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Ever since the discovery of electromagnetic forces in 1733 until the invention of energy distribution systems, technologies have evolved around the making of more and more complex machines using the electric current.

To overcome the possible failures and occasional breakdowns of the public network, generators (backup electric sources) have been developed and improved. Nowadays they are essential and meet several requirements depending on their use.

Generators use

Depending on the public network capacities and the energetic needs of the application, generators can be used in different ways:

  • Spike energy production
  • Electric energy production
  • Backup production
  • Reversed backup production

Definition and functioning

Simplified sketch of the functioning of a generator



When operating, the generator consumes fuel and produces electric energy and heat, which can cause malfunctions. Ventilation is important so as to prevent the system from overheating.


Generators producing a high voltage are also larger and need the constant heating of the engine in order to optimize their start.

Acoustic pollution

A generator generates noise and the acoustic level in its vicinity can sometimes reach high number. (up to 120-130 db(A))




The ventilation is made through fresh air intake and air exhaust dampers.


In order to avoid for the dispersion of the heat emitted outside the premises (for energy saving purposes), shutoff dampers positioned on the air intake and exhaust are closed when the generator is turned down.


Radiated noise

It is essential to attenuate the noises generated by a generator through the use of devices such as acoustic enclosure, walls’ treatment or sound-proofing doors.

Propagated noise

The premises are also acoustically treated with silencers, anti vibration plots or splitters placed on the air intake and air exhaust. 

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Neighboring noise, 2006-1099 decree of 31 august 2006

This decree describes the regulations to which generators' equipments are subject to when they are near an inhabited area. The maximum values for emerging sounds are 5 dBA per day and 3dBA per night to which is added a corrective in db(A) that depends on the cumulated span of apparition. In the case of a generator, the ventilation operates continuously and no corrective is added.



Noise on the working place:

These decrees set the minimum security and health prescription regarding workers exposures to loud noises.


Daily noise exposure

Peak point

Level of application






2003/10/CE Directive

2006-892 decree of 19 july 2006

2003/10/CE Directive

2006-892 decree of 19 july 2006

Exposure limit values

87 dB(A)

87 dB(A)

200 Pa

140 dB(C)

Superior exposure values inducing measures

85 dB(A)

85 dB(A)

140 Pa

137 dB(C)

Inferior exposure values inducing measures

80 dB(A)

80 dB(A)

112 Pa

135 dB(C)


2003/10/CE Directive



2006-892 decree of 19 July 2006



Article 4 of 23rd January 1997 decree, concerning noise emergences of structures classified for the environment protection

Transport vehicles, construction materials and construction vehicles used inside the premises must comply with the legal dispositions regarding their noise emergences.



Public rooms’ regulation

This document describes the obligation for public rooms to have a smoke exhaust system for firemen’s use, using a generator as backup.



Generators’ regulation

2004/8/CE directive of European Parliament of 11th February 2004 concerning Cogeneration

This directive tends to reinforce the use of cogeneration in Europe, especially by praising the energetic efficiency it enables to reach. In the long term the directive will aim at creating a framework for high efficiency cogeneration to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and limit the discharge of other substances during the energetic production.



19th November 2001 decree

Article EL 7

Premises where the generators are installed, whatever their power, must be largely ventilated on the outside.

Section IV, Article EL 18

Generators must be subject to regular maintenance:

  • Oil level verification, water and fuel, heating device and the heating device of the power source used for the starting of the engine.
  • Test every month of the automatic start with a charge of at least 50% for 30 minutes.



HSOE/E4/2005-256 decree of 30 may 2005 concerning the technical conditions of hospitals’ power supply. 

Normal and backup installations must be tested at regular periods.  Back up generators must at any time be able to take over the public power supply of all priority services.


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