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Energy efficiency must not detract from of indoor air quality, says conference

Energy efficient buildings conference highlights then need to maintain indoor air quality despite pressure to increase energy efficiency

A conference organised by the heating, cooling and ventilation associations EPEE, Eurovent and REHVA, entitled “Energy efficient buildings – healthy people” has stressed the importance of maintaining air quality despite pressure to increase energy effieincy.

A statement by EPEE said: “With the EU’s strong focus on energy efficient buildings, indoor air quality has not yet received enough attention, even though it plays a major role, as buildings are made increasingly air-tight to reduce energy consumption.

Indeed, we spend roughly 90 per cent of our lifetime indoors and the air quality has not only a major impact on our health but also on our productivity at work. Studies show that the performance of students in school increases by some 15 per cent when the ventilation rate is doubled.

Andrea Voigt, EPEE director general explains: “The heating, cooling and ventilation industry has the solutions to improve energy efficiency while making sure that the indoor air quality does not suffer. But we need more than just the will and the technology.”

“We need regulatory certainty about how indoor air quality will be addressed at both the national and EU level. Only then will industry and users be in a position to make the necessary investments.”

As a key outcome of the debate and in view of the 2013 “Year of the Air” launched by Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik, participants decided to develop a green paper dedicated to the improvement of indoor air quality.

Andrea Voigt summarises: “With the energy efficiency directive, ecodesign and the recast EPBD, the way has been paved for the improvement of energy efficiency. We now need the same kind of strong signals in terms of indoor air quality and look forward to supporting policymakers in finding the best solutions to achieve this.”

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