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Price obsession is barrier to ac efficiency

UK: Precision air conditioning manufacturer Airedale has called on end-users, consultants and contractors to look at the total cost of ownership rather than the cheapest up-front solution.

Responding to recent claims by Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson that the air conditioning industry was only interested in selling high volume cheap air conditioners with little regard to efficiency, Adam Yarrington, Leeds-based Airedale International Air Conditioning’s product development director maintains that their biggest challenge is a market still obsessed with up-front capital expenditure.

Writing on the Virgin website, Sir Richard Branson claimed that air conditioners had “barely scratched the surface” of their technology potential, with even advanced products only achieving 14% of their maximum theoretical efficiency.” He called on governments to “aggressively” raise energy efficiency standards.

Although understanding that Branson’s comments were more focussed on the residential air conditioning market, Adam Yarrington accepted that the air conditioning industry as a whole and its supply chain needed to take its environmental responsibilities seriously.

Adam Yarrington: “End-users, consultants and contractors need to embrace the total cost of ownership discussion and not just select the cheapest up-front solution.”

“As a collective we can do a lot more to ensure the products and solutions we supply are as energy efficient as possible in order to play our part in combatting climate change,” he said, but added that manufacturers are “often hamstrung by a supply chain focussed only on cost and by manufacturers and end users unwilling to take energy efficiency legislation seriously”.

Claiming that the market was still obsessed with up-front capital expenditure, Yarrington said: “In order for the air conditioning industry to reach its true potential we need end-users, consultants and contractors to embrace the total cost of ownership discussion and not just select the cheapest up-front solution.”

He also maintained that in order for companies like Airedale to continue investing heavily in pushing the envelope of air conditioning efficiencies: “We must have a market that is receptive to the idea that an increase in up-front cost can deliver long term benefits, not just for accountants but also for the planet.”

He also pointed out that his own company had developed products above and beyond the minimum requirements of the Ecodesign directive that came into force on January 1 last year, and aims to achieve early Tier 2 compliance (which comes into force in 2021) wherever possible. 

“It is important that end-users and contractors ensure suppliers are Ecodesign compliant and understand that this legislation can benefit them in terms of the running cost of their facilities. We would also make the point that the relevant standards bodies need to police this legislation and act accordingly where organisations are cutting corners to ensure a level playing field for all manufacturers.”

Related stories:

Branson: AC efficiencies are “pathetic” – 4 January 2019
UK: Sir Richard Branson, UK billionaire and founder of the Virgin group, says air conditioning efficiencies are “pathetic” and accuses leading manufacturers of being an obstacle to change. Read more…

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