Guest Interview with Olli Seppänen, Secretary General of REHVA

Olli Seppanen

REHVA, the Federation of European heating, ventilation and air-conditioning associations, is the leading professional organization in Europe, dedicated to the improvement of health, comfort and energy efficiency in all buildings and communities.

AirMail recently interviewed Professor Olli Seppänen (OS), Secretary General of REHVA:


Your organization recently published Guidebook No. 11* on air filters and air filtration for HVAC systems, air pollutants, indoor air requirements, energy needs, removal and particle efficiencies, air filter classifications and test procedures. Can you comment?

OS: REHVA connects European professionals in the area of building engineering services (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning for energy-efficient healthy buildings) and represents more than 100,000 engineers from 28 European countries. Our main activity is to develop and disseminate economical, energyefficient and healthy technology for mechanical services of buildings. These guidebooks are one way for us to help professionals make correct decisions in their daily activities.

Does this indicate that REHVA has put air filtration higher up on the agenda in response to government and the general public’s concerns about outdoor air pollution, poor indoor air quality and the impact on human health?

OS: REHVA’s task is to promote and develop economical, sustainable, energy-efficient and healthy HVAC services for buildings for the benefit of its member associations. Air filtration is one example of an important technology that has a major effect on the health and well-being of building occupants and also has consequences for energy use in buildings.

What prompted the preparation and publication of this guidebook?

OS: After a thorough analysis of existing literature, the REHVA Committee of Research and Technology concluded that proper literature on air filtration did not exist. We identified several high-quality scientific publications but were not able to find a proper practical summary on the topic aimed at designers and practitioners.

What has the response been to Guidebook No. 11?

OS: The Guidebook was released at the REHVA Clima conference in May 2010. At the conference, all books were sold, and we are continuing to receive orders almost daily from all over the world. The feedback has been good.

Will REHVA work in other ways to increase cooperation among members for the exchange of information about air filtration in HVAC systems, for example, through technical seminars, workshops, databases and publications?

OS: REHVA promotes its publications at international seminars and exhibitions. The last workshop was organized at the Clima 2010 conference. The results from the workshop indicate a need for further actions in this area and a summary is available at REHVA also has a network of international ventilation experts who will evaluate the need for further actions together with REHVA’s committees. REHVA has produced PowerPoint presentations based on the content of all guidebooks. These presentations are distributed to REHVA members. In addition, many REHVA guidebooks are translated into many languages to increase
their impact.

IAQ standards are still lacking in the European HVAC industry. Is REHVA also focusing on this issue?

OS: REHVA is very much concerned about IAQ issues and has tried to increase awareness about the importance of IAQ among members and policymakers, both on European and national level. The Directorate General SANCO (Health and Consumer Protection) plays a key role in IAQ and health issues on the European level. Wider use of European standards EN 15251 and EN 13779 should also be encouraged.

Are you working on outdoor and indoor air pollution issues and air filtration with European Commission directorates on a national or international level?

OS: REHVA, for example, participates in the EU- funded HEALTHVENT project. The goal of this project is to investigate the need and possible content of health-based ventilation guidelines for Europe. REHVA has also taken initiatives to include indoor environmental issues in energy inspections and certificates. Furthermore, it would be very important to include indoor environmental issues in the inspections of air-conditioning and heating systems. In my opinion, the energy certificate does not make any sense if indoor climatic conditions are not defined properly at the same time.

air filtrationBetter energy efficiency is another REHVA concern and quality air filters with a low pressure drop development help reduce energy consumption in HVAC systems while maintaining high IAQ. In other words, efficient air filters help “green” a building by reducing the energy consumption of AHUs without sacrificing IAQ, “killing two birds with one stone”. Are these benefits being addressed or promoted by REHVA? How?

OS: The major goal of REHVA is to promote energy-efficient technology for healthy buildings. REHVA currently has several task forces focussing on energy and IAQ issues. The first part of a guidebook on the indoor environment and energy efficiency in schools was published at the Clima conference in May 2010, as well as a draft guidebook on indoor environmental inspections. REHVA also follows the activities of the DG Environment regarding the labelling of buildings, as well as DG SANCO’s basic work in the area of indoor air quality and health. REHVA follows also the regulations based on Ecodesign of Energy Related Products Directive.

As the industry leader in air filtration, how can Camfil Farr experts assist REHVA in disseminating knowledge about air filtration and its benefits for building occupants?

OS: REHVA really likes to enhance co-operation with its supporters like Camfil Farr. The REHVA organization offers many opportunities for collaboration. The translation of guidebooks into other European languages may be useful, but all help in this area is most welcome. REHVA has a taskforce for a guidebook on air-conditioning inspections, and filters are of course an important part of inspections. All expertise in this area is most welcome.

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