It’s been almost two years since the HVAC&R industry started gathering to explore and admire the industry’s latest innovations. Looking back at this year's AHR Expo 2022, we would like to share our impressions and an overview of the trends, challenges, and new features the HVAC industry is facing and how the industry is evolving to become more sustainable, innovative, and international.
Here is everything you might have missed at this year's show:
At this year’s show, 1,618 exhibitors spread across about 456,904 ft2 (42,447 m2) at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Air-conditioning units, building materials, and more filled out the floor space as engineers, contractors, and facility operators roamed the show in search of new and innovative products that could help them find solutions to the latest industry challenges.
Times have changed since the last AHR Expo in Orlando, FL, in February 2020. The great importance of the HVAC&R industry is now seen as common knowledge.
The 2022 AHR Show was a great opportunity to follow up on the industry snapshots of potential opportunities, challenges, and threats the industry could face in the coming year. Common themes in all the conversations included the transition to low global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants, the focus on IAQ, and the need to support and grow a diverse workforce. As a general observation, the state of the HVAC industry is strong, despite the challenges brought on by the pandemic. On the one hand, supply chain and workforce issues continue, while on the other hand, demand for products and equipment has arguably never been higher.
What Has Changed
The pandemic has raised the profile of the issue of indoor air quality and the HVAC industry is responding by showcasing innovative products and equipment that improves ventilation, cleans the air, and improves ideal humidity levels. Many of these products were present on the floor of the 2022 AHR Expo.
Shipping & Shortages
The ongoing tariffs on steel and aluminum have affected the whole HVAC industry. Aditionally, the continuous shortage of microchips and labor maintain to oppose challenges for the whole industry as well as shipping delays and an increase in shipping costs.
In the same way, delays from transit, port congestion, container shortages, trucking, tariffs, component shortages, and so on have created significant challenges for creating a great customer experience, affecting customer retention and forcing companies to be creative and innovate new standards for serving and approaching customers, partners and distributors.
Labor Shortage HVAC&R
Other trades continued to be high in demand during the pandemic causing the labor shortage to grow. Great resignation is affecting most of the sectors and industries, HVAC is not an exemption. Talent retention became a challenge, including shopfloor technicians and operators, and companies are working on many initiatives to retain the existing workforce and attract new talent through the development of tailored retention programs.
The shutdown opened the virtual meeting space as an accepted business method. While it is faster and carries significantly fewer costs than in-person meetings, there is a challenge to create a personal experience with these platforms. Focusing on improved communication has become imperative to providing a superior customer experience, as well as to managing the daily internal operations and activities in the companies.
Beyond The Pandemic
The HVAC industry, like many industries, is increasing its emphasis on improving energy efficiency and reducing emissions in order to become sustainable and eco-friendly. The products and equipment AHR Expo visitors found on the show floor showcased an increased emphasis on offering the most innovating equipment ever available. System design improvements will drive new development as well as improved environmental control, where the HVAC players are doing a significant effort to improve air quality systems.
On the other side, right-sizing systems to provide adequate ventilation will ultimately create a cleaner and more comfortable environment for people. This is happening through agency regulation and innovation in equipment designs and will ultimately drive opportunities throughout the HVAC industry worldwide.
HVACR’s Pressing Issues
- Successfully completing the transition to lower GWP refrigerants is high on the list, as is the industry’s response to decarbonization efforts across the U.S. and around the world.
- In addition, the coming transition to new performance metrics for heating and air conditioning equipment (the M1 transition) is a major communications effort for the entire industry, manufacturers, distributors, and contractors alike.
- Increasing awareness and use of new standards globally recognized, industry-respected certification and programs around the world will continue to be a major emphasis.
- HVACR ensures comfort, is increasing the efficient use of energy, and providing environmental sustainability.
Schools became a target focus to ensure proper equipment to increase health, safety, and productivity, representing an excellent opportunity given the amount of public funding available. This also brings the opportunity for international expansion to grow in many other nations, as far as those programs are active in most of the EU countries. As mentioned before, systems design requirements will provide new design challenges and opportunities for all sectors of the HVACR industry, while outside air management and online experience have the potential to make the biggest impact.
Highlight the Positive
There is not a person in the United States today that does not use one or more of the products and equipment within the HVAC industry, whether it is heating, cooling, refrigeration, or water heating. The positive contributions of the industry are too numerous to mention, anyhow negative media stories regarding the effects of HVAC products on energy use and the environmental effect, are still an issue to be addressed by noting the absolute necessity of those products in protecting life, heath, and safety as well as the strides made in decreasing their effect on the overall environment.
If you want more insight and information about EuroDev's view on the HVAC industry developments, as well as an assessment of your business's growth potential in Europe, do not hesitate to contact Jose Prieto VP Industrial.
EuroDev has helped over 500 companies with their expansion into the European market. We support you with market research, identifying new business opportunities, and getting your boots on the ground in Europe. Our team works across the complex European market. With our local expertise, we help you understand the diversity of Europe while helping your company gain a foothold in the European HVAC&R industry.