Carrier recently earned an ESMA certification and also launched the Evergreen 19XRD in the region. B Surendar of Climate Control Middle East caught up with Philippe Delpech, the president of Carrier EMEA, to discuss the developments. Excerpts from the interview…
Could you please elaborate on your collaboration with ESMA (Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology)? What, do you think, will ESMA achieve? For example, there is a lot of work that needs to be done to improve installation standards in the UAE.
Carrier invented modern air conditioning in 1902. Since then, we have promoted energy efficiency and performance to support the regulatory agenda. We are involved the world over, be it in Europe, Asia or in the US; Carrier helped establish the US Green Building Council (USGBC), for instance.
We have been an integral part of many certification organisations, be it Eurovent or AHRI. Likewise, we hope ESMA takes off well and that it raises HVACR standards in the country. ESMA has the support from the government and can establish standards that will raise HVACR performance here to a higher level. This is a positive development, because HVACR energy consumption here is high.
Overall, we believe only reliable, environmentally conscious and ethical companies can participate in meeting customer demand for more sustainable offerings. From a long-term perspective, this is good for the UAE.
It is good that ESMA has the capacity to establish standards, which hopefully, will drive installation practices to the best level.
You have the distinction of being the first to earn an ESMA certification in the country, which you did recently. Do tell us about this.
In June, we invited ESMA to our factory in Saudi Arabia to view the entire product-manufacturing cycle. They audited the entire process and said we met the standard for this certificate. The range of products in the factory includes window units and splits – both outdoor and indoor – typically up to 5TR cooling capacity. We are honoured to be the first HVACR company to receive ESMA certification,
What, do you think, will ESMA be able to achieve with regards to curbing rampant counterfeiting?
The real issue has to do with the publishing of misleading information in catalogues. This is what we are hoping ESMA will investigate and regulate. We are heartened by the fact that the ESMA certificate is a mandatory requirement for importing goods into the country. Indeed, misleading thermodynamic performance is an issue, for instance, and any such unethical behaviour could damage the reputation of the entire industry.
You recently launched the Evergreen 19XRD in the Middle East. Does this firmly signal your re-entry into the central cooling market?
In the last decade, we have observed two phenomena. The first is district cooling, which contrary to common belief, is not so common, globally. For instance, you do not get to see district cooling in Europe and Asia of such large capacities as here.
The second phenomenon is in the growth of mega-projects. China is a driver of such projects, including mega airports or mega commercial centres. Keeping this in mind, we decided to expand our range in tonnage to supply to these mega projects. We had a major share of the projects connected to the Beijing Olympics.
One of the best product offerings to meet the requirements of large projects is the Carrier Evergreen 19XRD chiller, which is sold worldwide. It uses hermetic compressor technology and can be dismantled, shipped and reassembled with ease.
Outside the GCC, we have supplied to the new airport in New Delhi. Speaking of which, today, we see several mega-projects coming up in India. Generally speaking, we have the opportunity to supply to mega projects and, in that regard, the 19XRD represents a very successful move for Carrier.
What features make the 19XRD stand out?
It is a very standardised machine. It has large-volume hermetic compressors and is designed in such a manner that makes it easy to dismantle and ship. To be specific, you can place the 19XRD into two containers. It has a very efficient tube design, and the machine runs on non-ozone depleting HFC refrigerant. The capacity range is what we have standardised and modularised.
Do you think you have been late in entering the district cooling market here and that you did not capitalise on the boom that the UAE, in particular, experienced?
It’s a question of perspective. If we look at the UAE, district cooling has been a huge issue, but from a worldwide perspective, it is really a niche area. There is no district cooling in China or India to the extent seen here. It is a question of economics. To produce the 19XRD in large scale, for the quality we want, we wanted a large market base to achieve the return on investment. This condition came together when China took off with the Shanghai Expo, the Beijing Olympics and its large airport projects.
At the same time, we must not forget that in the 1970s, we supplied large capacity chillers to mega projects in this region. The district cooling story is rather small in the context of mega projects.
Do you see a market for the 19XRD with smaller modular chilled water plants?
Modularity is good. The reason why people are coming back to standalone plants is that they don’t trust the system of district cooling. The pendulum went too far on one side. In China, like most places, they want to pay as per consumption. In this part of the world, people should accept the fact that end-users may want to pay for what they use. If they build a 20,000 TR plant for five buildings and discover that only three are occupied, it is questionable whether it is fair on their part to levy the entire cost on the occupants of the three buildings.
The pendulum will come back to the middle. In addition, the economic crisis in Dubai was pretty dramatic. The district cooling concept, in itself, is not in question, but experience shows that the approach was flawed. It has to be balanced and matched with consumption. As for us, district cooling is an application that is very interesting, because the consumption of chillers is high, and the 19XRD is designed for that purpose.
What would you recommend to consumers: district cooling or standalone?
For us, we look at improving energy efficiency and minimising the impact on the climate. For some projects, we would advise standalone, and for some others we would advise district cooling. If it has to be district cooling, we would advise a modular approach. The 19XRD is a good size for modularity.
Carrier is a leader in providing energy-efficient solutions. To provide customers access to our experts in efficiency and environment, Carrier launched the AdvanTE3C Solutions Center, which support Carrier’s customers around the world in developing strategic, energy efficient and custom-engineered building solutions. These solutions include not just air conditioning systems but also other elements such as glass, windows and ventilation. Today, consumers are asking for advanced performance. You cannot achieve performance if you look at only air conditioning. That’s a development we are seeing in mega cities. The experts at theAdvanTE3C Solutions Center will work with the designer on issues related to chillers, AHUs and FCUs.
As President, what is your vision for the Middle East?
We are the leading company in the field of HVACR. We want to remain the leading company and improve our position, be it in the residential, light-commercial, commercial air conditioning or the commercial refrigeration segments. The strategy is to be focused to be the best supplier for our customers in each segment, always mindful of environmental stewardship.
We have a specific product range for each segment. In commercial refrigeration, for instance, we can offer turnkey solutions, be it to a hypermarket or small food retail store. Food safety requires a very high level of maintenance. We want to improve our relationship with the consultants to make sure the technologies at our disposal are embedded in the project right from the beginning. Also, we want to develop in-house service capabilities even further in order to serve our customers and through maintenance, sustain the highest level of equipment performance. I say this because the quality of performance of machines after installation tends to deteriorate, if not maintained properly.
The Middle East region has a lot of potential for better installation and better service. Today’s economic circumstances will certainly open the eyes of people and encourage them to look for reliable machines that also score high on energy efficiency, climate change mitigation, proper service and the availability of spare parts. During the boom, it was easy to forget these things.