UK: Distributor Hushon is gearing up for an anticipated increase in demand for replacement air conditioning as the deadline for R22 phase-out approaches.
The Toshiba distributor believes that many end users have delayed replacing R22 equipment due to recent economic uncertainties, which have hindered decisions on capital investment. As the economy picks up, however, and the phase-out deadline looms larger, it believes companies will finally have to bite the bullet and address the problem.
Use of R22 refrigerant for topping up systems will be banned from the end of this year across Europe. Air conditioning still reliant on R22 will effectively become obsolete, and either have to be replaced or retrofitted to operate on a more environmentally friendly refrigerant.
Tony Martin, director of Hushon UK, is convinced that here remains a huge amount of R22 air conditioning equipment out there. “No one really knows the true scale of it, but it is reasonable to assume it is in the hundreds of thousands of units,” he said.
“Most of the national end users have addressed the issue. However, many small to medium size operators have yet to get to grips with the problem. In many cases, these systems are providing essential cooling for business such as shops, offices, hospitals and so on. With the deadline in just six months’ time, people will have to grasp the nettle as cooling is in many cases essential.”
Retail and office success
Established in 1987, the Portsmouth-based air conditioning specialises in Toshiba air conditioning alongside its own Hushon brand chilled water systems and air handling units, manufactured in Spain. Large splits and VRF systems make up the largest proportion of its business, with the biggest single seller the Toshiba 12-14kW cassette.
The company has had particular success in the retail and office market, but is now expanding into wider application areas.
It reports significant wins in the premium apartment sector in London, where the Toshiba mini VRF is ideal due to its high efficiency and ease of installation. Hushon recently also supplied air conditioning for some of the best-known restaurants and eateries in the capital.
Toshiba has been a key part of Hushon’s success. Ben Johnstone, sales director, says: “The Toshiba brand is highly regarded for four things – good design, reliability, environmental performance, and excellent technical support. More recently, the manufacturer has also been leading the market with its offering on warranties, and refrigerant management and protection. It is a great package, both technically and commercially.”
Hushon has worked closely with Toshiba to develop the AHU1 interface, a system that enables Toshiba condensing units to be linked up with air handling units, to make a single seamless system.
Toshiba has rolled out the technology across its Europe, Middle East and Africa markets, and it has been highly successful for both companies.
Alongside its R22 initiative, Hushon is accelerating its air conditioning training programme. The company’s training facility offers a full range of Toshiba courses and is equipped with working examples of a three-pipe VRF system, heat recovery unit, and control options.
It is now looking to develop courses at customers’ premises. It’s first such event is a training session at a client’s premises in Bristol, on the application of Toshiba’s new Black Pear control system to a SHRMi three-pipe VRF, and three large inverter-controlled splits.
Tony Martin says: “We will be giving the customer the red carpet treatment to ensure that the project – one of the first applications of the new Black Pear in the UK – goes smoothly and is a success.”