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OVERVIEW | Ecodesign and Energy Labelling of ventilation units

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By François Durier, Laure Mouradian (CETIAT, France)


Two European Directives - the Ecodesign and Energy Labelling Directives – and their accompanying regulations have introduced new minimum requirements for ventilation units, as well as a label to inform about their performances. This article presents these requirements and the foreseen label in respect to ventilation units.


The Ecodesign Directive for ventilation units


The Ecodesign Directive 2009/125/EC (sometimes called the ErP Directive) requires that energy-related products fulfil ecodesign minimum levels of energy efficiency and environmental performance. The Directive is implemented through Commission Regulations, for various specific products.


For example, Commission Regulation N° 1253/2014 refers to ventilation units, i.e., electricity driven appliances including at least one impeller, one motor and a casing, and intended to replace "utilised" air (i.e., indoor polluted air) by outdoor air in a building.


The regulation covers residential and non-residential ventilation units; units with an electric power input lower than 30 W per air stream are excluded, except for information requirements.


The regulation does not apply to:


  • fans only equipped with a housing;
  • units for potentially explosive atmospheres;
  • units for emergency use in case of fire;
  • units for extreme temperatures, high supply voltage or toxic, corrosive or flammable environments;
  • kitchen hoods;
  • units including a heat exchanger and a heat pump for heat recovery or an additional heat transfer, or heat extraction system.

Residential ventilation units (RVU) include units with a maximum flow rate below 250 m3/h.


Non-residential ventilation units (NRVU) include units with a maximum air flow rate bigger than 250 m3/h.


Units with a maximum flow rate between 250 and 1,000 m3/h can be classified as residential if the manufacturer declares that they are exclusively intended for residential application and use.


For residential ventilation units, the regulation includes the following requirements:


  • a maximum specific energy consumption, i.e., the annual energy consumed for ventilation of a building per square meter of heated floor area (kWh/(m2.year), in an average European climate;
  • a maximum sound power level for non-ducted units, i.e., intended to ventilate a single room;
  • the mandatory use of a multi-speed or variable speed drive;
  • for bidirectional units (with both exhaust and supply fans), the possibility to bypass the heat exchanger, if any, or to control its heat recovery performance.

From 1 January 2018, the requirements for specific energy consumption and sound power level shall be strengthened, and a visual filter-change warning signal will become mandatory for units including air filtration.


For non-residential ventilation units, the regulation includes the following requirements:


  • the mandatory use of a multi-speed or variable speed drive;
  • for bidirectional units, the mandatory presence of a heat exchanger for heat recovery, and the possibility to bypass this heat exchanger or to control its heat recovery performance;
  • a minimum heat recovery efficiency;
  • a minimum fan efficiency;
  • a maximum specific fan power, in W/(m3/s).

From 1 January 2018, the requirements for heat recovery efficiency, fan efficiency and specific fan power shall be strengthened, and a visual or alarm signal will become mandatory for filter pressure drops (in case the unit includes air filtration) exceeding the allowable value.


In practice, Regulation N° 1253/2014 will phase out single fixed speed ventilation units, as well as the less energy efficient products.


The regulation also lists which data must be published in the products’ technical documentation.


In addition, the regulation defines the way to assess the specific energy consumption (SEC) for residential units. The calculation is derived from default data - some of them according to the climatic zone (cold, average, warm) - and declared or measured parameters. SEC represents the global energy consumption due to the ventilation system, compared to natural ventilation. It is equal to 0 if the space heating energy saved thanks to ventilation control and heat recovery is equal to the electrical consumption for fans and defrosting of the heat exchanger, on a primary energy basis. The specific energy consumption is negative if the space energy saved is bigger than the electricity consumed.


The regulation also defines the internal specific fan power (SFPint), which represents the electrical consumption of fan due to components used for ventilation (filters, heat exchangers,...) in non-residential units.


The Ecodesign Directive requires that manufacturers keep and make available EC declarations of conformity, and affix CE markings. For ventilation units, the implementing Regulation N° 1253/2014 defines rules for the conformity assessment: this can depend on manufacturer decisions concerning internal design control or management systems - as described in the annexes to the Ecodesign Directive. Regulation N° 1253/2014 also describes the verification procedure for market surveillance by Member States.


Harmonised European standards currently under development will define the procedure for measurement and testing of the parameters relevant for performance assessment as required by a Commission Implementing Decision on a standardisation request (Mandate M537) approved by the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN).


Frequently Asked Questions on the Ecodesign Directive and its implementing regulations have been published by the European Commission.


The Energy Labelling Directive for ventilation units


The Energy Labelling Directive 2010/30/EC imposes mandatory labelling and information requirements that indicate the consumption of energy and other resources by energy-related products.


A Commission Delegated Regulation supplementing Directive 2010/30/EC has been published for residential ventilation units (Commission Regulation N° 1254/2014).


The regulation covers residential ventilation units, except those that are unidirectional (i.e., producing an air flow in one direction) and with an electric power input smaller than 30 W.


The Regulation defines specific energy consumption classes, the contents of the label and the product information that should be made available to consumers.


Note that non-residential ventilation units must fulfil Ecodesign requirements even though they are not covered by the energy labelling regulation.


For residential ventilation units, the label must include the following information:


  • the supplier's name or trademark;
  • the appliance name (supplier’s model identifier);
  • the specific energy consumption class (from A+ to G) for average climate;
  • the sound power level;
  • the maximum air flow rate;
  • one or two arrow(s) for unidirectional, respectively bidirectional ventilation units.

The Energy Labelling Directive requires that suppliers produce technical documentation which is sufficient to assess the accuracy of the information contained in the label. The supplementing Regulation N° 1254/2014 describes the procedures for market surveillance purposes.


The European Commission launched a review process of the Energy Labelling Directive. The review report and its accompanying document were published in July 2015.


Impact of these two Directives on ventilation units


The Ecodesign and Energy Labelling Directives have significant implications for ventilation units:


  • they rely on new methods to assess product energy efficiency (note that these methods generally differ from those used to take into account the performance of HVAC products in the calculation of the energy performance of buildings -national transpositions of the EPBD);
  • they have created a need for revision of the corresponding European standards;
  • they define requirements that have phased less energy- efficient products out of the market, with more ambitious thresholds entering into force from January 2018;
  • they govern the labelling of residential ventilation units for better information of consumers.

Draft Frequently Asked Questions and draft transitional methods for measurements and calculations (that will ultimately be replaced by harmonised standards) have been published by the "Technical assistance study for the ventilation units product group", operated on behalf of the European Commission.


Several stakeholders have also published documents providing guidance.


Eurovent and the European Ventilation Industry Association (EVIA) published a joint Guidance Document on Ecodesign requirements for ventilation units. Other national associations, e.g., Uniclima in France, have also published documents which address the two Directives in relation to ventilation units.


NOTE: In this BUILD UP Overview article series, the first article presented the overall impact of the Ecodesign and Energy Labelling Directives on HVAC products, the second focused on gas and oil boilers, the third one covered electrical heat pumps and the fourth addressed water heaters. The present article focuses on ventilation units.