Burgeoning urbanisation has generated an impetus for advancement in smart buildings, metro rails, food processing, agriculture and cold chain industry.

In turn, these sectors enhance the requirement for the efficient heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration equipment (HVACR) equipment. HVAC& R systems have become an integral part of daily life. Further, changing lifestyle, rising disposable income and younger generation will be driving the growth of the HVACR industry.

The future of the HVACR industry is very bright with the market increasing at CAGR of more than 10 per cent. Rapid urbanisation, is driving the growth in the demand of AC&R equipment. Various vertical segments like healthcare, hospitality, industry, commercial office space, residential are all on the growth trajectory, observes C Subramaniam, National President, ISHRAE.

“The industry is poised to grow and more so as the urban population is expected to grow from current 34 per cent to 50 per cent by 2025. Cooling requirement for both human comfort and temperature-controlled logistics will continue to grow. However, the challenge is to act on sustainable methods of cooling,” asserts Vishnu Sasidharan, VP – New Product Initiatives, Pluss Advanced Technologies Pvt Ltd.

The trend for the industry is to innovate for optimisation of resources, increase efficiency and use passive cooling methods. Subject matter expertise and creative thinking are the need of the hour as this industry is one of the most resource intensive. Unless the energy requirement for cooling is reduced, it will have substantial effect on the climate change. Clean and energy efficient cooling can advance three internationally agreed goals simultaneously i.e. the Paris Climate Agreement; the UN Sustainable Development Goals; and the Montreal Protocol’s Kigali Amendment, he further adds.

All the industry sectors have been witnessing major transformations, and the HVACR sector is no exception. The Internet of Things (IoT) in the HVACR system has made rapid strides, making it more efficient and convenient. Due to IoT, the devices can communicate with each other on real time basis providing feedback on real time basis. Automation in the system adjusts the temperature of the system sensing the activity of the user with the help of sensors fitted in the system. So, the future of HAVC&R industry lies in adoption of IoT and automation.

“Digitalisation, automation and innovation will play an important role in future of HVACR industry. There is a rising demand for the star rated and energy efficient products across the country; this may call for a significant brand shift over a coming year. Overall, future of HVACR Industry is very bright and looks promising,” informs Amit Deshmukh, Program Chair for ISHRAE Thane Chapter.

The expected demand will be more than the supply, which will generate opportunities for manufacturers, supply chain and contractors in the HVACR industry. Smart cities projects will call for a demand in multi-split type air conditioner for commercial buildings that uses variable refrigerant flow control, as well as split or window ACs in the residential market. Health consciousness has escalated the demand for organic food. This rise in demand in organic food will drive the growth of refrigeration and cold chain industry.

Frozen foods and ready-to-eat foods are gaining momentum due to changing lifestyles and younger generation. This growth will be visible in the cold chain sector covering cold stores, frozen food plants, packhouses, reefer transport, ripening units, distribution centres, retail, etc.

The Government of India’s approval for development of 42 Mega Food Parks in the country will generate modern infrastructure, creating potential for the food processing sector. The scheme will link agricultural production to the market by bringing together farmers, processors and retailers under one umbrella. This will automatically leverage the potential for the cold chain and logistics industry.

Future growth is in temperature-controlled logistics for pharma, agriculture and perishables, which is still an untapped opportunity. “Integration of IoT and artificial intelligence-based control and monitoring systems would drive growth for both new and existing systems. Secondly, utilisation of renewable energy and free cooling using Thermal Energy Storage materials (Phase Change Materials) would play an important role in reducing dependency on grid power or diesel generator sets,” states Vishnu Sasidharan.

The global HVACR industry has been witnessing a shift towards use of refrigerants with lower carbon footprint. The Montreal Protocol, the Kigali Amendment, the Convention on Climate Change (COP21) etc. have been adopted in order to lower or eliminate the impact of Global Warming Potential (GWP) and Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP) refrigerants. “There are a lot of opportunities in research and development of green refrigerants and use of natural working fluids like Ammonia and carbon di-oxide,” avers C Subramaniam.

Spurt in demand for sustainable and energy efficient building will drive the growth of green building and energy efficient products. Overall, the HVACR industry is poised for the development of solutions and products having good energy efficiency, lower environmental impact and better Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). “This will call for increase in demand for non-conventional systems like radiant cooling or passive ventilation etc. Concisely, the future HVACR growth lies in innovation, digitalisation and automation,” asserts Amit Deshmukh.

Technological innovation in automation, control devices and IoT will accelerate the future growth of HVACR industry. IoT-enabled devices having benefits of more energy savings, convenience and comfort over the traditional electro-mechanical devices will gain prominence in the near future. The future will witness the advent of the smart control in HVAC units by using cloud-based systems.