Founding members to open up membership, once process is completed
By Fatima de la Cerna | Assistant Editor
A joint initiative by AHRI and UNEP, the HVACR association, ARAMENA was developed with the mission of becoming the voice of the industry, Stephen Yurek, the CEO of AHRI, had said during the association’s launch, in September 2013. Nearly two years have passed since the launch, though, and ARAMENA has yet to open an office and expand its membership, which comprises 13 founding members.
“ARAMENA’s challenge at present is to complete the corporate registration of the association, complying with UAE regulations implemented in Dubai and setting up an office there,” Jim Walters, Vice President for International Affairs at AHRI, said. “The founding members are eager to accept new members from the other sectors of the HVACR industry that have shown interest in joining but prefer to wait until the registration process has been completed.”
Walters disclosed that in the meantime, AHRI is acting as the secretariat for the association. “AHRI has been keeping ARAMENA members informed about developments in the establishment of new minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) in the GCC and collecting input and responses from the members, which have been useful when industry advice has been sought,” he said. “AHRI is closely following developments in Saudi Arabia, where the SEEC and SASO are discussing MEPS’ values and standards for certification; in Abu Dhabi, where the Quality and Conformity Council (QCC) is working on a draft certification scheme for air-cooled unitary air conditioners and in Kuwait, which is looking at MEPS for commercial air conditioning.”
The activities it is pursuing, Walters pointed out, are in accordance with the function it seeks to serve. “The association sees a role in advocating with industry stakeholders, organisations and consumers for a level playing field on harmonised standards and certification programmes, MEPS, market surveillance and alternative technologies suitable for the region,” he said.
Walters also shared that while ARAMENA is waiting for the completion of its registration, its members have been finding ways to get together. “AHRI met with the 13 founding members during the 4th Symposium on Alternative Refrigerants for the Air Conditioning Industry in High-Ambient Temperature Countries, which was held in Dubai, last October,” he said, adding, “Members have set up working groups for the pending issues. These groups meet by conference call, and their recommendations are shared with the other members. The next step for the association is a meeting of its Executive Committee to decide on and adopt a working plan for the next three years of operation, which is planned to start this year.”