As the annual AHR Expo returned to an in-person event this year, attendees were anxious to find out about trends and new products. One of the first round of educational sessions Jan. 31 covered the evolving technologies and methods of ventilating buildings.
The Air Movement and Control Association International (AMCA) partnered with industry consultant Applied Marketing Knowledge on a project data survey to study these trends. Aaron Gunzer, AMCA’s senior manager of advocacy, explained to a nearly full room how the survey was conducted and the parameters used. Project types covered everything except civil and single-unit residences.
Gunzer provided four key observations taken from the data survey results:
- The overall market was growing before the COVID-19 pandemic.
- For a few years, variable-refrigerant flow (VRF) was growing faster than the overall market.
- Mature system types were growing with the market.
- Water-source heat pumps were not growing.
Dave Morrow, managing partner at Applied Marketing Knowledge, noted that VRF systems in large volume vertical markets doubled in five years.
Manufacturers, reps, building owners and consulting engineers surveyed agreed that the industry needed to overcome VRF 1.0 problems. In addition, some buildings are not a good fit for VRF applications.
As the industry gears up for VRF 2.0, Morrow noted that it should focus on VRF education, especially to next-gen engineers.
“We need to talk about how it works in the entire HVAC system,” he said. “And the focus should be on the ventilation method before looking at heating and cooling.”