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The energy-saving from an HVAC-solution is the most sustainable and cost-efficient source of energy

In Europe, buildings account for 42% of total energy consumed and 36% of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions. For this reason EU is working on the revised Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) that will facilitate and increase renovation, modernising and decarbonising the of EU’s building stock, and it is an essential part of delivering on the Renovation Wave strategy. 

According to EPBD revision, as of 2030 all new buildings must be zero-emission properties; new public buildings must be zero emission already by 2027. The worst-performing 15% of the building stock in each country will have to be upgraded with the obligation to have an energy performance certificate. Some of the amendments encourage the use of smart technologies to ensure that buildings operate efficiently, and to introduce a Smart Readiness Indicator (SRI) which will measure the buildings capacity to use new technologies and electronic systems and adapt to the needs of the consumer, optimise its operation and interact with the grid.

Energy-savings from HVAC, key driver to reduce overall energy-dependency

Within the buildings, heating, cooling and domestic hot water are responsible for approximately 78% of the energy consumption in residential houses, and more than 50% in commercial buildings. 
More than half of the energy for heating (57%) was supplied by direct domestic high-temperature heating systems that are almost exclusively burning fossil fuels. As a consequence, increased energy-savings from HVAC and the transition to heat pumps will be the key drivers to reduce the buildings’ overall energy-dependency as well as to reduce the total carbon dioxide emissions.

Energy-savings in HVAC is not only linked to new buildings, for which we have to take in account the “embodied carbon” and the CO2 impact generated throughout the construction process, but also to renewing HVAC in existing buildings and even optimizing existing HVAC equipment. 

Many products operating in today’s buildings are manufactured quite recently and according to fairly new and efficient technologies, they are , despite that,  not operating in optimal conditions due to poor quality installations, bad commissioning/set up and lack of smart functioning logic. According to recent surveys, up to 30% of the energy is wasted because of bad installations and commissioning, products are in some way not operating according to manufacturers’ instructions.

The optimisation of an HVAC system’s operation with eliminated waste of energy will be the most sustainable and cost-efficient driver to reduce the energy consumption and emissions in buildings.

"Energy optimisation" obtained via advanced building automation controls (BACS) is a great untapped opportunity to increase the overall energy efficiency significantly. Energy optimisation means optimising the performance and the energy consumption of products and systems, regardless the specific efficiency on a product level. Latest generation products, developed according to latest standards and even, in some cases, in accordance with regulations such as Erp Ecodesign, are generally only few percent more energy-efficient than their predecessors despite hours of R&D efforts. With that said, the final increase in energy-efficiency is negligible compare to cost and the potential saving with BACS.

 At Swegon, we have developed smart and advanced systems to optimize all main HVAC-units, both in regards to air and water, without compromising with the indoor climate but deliver the best possible indoor environmental quality (IEQ). Thanks to systems and controls such as Swegon WISE, Smartlink+, Hyzer, Flowzer and Multilogic, Swegon systems and subsystems can be optimised and enable more than 40% energy-savings compared to legacy systems that generally lack the possibility of optimisation, and regardless if the products would allow greater savings than legacy products.

Standards for classification of buildings
Great value is proven by our simulations, it is validated by several completed reference projects and is  also confirmed by the EN15232 standard. The EN15232 has introduced a classification of building automation functions and introduced assessment methods about how building automation, controls and building management contributes to the energy efficiency of a building. 

The standard divides all buildings into four different classes, from D to A, where 

  • Level D building corresponds to non-energy efficient building controls. Buildings with Level D systems should be retrofitted, and new buildings should not be built with this kind of systems.

  • Level C refers to buildings with standard building automation and control and should be seen as the basic benchmark level of automation and controls, and it should also be seen as the minimum level for buildings in Europe.  It includes room level manual controls for climate and lighting controls, along with various room level time-dependent ventilation. Window blinds should feature motorized operation with manual control.

  • Level B have advanced building automation with features such as individual room level heating and cooling control with some central system communication, room level time-dependent air flow control and automatic occupancy detection for lighting.

  • Level A is defined as a building with high energy performance building automation and controls. It includes centralized communication of room  level temperature controls, occupancy air flow control, and automatic daylight control which ties together the required operation of lighting, motorized blinds and climate controls.

The BACS energy performance classes are connected to different energy efficiency factors for each application such office buildings, schools and hotels, whereas the factor presents potential energy saving when upgrading the building class to upper levels. The BACS factors have been derived by analysis of a very extensive set of detailed building energy performance simulations. 

EN15232 states that the upgrade of a commercial building from C class to A class adding Smart control management of HVAC, regardless the specific product performance, generates an energy saving of approximately 30% for offices and hotels, that is about 50% when upgrading from Class D to A. Let’s never forget that the majority of the existing building stock in Europe are defined as D class, therefore the upgrade via Smart controls is a great opportunity to reduce the existing building emissions.

By using Swegon products and systems with smart functions, A-class building standards are possible in every segment. Hence, great energy-savings are achievable without compromising with the indoor environmental quality. At Swegon, we carefully consider indoor environments for people to feel good inside, with the lowest energy-consumption clear in mind.

Learn more about our Swegon optimisation systems on our website, or visit us at the ISH 2023 trade show in Frankfurt, Germany, on March 13 to 17.