Click HERE to access the 2018 Photos

Key Topics

  1. Milestones and accomplishments: Tracing the positive experiences with VRFs in projects in the GCC region: Developer and consultant perspectives
  2. Update from GCC Standardization Organization (GSO): ‘Minimum Energy Performance Requirements and Testing Requirements for Air Conditioners’
  3. The time frame given to manufacturers for implementing regulations, and the inherent challenges time constraints pose on product development
  4. The possible pipeline of projects in marquee developments
    • The nature of the shift from air-cooled chillers or one-to-one system to VRFs
    • VRFs are being viewed as “organised systems” and, hence, supporting new developers, who want to promote the real estate value of their projects
  5. Do affordable housing projects for GCC region citizens represent a strong lifeline to sustain the VRF momentum?
    • What is the definition of affordable housing projects across countries in the GCC region?
    • Does the ramp up in development of horizontal (villa) affordable projects augur well for the VRF industry?
    • Is there a critical mass of affordable housing projects to sustain the industry through the expected economic slowdown, which may impact the development of the marquee housing industry?
  6. The scope that affordability opens up
    • Is the VRF industry willing to lower its price and margin expectations to make the technology viable for affordable housing projects?
    • Given the trend of affordable housing in the GCC region – or even otherwise – is a low-cost VRF system the new reality?
    • Is there an urgent need to reduce the ROI on VRF systems from four to two years?
  7. VRFs in low-rises and re-developments?
    • Is there enough critical mass there for manufacturers of VRF systems?
  8. VRFs in high-rises
    • Are innovations breathing new life to the campaign for a wider deployment of VRFs in high-rises?
    • How architects are using dead space to convert high-rises for greater collaboration between architects and HVAC consultants?
    • Given the limited space on roofs, are VRFs replacing one-to-one ducted systems? And are the collateral benefits of a reduction in shaft numbers and risers helping the cause?
  9. Studying the performance of VRFs in malls, hospitals and process cooling applications
  10. The implications of Green Building Guidelines across the GCC region for the VRF industry. SASO’s new standards and other codes for the VRF industry
  11. Retrofitting and VRFs
    • Is there a place for VRFs in retrofitting programmes?
    • Case studies of retrofitting projects, where VRFs have successfully been deployed
    • The broad market opportunities retrofitting programmes offer to the VRF industry and how manufacturers can showcase such advantages as the relative simplicity of the wiring work and the speed at which the retrofitting activity can be executed, given the fact that the number of outdoor units in a typical project, are reduced by one-third, when compared to the numbers needed in a split-unit regimen
  12. The net-zero-energy revolution
    • Is there a huge market opportunity for VRF systems to help developers reduce grid reliability, at the very least, considering that the region is not uniformly grid-rich (there are pockets where electricity is produced using generators)? Case study of a pilot project of a net-zero-energy model villa.
  13. Aligning VRFs to the smart city, Building Internet of Things (BIoT) and broad e-initiatives sweeping through the region
    • Using Wi-Fi to usher in an easier and more economical option to home automation and to realise a precise and demand-based cooling approach. Replacing home automation with a simple visit to the app store for integrating controls into a project
  14. The challenges thrown in by newly evolved alternative cooling approaches
    • Is there a challenge from smaller (40 TR), modular chillers, which purportedly match the capability of VRF systems to give 35% more energy efficiency compared to one-to-one systems, the flexibility of using part-load and zonal control?
    • Are there advantages owing to the possibility of multiples of modular chillers to be connected as one header, and that in a cascading system, they respond to demand quickly?
    • Is the counterweight in the form of the more responsive and more intelligent chillers able to overcome the legacy challenges of hydraulic balancing and of having access to pure quality water?
    • Are mini-split high wall units, running on R410A, a potent challenge to VRFs, especially in the bid to garner market-share in the affordable housing segment?
  15. Towards a COP of 4.6
    • Is going the all-inverter route going to garner hitherto unseen energy efficiency in VRF systems?
  16. The level of sophistication of VRF installations (brazing, flushing, wiring) in the GCC region to minimise the risk of refrigerant leakage, among other aspirations
    • What is the skills level and confidence level of installers in the GCC region?
    • The regimen of training and mentoring happening in the contracting industry.
    • The role the manufacturers of VRF systems are playing in speeding up the training process and in ensuring more receive training to bring about market transformation
    • The strategy of making VRF systems more affordable, which would ensure greater demand, which in turn, would spur activity among contracting companies to upgrade installation skills, which initially would see the cost of installation increasing before settling down. (In this, the VRF industry would be mirroring the path of the split units’ industry, during the transition from window air conditioners to splits.)
  17. Contractors’ perspective: Experiences with, and expectations out of, VRF systems
    • If this is a period of transition, are they prepared, in terms of installation capability? What are they doing to empower yourself?
    • What are their expectations out of VRF systems, based on what their customers are demanding, in terms of noise level, comfort cooling and measurement and verification (M&V) features?
  18. Developers’ perspective: Experiences with, and expectations out of, VRF systems
    • What factors influenced them to choose VRF systems?
    • Did a cooling approach that did not depend on water consumption (and the attendant issues of maintenance) significantly influence the decision to opt for VRF systems?
    • How much do the benefits of part-load efficiency and zonal control weigh in favour of VRF systems?
    • How important is the Measurement & Verification (M&V) feature in influencing the tilt towards VRF systems?
    • What were the promises made in terms of system performance and contributing to overall building performance, and were they delivered?
  19. Benefits for consultants and contractors, in terms of cost, of speed of service, and of speed of response to complaints and to requests for spare parts
  20. Value engineering of projects, and how to make VRF a viable technology. Considering such aspects as total cost of ownership and total cost of development
  21. Aftermarket services as a key differentiator in a highly competitive market; a profile of best practices, including structured training, mentorship in installation and broad support
  22. Structuring of maintenance, and warranty terms and conditions: A need for supervision of maintenance by VRF manufacturers. If maintained by an external service provider, is it fair to expect VRF manufacturers to honour the warranty period? A need for authorised service providers, akin to expectation of authorised installers
  23. The current VRF-related regulation framework in Europe, and the European experience with a SEER-based approach, system of different weightages and considering part-load