Published Date 25/01/18 07:30
One year of “sharing ideas” on HVAC/R! Today is a day to celebrate for CAREL’s blog! 50 posts have been published during this first year, with thousands of views and listing in the world Top 5 RAC blogs. The topic “humidity and temperature control” has been the most blogged, with 18 posts. “Refrigerants” and “Regulations and standards” share second place, with 15 posts. The bronze medal goes to “Energy efficiency”, the topic of 14 posts.
When we started blogging one year ago, we could not have imagined how interesting 2017 would be in our sector. I would say that the drastic increase in HFC refrigerants and the development of IoT have been two of the main trends over the last 365 days. Without forgetting the increasing attention to air quality, with humidification being a very important aspect to be controlled. These topics were also featured in our posts.
Through the blog we have also travelled together! Buenos Aires, Nuremberg, Madrid, Mestre, Sydney, Long Beach, Milan, Rotterdam, Brussels, Düsseldorf and Las Vegas all hosted important HVAC/R events last year.
At the Climatización y Refrigeración show in Madrid, it was underlined how the trends are mostly driven by standards and regulations such as F-gas and Ecodesign in Europe. This was the first quarter of 2017 and the big changes had only just started! These included the transition to low GWP refrigerants such as naturals. The fiftieth Euroshop held in Düsseldorf last March was the biggest in the event’s history. We were there to demonstrate that the shift towards natural fluids also brings a technological evolution that allows these to be used efficiently in various commercial refrigeration applications. The future of refrigerants and the contribution that the HVAC/R industry can make to achieving energy-saving targets were also the topics that gained most attention at the XVII European conference on “The latest technology in refrigeration and air conditioning”. This was June and high GWP refrigerant prices had already started increasing. Indeed, the hot topic at ASHRAE in Long Beach at the end of June was alternative refrigerants to HFCs. In October, Atmosphere Iberica was a good opportunity to reflect on how warmer climates are facing the transition to natural refrigerants and the solutions for increasing the efficiency of CO2 systems. This topic was also discussed at the workshop held in Argentina in October, where we attended together with other Italian HVAC/R industry representatives. The aim was to explain what is currently happening in Europe, a good example of cooperation between developed and developing countries for the successful application of the Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol.
Three events focused on the future of the HVAC/R industry gave a clear picture of the direction we should move in. At the The Future of HVAC 2017 in Sydney, it was stressed how today IoT is very real in our everyday lives – almost 8.4 billion connected “things”- and will be soon applied to HVAC appliances. The Eureka Roadshow Italy conference was another event that interesting ideas came out of, such as the fact that continuous training of technicians to deal with a greater degree of complexity will become even more fundamental in HVAC/R. At Eureka 2017, representatives of Generation Z explained that they want to make the most of their time by living healthily and respecting the environment, very important inputs for the future of our sector.
A long journey to the dry city of Las Vegas was worth the effort to confirm that it is best to stay in the mid-range of humidity, i.e. 40-60 % rh, in order to avoid the potential drawbacks of both dry and humid spaces.
As regards heat pumps, decarbonisation and digitalisation were the main topics of Decarb heat and the 12th IEA heat pump conference. The use of renewable energy with high efficiency and low GWP refrigerants go hand-in-hand with technological development, with the aim of decreasing CO2 emissions. At the end of the year, the search for alternatives to R-410A was the main topic of the Heat Pump Summit in Nuremberg.
2018 is expected to be another interesting year for HVAC/R stakeholders. The increasing use of natural refrigerants and connectivity will surely bring interesting news. For instance, it will most probably be the year in which IEC 60335-2-89 will be modified to increase the limit of 150 grams of propane to 500 grams. This would help the spread of hydrocarbons in commercial refrigeration, especially plug-in and semi plug-in units. The fact that the French Government has aligned with the updated European standard EN 378-1 to allow 1.5 kg per circuit in shops and shopping centres, and the publication of the new fire safety guide, are further steps towards the use of hydrocarbons. In addition, the implementation of supermarkets using CO2 as refrigerants will continue. Indeed, it is predicted that the use of ejectors will continue to dramatically improve the energy efficiency of transcritical CO2 systems.
Of course, we will have the opportunity to discuss these topics and learn more at the important HVAC/R events planned for this year. Today is the last day of the ASHRAE winter conference in Chicago and AHR expo, with more than 2000 exhibitors. There are also less than two months to go until Mostra Convegno in Milan, where interesting seminars will be held together with the show. In September, Eurovent Summit in Sevilla will focus on connectivity. Chillventa in Nuremberg in October and Atmosphere Europe in Lago de Garda in November are two important events for the last quarter of 2018. We will be present at these and other interesting HVAC/R events to follow the evolution of our sector and share all the latest news. Stay tuned!