As this is traditionally the time for New Year’s resolutions, it set me thinking about what resolutions we should all make to ensure the coming year is commercially successful. The first thing I thought of was “less time on the golf course”, but then I thought, no, let’s go for something achievable. So here goes.
My first resolution is to do what we can to finally get the heat pump message across to developers. It is obvious from the summer sales peaks that most people still think of air conditioning in terms of cooling, rather than maintaining a comfortable temperature throughout the year. Even where VRF heat pump and heat recovery systems are installed, all too often radiators are also fitted to perform the primary heating function far less efficiently than the VRF system would have done.
All this is well known inside the industry but, despite decades of preaching the message, we have not successfully put it across to the right people: consultants, architects, developers, builders and the public.
My second resolution is to improve communications. As an industry, we are actually quite good at sending information down from manufacturers, through distributors to installers, but we are not so good at facilitating messages coming up in the other direction. As manufacturers, we need to do a lot more listening to our customers; as they do to theirs.
Finally, my third resolution would be for the industry to resolve to produce a clear and definitive road map for where we are going on refrigerants. Every time I open a copy of RAC there seems to be a new debate on the problem of what will replace R410A as the AC industry-standard refrigerant, only for it to be discovered that it either consumes too much energy, has much higher capital costs, or it has a tendency to blow up.
We have been operating on temporary replacements and compromise drop-ins for too long and this is not helping industry sales. Very few of our customers know their way around refrigerants, but they can grasp running cost and environmental issues and they all know uncertainty when they see it.
It would seem to me that the best way forward would be to involve engineers, not just chemists, in the process as soon as possible.
Let me know what your industry resolutions would be – let’s start the process of better communication for 2014 straight away. Have a happy New Year.
Julian Brunnock is sales and marketing director of FG Eurofred, the face of Fujitsu in the UK