Final Report from the XXI International Infotherma Exhibition 2014.

Infotherma 2014 was held between the 13 – 16 of January, 2014. It is the largest specialised exhibition for heating, energy saving and sensible use of renewable resources and has taken place at the Exhibition Grounds Cerna Louka Ostrava for 21 years running.

Infotherma 2014 presented 362 companies and institutions. In addition to domestic exhibitors there were companies from Austria, Poland, Slovakia and some other countries. The exhibition was officially opened by the Minister of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic, Director of National Environmental Fund, Vice-Chairman of the European Parliament Committee for Industry, Research and Energy, Vice-President of the Economic Commission and Vice President of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic.

Understandably, the innovations in heating systems had the largest representation out of 362 domestic and foreign companies and organisations which is the full capacity of the Ostrava exhibition grounds. The manufacturers of these heating systems flexibly addressed the majority of the population’s issues of heating homes with cleaner fuel.

More than half of all the boilers for solid fuels which were exhibited met the exhaust requirements when the appropriate fuel is burned in them. Many boilers operating in this outdoor exhibition areas have been able to prove to the visitors that they meet these requirements. The innovated solid fuel boilers are designed not only for fuel saving and pollution reduction but also to maintain affordable comfort for operators through accumulation tanks, automatic stoking, regulation etc. Firewood has been becoming more and more popular amongst solid fuels. Its consumption in recent years has significantly increased. The growing interest in fireplaces contributes to the phenomena. They can replace clean burning heating in autumn and spring seasons, especially new fireplaces, stoves and tiled heating stoves with build-in hot water or warm air central heating. In addition, statistics show that the forest area is increasing, but also the annual growth of wood mass is greater than is the amount being logged. Wood, however, should serve primarily as an ideal building material for low-energy and passive construction. Only by-products of its processing should be burned. Therefore the Infotherma exhibitions have been the largest shows of fireplaces, stoves and tiled heating stoves for years. They have also been promoters of wooden structures and wood application in construction.  As an example, 18 wooden building construction companies participated in the panel discussion on the construction theme. The first prerequisite for the maintenance and development of modern heating (not only with clean fuels) is to find and eliminate heat losses and thus significantly reduce heating costs. Therefore, domestic and foreign companies and organizations introducing innovations in the low-energy and passive construction, building reconstruction, insulation, thermostatic windows, blinds, measuring and control technology etc. occupied about one-third of the exhibition area capacity of INFOTHERMA 2014.The notional third part of Infotherma Exhibition 2014 focused on the meaningful use of resources. We stress the word “meaningful” because in recent years we’ve witnessed, and are still now witnessing today, so many mistakes and misuses of the term -renewable resources. There would be a long list of government subsidies and incentives for renewable resources projects which were often contra-productive because their production, handling and transportation consume more clean energy than its ultimate effect. It is unacceptable and rather misleading to dictate to the Republic the percentage of energy acquired from renewable resources. The percentage should be based on reliable national energy policy which should be valid for at least twenty to thirty years ahead. The policy shouldn’t get affected by political and lobbying pressures of every new government. Therefore, despite all this we reserve a distinct area of the exhibition to renewable resources which are important and necessary to be introduced to visitors.

The Infotherma exhibition is traditionally one of the largest shows of locally manufactured and imported heat pumps in the Czech Republic. Products and companies that meet the demanding criteria receive a certificate of quality ‘EUROPEAN QUALITY LABEL FOR HEAT PUMPS’. The exhibition also allows space for solar collectors for heating hot water and buildings as well as to manufacturers of pellets, briquettes and equipment for their production.

Among the attractions of the exhibition was undoubtedly the panel presentation “Where is energy waiting for us?” The various themes on energy production by using heat from burning heaps, geothermal energy from the earth’s core, lightning energy, air power, microalgae and experience abroad with mining slate gases were introduced at the presentation. Considering the increasing number of visitors who want to get advise about environmentally friendly and economic heating of their homes we extended both the counselling and professional accompanying program. There was a space created at the Entrance Hall for information and discussion of technical innovations, services, new regulations, laws and amendments to laws that affect or may affect the thermal comfort of our homes. Visitors were able to discuss the issue of the possibility of subsidies for environmentally friendly heating and energy saving, the advantages of changes in gas and electricity suppliers according to an energy price calculator, financing options of wooden buildings, which resources are truly renewable and many other topics.

In a counselling centre in hall NA1, the visitors could learn in detail, for example, what were the current energy prices on the 01. 01. 2014 according to a certain type of energy and also how to choose a supplier.  Other parts of the counselling centre were given information about the “Chimney Regulation”. Leading experts were answering possibilities of the combined use of renewable resources, low-energy and passive construction and other questions from visitors. The topics which received the biggest interest at the previous exhibitions were addressed at a three -day conference in the congress centre. The topics were: Combined use of energy sources; Heat pump and mix of energy sources; Low energy and passive construction; pros and cons. All the counselling, admission to conferences and professional accompanying program was free for the visitors to the exhibition. The technically most interesting product of the show was again chosen by visitors through voting coupons. VIADRUS OJSC received the most votes.  We perceive the merits of the Infotherma exhibitions in the fact that there is still interest in them from both the exhibitors (5582 in past 21 years) and nearly half a million visitors. Agency Inforpres