The HVAC industry has put in significant efforts in recent years to adapt to new regulations and changes to government policy. With more changes to come, work must continue to ensure a bright future, says Graham Wright, the new president of the UK’s HEVAC Association.
Graham Wright is Daikin UK’s Legislation Specialist and became President of HEVAC in July 2014. A mechanical engineer who has worked in the air conditioning industry for 30 years, he has project managed some of the largest chiller projects in London and worked in product marketing and engineering across Europe for three major AC manufacturers.
Over the past decade, the HVAC industry has been bombarded with significant amounts of legislation, from safety standards, building regulations and performance criteria, through to rules on the disposal of old equipment.
While manufacturers and others have worked extremely hard, not only to ensure compliance, but also to support and help influence Government policy, the situation is unlikely to get easier, with new challenges and more rules and regulations coming in the next few years. It is therefore crucial that industry continues to provide resources to tackle the skills shortage and comply with new regulations.
Anyone working in the renewables field will realise there is a significant skills shortage, not only in the capability to install new technologies, but also in understanding and promoting how building design can benefit through their use. Manufacturers, in particular, have to continue to provide support and training of technicians and designers and work with training bodies to enable the skills gap to be closed. This will also help industry meet customer demand created by Government incentive schemes such as the domestic and non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentives.
At the end of 2014, the new F-Gas Regulation will come into force, introducing phase downs and phase outs of gases such as R22, along with complexities of dealing with lower Global Warming Potential refrigerants. Collectively, industry must make these regulations work effectively HEVAC, along with the BRA and other industry bodies, will help communicate these changes to members, their customers and a wider audience but everyone will have to continue to work to ensure the new rules are adhered to.
Discussions are underway to start the new revision of Part L 2016, which will affect the entire HVAC sector, and the Government has restated its commitment to meeting the CO2 emission targets set down by Europe, by using the current regulations and allowable solutions. However, with the General Election next year, the future is uncertain in many respects. If history is anything to go by, whoever is elected in May will have their own agenda and will drive the regulations in the way they see fit.
While there are many challenges ahead, I am confident that industry has the skills and desire to meet these head on. For example, I continue to gain a tremendous feeling of satisfaction when I see members of HEVAC working together to make a substantial contribution towards forming Government policy, by leading in the understanding of how renewable technologies can help change the future for the better.