Air conditioning systems are meant to supply good quality air to indoor spaces, which is defined by guide values for carbon dioxide (1,000 ppm), temperature, humidity and comfort which must be complied with. It is important that the systems be designed correctly and operated efficiently. An oversized system or one that ventilates unused rooms wastes a lot of energy, even with an efficient fan. When one space receives too little ventilation and another too much, the targeted air quality will not be achieved. Experience from the energy inspection of air conditioning and ventilation systems has shown that such faults only become apparent after years of operation.
The quality seal for air conditioning systems (Qualitätssiegel Raumlufttechnik) is founded on a three-step quality assurance process in which an independent expert checks planning, installation and operation of the air conditioning system. The process is meant to ensure that all parties involved engage in exchange during the three project phases. Their dialogue will help to achieve high quality in the systems in terms of energy, good indoor air quality and reliable and efficient operation. Experts trained in energy inspections of air conditioning and ventilation systems in accordance with the Buildings Energy Act are equipped with the necessary knowledge to award the quality seal. An online workshop for all interested parties will be held on 18 April.
Ventilation systems can easily cost upwards of tens of thousands of euros, which makes a few thousand spent for the quality seal a worthwhile expenditure that pays off quickly. For just a few days of testing, a quality-assured system can save electricity and heat for decades and ensure the appropriate indoor air quality. Example: if the outdoor air volume flows in laboratories and adjoining areas in a larger building are reduced to actual demand and the duct pressure control is optimised during operation, some 42 tonnes of CO2, 70 MWh of energy and 8,000 euros in annual energy costs can be saved.
Who stands to benefit from the quality seal?
- Builders avoid bad investments and excessive energy costs. They can signal their commitment to green building or good indoor air quality.
- General contractors minimise the risk of warranty claims due to faulty systems.
- Architects need to deal less with detailed ventilation issues and can plan with assured quality.
- Sectoral planning offices can use the seal to communicate clearly with other stakeholders about tasks and goals and have visible proof of their reliable work.
- Energy inspectors, in addition to inspecting existing systems, they also have an additional field of business in new ventilation and air conditioning systems.
- Manufacturers gain more acceptance for their AC/ventilation products.
All stakeholders will have even greater incentive once the quality seal is factored into the energy accounting for buildings.
On behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, UBA and BAFA cooperated in a research project to develop the quality seal for air conditioning systems. It is part of measure Nr. 13 for the buildings sector “Climate control/ventilation package incorporating efficiency tools” in Germany’s Energy Efficiency Strategy 2050, which is being implemented together with BAFA. BAFA is in charge of information for professionals and software licensing documentation. The quality seal is awarded based on a software-based calculation tool.