New Dutch legislation makes Danfoss technologies more relevant than ever

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

The revised Dutch Building Regulations were published on March 10, 2020. They include the obligations arising from the European Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD III). According to the Building Regulations for new construction and renovation, every radiator must be equipped with a thermostatic radiator valve with the possibility to set the design flow to increase energy efficiency. Housing associations play an important role in making the Dutch housing stock more sustainable.  The challenge for them is to protect the public interest within the framework of the new legislation by providing affordable, durable and reliable heat supply for tenants.

Why is there so much focus on hydronic balance and radiator thermostats?

The new Dutch legislation focuses on dimensioning, installation, adjustment, and usability. Why? Research has shown that modern installations that were supposed to contribute to lower energy consumption were by no means fully utilized. In these same installations, consumption could be reduced by up to 30% with the correct integrated approach.

The result is closer cooperation between building owners and installation professionals. Everything is aimed at optimizing the existing installation in preparation for a new sustainable heat source. Attention is also paid to the controllability by the end-user so that they have more control over their own consumption. Temperature control per room and the adjustment of installations provide more comfort and pave the way for new heating devices that use no or less gas.

Responsibility for adequate installation and dimensioning lies in the hands of the building owners and the installation professionals

1.      Adequate commissioning means that the heating and/or cooling system is commissioned for technically correct and energetically optimized operation under average operating conditions.
For example, the installer is now responsible for taking the following actions:

-        Systems for space heating need to be adjusted to energetically optimal heating curve and, if possible, hydraulically balanced.

-        Space cooling systems are tuned to energetically optimal condenser and evaporator temperatures and are hydraulically balanced if possible (for hydraulic systems).

-        Air flows are balanced for air distribution systems.

-        Ventilation systems are optimized for low energy consumption while maintaining comfort and a healthy indoor climate.

-        Domestic hot water systems are adjusted to an energetically optimal and legionella-safe water temperature, taking into account the design conditions of these systems.


2.      Adequately adjustable means that the building system is fitted with appropriate control equipment, with user settings and automatic temperature control. Examples of how you can achieve this are:

-        You can provide central heating systems with a room thermostat of class 2 or higher (according to Ecodesign 2009/125 / EC) and thermostatic radiator valves.

-        In addition, radiators that are to be replaced must be fitted with thermostatic radiator valves with built-in flow control, like the Danfoss Dynamic Valve™ or lockshield valve.

-        Air conditioning systems must also be equipped with a room thermostat (with a centrally controlled system), a user-adjustable separate thermostat linked to the fan coil unit (with individually controlled units) or a built-in thermostat (with free-standing room coolers).

-        Ventilation systems must be provided with an adjustable ventilation volume and with a CO2 sensor that can control the ventilation volume.

-        Further, domestic hot water systems must be provided with a user-accessible setting of the water temperature with accompanying user instructions on how to set water temperatures safely and without risk of legionella.

-        Lighting systems in non-residential constructions are equipped with presence switches or are based on a drawn-up lighting plan.

-        Systems for local electricity generation are provided with a meter which makes it possible to keep track of the amount of electricity produced.

These requirements do not apply when a building is equipped with a building automation and control system.

3.      Adequately dimensioned is mentioned to avoid overcapacity in situations where a new (sustainable) heat source is installed. It is important that the heat generator fits the heating needs of the building. And it should be able to optimize the performance of the system under both typical and average conditions.

Housing corporations are on the front line

The new requirements have direct and indirect consequences for housing associations. Over the next four years, housing corporations will contribute to disconnect 100.000 homes free of natural gas. What is new is that the new legislation puts focus on the entire installation, not just the part that needs to be replaced. Direct consequences are the requirements to install radiator thermostats and hydronic commissioning of the system when for example the boilers are replaced by district heating units or heat pumps. Indirect consequences are higher requirements for professional competence and extra time spent by installers. Think of more exams, inspections, calculating energy performance and drawing up documentation. The new demands are tough costs. Therefore, involve a consultant and an installer in good time when making plans for the replacement of installations!

The Danfoss team in the Netherlands supports installation companies and consultants with expertise in hydronic balancing and help making the right choices in the face of the new laws and regulations. We organize trainings and provide tools including an App for the installer all this to make hydronic commissioning easier.
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