Hot gets a little cold

There’s no doubt about it, the weather and climate are getting stranger and more unpredictable. With devastating hurricanes, torrential rains, massive earthquakes, destructive tornadoes, scorching heat and raging blizzards, something is obviously going on around the world.

In a recent article entitled The Race Against Heat, India has been experiencing dangerously hot weather. During the summer of 2015, the town of Ahmedabad, population 7.8 million, and the largest city in the state of Gujaret experienced temperatures of 114 degrees Fahrenheit and in 2016 exceeded 122 degrees setting a record.

Living with Deadly Heat

Across India, roughly 5 percent of the population has air condition. That’s about to change as the HVAC industry has found a ready market in Ahmedabad. The landscape is already dotted with signs and advertising from HVAC companies.

While this surge of demand is a tremendous business opportunity for the HVAC industry, it does come with some caveats, namely the amount of refrigerants like hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) expelled into the air and ozone layer. These greenhouse gases have a thousand times the warming potential of carbon dioxide, and if HFC use continues to grow at its current pace, the chemicals could make up as much as 19 percent of emissions by 2050.

Last year in Kigali, Rwanda, negotiators from 197 countries amended the Montreal Protocol to phase down the use of the most potent greenhouse gas refrigerants. India has until 2028 to start its reductions, while several companies have already begun switching to less-damaging chemicals.

Business is getting ready to explode

According to market research firm Frost and Sullivan, Indians bought around 5 million air conditioner units in 2016, while the market continues to growing at 10 to 12 percent annually. International HVAC vendors are all vying for a share of the market.

Even the repairmen in Ahmedabad cannot keep up with demand of the business. As older units require repair and new ones need servicing, many HVAC technicians are working in shifts from 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. taking as many as 20 calls a day.

Adapting to the problem

The world is on track to add 700 million new HVAC systems by 2030, and 1.6 billion by 2050 primarily in the extremely hot developing countries like India and Indonesia. As the HVAC boom tries to accommodate the crisis, it’s also going to widen the gap between those who can afford HVAC and those left to contend with the scorching elements.

The HVAC industry is well aware that rising temperatures are increasing the demand. It’s not so much adapting to the climate change or even meeting the HVAC demand, the real problem at hand is being careful we don’t cause additional damage to the environment and make the problem worse.

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