This year’s AHR Expo, the world’s largest trade show for the HVAC industry, was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, the show was in Orlando, FL and had over 70,000 attendees. When you think about that many people in one space today, you understand quickly what the expression, “the difference a year makes” really means.
Today, holding a trade show that size would be unthinkable, but it also makes you think about how the industry itself has changed over the past year, and what was being focused on then versus what is being focused on today. As we reported last year in our 2020 AHR Report, the industry was growing, fueled by a shift in climate technology to run green systems. The industry was shifting to mobile, and the ideas around connected HVAC equipment to HVAC software was still new to some businesses.
Now, it’s part of what we could call the ‘new normal’ of HVAC. Businesses today have had to dramatically adjust to remote field service operations, which has brought on unforeseeable challenges. The industry has also been forced to move in a direction that it was probably going to be heading to anyways in the next five to 10 years, except because of COVID-19, that timeline was cut down to one year.
In this report, we’ll focus on the trends that are defining the HVAC and refrigeration industry in 2021, and what is driving the industry forward. There has undoubtably been a lot of change in just one year’s time, but some trends have remained the same, however, some are looked at differently in today’s climate compared to even just a year ago.