Digitalisation has come to the fore in recent times. What are the main objectives of the Association?
Eurovent represents the European HVACR industry. It is currently home to 16 national industry associations from different European countries, 90 direct Corresponding Members (manufacturers) and seven Associate Members (other stakeholders from the HVACR industry). The majority of manufacturers under the Eurovent umbrella are small- and medium-sized enterprises.
Among many objectives, we focus on connecting our industry and representing its unified voice towards the European authorities and beyond, while providing support and guidance to all members, regardless of their size or turnover. Eurovent’s members come from close to 30 countries, and there is something special about sitting around one table with your competitors and discussing common goals as colleagues. After all, we are all in favour of the same principles, those that are guiding Eurovent, as well: Levelling the playing field and diminishing trade barriers while making sure that innovation supports our strict standards for energy efficiency, Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) and digitalisation.
An additional issue that receives particular attention and grows in importance day by day is that there is an increasing urgency related to growing environmental challenges, such as global warming, climate change, indoor and outdoor pollution, emissions that contaminate the atmosphere, food safety and water shortages. Eurovent and its members are committed to meet these environmental challenges and to innovate while contributing to green thinking throughout all sectors of the HVACR industry, as we realise that this sector plays an essential role in tackling them.
It has been nearly a year and a half since you have been leading Eurovent. You are also a Senior Director at Systemair. How do you manage to fulfil the responsibilities of both the positions?
The role of the President comes with many responsibilities. One of our crucial tasks is coordinating the differing points of view of the Association’s stakeholders, making sure that our decisions are favourable not only to my Board colleagues but also to the Association as a whole and all its stakeholders. On the other hand, I have to make sure that all Board, Commission and General Assembly meetings are conducted smoothly with productive goals.
I could not simply manage all that is required, despite my ability and experience to do so. Our outcomes are achieved also thanks to my colleagues in the Board, the Chairmen, Vice-Chairmen and many dedicated persons of our Product Groups, as well as our Secretary General and his Team. They always have my trust and support in taking good decisions, which have a positive outcome and drive the Association in the right direction. This work is not easy, but our joint industry ideals are brought forward, thanks to the dedication and support of all those who voluntarily walk an extra mile to do so. In regard to managing my daily tasks at Systemair, I have realised over the past years that in order to have a good outcome in any project or task at hand, one needs a productive team that has a shared vision. Any project or task becomes easy with the right team.
Since your election as the President, which issues, do you think, have gained the most importance in the eyes of the Association?
The year 2022, so far, has been a great one, since we have been able to meet in person and implement some of the core tasks at hand that we have always intended to push forward. Our main priority is to raise awareness on the important role our industry plays in society. Quite frankly, the majority of the public was unaware of the importance of quality ventilation systems within their residential and working spaces prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although understanding of the importance of good IAQ is increasing, we still have a lot to do to raise awareness of the role of our industry and the sustainable and effective solutions it offers in this respect.
We have notably been advocating for strengthened Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) provisions in the revised Energy Performance of Building Directive (EPBD), which is a cornerstone of building sustainability and needs to receive the attention it deserves; and Eurovent will not cease its efforts to help IEQ make its way into European-wide legislation.
We are also looking to making sure that the policies of the European Green Deal fully deliver on the promises held by our industry for decarbonisation. Eurovent is strongly involved in the current revisions of many European legislations touching this subject, including the F-Gas Regulation, the Ecodesign Regulation for Sustainable Products, the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, the Environmental Product Declaration schemes, legislation aimed at boosting renewable heating and cooling and phasing out of fossil fuels, and more.
Another important issue we have been focussing on is globalisation. While Europe is continuously streamlining policies between the different Member States and overcoming existing national barriers to create a true Single Market, the industry should also be aware of what is happening in other countries and regions of the world. What originally started with one regional chapter – Eurovent Middle East – has developed into a comprehensive and coordinated international effort, with the goal to create a level playing field and the highest efficiency and sustainability standards all over the globe. In line with our focus on international trade, we are hosting our 2022 Eurovent Summit in Türkiye. The main goal of the event is to act as a bridge between different industry stakeholders and geographical regions.
How do you see technology changing the HVAC industry in a post-pandemic world?
The central technological problem at the heart of the HVAC sector remains the same as always: How to provide clean and healthy indoor air in a safe, energy efficient and cost-optimal way. If previously the focus was more single-mindedly on energy efficiency and cost savings, we might now see better appreciation for IAQ. It is hard to say in which direction this will take the development of new technologies. It is worth noting that our industry is turning its attention more and more towards better monitoring, improved connectivity and smarter controls, which offer gains on all fronts, from better energy efficiency to improved IAQ and more.
Ventilation and IAQ have received more attention, and consequently, there has been a boost in sales of plug-in HVAC accessories and products that can provide higher air quality at relatively low costs and without redesigning the whole system. Whether this trend will last remains to be seen. In the long term, HVAC systems must be designed with excellent IEQ as a main objective. We also see more business coming from renovation projects rather than new constructions, and increased importance of state support, subsidies and public financing schemes.
Could you elaborate on the services Eurovent offers and how they benefit the industry and society?
Eurovent is a broad organisation fully committed to serving the industry and its stakeholders. We add value and promote the interests of our industry in a variety of ways, including through advocacy and representation, product performance certification, market data collection and more. The role of the Association is to unify the European HVACR industry and support manufacturers in the EU regulatory world, by on one hand representing their voice in front of the authorities, and on the other supporting them in interpretation and application of relevant EU legislation.
The Association also facilitates pre-normative research and develops recommendations, which provide codes of good practice for particular issues in the absence of clear standards or legislation. Finally, it is also involved in education and awareness-raising initiatives to promote our industry and the sustainable and effective solutions it offers.
As I have already mentioned, Eurovent runs an independent chapter, Eurovent Middle East (EME), home to the region’s leading manufacturers and other stakeholders active in the field of HVACR. EME plays a vital role in the development of regional regulations and standards and the projection of Eurovent principles in the region.
What most people in the market recognise us for is our certification department. ‘Eurovent Certified Performance’ is a worldwide leading certification scheme for over 40 different HVACR products. This third-party voluntary certification was set up in 1990s and has meanwhile become essential in ensuring the level-playing field, as it certifies through various tests and audits that the catalogue values given by a manufacturer match the actual performance of the product line. To ensure impartiality necessary for the certification accreditation, all activities of Eurovent Certita Certification (ECC) are run independently from the Eurovent Association. Being a member of the Association is not a prerequisite to be certified and vice-versa.
Eurovent Market Intelligence (EMI) is the leading statistics office for the HVACR market in Europe, Middle East and Africa, providing key market data since 1994. The guiding principle of this Eurovent department is to establish a detailed map of these markets with direct participation of the manufacturers. I’m proud to say that EMI collections have tripled their overall number of participants in the last six years, and today, they reach more than 400 manufacturers in the EMEA region within 18 different programmes.
The Eurovent world also offers building quality and performance certification through its unit, COPILOT, which offers independent ISO 17065-accredited certification of due diligence of technical systems and building commissioning. Its mission is to create certification solutions that improve the building industry. To complete the 360-degree approach, our unit, PRODBIM offers a unified European solution to the many formats that coexist within BIM today. It delivers an online database, which presents product data of manufacturers within a standardised framework, usable for different BIM environments, as well as frequently used database systems and building codes throughout different countries.
Why are you hosting this year’s Eurovent Summit specifically in Türkiye? And what do you look forward to at the event?
The Eurovent Summit is a biennial event hosted in different regions of Europe in rather medium-sized cities that not everyone might be fully familiar with. For this year’s edition, we decided to host it in Antalya, Türkiye, home country to one of our Member Associations, ISKID, a Turkish Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Manufacturer’s Association.
One of the main reasons we selected Türkiye is because of this edition’s theme, #BuildingBridges, which focuses on connecting manufacturers and consultants, planners, installers, trade associations and policy makers, in Europe the East and beyond. We would like to expand our relations with organisations and associations in the HVACR sector not only in Europe but also beyond the European borders, and Türkiye is a well-found starting point. With Türkiye’s geolocation and networks established by ISKID, this has a huge advantage to us in connecting with other stakeholders in the region. We certainly look forward to building bridges and stronger relationships with more manufacturers and policymakers during the Summit.
In line with this theme, and in spirit of the previously mentioned importance of globalisation and Eurovent’s efforts to strengthen its global footprint, one of our goals as a European Association is to place further focus on international partnerships. Last year, we reinforced our cooperation with multiple international strategic partners, such as ABRAVA, the CoolCoalition and FAIAR. In addition, this year’s Eurovent Summit is supported by many international partners of Eurovent, highlighting the importance of Türkiye as a bridge between different parts of the world. The supporters include several Turkish associations, as well as international organisations such as ACAIRE, AIRAH, or the Chinese Association of Refrigeration.
What have you earmarked to be the special highlights of the Summit? And who are the key speakers?
As usual, this year’s Eurovent Summit offers a rich parallel programme complementing the wide selection of meetings of the different Eurovent units. While it is a must for participants of any of the Eurovent initiatives to attend the event, we make sure to include seminars and flagship events focusing on particular topics to provide added value to different stakeholders in the HVACR industry.
Highlights of the event include the Eurovent Innovation/HUB, focused on building bridges between innovation and sustainability, a high-level policy panel presenting visions for the future of product efficiency from different stakeholders, a special honorary event – ‘Legends of Eurovent’, a fireside chat on the future of industry exhibitions in the post-pandemic world, and a parallel seminar programme organised by ISKID and TTMD with simultaneous translation in English and Turkish.
As far as the speakers go, this year’s Summit participants can look forward to many high-level representatives of different industry stakeholders, such as manufacturers, laboratories, service providers, policy makers and association representatives. Examples include Dustin Steward (UL Solutions), Alex Rohweder (J2 Innovations), Frank Grundholm (ABB), Filip Konieczny (FLOWAIR), Federico Munoz Sanchez (CEIS), Herman Hacaduryan (REFKAR), Francesco Scuderi and Markus Lattner (Eurovent) and Sylvain Courtey (Eurovent Certita Certification).
In addition, spouses and friends of the Summit participants are welcome to attend. With a special spouse pass, they are offered a high-quality programme on two days of the Summit. While the participants join technical meetings and seminars, they can discover the magic of Antalya. Herewith, I would like to cordially invite all readers of Climate Control Middle East to join us for the Summit. All details and registration can be found at www.eurovent-summit.eu.
The Eurovent Summit is a non-profit event with comparatively low-ticket prices that only aim to cover part of the costs. The remaining amount is provided by our sponsors.