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The challenges ahead for a fledgling

September saw the launch of ARAMENA, a regional association of HVACR manufacturers, by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI)

| | Oct 15, 2013 | 10:12 pm
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B Surendar

B Surendar

September saw the launch of ARAMENA, a regional association of HVACR manufacturers, by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI). During the inauguration, AHRI CEO, Stephen Yurek (see interview) said that ARAMENA would serve as the voice of the industry – a single point of contact between HVACR manufacturers with business interests in the region and government bodies.

While it would be interesting to see how manufacturers with divergent commercial goals and aligned to different cooling or ventilation approaches come together for a lobbying activity – for that’s one of the avowed goals of the association – it would be equally interesting to see the strategies adopted to engage different government and quasi-government entities.

Another challenge in the region is the befuddling surfeit of similar codes. The GCC, for instance, is home to numerous green building codes, though they address similar ambient conditions. The cluster of codes represents what a stakeholder once described as an “administrative tangle”, though a case can be made that the sovereignty of geographical entities needs to be respected. And in the variable refrigerant flow industry, faced with the challenge of having to submit data related to COP, Seasonal COP or kWh, manufacturers have been shouting themselves hoarse for a uniform set of energy-efficiency-related evaluation parameters and also testing and certification procedures.

Europe has time and again negotiated such hurdles in the context of environmental stewardship. The Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases (F-Gases) Regulation represents a more recent example of a cluster of countries coming together for a cause (to lower the impact of high-global-warming potential (GWP) refrigerants), under the auspices of the European Commission. The regulation has a critical task – to control the refilling, disposal and labelling of equipment that contain F-Gases, and are binding on stationary refrigeration and air conditioning, among other sectors.

Speaking of refrigerants, yet another challenge, as articulated by some regulators in the region, is for manufacturers to supply equipment that match the specific profile (T3 conditions, for instance) of the region against the backdrop of the urgent need for low-GWP solutions and, at the same time, to respect the region’s concerns for health and safety. As Yaqoub Almatouq, the Head of the Refrigeration Team with the Ministry of Social Affair & Labour in Kuwait, puts it bluntly, “There is an absence of international technology providers that promote the use of natural solutions in the region.”

Faced with such scenarios, ARAMENA has quite a course to navigate if it wants to be seen as a potent and relevant platform for HVACR manufacturers in the region.

B Surendar
Editor

Twitter: @BSurendar_HVACR

 


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