), Lausanne (2005), Helsinki (2007) and Antalya (2010). The 11th Conference was held in June 2013 in Prague. A steady increase in the number of presentations and papers can be seen, especially in the 2000 millennium. A significant change was seen also in the programme of the conference when workshops were included for first time in Naples, 2001. They allow the industry, especially REHVA Supporters, to participate and contribute on topical issues. The workshops (reports available at www.rehva.eu) have had significant impact on REHVA activities.
In addition to Clima conference, now organized every third year, REHVA began to organize Annual REHVA seminars concurrent to its Annual meetings, first in Tallinn in 2011, then in Timisoara 2012 and Dusseldorf in 2014. REHVA also organizes, in cooperation with international exhibitions, workshops on topical issues during the exhibitions; the partners include ISH, Light and Building, ACREX, Sodex, MostraConvegno, and FinnBuild.
Education has been a part of the REHVA agenda from the beginning. A visible activity in this area has been the student competitions between REHVA member countries. They have been organized concurrently with the Clima Conference and REHVA Annual meetings, beginning Lausanne, 2005. The REHVA competitions are preceded by national competitions where the winners are selected for the European competition.
An important tool to improve the information exchange between European multilingual nations has been the HVAC dictionary. The second and last printed version of the REHVA dictionary from the year 1994 had 3 151 HVAC related terms in 12 languages. A new expanded web-based REHVA International Dictionary on Building Services terms was launched in 2006. The content of the dictionary was expanded from the former REHVA Dictionary to 11 758 terms, and was published in an electronic format. The dictionary website, www.rehvadictionary.eu, is regularly updated to include the additional translated terms. In 2013 it includes 15 languages.
REHVA has established several awards to recognise its national experts in the advancement of HVAC in the areas of science, technology and design. These awards are presented annually at REHVA Annual Meetings. The results of REHVA activities depend on the voluntary work of national experts. To recognise the contribution of the most active experts, REHVA launched the REHVA Fellows programme in 2011. The REHVA Fellows and recipients of awards are listed at www.rehva.eu.
REHVA was established on Sept 27, 1963 by representatives of technical associations of nine European countries in The Hague.
The full history of REHVA is available at www.rehva.eu.
REHVA Presidents in the 2000 millennium are:
Per Rasmussen, Denmark (DANVAC) 1999 – 2002
DušanPetráš, Slovakia (SSTP) 2002 – 2005
Olli Seppänen, Finland (FINVAC) 2005 – 2008
Francis Allard, France (AICVF) 2008 – 2011
Michael Schmidt, Germany (VDI) 2011 – 2013
KarelKabele, Czech Republic (STP) 2013 –
REHVA celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2013.