How has Samsung Electronics progressed since the easing of the pandemic?
The supply chain of electronic parts in the industry has been disrupted by the pandemic, affecting production and logistics. However, as Samsung, we have a highly diversified manufacturing footprint, which reduces dependency on other suppliers, resulting in no major disruptions during global supply chain congestion. Despite the pandemic easing, other factors, such as the Russia-Ukraine conflict, global monetary tightening and economic slowdown are still causing strong headwinds in the global economy.
What innovations are you able to report? And how have they impacted South Korea’s HVACR sector?
We have raised standards for air conditioners every year, including the world’s first WindFree air conditioner, in 2016. Last year, we introduced a new version of WindFree. The 2022 BESPOKE WindFree Air Conditioner upgraded its cooling, eco-conscious and hygiene functions and, in particular, applied the R32 refrigerant to lower environmental impact and increase energy efficiency.
If we talk about the impact on South Korea’s HVACR Sector, we received a 1st Grade Energy Efficiency Rating from the Korean government. We applied the R32 refrigerant with low GWP, becoming the first household air conditioner in Korea to do so. We developed Solar Cell Remote, which is a low-power remote controller with a self-charging function and solar- and light-charging functions.
Another global trending topic is The Internet of Things. The future of IoT will present new technologies and bring eco-friendly solutions we may not previously have thought possible. We offer turnkey solutions for all IoT fields, from smart homes to B2B and industrial. Samsung SmartThings is an umbrella control and automation platform for a range of first- and third-party devices, not just Samsung. SmartThings can control ACs, washers, ovens, TVs, dishwashers, fridges, etc. You can easily monitor your devices’ energy consumption, and an AI-based energy-saving mode can help you save energy.
What percentage of projects in South Korea is building-retrofitting? What technologies have you contributed to the retrofit projects?
Replacing the HVAC equipment will make a building’s HVAC system more efficient. Two-thirds of the buildings that exist today will still be standing in 2050, and since buildings account for as much as 70% of a city’s carbon emissions, the opportunity to retrofit existing real estate is vast. In line with that, day-by-day, the retrofitting projects’ share in our total business is increasing.
Technology is evolving. The mainstream popularity of smartphone devices took off after 2010, approximately 15 years ago. HVAC products have evolved and become more efficient in the last 15 years, as well.
The HVAC paradigm has shifted from a central managing system to a system that can satisfy end users. VRF is an individualised HVAC system, but it can be managed centrally. VRF system is considered the first option for remodelling buildings. DVM S2 is the latest generation of Samsung’s VRF systems. Its new AI technology allows the equipment to operate at exact target pressures and temperatures, based on application to save energy.
Our DVM Chiller provides a chilled water solution for replacement and new design solutions while maintaining the benefits of DVM S. It connects multiple third-party fan-coil units via water piping to provide cooling and heating to individual zones. Like VRF outdoor units, the DVM Chiller can modulate its capacity depending on the requirements of the various zones, which saves energy and improves occupant comfort. It is great for retrofit projects – it provides superior manageability when combined with our optional Fan Coil Unit (FCU) Control Kit and Fan Coil Interface Module to control and integrate third-party fan-coil units to Samsung central and local controls. And it is easy to combine and fit multiple units even when space is limited.
What is your perspective on the business environment in the GCC region? What are your accomplishments in the last six months in terms of orders booked and business growth? In the post-pandemic phase, is there a shift in focus in the GCC region, with more attention given to Saudi Arabia?
With inflation accelerating and resulting monetary policy tightening, the world is experiencing challenging times that increase recessionary fears. However, the Gulf region’s situation remains brighter than most, according to updates from the International Monetary Fund and other respected forecasters.
This optimism appears to be supporting a generally favourable backdrop for real estate and construction sectors across much of the region. Saudi Arabia leads the way with significant developments, such as Neom, The Red Sea Project and Riyadh Metro, the country’s first transport system. Riyadh Metro is important for us, because we have supplied 3,500 units of our ‘360 Cassette’ to this project.
Meanwhile, the UAE construction sector continues to grow and prioritise carbon neutrality. That is why I can say that the new projects in the UAE are eco-conscious. Recently, Dubai-based Nakheel chose the DVM S2 for its Murooj Al Furjan project. Thanks to its Active AI technologies, which learn usage patterns, the DVM S2 intelligently optimises comfort and reduces wasted energy.
Another project we were newly awarded is from PDO. The project is one of the major luxury villa projects in high-ambient conditions in Muscat. While deciding on the indoor units, the investor focused on our WindFree. The WindFree 1-Way Cassette uses thousands of micro holes to distribute air throughout the space without blowing directly on the occupants. The unit can deliver an air current that is under 0.15 m/s while in WindFree mode. Air velocity that is below 0.15 m/s is considered “still air”, as defined by ASHRAE. Comfort was an important factor in the project. I think the HVAC sector outlook across the GCC region is promising, much like its construction industry, although potential risks associated with pandemics, supply-chain disruption, and changing costs must also be considered.
How is Samsung Electronics helping the region overcome the challenges it faces to lower emissions and total cost of ownership and improve resilience and IAQ?
The countries in the GCC region support clean energy transitions. There is a plan to increase the use of energy-efficient products here, particularly in the case of high electricity consumers, such as air conditioners. If we talk about energy efficiency for an AC, the first detail to look for is the SEER rating – it is a way of rating the efficiency of an air conditioning unit. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the AC is. As a company, we offer high SEER values for all our HVAC solutions. Our comprehensive environmental strategy includes enterprise-wide net-zero and 100% renewable energy goals. We are raising the industry bar even higher on energy efficiency.
The key to minimising the carbon footprint is to focus firstly on greater energy efficiency within buildings, followed by the usage of low carbon/net-zero energy. Through smart building technologies, building managers can manage demand and optimise technical infrastructure to drive savings in energy usage.
We lately introduced in the GCC region our smart building solution, b.IoT (Building Internet of Things). It offers a single interface to easily monitor and manage multiple buildings at the same time via a secure network. Users can check energy usage parameters, air quality levels or cumulative hours of filter usage from a remote location. I believe that the use of b.IoT will spread rapidly in the region.
How keenly are Samsung Electronics and South Korea eyeing the rapidly evolving clean energy market – especially Green Hydrogen, and its possible use in powering HVACR systems? What initiatives are you taking to align yourself with the impending shift to Green Hydrogen and its possible impact on building-related emissions?
To preemptively respond to changes in the global industry and take the lead in solving global warming, we have been presenting diverse green solutions based on our technological competence and expertise. To provide optimal solutions tailored to the client’s needs and circumstances, our HVAC products offer key green technologies. The environmental performance of our released products is certified through various certification programmes, which assess a product’s environmental aspects. In particular, we analyse the impact of global warming in each stage and strive to develop products with minimal GHG emissions based on the results.
We, as Samsung Electronics, assess all suppliers that provide products or components with the company’s Eco-Partner Certification system to strictly ensure that products and components do not contain environmentally hazardous substances. Suppliers must submit a product environmental report disclosing the use of all substances of concern, along with data from their suppliers providing raw materials. We then make a thorough assessment by visiting the suppliers’ manufacturing sites to verify the submitted documents. To maintain the Eco-Partner certification, suppliers are audited every two years, and those that fail to pass the audit are excluded from the supply chain. In these ways, we strive to incorporate our suppliers into our green management initiatives. Rather than a one-time assessment, we provide continuous management and evaluation of all supply partners to ensure sustainable supply chain management.
In order to answer your question about Green Hydrogen, specifically, I need to explain to you a little bit about Samsung. The company was founded by Lee Byung-Chul in 1938 as a trading company. Following Lee’s death in 1987, Samsung was separated into five business groups. Samsung Electronics is one of the world’s largest information technology companies, consumer electronics makers and chipmakers under the Samsung group. Samsung HVAC business unit is a part of Samsung Electronics. There are other companies under the Samsung group, like Samsung Heavy Industries, one of the world’s largest shipbuilders or Samsung Engineering and Samsung C&T Corporation, one of the world’s largest construction companies.
I know that Samsung Engineering is developing green hydrogen projects with our major clients and partners in Korea and globally. I can say that we are taking bold steps in the direction of the use of green energy.