How Will The HVAC Industry Change In 2021?
2020 has been a year of unprecedented obstacles for all industries, and whilst it might be a challenge to look forward to 2021 with a clear outlook, the HVAC sector is one example where its influence is still seen all around us, and there is plenty happening to enable industry experts to predict a more optimistic year ahead.
Our domestic and working lives may have changed during the past 12 months, but heating, ventilation and air conditioning prevails as a central feature to construction, operations and our own personal health and comfort. So how does 2021 look for the HVAC sector?
Fresh emphasis on Green technologies
Boris Johnson’s recently-announced ten-point plan for creating a ‘Green Industrial Revolution’ is a welcome boost in future-proofing investment and development in the HVAC sector. Work will start immediately on meeting the UK’s net zero carbon targets, which will include progressing the use of hydrogen as a low-carbon energy source and an increased usage of heat pumps in domestic and commercial settings. There is a target to install 600,000 heat pumps annually by 2028, and of course the HVAC sector is right at the forefront of that technology.
It may appear that more and more people have found a way to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, but of course that isn’t possible for everyone. So commercial construction is still thriving and 2021 should see the increased use of new forms of building materials such as lime and silicate-based plasters which have vapour permeable properties and are low in emissions. More sustainable replacements for traditional brick and various forms of insulation are also in development, all of which work with HVAC systems to create healthy, moisture-free and energy efficient interior settings.
Naturally, the ongoing pandemic has highlighted the need for cleaner air in offices and a continual turnover of fresh airflow, but in a cost-effective way. This should see a renewed investment in air conditioning as businesses invest in their employees’ wellbeing and attempt to get back to normal working conditions.
2021 should see a renewed investment in smarter technologies as businesses get back to work, but under tough economic conditions where they need to monitor operating costs closer than ever. Energy usage comes into that category and businesses are now looking at more ways they can integrate smart technology to look after their energy usage, but also their security and fire safety systems. One customisable package is Software as a Service (SaaS) which businesses can subscribe to, and it unlocks potential to monitor energy usage and make critical cost savings.
There is also a trend in retro-fitting smart technology in premises which were previously considered energy-inefficient. Using zoned systems, a building can be fitted with additional functionality to improve its efficiency and contribute to the net zero carbon targets of the organisation and the UK as a whole. Advances in wireless and Bluetooth technologies are also helping businesses to reduce emissions, lower operating costs, improve performance and streamline maintenance programmes.
Whilst we are still waiting on the trade and legislative deals that will shape much of the industry impact following the end of the Brexit transition period on 1st January 2021, we know there could be a workforce impact as a result of the new immigration rules.
The wider impact on the construction industry, both commercially and residentially, is still largely unknown however. But HVAC has proven before that it is a robust industry with an enduring need to innovate and develop its own technology, and coupled with the very welcome emphasis on Green technologies announced recently, it seems that 2021 could see the triumphant return of HVAC as a leading industrial sector in the UK.