My first experience attending the ISH Frankfurt trade show in Germany was one of awe. “The World’s Leading Trade Fair for the Bathroom, Building Services, Energy, Air Conditioning and Renewable Energies” is no boast-the 2007 show (which was held March 6-10) had 2,392 exhibitors from 58 countries showcasing products and technologies in 10 buildings, occupying almost the entire Messe Frankfurt Exhibition Center (larger than any plumbing/heating industry trade show I have attended in North America). Of those exhibitors, 20 were from the United States.
This year also set a visitor record of 215,378 people. For the three days I attended ISH, the show floors were full of people. While The Bathroom Experience attracted a large portion of visitors, so did the heating technology areas. And renewable energy was the primary interest for about 15% of attendees.
Marrying Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy Technologies.In the European Union, heating and hot water supply make up 85% of the energy use in buildings. The aim is to cut energy use by using modern heating technology and renewable sources of energy (solar thermal, heat pumps, condensing systems, combined heat and power, biomass boilers, biogas, heating bio-fuel, etc.). The EU Commission has set a target of cutting energy use in buildings 27% by 2020; heat energy use is targeted at a 20%-25% reduction.
To achieve these targets, suggested measures include doubling the percentage of condensing boilers used with solar thermal energy for hot water and heating.
Speakers at a panel discussion pointed out that it’s important for everyone to look at a building as a whole-examine the interaction between space-heating generation and distribution systems, hot water supply, ventilation and building insulation-to reduce energy consumption.
When walking the show floor, I saw a lot of solar energy panels, heat pumps/geothermal systems, radiant heating systems (electric and hydronic) and wood pellet systems. [The Building and Energy Technology/Renewable Energies portion of the trade show encompassed three entire buildings.] I also saw a lot of dual-flush toilets-not only on the show floor, but in the public restrooms on the fairgrounds, my hotel, restaurants, the train station, etc.