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Editor's comment: "Looking for a silver lining"

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

As you read this, there will be less than a month to go until the Cooling Awards, and in these offices there are fevered preparations under way.

One of the tasks is to look over the past year’s magazines to select some choice headlines to put up on the big screen on the night.

Perhaps not surprisingly, there are a lot of F-Gas warnings in the mix. It is quite galling looking back to this time last year to see how little clear information we had at that stage.

I like to think that RAC has played its part in the overall informing process by putting the experts in front of the readers, both in the magazine and in our increasingly popular – and free – Question Time events.

We have another one of those events coming up in a couple of months, our Retail Question Time, where we aim get to grips with the supermarket sector – so please see RAC September page 13 and save the date.

The supermarket sector is, as you well know, currently in the midst of turmoil, with some really tough price competition in recent months.

Indeed, our news pages are evidence of the sometimes sad effects across the supply chain (see RAC September p6).

A December 2014 page I won’t be resurrecting predicted brighter times ahead for retail refrigeration in the form of then-expected new convenience store strategies.

The current climate unfortunately makes serious expansion look unlikely any time soon and if the news is true at least one retailer now appear to be rowing back from the whole convenience adventure (see RAC September p5).

On the air conditioning side, the forecast should theoretically be more predictable – we know the construction industry has accelerated out of recession, so buildings are going up which will at some point need building services.

But of course, it takes time to get to that point – and many are in that nail-biting period before that work starts to flow in.

If you add that to the government’s bonfire of green policies, from Green Deal funding to Zero Carbon targets, then it doesn’t conjure up a hugely optimistic climate for heat pumps either. We need to do all in our power to persuade the powers-that-be that RHI should not join them.

Page 14 shows the effect that the uncertainty is having on the supply chain.

With these clouds of uncertainty swirling around us, we need to look for that fabled silver lining to give us a bit of hope. Which naturally brings me back to the Cooling Awards. Having read each of this year’s 103 shortlisted entries in their glorious entirety, I can tell you they offer much to be optimistic about.

Whether it be ways to save energy, to reduce carbon, or simply to do things smarter – it’s great to see the influence of apps for instance – these innovations offer the industry a host of new opportunities, many of them providing all-important cost saving too.

And therefore they offer the prospect of making a difference in these uncertain times.

So this year Cooling will continue to be a great night out, and it will continue to be a celebration – but particularly this year I think it will be a cause for optimism too. Good luck to everybody!

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