Tony Gittings, of water heating product manufacturer Rinnai, argues that the industry is in dire need of a central body or council to co-ordinate the burgeoning weight of new and pending standards, legislation and codes of practice. This includes emerging support technologies such as BiM, which needs clear and concise communication to the marketplace.
Within the next 10 years the HVAC industry could change out of all recognition as we face an unprecedented set of challenges here in the UK and Europe. The industry is facing the relentless drive to ever greater energy efficiency and lower emissions – all in line with the UK’s legally binding carbon reduction target of 80% CO2 (on 1990 levels) by 2050.
The UK Government and European Commission’s growing agenda for the enablement of the greening of industry has resulted in the emergence of new Building Regulations, green technology accelerators such as RHI and the commercial green deal. Also part of this is the introduction of new technologies, such as BiM, designed to unlock more efficient ways of working at all stages of the project lifecycle. And there is more – the implementation of energy labelling to energy related products across the HVAC industry is currently underway.
The UK and northern European markets are amongst some of the most heavily legislated in the world when it comes to the HVAC industry. The regulatory horizon will see amendments to the Building Regulations; the introduction of energy labels for water heating equipment; the tiered approach to emission reductions taking full effect from 2015 and beyond (under the guidance of ERP) thus continually driving efficiencies and emission reductions.
There is such a blizzard of mandatory information that it is a job in itself to keep up with it all – and all in addition to maintaining and servicing existing customers and winning new contracts.
There is a pressing need, I believe, for complete and transparent harmonisation of key product parameters and measurements to ensure simple and accurate communication. This need can be answered in the form of a centralised body – or council of existing bodies and organisations - which can co-ordinate all the information swirling around on industry topics which are of such major importance. The body or council - whichever wishes to take up the baton - should represent the information needs of the contractor, consultant, end-user, and property owner and manager. There is an overwhelming need for one recognised source delivering clear and concise information on all current and impending legislation.
Manufacturing corporations can also make a difference, bearing in mind that the marketplace needs ready-to-go products that obviously meet and exceed all existing legislation, as well as pending legislation and new practices. This is where innovation is critical and manufacturers should truly commit to the research and development of new products and methods to make installation quicker and easier, and product performance better and more efficient. We cannot continue trying to wring the last vestige of life from modes of seriously outdated provisions of water heating in the commercial and residential arenas - not in today’s mercurial marketplace.
I believe that the industry needs a single body for all the information needs. We would be readily prepared to financially support such an initiative.
We can supply a value-added solution for today and the future – now.