Aiming high

By 2014, Middle East’s commercial air-conditioning market is expected to be worth approximately $4bn, representing a 35 per cent growth from figures released in 2010 .

The heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) industry plays a critical role in Arabian Gulf’s construction sector where the summer temperature shoots ups to nearly 50 degree Celsius. The HVAC industry in the region has weathered the economic downturn much better than most developed markets around the world and seen average annual growth in expenditures of 12 per cent from 2008 to 2011. By 2014 Middle East’s commercial air-conditioning market is expected to be worth approximately $4bn, representing a 35 per cent growth from figures released in 2010. One of the driving factors in the growth of the regional HVAC market has been the awarding of the 2022 FIFA World Cup to Qatar. This has led to an increase in construction as the country gears up for the mega-event.

The annual growth in the region’s construction markets is predicted to be 9 per cent from 2011 to 2015 with Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Kuwait growing at 10 per cent- plus annually. In turn, this has a direct impact on the growth of commercial air-conditioning in the region, as manufacturers try to fill in the growing demand gap. According to research from the Building Services Research and Information Association, a UK-based testing, instrumentation, research and consultancy organisation, the HVAC will grow by 6 per cent in Qatar and 10 per cent in Saudi Arabia annually from 2011 to 2015.

A rising trend in the regional market has been the use of Variable Refrigerant Flow air-conditioning systems, which has seen its sector sales grow by 500 per cent in 2011, compared to the overall single air-conditioning market. The sales of this system would continue to grow steadily as the expansion of the CAC market continued. Advances in technology and growth in the HVAC market have gone hand in hand as greater demand has necessitated bright ideas and the effective implementation of those ideas. This is reflected in the growth of VRF systems worldwide. The VRF systems market globally averaged an annual growth of 15 per cent over the last six years. Much of the initial growth was seen in major markets, but there has been a noticeable shift to emerging markets. This trend has led to a growing number of industry observers to predict considerable growth in the future.
According to research conducted by LG Air Conditioning and Energy Solution Company, the VRF systems market will reach a staggering $7.3bn by 2013, a 40 per cent jump from last year’s total.

Although industry numbers are hard to come by, there are literally thousands of players in the region’s HVAC market. The international players from China and Korea dominate the residential decorative split market. The Japanese, Korean and Chinese players dominate the variable refrigerant flow (VRF) market, while the Saudi manufacturers dominate the window A/C and the package A/C market. The Americans dominate the chiller market for large projects and district cooling plants. The top four global manufacturers – Johnson Controls, Trane, Daikin McQuay, and United Technologies-Carrier Corp. – represent more than 80 per cent of the of the commercial market. Local players, such as Zamil, Golden Star and SKM, represent the balance of the market. In the residential market, there are substantially more players, including manufacturers from Asia, Europe, America, as well as local players from the region.

Dynamic Growth

In Oman, the air-conditioner and refrigerator market account for a whopping 65 to 70 per cent of all business in the white goods market. The market size of air-conditioning products is around 200 K units a year in Oman. The market size for Refrigerators is around 80 K units a year. Also due to a very fertile commercial / industrial projects scenario, there is also a great business opportunity for different air-conditioning concepts like chiller, ducted type or DVM (Digital Variable Multi). Traditionally, the Sultanate has been a market for window ACs. That trend is rapidly changing as improved standards of living and more sophisticated lifestyles push customer preference to split and ducted air-conditioners. This is in line with global trends. Apart from lifestyle changes and economic development, price reductions in split units have driven demand for these models of air-conditioners. What’s more, the air-conditioner which was earlier regarded as a seasonal product now boasts decent sales figures even during off-season. In Oman extreme temperatures and high levels of humidity have spurred the demand for high quality, energy efficient, environment friendly and reliable cooling solutions. The Omani government, in keeping with these trends and demands, has established the highest standards in setting requirements for all new projects being developed for both the tourism and real estate sectors. In order to meet these requirements and to reduce the demand on the governments for energy the District Cooling solution has been developed and implemented throughout the GCC.

Energy savers

Industrial outlook has shifted towards a greener and more sustainable future, requiring customers as well as manufacturers to truly focus on environmentally-friendly technologies. In 2013, Panasonic, the leading air conditioner manufacturer in the region, has unveiled the new range of world’s only tropical inverter room air conditioners which it sees as ideal for tackling the region’s alarming rate of electricity consumption. Panasonic’s latest line up of tropical inverter air conditioners are now available with new and advanced features that are not only designed to provide cooling comfort to homes, but are more energy efficient and with increased air purification capabilities. The air purification systems embedded within these air conditioners capture 99 per cent of harmful micro-organisms from the air and deactivate those trapped on the surfaces and the filter. It utilizes nano-technology to purify the air and clean harmful micro-organisms attached onto the fabrics in the room. Commenting on the new product line-up with advanced features, Mr George Alexander , General Manager, Oman Marketing and Services Company , said, “The air conditioners are high power consuming appliances and account for nearly 70 per cent of utility bills here in the country. Keeping this in mind, the new technology incorporated into the machines offer a new path breaking technology in the field of air conditioners, especially for tropical climates like Middle East and Africa. With our new product line-up, the consumers can now enjoy a new dimension of inverter power and comfort as well as superb energy-saving operation”

In another development, Breezair Air Conditioning units, the product of Seeley International, Australia were launched in the Sultanate during The Big Show 2013, under auspices of Muscat Electronics. All the products of Seeley offer superior performance with relentless efficiency. It is setting new standards in providing most economical cooling solution for a wide variety of industrial/commercial cooling applications. It provides constant flow of cool fresh air in partially covered and ventilated places like factories, ware houses, commercial kitchens, restaurants, outdoor majlis, open kitchens, bus stops, workshops, garages etc. It brings down the temperature through its evaporative air conditioning technology wherein the cool breeze is created by hot air passing over water soaked cooling pads in the units. Natural evaporation helps soak up the heat and cools the hot air. Breezair consumes approximately 80 per cent less energy than the conventional air conditioning system and works effectively even when the doors and windows are open. Besides, since the cooling is natural, no harmful gases are emitted from it unlike the conventional air conditioners, which pollute the environment without our knowledge. The system is absolutely environment and human friendly.

Oman was the first country in GCC to have the honour of launching “General” 5 speed control wall mounted AC The new “General”, designed with its innovative technology, reduces resistance to return air, thereby allowing more air contact with the Heat Exchanger which results in better cooling. This 5-speed wall mounted split AC has a wide range of fan. ‘Airflow’ or quite simply Air movement inside a conditioned space is one of the key factors that contribute to ‘comfort’. The airflow reaches up to 15 metres, and gives a better cooling effect in to unwieldy longish rooms. Besides being environment friendly, this new model also incorporates additional heat exchangers, which means even better cooling performance, while consuming lesser energy, giving users handsome savings in electricity bills.

Sharp’s latest AC technology with the addition of ‘All Aluminum heat-exchangers’ and ‘Plasmacluster Ions’ not only reduces the unit’s weight by 40 percent, it also reduces its refrigerant requirement by a staggering 50 percent. “Sharp has always focused on improving customer’s lives through its technologies and we used this launch to showcase yet another innovation to the local and global market, which we believe tackles some of the challenges faced by the Air-Conditioning industry in the region,” says AG Tony assistant general manager OMEC.

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