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Ariston Romania commits to innovative, high-efficiency solutions for sustainable homes

Ariston Romania commits to innovative, high-efficiency solutions for sustainable homes

 Ariston Romania is part of Italy’s Ariston Group that produces heating systems and related products. Catalin Draguleanu is senior director of Ariston Romania.  

The EU aims to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 55% by 2030 and make the bloc climate-neutral by 2050. How does the thermal comfort industry approach these goals?  What is Ariston’s take? 

According to official data from the European Commission, buildings are responsible for approximately 40% of EU energy consumption, more than half of EU gas consumption (mainly through heating, cooling and domestic hot water), and 36% of the energy-related greenhouse gas emissions. At present, about 35% of the EU's buildings are over 50 years old and almost 75% of the building stock is energy inefficient. At the same time, the average annual energy renovation rate is only about 1%. These numbers are testament to the fact that the thermal comfort industry is at the centre of the energy transition and it is foreseeable that regulation in this area will continue to change rapidly, thus further modifying the entire sector in which we operate. These numbers also clearly indicate that a major intervention is needed and we are now in the early stages of a renewal process, which will require massive efforts in terms of infrastructure logistics, but also in terms of the evolution of thermal comfort solutions. In the long run, this will modify the thermal comfort industry as the products will have to become more suitable and compliant for renovated buildings belonging to the highest energy efficiency classes. Investing in research and development will remain the key solution for a future in which it is clear that products need to be increasingly sophisticated. 

Ariston has already made significant achievements, working hard to increase production capacity for heat pumps and in 2022 release improved efficiency and low-noise performance products that leverage low Global Warming Potential refrigerants. 

Also, the group is well known for its efforts to support energy transition through the development of alternative solutions, such as the use of hydrogen, high-efficiency and hybrid solutions.  Equally, the group has accelerated investments in digitalization and the IoT, upgrading its products with advanced connectivity features, to reduce consumption while further enhancing the user experience.

Ariston is set to continue on this track and aims to bring to the households of its customers renewable and high efficiency products and systems that leverage the most innovative technologies and are equipped with advanced connectivity features.

What are your expectations about the development of the heat pump and boilers market in Romania and in Southeast Europe? 

Whether we talk about SEE or CEE, we talk about markets with a clear growth potential, where, from the heat pumps perspective, the number of people interested in the product is larger than the number of actual buyers. This is obvious in the case of Romania where we conducted a study in 2023 which showed that an overwhelming majority of Romanians share a favourable opinion toward heat pumps. However, despite being such a popular technology, heat pumps are expensive, and most people can’t afford to purchase one. 

Here is where state authorities can and must get involved through a subsidies policy. A subsidy policy would have long-term advantages for all parties because, by supporting the transition to heat pumps, the state will also be able to meet the environmental and efficiency goals set by the EU.  Subsidies are given in many other European countries, through government programs to subsidise the purchase of heat pumps. Sales prove that subsidies make a difference just as much as heat pumps make the difference when we talk about a cleaner environment. According to data from the European Heat Pump Association (EHPA), the 20 million heat pumps installed across Europe avoid 52.5 megatons of greenhouse gas emissions per year – roughly the annual total of Greece emissions.

According to official data, in Romania a third of the households (almost 2.5 million) are heated directly with natural gas, using apartment boilers or even stoves with extremely low energy capacity (at least 250,000 homes). This may sound like being very far from the ambitious goals and objectives set by the EU but I am confident that positive changes will happen at an accelerated pace. Based on my local managerial experience of more than 20 years, I would say that the best news for Romania is that it has more and more informed consumers. Romanian consumers have become very open to new technology, they understand the advantages of modern solutions. This makes me believe that they will lead at an accelerated pace the change of local paradigm in thermal comfort. 

The heat pumps market is very dynamic, with consumer demand growing fast in recent years. In this context, a company needs to constantly innovate to keep abreast of competitors. What is Ariston doing in that regard?

As one of the global leaders in the sustainable thermal comfort sector, Ariston keeps R&D at the core of its strategy, through 25 production sites and 25 R&D centres across five continents. We have said it on different occasions – we are now going through transformative times in the energy sector and anticipating structural changes has become crucial for every business. Our goal is to continue designing and offering highly energy efficient solutions, which increasingly rely on renewable sources of energy, while improving the efficiency of the installed park. To achieve this across all our product lines, we are channelling investments in R&D, production capacity and the necessary skills and resources needed to contribute to the transition, which will lead to a significant avoidance of CO2 emissions.

On a local level, I mentioned earlier that a vast majority of households still use natural gas as the main heating fuel. For them we have come up with a hybrid solution, made up from a boiler and heat pump that takes turns in functioning, to be able to optimise the energy consumption. We call it the middle ground, which paves the way towards sustainability and a greener future, but takes in consideration the local context.

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