Robert Hild is the Managing Director at VDMA, the German engineering association. He has been involved in the Eurovent Commission since 2022. In our ‘Faces of the Eurovent Commission’, he gives us brief information on VDMA’s focus points and the core issues of Environmental Product Declaration.
Robert Hild joined VDMA Air Handling Technology in 2021 which was his initial introduction to the HVAC industry. Since then, he attests to have learned on how exciting and diverse the industry is, and that it is a problem solver for many challenges that our society is facing. He holds a master’s degree in business administration from Quadriga University of Applied Sciences. For our ‘Faces of the Eurovent Commission’ series, the Eurovent Team had a few questions for him about VDMA and the Environmental Product Declaration.
What is VDMA and its main focus point?
VDMA is one of the largest network organisations for the European mechanical engineering industry. As our industry needs a strong voice and a common perspective on the challenges ahead, we offer our members from the Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) sector a broad network with important customer sectors within our organisation. At the same time, in the field of building services engineering, for example, we bring important individual sectors together at one table in order to gain more influence.
In addition to representing the technical and political interests of our members, VDMA provides important information and consulting services for all operational challenges of our members. Let’s think of the climate protection goals. These cannot be achieved without the innovations and solutions from the HVAC sector, so VDMA plays a huge role in being part of the vehicle to attain these goals.
What are the core issues that manufacturers face when it comes to Environmental Product Declarations for Air Handling Units?
In my view, there are various sticking points that need to be resolved when it comes to Environmental Product Declaration. I am thinking, for example, of the question of who determines which data according to which methodology, with which delimitation and with which input data. What is needed here is a uniform methodology, and possibly also a voluntary commitment by the industry, but not an additional certification.
In concrete terms, for example, the question of how and who evaluates the operating phase is also important. This can actually only happen as part of the overall assessment of the building, as air handling unit manufacturers do not have essential information such as operating times and carbon dioxide emissions from energy supply. Manufacturers thus have the responsibility to allow others to evaluate the operational phase of the equipment. I also think that other phases of the life cycle must be evaluated by the equipment manufacturers themselves.
VDMA is the German Engineering Association. Its members are manufacturers of air handling solutions such as air conditioning, heat pump, refrigeration and ventilation technologies. With 3.600 members, it is the largest network organisation and an important voice for the machinery and equipment manufacturing industry in Germany and Europe. The association represents the common economic, technical and scientific interests of this unique and diverse industry.
About the Eurovent Commission
Eurovent’s Member Associations are represented in the Eurovent Commission, which is Eurovent’s steering committee. The Eurovent Commission does not only define the general political guidelines of the association, but also monitors and mediates the activities of its subordinated Product Groups. It also serves as a forum for exchange of information and cooperation between the Member Associations. The Eurovent Commission ensures that Eurovent positions are always broadly representative of wider European interests across all sizes of enterprises. The Eurovent Commission elects a Chairperson for a three-year term and appoints a Vice-Chairperson for a one-year term according to a rotating schedule. Both are automatically members of the Eurovent Board.