Published on 19 - April - 2012
With uncertainty about the economy still prevailing, it is hard to convince customers to spend their budgets on infrastructure changes, so getting companies with old air conditioning to think about an upgrade is not an easy task
Why R22 offers hope for increased heat pump sales
The r22 issue could provide a real impetus for contractors and consultants who arm themselves with the right financial arguments to persuade hard-pressed businesses of the economic sense in planning for change.
There are estimated to be tens of thousands of R22 systems still in operation and all of the businesses using these units face a real challenge when we reach the end of 2014 and R22 is completely phased out.
"Not only is 2014 not that far away now but these companies are also consuming far more energy than they would be with a more modern system," explains Debbie Reeve, marketing manager for Mitsubishi Electric's air conditioning division.
Better overall control
"That extra energy consumption obviously means higher bills so there is a real day-to-day argument for planning to upgrade their system. In addition, they will find other possible benefits such as better overall control and becoming more environmentally friendly which in itself has even more benefits."
The majority of R22 systems were fixed speed, meaning that they are either 'on' at full power or 'off', whereas modern, inverter-driven air conditioning modulates its energy consumption to match demand from the building, so they are much more energy efficient. "Coupled with that is the fact that VRF heat pump systems can heat as well as cool and can transfer energy from one function to the other to reduce energy consumption even further," adds Reeve.
"There are also new VRF water heating units which connect to the aircon and transfer excess heat to provide a building's hot water," she adds, "these cut down on the need for gas and oil boilers, so all in all, the heat pump sector has a great story to tell to persuade customers of the merits of an upgrade."
An increasing number of heat pump VRF systems are now listed on the Government's Enhanced Capital Allowance scheme which means that companies can offset the capital expenditure against their annual tax bill, helping justify the initial capital outlay.
Further details and a full list of the equipment can be found on the ECA website www.etl.decc.gov.uk/etl
However, money is not the only reason that many businesses put off the decision on an upgrade as any change to a building's services will cause some disruption to the operation of the building.
Reeve says that here too heat pump VRF systems can often provide a straightforward solution: Replace systems exist which allow you to reuse all the internal pipework and sometimes even the wiring."
By keeping the existing pipework customers can benefit from modern indoor and outdoor units which offer greater energy efficiency over R22 systems, but the changeover can usually be completed in days instead of weeks.
Many businesses will still be unaware of the R22 issue and will be reluctant to even talk about it, but the 2014 deadline is looming large now.
"At one point the Olympics seemed a long way away but they are right upon us now and the same will be true of the R22 deadline," explains Reeve.
"With the range of advanced VRF heat pump equipment available on the market perhaps there's never been a better time to talk to your customers about planning for a replacement."
N.B. The information contained in this entry is provided by the above supplier, and does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher