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Are you sitting comfortably

As I am writing this we are still in the middle of a heat wave. But the way the British weather has been going recently, you could be reading this while stuck in a snowdrift.

However, no matter whether September brings an Indian summer or an Indian monsoon, most people will still remember the 30 deg C heat that saw them trying anything to keep cool. Days when opening windows really didn’t help.In fact, when the only thing that would keep them comfortable was air conditioning.

When there is a good summer it is always a time when enquiries rocket, only to melt away again when the weather gets cooler and potential customers realise air-conditioning cannot be fitted instantly.

Since we have all learnt in sales training that the best time to sell something is when your customers are demanding it, we need to somehow convert this impulse purchase mentality into a longer-term planned programme.

And aren’t we supposed to be talking about this being the ideal time to install heat pumps, providing a renewable energy source and supplying the heating as well as the cooling?

The problem is that, whatever we may like to think, customers still only think “cooling” when they think of air-conditioning. We have all been to installations of heat pump equipment, and even heat recovery VRF systems, in new or refurbished buildings, where the AC installers are stepping over the heating engineers putting in a new gas-fired radiator system. No matter what they say about their green ambitions, most end users still think you need radiators for heating and air conditioning for cooling.

As an industry, we have to do for offices and other premises what the car manufacturers have done. Most mid-range and above cars now have air-conditioning and people have become used to using the same controls to keep them warm in the winter and cool in the summer. They just set it to a comfortable temperature and the control does the rest. And that is the key word: “comfort”.

It is not about heating. It is not about cooling. It is about keeping people at a comfortable temperature 365 days a year.

While all the TV ads are geared up to the approaching autumn and winter, now is the ideal month to promote the concept of comfort. We need to use the interest that hot weather has generated in air-conditioning and convert it to year-round interest in the only single piece of equipment that can keep premises at a comfortable temperature throughout the year, no-matter what the climate does, and be far more efficient at heating than gas.

Julian Brunnock is sales and marketing director of FG Eurofred, the face of Fujitsu in the UK

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