Comfort met technology at world’s largest heating trade show
There is no doubt that ISH 2015 lived up to and consolidated its reputation as the world’s largest trade show for sanitation, heating, and air-conditioning. Even with meticulous planning focusing on the energy side, two full days still provided only a glimpse. To pick up on everything that was on show would require a publication of its own.
According to figures from the organisers, this year’s edition of the 5-day show had 2 465 exhibitors on 26 ha (260 000 m2) of space that played host to almost 200 000 visitors, of which 37 percent were international. All metrics were up on 2013 figures, in particular, the share of international visitors, which jumped 16 percent.
Held biennially in Frankfurt, Germany ISH has emerged as essentially two parallel trade shows; ISH Water, which focuses on sustainable sanitation solutions for individual users, innovative water management, and drinking water hygiene, and ISH Energy, which focuses on energy efficiency, modern heating, air-conditioning, cooling and ventilation technologies.
The event is organised by Messe Frankfurt together with five “conceptual partners” – the Central Association of Sanitation, Heating and Air-Conditioning (Zentralverband Sanitär Heizung Klima – ZVSHK), the Federal Industrial Association of Germany House, Energy and Environmental Technology (BDH), the Association of the German Sanitation Industry (Vereinigung der Deutschen Sanitärwirtschaft e.V. – VDS), the Building Climate Institute (Fachinstitut Gebäude Klima e.V. – FGK) and the Association of the German Central Heating Industry (Vereinigung der Deutschen Zentralheizungs-Wirtschaft e.V. – VdZ).
– ISH is traditionally the first event of the year at which the entire sanitation, heating and air-conditioning sector comes together to launch its latest products. It is unrivaled in terms of product variety and we are delighted with the exceptional success of ISH 2015. These excellent figures underscore the positive mood in the sector and with growth in the number of international exhibitors and visitors, the fair has confirmed its leading international role, commented Wolfgang Marzin, President and Chief Executive Officer of Messe Frankfurt GmbH.
Growth sector with promising outlook – sanitation
Under the motto ‘Comfort meets Technology’, one aim of ISH 2015 was to showcase how Europe can reduce existing dependencies through energy-efficient products and the use of renewable energies. According to Marzin, simply replacing inefficient heating systems with new ones could save as much as 15 percent of the energy consumed in Germany.
– ISH was very crowded and successful for us this year, I think due to our new products and the new incentives in Germany. We really think there will be a stable positive development on installed biomass heating systems this year, after a medium decrease last year. In the UK it is completely the other way around. Since 2013 we have new owners of our partner Wood Energy and we see a high increase in sales due to the installation of a complete, new sales network all over the UK. They are doing a fantastic job. Nevertheless, the RHI is now decreasing quarterly and there will be a peak on sales this year, said Florian Haslinger, Export Manager for Hargassner GmbH, an Austrian biomass boiler manufacturer.
Figures from the German sanitation, heating and air-conditioning sector show that the industry, wholesale trade and installation trade generated a consolidated turnover of EUR 52.3 billion in 2014, up two percent on 2013. Domestic turnover amounted to EUR 43.2 billion up from EUR 42.3 billion in 2013. At the same time, the number of companies remained constant at 51 316 (2013: 51 520) whereby artisan enterprises account for the large majority with 50 350 firms. Altogether, the primarily small- to medium-sized companies in the building-services trade employed 509 000 people in 2014, around 8 000 more than in 2013.
According to initial estimates by the Ifo Institute for Economic Research, total turnover in the sector is expected to rise by around two percent in 2015 with exports likely to increase slightly more than domestic sales. However, as in 2014, sales in the sanitation segment will increase somewhat more than those in the heating field though export sales for the latter are expected to grow more rapidly.
This is a sentiment that has been echoed in particular by some pellet stove and boiler manufacturers as well as the German pellet association at several recent pellet conferences during 2014/2015 when the German residential market is up for discussion. It is further compounded by two mild heating seasons in a row. However, not everyone is phased by the current pellet heat situation in Germany.
– We’ve been around in the wood and pellet heating sector long enough to realise that this current interest in sanitation overheating in Germany is cyclic and we can balance that with more emphasis on other geographical markets, said Bernhard Holzer from Austrian appliance manufacturer Windhager Zentralheizung GmbH.
Comfort met technology
There was though plenty of innovation and new products on show with one common denominator, ‘connectivity’. It seems that with the onslaught of mobile devices such as smartphones, the use of web-based, remote and IT solutions for appliance control and monitoring has become a hygiene factor irrespective of the brand, size or type of heating appliance.
Another notable feature at this year’s edition was energy source flexibility for heating systems. It seems that most suppliers have at least one if not several multi-fuel or hybrid solutions for appliances to offer. In addition, quite a number had combined heat and power (CHP) solutions even on a domestic scale.
Whilst this is not new in itself the sheer variety of choice, options and solutions now on the production line suggest it is on the verge of being the norm that your next home heating appliance is not only fuel energy efficient and source savvy but could also enable you to offset some of your electricity consumption by power production when you need the heat.
That is an interesting thought, massive decentralised marginal, micro-scale, renewable – if using solid biomass, biogas or bio-liquid as fuel – power generation. Roll-on the next ISH, 14–18 March 2017, my biomass-fired home heating appliance, anno 1982, is now definitely beyond life-support.