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We’ve helped the cooling industry to face the future

The Cooling Awards have played a major role in helping the industry improve its green credentials, writes Andrew Gaved

Can you remember what were you doing ten years ago? If your memory needs jogging, it was the year Peter Andre topped the charts with Mysterious Girl. Things were very different then.

The cooling industry in 2004 was pretty different too. In 2004, HFCs and HCFCs provided the vast majority of cooling, ‘natural refrigeration’ basically meant ammonia, and heat pumps were the stuff of bad memories, far from the energy-efficient heating hope that they are today.

Back in 2004, the phrase F-Gas had barely been coined – wasn’t it just called ‘refrigerant’ back then? – and the serious attention to leak inspection, prevention and recording had yet to be applied.

I am not saying the industry was cavalier about the environment, but there certainly weren’t the external pressures from Europe, lobbyists and customers to get our house in order on carbon emissions.

So it is all the more remarkable that my predecessor at RAC Andrew Bailey and his colleagues had the vision – and, as Gordon Ramsay would say, the cojones – to launch a set of awards dedicated to celebrating environmental achievement. The Cooling Awards were designed not just for patting each other on the back for doing a good job, but recognising those who are doing a good job for the planet and the future.

I don’t know whether Mr Bailey had some kind of inside track into the inner workings of Brussels, or whether he just had a particular knack for divining the future, but the Awards launched just before the focus on environmental matters in refrigeration and air conditioning began to intensify.

Fast forward ten years and we have the prospect of our second set of F-Gas regulations, demanding a much more radical approach from the industry to emissions than it has faced in the past. But the good news is that the industry is now much better-prepared.

Since it wasn’t my idea, I will state that my belief that the Cooling Awards has played a key role in helping the industry improve its environmental credentials.

Here’s why. Over ten years, we have given out around 200 Cooling Awards to innovations, cutting-edge projects, pioneers and purveyors of best practice. Beyond that, we have also put another 1,500 or so in the spotlight by being shortlisted. Cooling has helped to encourage both debate and dissemination of new green ideas.
We can now point to a whole bunch
of technologies and techniques that have been refined, developed, shared or adopted, thanks to their showcasing in the Cooling Awards.

As the industry’s response has grown, so have the Awards and we now have more categories, to reflect the increased activity – recognising key attributes for the brave new world, such as Environmental Collaboration. People come to celebrate the achievement, but they also come to find out what’s new out there. As a result, since 2004, the audience has grown by 50 per cent to the point where there nearly 700 in the room last year. That’s networking potential. So why not come and join in the 10th anniversary celebration on 24 September?

There’s still time to book your table for the 2014 Cooling Industry Awards CLICK HERE!

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