Tony Arnel
Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Building Services (ARBS) chair and industry professor at Deakin University Tony Arnel

MARKET PULSE: New insights into the Australian air conditioning market show the Australian heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC&R) and building services industry is seeing a surge in investment. Perhaps not so predictably, the industry tells us that we are also seeing a rapid uptake of smart building technology as well.

“The pandemic has fundamentally changed the way Australians think about air quality. Indoor environment quality, once invisible, is now a priority for businesses committed to the health and wellbeing of their people,” Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Building Services (ARBS) chair and industry professor at Deakin University Tony Arnel, and exhibition organiser Sue Falcke wrote in a joint commentary to The Fifth Estate. 

The Australian HVAC&R and building services industry is, as a result, seeing growing demand for ventilation and air conditioning services – something that has a clear correlation with the health and wellbeing of staff. 

The global market for commercial building ventilation and indoor air quality is set for huge growth – public concern regarding virus risk has led to a significant focus on disinfection and ventilation as key to improving indoor air quality. Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation, ionisation, air purifying filters… the list goes on for tech that is gaining public attention. 

Global commercial energy efficiency ventilation and indoor air quality revenue are expected to grow from $US6.5 billion ($A9.46 billion) in 2022 to $13.6 billion ($A19.79 billion) in 2031 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.6 per cent, according to research from Guidehouse Insights.

But it’s not just tech focused on air quality that’s seeing revenue growth – the sector is also seeing a rapid uptake in smart building technology. From touchless technology and building automation to sensors that monitor and support building safety, sales of this tech is expected to double over the decade, rising to $US108 billion ($A157.14 billion) by 2030, up by $53 billion ($A77.11 billion) from 2020. 

This is according to research from Gartner, which points out that the pandemic has accelerated the use of indoor smart surveillance tech to monitor building activity and ensure safety of occupants and users.

It is what is called the smart buildings “Internet of Things” (IoT) endpoint electronics and communications market. IoT, if you’re not already familiar with the concept, refers to the billions of physical devices around the world that are now connected to the internet, collecting and sharing data. 

Aside from just safety of users, systems that surveil occupancy also support greater energy efficiency – and that, according to ARBS, is another area of exponential growth. 

“The theory of climate change is now a practical reality for Australians who have faced two years of bushfires, floods, and other extreme weather events – and this knowledge is accelerating the shift to energy-efficient, net zero buildings.

“Smart building solutions drive down costs, improve energy efficiency and enhance occupant comfort.” 

The duo points to the ARBS 2022 Industry Awards as proof of the talent and innovation in industry that has flourished despite the pandemic. 

The ARBS Exhibition 2022 is an event with over 200 local Australian and global exhibitors showcasing their products and services. The exhibition, which will be held from 16-18 August 2022 in Melbourne, is expected to draw in over 7000 visitors from the HVAC&R and building services industry.

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