Tony Gittings, the UK Head of LG says that some sectors of the industry are using ‘scare tactics’ as preparations to introduce the F-Gas Regs continue.
These EU-driven regulations (expected to come into force in the UK in 2007) are intended to reduce emissions of fluorinated greenhouse gases. One way of achieving this is by the regular inspection of in-space refrigerant pipework in air conditioning systems- even though F Gas emissions account for less than 2% of total EU greenhouse gas emissions.
Some pundits believe that this will have an adverse effect on sales of VRF systems – to the benefit of conventional fan coil systems which conversely have water in the space pipework, not refrigerant as VRF systems do.
“This argument simply doesn’t hold water and is a misleading scare tactic,” said Tony Gittings General Manager of LG’s UK air conditioning operation. “The success of VRF is indicative of the ability of the technology over and above conventional systems – particularly on energy efficiency and ease of installation – and the actual capital cost of VRF is reducing.
“If a client invests thousands of pounds in an energy efficient VRF system, they are hardly going to abandon that investment because of refrigerant leak checks. A system of this size would have an inherent maintenance schedule and refrigerant leak checks could easily be incorporated into this regime on a regular basis, with the minimum of fuss.”
Rather than unproductive back-biting, the industry should be gearing itself up for the introduction of the regulations, he warned. “The challenge for the industry is to ensure we can implement the regulations. The knock-on effect on training and the registration of installation engineers is going to be huge. The Government, I believe, have underestimated the impact on the industry generally and as we stand at the moment I would say we are not ready to face this challenge.”
VRF systems, he concluded, would continue to dominate the comfort cooling market “with or without the F-Gas Regs”. He explained: “LG is the world’s biggest, volume manufacturer of a/c units and there is enormous corporate strength – one unit in seven is made by the company at any one of seven manufacturing sites”.