Saziye Dickson will be speaking at HVAC R Expo this November. She shared with us some insight on HVAC market and its challenges. Saziye is the Senior Market Research Consultant at BSRIA and her topic at the HVAC R Talks is "HVAC market drivers and challenges today and beyond 2020"
Why is HVAC R coming into the spotlight in the GCC Region?
Global warming and its impact is constantly in the news. A recent article published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change called for an "unprecedented" response to cap global warming at 1.5C and added that time is running out for the world to react to this challenge. Whilst comfort cooling and chilling for commercial uses is essential in the GCC, the creation of energy for HVAC R appliances clearly adds to global warming. HVAC systems can account up to 70% of a building’s energy usage, so of course this industry will be in the spotlight. Given that in the GCC temperatures regularly exceed 40 degrees Celsius, effective cooling is a necessity in the region, and despite the incorporation of natural ventilation into building design, air conditioning systems remain the most effective method of cooling. Greater emphasis is also being placed on sustainability by the region’s governments through the introduction and enforcement of new global and local standards and the drive towards net - zero energy buildings.
In addition to the goals of sustainability and reducing energy consumption there is a raft of research which demonstrates the direct link between people’s productivity and the environment inside a building; in terms of factors like temperature, humidity, and ventilation.
HVAC R systems are at the epicentre of the struggle between this focus on sustainability and occupant comfort and well-being. As a result, it is important that the engineers and project managers involved with HVAC R issues remain informed of the latest best practice and guidance. BSRIA, with over 60 years’ experience and an unrivalled team of technical experts, can support the industry and the region to help it meet its sustainability targets.
Describe some challenges in the GCC HVAC R market and the opportunities they present
One of the biggest challenges is in ensuring that HVAC R equipment continues to function efficiently and that outages are kept to a minimum. This applies particularly where HVAC R failures will damage a business (for example for hotels) or where vulnerable people will be at risk because of high temperatures.
There is also a concerted drive to reduce the energy consumed by the operation of HVAC R systems. This really starts at the design stage of a project, with designers incorporating natural ventilation and making use of free cooling wherever possible. Another element to consider at the design stage is how the building fabric and materials chosen can help to reduce the cooling load.
While load reduction and the use of energy-efficient equipment is crucial, it is also essential to ensure systems can meet performance requirements while complying with relevant regulations - hence the need for independent testing by third party test-houses.
Continuing the drive on energy-efficiency, in colder parts of the world we are seeing a significant rise in district-cooling eating and a similar growth in district-cooling in areas such as the GCC. We feel that district-cooling, where mostly centrifugal chillers are used, will be an important focus area for the industry in 2020 and beyond.
Over the past three years we have seen a trend towards implementation of smarter HVAC R systems thanks to advances in smart controls. As the systems and requirements of them become ever more sophisticated, the use of smart controls is having a significant impact in reducing energy consumption.
How are these opportunities currently embraced in the region?
The economies in the GCC countries mainly rely on oil revenues and their public sectors are often the biggest employer and the biggest spenders in their economies. Consequently, any decrease in oil prices has a profound effect on the economy and on the prosperity of the country. We have clearly seen this recently in the region, and in an attempt to address this problem, the GCC economies are diversifying their activities to create new avenues of income. Obviously one of the most successful examples of this has been the UAE’s, and across the region, this trend will create new public-private initiatives and create further exciting opportunities in the region.
On the technology side, our latest market intelligence reports show that the region is turning to use connectivity and remote monitoring in HVAC R systems. We have seen growth in the use of what we call smart-connected HVAC R equipment. This is where HVAC R equipment is connected – usually via the internet – to systems which monitors and helps to manage its performance. These systems not only diagnose problems when they arise but can also deploy predictive analytics to prevent many problems occurring in the first place, thereby minimising down-times.
The UAE is also the leading the way with energy-efficient inverter technology. However, low electricity prices in the region are hindering a more dynamic growth in the use of inverter technology. BSRIA will be touching on this during its presentation at the HVAC-R R Expo at The Big 5 2018 Exhibition.
In addition to the above, the transition to low GWP (Global Warming Potential) refrigerants represents a new challenge which will require a collective approach from the governments, contractors, designers and equipment manufacturers. All these stakeholders need to collaborate and set out the clear guidelines and best practices needed to implement this in a relatively short time.
According to you which are the top HVAC projects to look out for in the GCC?
The rapid urbanisation in the Gulf region has created many interesting projects. Although BSRIA does not record or analyse individual construction projects, we do follow many leading developments to provide additional insights into our market trends and size estimates for the HVAC R markets in the region.
Given the penchant for high-rise and large-scale developments in the GCC, we are keen to understand the impact of building practices that are gaining traction here and how this might work in other regions.
1. District cooling potentially offer significant reductions in energy-use and emissions, and as solutions evolve this could become more substantial in HVAC R implementations. Amongst many interesting and impressive projects in Dubai, the Museum-of-the-Future looks like a real challenge for designing and installing building services, we understand it is being cooled with a District Cooling solution, so we will be keen to see how that is implemented.
2. In addition, recent developments in off-site modular MEP systems have certainly reduced the time lag between building start and completion. We hear things like The Aloft in Deira city centre saved almost half the labour costs by installing HVAC R services with pre-fabricated units. We are keen to understand how this affects the design, installation and performance of HVAC R appliances.
Name one thing about HVAC R that people always get wrong
With the wealth of information and knowledge that the industry has, and indeed shares through organisations like BSRIA, we feel that the vast majority of those involved in the HVAC R industry are well informed and, having learnt from the mistakes of the past, tend to implement best practice widely.
That said, there are still room for improvement in some areas. For example, the use of Life Cycle Costing and Life Cycle assessment allows us to assess the full life-time cost of an HVAC R system, including initial purchase, operation and maintenance costs.
Associated with this is a topic for longer-term consideration: the impact of the Circular Economy on the construction industry. The circular economy is a regenerative system in which resource input and waste, emission, and energy leakage are minimized by slowing, narrowing, and closing energy and material loops. Following a recent consultation with the BSRIA members, this is a subject that was identified and which stood out as being likely to have an increased significance for the built environment over the next five years.
About Saziye Dickson -
Saziye Dickson is a senior consultant and project manager at BSRIA (Building Services Research & Information Association) based in the UK.
She currently manages the World Air-Conditioning study, covering the 30 biggest global markets with an annual review, forecast and six monthly update. Saziye also works with international HVAC-R companies to design and run customised studies, working with the likes of JCI, LG, Mitsubishi Electric, Daikin, Midea and Embraco to address their specific needs.
Saziye has extensive knowledge of the HVAC-R industry with over 10 years of market research & consultancy experience. She contributes regularly to international press articles, runs briefing webinars as well as presenting at industry events.
Previously Saziye worked as a commercial manager for an Environmental Consultancy focusing on energy management in public buildings.
You can hear more from Saziye Dickson on "HVAC market drivers and challenges today and beyond 2020" at the HVAC R Talks on 26th November, 12:00 - 12:45.