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We Should Learn From The Past

We have all been living with recession for so long now that we have come to accept the way things are as the new status quo.

But over the years, wars and previous economic downturns have shown that, once better times finally come around, it does not take long for us to get back into our old ways.

More and more signs are now building up that show that the economy is reviving, particularly in the construction industry, the most important driver for the air conditioning sector.

According to the Construction Products Association, construction output is likely to grow by 5.3 per cent this year, with the private commercial sector predicted to grow by 6.1 per cent. All good news, as an increase in building will undoubtedly lead to growth in high-end air conditioning.

However, the last thing we want as an industry is for developers to get back into their old pre-recession habits, as that will mean we have let a really good opportunity to change their habits slip through our fingers.

Now, when projects are still in the planning stage, or even in their early conception, is the time to do all we can to influence developers and specifiers to acquire some new habits, or at least accelerate the changes in attitude that were creeping in before the crash.

Before the banks led everyone into the global recession, architects and developers seemed very willing to adopt state-of-the-art construction methods, but were less forward-thinking when it came to heating and cooling.  Often, they would install systems for cooling only, despite the fact that it was perfectly capable of heating the building efficiently and cost effectively. For heating, there would be a generally less efficient ‘traditional’ heating system.

It seems a bit like the early days of steam ships, when designers insisted on fitting sails as well as engines. At some point, they began to trust the new technology, and the sails were phased out.

I am confident that it will happen with heating as well. The more effort we put into getting this message across, the sooner it will happen.  So now is surely the time to push the messages of efficiency, greater control, lower CO2 production and lower installation costs. It really is a no-brainer.

I believe that, if hot water central heating had been invented at the same time as the heat pump, it would never have got off the ground. These days, with air-to-water heat pumps, there is not even the excuse that you need a boiler system to provide domestic hot water.

I’m still a great believer in the personal touch and direct face-to face contact, particularly if that can happen in a building with an efficient air conditioning based heating system and a satisfied end-user.

Julian Brunnock is sales and marketing director of Clivet UK

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