‘Fragmentation of HVAC industry is one of the main challenges’

Indira Paryavaran Bhawan - net zero energy green building in New Delhi

Voltas is India’s largest air conditioning company with projects and products in air conditioning and refrigeration. The company offers engineering solutions for a wide spectrum of industries in areas such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning, refrigeration, electro-mechanical projects, textile machinery, mining and construction equipment, water management & treatment, cold chain solutions, building management systems, and indoor air quality.

M Gopi Krishna, EVP, COO, Domestic Projects Group, Voltas Limited explains that India has a very low HVAC penetration with air-conditioning traditionally associated with luxury but with an improvement in the associated complimentary factors like the improvement in the power situation, large markets hitherto not using the HVAC will open up.

M Gopi Krishna

M Gopi Krishna

Excerpts from the interview:

What are the emerging trends across the commercial and industrial air-conditioning segment nationwide?
Energy-efficiency and cost-efficiency are the emerging trends across the commercial and industrial air-conditioning segment. Voltas’ USP is energy-efficiency and ‘green’ features in its products. Voltas’ concern with low energy consumption has been a recurring thread right through more than five decades of its existence. Several innovative technologies and capabilities have been introduced in the country by the Company to contribute to energy efficiency including
• Introduction of Screw Chillers in commercial buildings in 1994 (ITPL)
• Introduction of VRF systems in IT Parks and Large office buildings in 2005 (KPIT)
• TrigenerationVapour Absorption Machines
• Integrated Building Management Systems in 1988

What are the main challenges facing the commercial & industrial HVAC segment in India? How can these challenges be eliminated?
Fragmentation of the market players in the HVAC industry is one of the main challenges faced threatening the attractiveness of the industry. Diminishing profit pools are not able to attract and retain the talent of HVAC engineers, who are migrating in search of better prospects. This diminishing body of knowledge in the fraternity is challenging the long term sustainability and growth.
On the regulatory front the geo-political issues around the refrigerant phase-out and energy labeling influence the industry in a major way.

How is the awareness about energy efficiency gaining traction among the industrial & commercial end-users in India?
The awareness on the energy efficiency is driven by the corporate responsibility towards lower carbon foot print and also regulation by the Government on the minimum efficiency standards. Growing power tariffs coupled with the power shortages further contribute to the awareness of energy efficiency.

HVAC industry is sustained by investment in infra projects, new commercial space development and premium housing segment. Going forward, how do you foresee the growth scenario?
Today, Voltas is India’s largest air conditioning company with projects and products in air conditioning and refrigeration. Voltas has provided solutions for every conceivable market / application, deploying the widest range of technologies and capacities in every application.

How can India emerge as a major manufacturing hub for HVAC industry?
India has a very low HVAC penetration with air-conditioning traditionally associated with luxury. The changed scenario offers high scope and growth opportunities. With an improvement in the associated complimentary factors like the improvement in the power situation, large markets hitherto not using the HVAC will open up.
Many of the MNC’s have already responded to the opportunity by setting up manufacturing facilities in India. The current Free Trade Agreements along with the currency variations and changing Geo-political situations will greatly influence the manufacturing in the Industry.

What is the future business strategy of Voltas?

The global HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) equipment’s market is driven by factors including stringent energy and environment regulations, growing urbanization and subsequent increase in construction spending, technological and product developments. The Indian HVAC market is growing at a fast pace mainly owing to the huge rise in construction activity in the real estate market. Indian Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (Ishrae) estimates that the HVAC products market in India is valued around Rs 15,000 crore, having grown from Rs 10,000 crore in 2010. Voltas’ growth strategy will be to target verticals whose developmental spending is high and growing – primarily infrastructure, certain core industries and service sectors, premium housing and commercial real estate.
Voltas will strive for continuing its No -1 position in the HVAC Industry by investing in solution capabilities, increasing the reach of its products & use of technology to enhance its operational efficiencies and ensure customer delight in projects and customer care.

Tell us about the impact of the recently announced budget on India’s HVAC industry?
The recently announced budget’s emphasis in the Health care, Education and Infrastructure areas are related and conducive for growth in the field. e.g. Increase in the number of educations institutes like IIM’s / IIT’s / AIIMS etc,.

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