The HVAC market in Europe is expected to show sustained growth in the upcoming years, but with variation among product segments. The decarbonisation strategies in Europe stimulate a strong demand for energy-efficient heating and cooling solutions. The heat pump market in particular has done exceptionally well, with double-digit growth for several years in a row.

That’s the outlook from Eurovent, Europe’s Industry Association for Indoor Climate (HVAC), Process Cooling, and Food Cold Chain Technologies. Its members from throughout Europe represent more than 1,000 organisations, the majority small and medium-sized manufacturers.

Eurovent's Outlook

“The growth perspectives of the HVAC market depend partly on the fate of the economy,” says Mr. Francesco Scuderi, Deputy Secretary General and Head of Heating and Cooling at Eurovent.  The erosion of multilateral trade relations has created uncertainty in the global economy, which is hampering investment. The issue most close to home for European businesses is the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.

The issue most close to home for European businesses is the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union

McKinsey Global Institute’s recent global survey of company executives shows that 75% of companies expect to change their strategy due to trade tensions and 33% consider trade uncertainty to be their top concern. “This is a regrettable development,” says Scuderi. “At Eurovent, we have always stood for closer integration and the free movement of goods without unfair trade barriers.”

Because of the climate, comfort cooling needs in Europe have typically been dwarfed by the demand for heating, he notes. Still today, more than 60% of the final energy consumption in EU households is attributable to space heating, whereas space cooling represents only a fraction of that according to the latest figures from Eurostat.

Expansion Of The European AC Market

Even so, the AC market in Europe has significantly expanded. The International Energy Agency estimates that the stock of installed equipment has grown from 44m units in 1990 to some 110m in 2019 and is expected to grow further still to an estimated 275m units by 2050. “While it is hard to gauge precisely the effects of climate change on the need for comfort cooling, more and more frequent extreme heat events have undoubtedly boosted AC sales in Europe, especially in recent years,” says Scuderi.

Installed equipment has grown from 44m units in 1990 to some 110m in 2019

The big-picture trends in AC demand follow patterns of economic development, including improved electrification and increases in disposable income. The growth of AC sales in Europe is quite modest compared to the global trends, which have steepened as a result of rapid development in emerging economies like China, India, Brazil, Indonesia, and Mexico. However, whether additional income is spent to satisfy comfort cooling needs will always depend on climate.

“A more interesting potential for the European market is the uptake of heat pumps for space heating purposes,” says Scuderi. “Although the heat pump market has experienced tremendous growth, it still accounts for only a small fraction of all space heating appliances in the EU. Greater acceptance for air conditioners as a heating solution will require educating the market on its advantages, and further strengthening incentive programmes. Although efficient solutions have significantly lower costs over the life cycle of the product, the cost at the point of purchase is usually higher.”

Panels discuss the importance of the expansion of the European HVAC industry

Energy Efficiency In the EU

The European Union has made extensive efforts to decarbonise the economy through a set of important regulatory instruments. The foremost ones for the HVAC industry are the Energy Efficiency Directive, the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, the F-Gas Regulation, and the Ecodesign and Energy Labelling Regulations.

The European Union has made extensive efforts to decarbonise the economy

Eurovent strongly supports these initiatives, says Scuderi. “They make the building engineering sector more sustainable, encourage the uptake of highly efficient products, and stimulate further innovation and investment in R&D activities. All of this ensures that the European HVAC industry has a role to play in the built environment of tomorrow. Already today, the most energy efficient equipment is marketed in the EU, and the European building stock is on track to become carbon neutral by 2050. We need to work together with our international partners to ensure that the best market-available technologies prevail in more vulnerable markets as well.”

Based on objective and verifiable data, members of Eurovent account for a combined annual turnover of more than 30bn EUR, employing around 150,000 people within the association’s geographic area. This makes Eurovent one of the largest cross-regional industry committees of its kind. The organization’s activities are based on democratic decision-making principles, ensuring a level playing field for the entire industry independent from organization sizes or membership fees.

Members of Eurovent account for a combined annual turnover of more than 30bn EUR, employing around 150,000 people within the association’s geographic area

Who Are Eurovent?

As one of the oldest industry associations, Eurovent looks back at more than 60 years of association history. Eurovent today is the result of the merger of the associations CECMA, the European Committee of Constructors of Air Handling Equipment, and CECOMAF, the European Committee of Refrigeration Equipment Manufacturers, in June 1996.

Eurovent’s Member Associations are major national sector associations from Europe that represent manufacturers in the area of Indoor Climate (HVAC), Process Cooling, Food Cold Chain, and Industrial Ventilation technologies.

The more than 1,000 manufacturers within the network (Eurovent “Affiliated Manufacturers” and “Corresponding Members”) are represented in Eurovent activities in a democratic and transparent manner.

Eurovent invites everyone to the 2020 EUROVENTSUMMIT, the next edition of Europe’s major gathering for Indoor Climate (HVAC), Process Cooling, and Food Cold Chain Technologies. The 2020 EUROVENTSUMMIT will take place between 22 and 25 September 2020 in Antalya, Turkey. The event will seek to build bridges between manufacturers and consultants, planners, installers, trade associations and policy makers, between Europe, the East and beyond, towards more sustainable and circular products, towards more socially and environmentally responsible industry.

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