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IRI June 27, 2011 0 Comments

AREA President, Graeme Fox, was the guest speaker at The Institute of Refrigeration Ireland’s Annual General Meeting 2011 which took place in Dublin recently.

Established in 1988 as the pan-European organisation for air conditioning, refrigeration and heat pump contractors, AREA represents the interests of 23 national members across 20 states, with a total membership of 9,000 companies, a workforce of 125,000 and a combined turnover approaching €20bn. The Institute of Refrigeration Ireland joined AREA in 2005, prior to that we were one of the only European countries not to be a member.

Graeme Fox is an RAC Contractor himself and he stressed the importance of representative bodies such as the IRI and AREA in providing a voice for contractors at National and European level, particularly when it comes to drafting and implementing new legislation.

He cited the example of the FGas Regulations review that is taking place at present. The Commission is reviewing the effectiveness of the legislation in containing fluorinated greenhouse gases. AREA has surveyed its members and has provided detailed information to the Commission on the progress and standard of implementation across Europe.

While some within the natural refrigerants and environmental lobby are calling the Fgas Regulations a failure and are demanding a phase-out of HFCs, AREA is pressing hard for a far greater emphasis on implementation and enforcement of the regulations. According to Graeme Fox, in Member States where implementation and enforcement is well advanced, there have been marked improvements in containment.

AREA shares the EPEE position that any move towards a phase-out of HFCs in the near future would be disastrous. AREA is calling for a phase down instead of a phase out and is making this view known at the highest levels in Europe. AREA insists it is not against the use of natural refrigerants, it simply favours the retention of choice of refrigerants for contractors and end-users based on operational needs, safety, and overall energy efficiency.