Eco-friendly air conditioning gaining ground in GCC |
Khaleej Times - 24 June, 2012
Evaporative air conditioning of outdoor environment is the new trend in the Gulf and its demand is fast rising especially with the advent of summer.
“We forecast exponential growth over the next five years and all countries in the GCC region are supporting environmentally friendly and energy-efficient sources of air conditioning,” Sabu Abraham, managing director of UAE-based ClimaGulf, told Khaleej Times during an interview.
Being cost-effective is the main advantage of evaporative air conditioning over conventional, refrigerated air conditioning as it consumes as little as 20 per cent of energy.
ClimaGulf has just been appointed master distributor in the GCC for Breezair, the evaporative air conditioning technology brand manufactured by Australian company Seeley International, following its success in promoting this concept in the UAE.
In the UAE, Breezair systems have been installed in diverse sites including Al Wasl vehicle testing centres; large commercial kitchens for hospitality and catering companies in Ruwais; the outdoor dining area for Fenyala Restaurant at Qanat Al Qasba; the Lucy switchgear manufacturing plant; RAK Ceramics’ kiln area; leisure and heritage destinations like the Sharjah Heritage area; the Sky Diving Institute located on Al Ain Road; and secondary cooling for HVAC at the Streit Vehicle Factory in Ras Al Khaimah.
Abraham explained that the reasons for the rapid growth in the region could be enumerated as: increasing awareness of effectiveness of air-cooling systems during peak summer conditions in GCC; increasing electricity costs and low-energy consumption of air-cooling systems; and consciousness of health and safety in work places requiring comfort conditions in hotter industrial and construction environment.
In five years time, ClimaGulf aims to be the market leader with a 20 per cent market share of branded evaporative cooling systems in the GCC region, he said. About the country in which the demand is highest, Abraham said that initially, Breezair was promoted only in the UAE.
As a result, demand is high in the UAE with the product being installed at several sites across the country. Further, it has been tried and tested successfully at several other locations in the UAE that are suitable for this type of air conditioning.
“We expect this trend to catch on soon in the neighbouring GCC states once we have established our regional distribution network. Conditions typical to countries like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait or even Al Ain in the UAE are ideal for these systems. However, due to the lack of awareness or probably due to lower energy tariffs, even these regions have been slow in picking up demand. The main reason could be attributed to lack of leading brands in these markets,” Abraham said.
Evaporative air conditioning technology is ideal for hotter climates like the Middle East, as it cools air naturally, effectively and efficiently, he said. It is a simple process, wherein the cool breeze is created by hot ambient air passing over water-soaked cooling pads. Natural evaporation helps soak up the heat and cools the hot air. The effect created by evaporative air conditioning is similar to the cooler conditions found at or near large expanses of water.
Abraham said that some of the places where evaporative air conditioning can be used include schools and universities, factories, warehouses, commercial kitchens, outdoor Majlis, tents, outdoor restaurants, airports and hangars, bus stops, public and private zoo, sports grounds, outdoor swimming pools and in poultry farming.
Evaporative air conditioning is suitable for places where the normal air conditioning system cannot work or be installed, he said. The unpleasant working conditions caused by summer temperatures in the region that can rise in excess of 45 degrees Celsius in factories, warehouses and other large commercial open spaces, could also affect the morale of workers and in turn could affect productivity.
Furthermore, the continuous use of traditional air conditioning systems in such an environment would be extremely expensive. In such situations, the advanced technology developed by Breezair is an affordable alternative cooling system, Abraham said.