ISHRAE: promoting sustainable India

Air-handling-unit,-used-for-heating,-cooling,-and-filtering-the-air

K-RAMACHANDRAN-The Indian Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Engineers (ISHRAE) is an international associate of ASHRAE to promote heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC&R) industry in India. Today, ISHRAE has more than 10,500 members, spread all over India and also in Middle East. Ramachandran, National President, ISHRAE, talks about energy efficiency and the future of HVAC & R industry in India.

How is ISHRAE advancing the arts and science of the HVAC industry and promoting a sustainable India?

ISHRAE is the foremost technical society in India in the field of HVAC & R with more than 10,000 members spread across 41 chapters and sub chapters. We are represented in almost all major Indian cities. Advancing the arts and science of HVAC & R is the stated prime objective of ISHRAE. ISHRAE does this through training programmes, certification programmes, work on standards and position papers as well as research grants and financial support to student projects in the field of HVAC & R. ISHRAE conducts a three month post degree diploma course which has significant practical and industry inputs. ISHRAE also conducts high-quality certification programmes with rigorous training followed by strict evaluation before a certificate is awarded. All chapters of ISHRAE regularly conduct workshops, seminars and technical training sessions covering topics of interest to members.

All the programmes of ISHRAE are focused towards energy efficiency and conservation of resources which is the most important aspect of sustainable growth.

The pharmaceutical and hospitality sector has grown phenomenally. How has the advancement been good for the HVAC sector?

Both the healthcare and hospitality industry are closely dependent on air conditioning, ventilation and refrigeration. We cannot imagine a modern pharma plant, a hospital or hotel which is not dependent on HVAC. Simultaneously both these industries are extremely conscious of the power bills which are critical to them to maintain profitability. HVAC & R industry is coming up with solutions which enable healthcare as well as hospitality segments to maintain essential conditions of indoor environmental quality which includes thermal comfort. It is a given fact that HVAC & R industry will grow hand in hand with hospitality and healthcare.

In 2011, the urban population was 377 million, or 31 per cent of the total population. By 2025, 42.5 per cent of the population is estimated to be living in cities. How it altering the dynamics of HVAC industry?

While the demographic shift is most important in deciding market growth and industry dynamics, what is more interesting is the fact that the growth of HVAC & R industry in the rural areas has been quite phenomenal in recent times. In any middle-class residence, whether urban or rural, the air conditioner is becoming as ubiquitous as the ceiling fan. This is where the large industry growth is expected, and this is also the greatest challenge the industry will face for providing energy-efficient and reliable cooling solutions to the vast rural population and also for facilitating a dependable service and dealer network across the rural segment.

The Indian Cabinet has approved a total of Rs.98,000 crore for development of 100 smart cities and rejuvenation of 500 others. The government has also unveiled a list of 98 projected smart cities. What are the opportunities you see under ‘100 Smart City’ initiative?

This is indeed a great initiative and the successful implementation can launch HVAC & R industry into an unprecedented growth trajectory.

The smart cities being created will require efficient ventilation and air-conditioning systems for offices, commercial buildings, retail segment, healthcare, education and hospitality. Efficient is the key word here and the systems have to essentially depend on technologies which conserve energy and also depend on alternative energy sources such as vapour absorption chillers which can operate on hot water generated by solar systems. It is indeed going to be an exciting area of opportunity to HVAC & R.

Does India need more benchmarking on energy consumption and sustainability?

Benchmarking is very much a need of the industry. The star labelling programme introduced by Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) working under the Ministry of Power has helped the consumer to choose energy-efficient products and systems. The programme needs to be extended to larger systems such as VRF as well as chillers, air handlers and so on. Star labelling of complete buildings is also becoming a reality. In order to facilitate this, ISHRAE is in the process of developing standards which are suitable for the country and is also closely working with Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and BEE to facilitate bench marking on energy efficiency.

PM Modi’s “Make in India” initiative has turned one this September. How successfully has this initiative been helping India become a global manufacturing hub?

Make in India is a great idea which if implemented in earnest can take the county to a leadership position by the year 2020. While tremendous strides have been taken by sectors such as automobiles and accessories, a lot needs to be done for air conditioning and refrigeration. Still many of the products sold in India are coming from China or Thailand, and domestic industry is struggling with cash flow and infrastructural problems. We need a concrete blueprint to make the “Make In India” slogan a reality which will need lot of support from the government in monetary and manpower policies, infrastructural support and a bureaucracy which is industry friendly and development oriented. Only if the right climate for growth without hindrance is established in the country, we can think of the country becoming a global manufacturing hub.

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