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A free source of ideas – and another call to action

Cooling technology could really make a difference in these uncertain times, says Andrew Gaved

Welcome to the October issue of RAC, where readers are treated to a bumper issue. If you didn’t get along to the Cooling Awards – perhaps because you got the other hot ticket of the evening of 23 September, Romania versus France – do take the time to browse the finalists, which make up a veritable Top 100 of Cooling best practice in 2015.

I strongly believe that the Cooling Awards has a year-round role, promoting examples of innovation and best practice that we can learn from, so when the heady excitement of Awards night is over and we are left with a headache and euphoria, or a headache and a sense of regret (and that isn’t limited to those who didn’t win Awards) we have something useful to turn to.

I have spoken before about how I believe that the innovation development should be a dialogue among industry and I think that our new process of bringing the finalists into present to judges has helped with that a bit – there is nothing like some pointed questions from someone outside of the development process to focus the mind.

I have waxed lyrical in the brochure about how we are in the midst of troubled times, and the news pages again for the second consecutive month speak of companies going in administration and customers cutting back on spending.

Concepts such as those in Cooling may spark off some useful ideas.

Given the economic woes, we might perhaps consider ourselves fortunate that we are now having to work within the new requirements of the revised F-Gas Regulation.

It’s a phrase you might never have thought I would utter, but for the supply chain there is at least some sort of guarantee of work in the future, because the regulations requires everyone to ditch high-GWP refrigerants sooner or later.

There are end-users out there who are saying they are relieved that at least they have a copy of a European Directive to put on their bosses desks to justify the work that needs doing, so they don’t have to spend so much time talking about ‘doing the right thing’.

The British Refrigeration Association has just launched its guide Putting into use Replacement Refrigerants in a bid to help the industry decide what to do next (see RAC October p4), or as president Mike Lawrence puts it. to give “a  firm foundation for developing a strategic response”.

It is widely acknowledged that plans need to be made sooner rather than later for getting out of R404A especially given the uncertain state of the refrigerant market over the next two years.

But on the one hand many smaller end-users are still in blissful ignorance – does your butcher or cash and carry customer know what the regulations will require them to do? – while on the other, the tight margins are going to make people want to sit tight for as long as possible.

But many in the supply industry are warning that leaving things later will inevitably result in more expense. It is up to us to keep that message from our F-Gas Question Time filtering through: Do Something, Don’t Do Nothing.

I am sure that doing something will be high on the agenda at our Retail Question Time on 1 December (see RAC October p16).

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