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Clarifying definitions surrounding compact air handling units

Juan Manuel Fernández, Product Manager Topvex, writes on Systemair’s active efforts in the Eurovent Market Intelligence Committee to redefine what constitutes a compact air handling unit and why aligning industry language is critical.


Juan Manuel Fernández

At Systemair, we actively support the market by promoting education and awareness, enabling the industry to make the most sustainable choices for each project. One essential aspect of this is ensuring that the terminology used within the industry is consistent and harmonised. This common language helps elevate everyone’s understanding to the same level, facilitating more effective communication and decision-making.

Aligning Industry Language

The importance of a unified language cannot be overstated. In an industry as complex and technical as ours, discrepancies in terminology can lead to significant misunderstandings and inefficiencies. By promoting a harmonised language, we aim to eliminate these barriers, ensuring that all stakeholders, from manufacturers to end-users, clearly and precisely understand the products and technologies in question.

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An example of this commitment is our active participation in the Eurovent Market Intelligence (EMI) Committee. Within this forum, we work on a more straightforward and precise definition of a compact air handling unit (AHU) together with like-minded manufacturers.

This effort is crucial for accurately assessing market size and preventing misleading marketing claims that lack a solid technical foundation. A clear and standardised definition will enable stakeholders to make direct, like-for-like product comparisons, fostering a more transparent and competitive market environment.

Rethinking Traditional Definitions

Considering EU’s Ecodesign Regulation No 1253/2014 on ventilation, the annual Eurovent Market Intelligence data collection applies the following definition for ‘Compact AHUs’: "where the fans, filters, and heat recovery section are installed in a casing containing both supply and extract air separated by an intermediate floor."

This definition is overly broad and encompasses a wide range of AHUs of varying sizes and configurations. As a result, it fails to provide a clear picture of the compact AHU market.

To address these shortcomings, the overall aim is to amend the current definition with additional parameters:

  • Air Flow Capacity

  • Size Constraints

  • Pre-set Configuration

  • Standardised Components

These enhancements to the definition will provide a more precise and detailed characterisation of compact AHUs, thereby improving the accuracy of market data collected by EMI.

The updated definition is slated for implementation starting in 2025.

An Important First Step

Establishing this more precise definition is a crucial first step towards adopting the definition within the regulation. Inclusion in the Eurovent Market Intelligence collection signifies a significant endorsement, positioning the new definition as a valuable reference for regulators. This standardisation will streamline regulatory processes and give customers the clarity needed to make informed product comparisons.

Our efforts to refine the definition of compact AHUs are part of a larger mission to promote transparency, consistency, sustainability, and a level playing field within the industry. By aligning terminology and establishing clear standards, we aim to foster a more competitive and informed market, benefiting all stakeholders.