European legislation is a big challenge also to REHVA, who has a very important role to inform HVAC professionals about all new issues affecting our profession and industry. In this mission, REHVA has prepared webpages on EU regulations.
These webpages were a result of the initiative from our supporters and after a short preparatory work opened in May 2011. The webpages give lots of links to further information – mainly to webpages of EU legislative bodies, to a number of EU Directives and Regulations, and also to European Standardization, R&D programmes and individual actions and projects which aim to support the development of EU legislation.
These pages can be found at http://www.rehva.eu/en/eu-regulations – the aim of this article is to provide a brief overview of the contents of the EU regulations webpages. More guidance to the webpages can be found in the author’s recent editorial and articles in REHVA Journal. These can be downloaded from http://www.rehva.eu/en/02-2012 and http://www.rehva.eu/en/03-2012
Contents – overview, the “EU legislation” page
The main page “EU Regulations” gives a link to the recent updates, and then presents briefly the contents of the 10 pages.
The page “EU legislation” introduces the main elements in the legislation process and explain the main features of different types of regulations. The subtitles here are: Legislative process, Parliament, Council, Commission, Committees, Directives, Decisions, Regulations, Policy documents, Important directives.
The page describes the main legislative process and the role of the Commission, as well as a few words about the connections between the Commission, Parliament and Council.
Most important Directorates of the Commission related to building industry are listed with hyperlinks to the Directorates’ pages:
- Energy (DG ENER) –energy issues like Energy policy, Energy efficiency of buildings directive (EPBD), Eco-design of energy related products (ErP), district heating, renewable energies etc.
- Enterprise and industry(DG ENTR) – all general business related issues,
- Environment (DG ENV) – all environmental issues like building labelling
- Health and consumers (DG SANCO) – indoor air climate and health, radon etc.
- Research and innovation (DG RESEARCH) – funding of research projects and developing the research programmes
- Climate action (DG Clima) –F-gas regulations etc.
- ICT – Information society – Thematic network
A few paragraphs give some additional information about the European parliament and the European Council can also be found from this page.
Directive, Regulation, Decision – what in common, what is different?
Perhaps the most discussed type of EU legislation is “Directive”. But also other types of legislative documents exist, and there are also significant differences.
EU directives lay down certain end results that must be achieved in every Member State. National authorities have to adapt their laws to meet these goals, but are free to decide how to do so. Directives may concern one or more Member States, or all of them. Each directive specifies the date by which the national laws must be adapted – giving national authorities the room for manoeuvre within the deadlines necessary to take account of differing national situations.
Directives are used to bring different national laws into line with each other, and are particularly common in matters affecting the operation of the single market (e.g. product safety standards).
Regulations are the most direct form of EU law – as soon as they are passed, they have binding legal force throughout every Member State, on a par with national laws. National governments do not have to take action themselves to implement EU regulations. Regulations are passed either jointly by the EU Council and European Parliament, and by the Commission alone. When a regulation comes into force, it overrides all national laws dealing with the same subject matter and subsequent national legislation must be consistent with and made in the light of the regulation.
Decisions are EU laws relating to specific cases. They can come from the EU Council (sometimes jointly with the European Parliament) or the Commission. They can require authorities and individuals in Member States either do something or stop doing something, and can also confer rights on them. EU decisions are fully binding.
The “EU legislation” page also explains a few most important activities and plans related to energy efficiency and policies to tackle the Global Climate Change, thus showing also big challenges to our industry and profession for the future. One of the main sources for further information in all energy issues on REHVA pages is the Commission’s website dealing with energy efficiency in buildings, see http://ec.europa.eu/energy/efficiency/buildings/buildings_en.htm
The Directive on energy performance of buildings is the main legislative instrument at EU level to achieve energy performance in buildings. Under this Directive, the Member States must apply minimum requirements as regards the energy performance of new and existing buildings, ensure the certification of their energy performance and require the regular inspection of boilers and air conditioning systems in buildings.
The EPBD page gives a short history, based on the descriptions at the Commission’s energy efficiency website, and describes the main contents with many links to the most important background documents. Milestones, and links to the most essential documents are listed.
The summary of the major changes in the recast 2010 compared to EPBD 2002 can be found from a linked slide presentation prepared by REHVA.
REHVA has specified the definitions to be use in the zero energy buildings. The page provides a direct link to the final report of the REHVA Task Force. This activity has been introduced in issues 3 and 5 or REHVA Journal 2011.
The EPBD page also introduces a few of the most important actions which aim to support and accelerate the implementation of the EPBD both into national legislation in Member States and into real practice:
- Concerted action, see www.epbd-ca.org
- The BuildUp portal, see www.buildup.eu
- European Standardization on EPBD – explained in more detail on the “Standards and standardization” page.
- Cost efficiency: The recast EPBD requires the Commission to establish by 30 June 2011 a comparative framework methodology for calculating cost-optimal levels of minimum energy performance requirements for buildings and building elements. The draft of this methodology called “delegated Regulation supplementing Directive 2010/31/EU” is now published and can be downloaded from the EPBD page.
The Eco-design page is one of the most extensive pages. The subtitles here are: How the Eco-design directive works? The Eco-design 2009 directive, Process of preparation of regulations, HVAC-related eco-design regulations, 2012-14 working programme.
The basic ideas of the Eco-design directive, as well as the possibility for stakeholders to follow up the preparatory work of eco-design requirements are briefly introduced.
How the Eco-design directive works?
The scope of Energy using products directive was expanded to all energy related products in 2009. The Eco-design directive allows the Commission to develop regulation for practically any product.
The Eco-design directive does not set binding requirements on products by itself: it provides a framework (rules and criteria) for setting such requirements through implementing measures. The preparation of implementing measures includes several stages, starting from a preparatory study for a product group (“Lot”) and ending up in publishing the final regulation. This also means that, unlike in the case of directives, the requirements for products defined in the regulation are exactly the same for all EU Member States.
Industry and other stakeholders may follow the progress in all stages, and during the preparatory studies stakeholder meetings are arranged, in principle open to all.
The process of preparations of Eco-design regulations follows a common methodology, briefly explained by figures on the Eco-design page.
HVAC-related eco – design regulations, selected features is divided in three main items:
Adopted HVAC related regulations. Implementing measures have been published and regulations have entered into force for several product groups, including
- Electrical motors
- Air conditioners and comfort fans
Regulations can be obtained from the Commission’s Ecodesign website http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/sustainable-business/ecodesign/index_en.htm -> Product groups page / Table at the bottom gives links to the regulations in all EU languages
Regulations in preparation (studies completed). These are:
- ENER Lot 1 Boilers, ENER Lot 2 Water Heaters.
- ENER Lot 10 – Air conditioners (published), comfort fans (published) and residential ventilation.
Ongoing work (studies relevant to HVAC products) – there are two main activities here:
- ENER Lot 20 (Local room heating products, www.ecoheater.org/lot20/) and ENER Lot 21 (Central heating products, www.ecoheater.org/lot21/), going on in parallel.
- ENTR Lot 6 Air-conditioning and ventilation systems – www.ecohvac.eu – Divided into two parts, the “ventilation” part will concentrate on air handling units (including few AHU components, still under discussion whether or not to include filters and ductwork separately) and air conditioning.
Activities for the future
Finally, the page refers to a few activities like the study on amended working plan, The study on Methodology for Energy-related Products. “MEErP”, and the working plan for 2012-2014. This Working Plan sets out an indicative list of new product groups which are considered priorities for the adoption of implementing measures under the Ecodesign Directive.
Needs for development – also readers’ and users’ feedback is welcome
The pages were developed in a short time in spring 2011, and the recent updates have made a few additions. So it is obvious that is could not cover all subjects relevant to HVAC within this huge world of EU legislation At least one major gap has been identified – the new Construction Products Regulation (CPR), which has replaced the old Construction Products Directive (CPD), is not yet introduced in this website yet. Many HVAC products are also subject to other regulations not introduced in the pages yet. For example, CE marking is mandatory for air handling units (AHU) by machinery and low voltage directives, proofing safety of AHUs, but not telling anything about air moving capacity.
In any case, there is obviously a need for systematic and continuous improvement of the pages. All feedback from the users of these pages is welcome and important. REHVA welcomes comments on the existing texts, and suggestions to improve the pages.
Chairman of REHVA Technology and Research Committee