The forthcoming R22 phase-out, cost of plant and the energy efficiency challenge are all current concerns for the end user, together with a lack of knowledge of natural refrigerants and how to reduce operating costs.
These were just some of the findings from the Star Refrigeration 2013 Survey Report, entitled ‘An Insight into the Future of Refrigeration – Plans & Concerns of Sector-Specific Cooling & Heating Users’, which also highlighted quality training and system performance as key issues.
Each sector had a different idea of what their current main concerns are – for example, 80 per cent of building services employees agreed their main focus is on becoming more energy efficient, while 43 per cent the food industry was most concerned with the reliability of their systems.
Furthermore, the storage and distribution sector was the most affected (36 per cent) by the R22 phase-out.
Overall, the issue that scored highest between all sectors was reducing energy savings and becoming more energy efficient.
When it came to evaluating different industrial cooling/heating solutions, 49 per cent did not settle on low cost, but based their decision-making process on total life cycle costs, performance/quality, energy efficiency and reliability, revealing a trend to suppress the marginal value of low capital investments. Conversely, cost was also an important factor at 34 per cent.
Almost half of respondents (43 per cent) are planning on monitoring their systems more regularly and improving maintenance. 27 per cent want to become more energy efficient, and 17 per cent opt for updating their current system.
Some sectors agreed on one single issue to focus on, whereas others were divided in their opinions. 100 per cent of facilities management employees agree their monitoring and maintenance requires improvement, while 100 per cent of District Heating sector employees would like to begin using heat recovery.
The food industry was the most disagreeable – it was a close call between becoming more energy efficient (33 per cent) and updating current systems (15 per cent), but improving monitoring and maintenance won at 40 per cent.
The issue that least concerned all sectors was using higher quality refrigerant. For most sectors, improved monitoring and maintenance was at the top of the agenda.
The industry that represented the biggest portion of attendees was the food industry, with food production employees making up 20 per cent of attendees across all venues. Second to this was the building services sector, at 14 per cent.
A large number of suppliers (18 per cent) and consultants (12 per cent) responded. Only 1 per cent of attendees belonged to the district heating sector.