R22’s phase-out, according to global air-conditioning giant LG, has identified an unprecedented opportunity for consultants to grow their business despite the present harsh economic climate.
“The advantage to consultant engineers is twofold: one is they can generate reports for clients on the costs of running older and inefficient systems such as those running on R22; the other is the opportunity this gives for a sales pitch for installing newer, more efficient equipment running at half the electrical load,” says Ken Lawlor of major LG distributor Sensible AC.
Equipment using R22 uses much more energy than the latest modern air conditioning plant using non-HCFC refrigerants (R410a and R407c). Energy reduction can be more than 50% and bearing this in mind, Lawlor reckons consultants could find themselves rewarded for going back to basics and producing energy reports for their clients.
“Many businesses may have paid £100k for an installation 15 years ago, but they will find that new, more energy efficient, more sophisticated kit is now available and the cost has actually come down or stayed flat. This makes updating a very attractive proposition. Another bonus is that such installations qualify for Government grants and tax allowances.”
Small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in England and Scotland, or all businesses in Wales that have been trading for at least 12 months, could borrow from £5,000 to £200,000. It is unsecured, interest free and repayable over a period of up to four years. There are no arrangement fees and applying is straightforward. Businesses based in Northern Ireland that have been trading for at least 12 months may be eligible to apply for an even bigger unsecured interest free loan of up to £400,000.
At the same time the ECA (Enhanced Capital Allowances) scheme for energy-saving technologies encourages businesses to invest in energy-saving plant or machinery specified on the Energy Technology List which is managed by the Carbon Trust on behalf of the Government. The ECA scheme provides businesses with 100% first year tax relief on their qualifying capital expenditure.