Purpose of the work
This paper aims at reviewing and analysing changes and developments in various countries on building and ductwork airtightness in the past 5 years.
Method of approach
The policy instruments have been analysed mainly through information collected and discussions within the TightVent Airtightness Associations Committee, http://tightvent.eu/ partners/taac) and with a literature review. Additional work is foreseen in the last quarter of 2016 to provide the symposium audience relevant information, in particular, through on-line questionnaires to be filled in by TAAC members and bibliographic search.
Content of the contribution
The paper analyses both at the policy instruments used (regulatory requirements and incentives, specific programme requirements, quality frameworks for testers and builders) and the changes observed in practice in terms of building and ductwork airtightness.
Results and assessment of their significance
Results analysed so far show significant policy changes with regulations or programmes requiring building airtightness testing or strongly pushing better building airtightness. In several countries, analysis of field data shows very positive impact of policies and programmes. On the other hand, feedback from members of the TightVent Airtightness Associations Committee strongly suggests that building airtightness improvements are lagging behind in many regions and/or building sectors, although relevant in terms of energy savings and indoor environmental quality.
As for ductwork airtightness, this subject has comparatively received much less attention than building airtightness. Field studies continue to show worrying practice both in terms of design and implementation of ductwork systems. Although the energy and indoor environmental impacts of poor ductwork airtightness have been identified since many years, very few European countries have taken steps to foster airtight ductworks apart from Scandinavian countries that have done so since the 1950s.
Contrasted progress has been made in the past 5 years on the topic of building and ductwork airtightness. Although there is clear evidence of a market transformation on the subject of airtightness in several countries, there remains potential for substantial energy savings and improved indoor environmental quality by addressing simultaneously ventilation performance and building and ductwork airtightness. Measures taken to grasp this potential shall address
issues such as energy efficient ventilation, comfort, skills development and market uptake in a holistic approach, addressing both new and existing buildings. They should build on the positive experience of several member states, in particular on building airtightness compliance and quality control. Appropriate European legislation and standards are essential to support this effort.
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