Building and ductwork airtightness regulations in Europe


The current trend in most European countries regarding building ventilation is to follow the “build tight, ventilate right” strategy. New energy efficient buildings are indeed getting more and more airtight to avoid energy losses through uncontrolled air leakages. Instead, mechanical ventilation systems are installed to ensure a good indoor air quality (IAQ) with controlled ventilative air flowrates. 

In some European countries, minimum requirements for building airtightness are included in EP-regulations, with sometimes a mandatory justification required by testing or applying certified approach, such as in France, Ireland and United Kingdom[1]. As a result, building airtightness tests are getting commonly performed on new buildings in many European countries to quantify and limit air leakage through the envelope.

On the other hand, if the significant impact of leaky ventilation ductworks on energy use and IAQ has been well established in the literature [2], the awareness on this issue is raising more slowly.

In 2008 a series of VIP (from VIP 17 to VIP 27) were published by the AIVC, detailing the “Trends in the building ventilation market and drivers for changes” for 10 countries. Regulations have however evolved a lot in most countries since then. A new series of VIPs is being published to get an update on the current regulations in European countries regarding building and ductwork airtightness. They include for both, when relevant, information on:

  • national requirements and drivers: airtightness indicator, requirements in the regulation, energy programs, airtightness justifications, sanctions, etc.;
  • if it is included in the energy calculations and how;
  • the airtightness test protocol: qualification for the testers, guidelines, requirements on measuring devices;
  • tests performed: tested buildings/ductworks, database, evolution with time;
  • guidelines to build airtight buildings/ductworks.

[1]        V. Leprince, F. R. Carrié, and M. Kapsalaki, ‘Building and ductwork airtightness requirements in Europe – Comparison of 10 European countries’, presented at the 38th AIVC Conference ‘Ventilating healthy low-energy buildings’, Nottingham, UK, Sep. 2017.

[2]        V. Leprince, N. Hurel, and M. Kapsalaki, ‘VIP 40: Ductwork airtightness – A review’, AIVC, Apr. 2020.


The objective of this session is to present three of the first published AIVC VIPs on building and ductwork airtightness regulations, giving a view of the current situation in different European countries.


  • Intro: Presentation of the series of AIVC VIPs on building and ductwork airtightness regulations – Nolwenn Hurel, INIVE, France
  • Building and ductwork airtightness in Belgium: national trends and requirements – Liesje Van Gelder, BCCA, Belgium
  • Building and ductwork airtightness in the Czech Republic: national trends and requirements – Jiří Novák, Czech Technical University in Prague, Czech Republic
  • Building and ductwork airtightness in Estonia: national trends and requirements – Jaanus Hallik, Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia
  • Building and ductwork airtightness in France: national trends and requirements – Bassam Moujalled, Cerema, France
  • Airtightness versus local mentality in Southeastern Europe – Theodoros Sotirios Tountas, FUV, Greece


  • Hurel Nolwenn, PLEIAQ, France
  • Jiří Novák, Faculty of Civil Engineering, Czech Technical University of Prague, Czech Republic (to be confirmed)


  • 90 minutes