Serial entrepreneur Richard Branson’s latest target for “disruption” is the air conditioning industry and he has condemned its record on energy efficiency as “pathetic”.  “Entrenched manufacturers” refuse to do what they are told and this “complacent” sector needs a major shake-up, according to world famous marketeer and Virgin founder Richard Branson. He says air conditioning technology has not changed “fundamentally” in 100 years and that it is time to “do things differently”.

Graeme Fox thinks he is barking up the wrong tree. Our industry has clearly piqued his interest because, as he rightly points out, it is one of the world’s largest at approximately 100 billion dollars with the potential to grow to four times that size by 2050.

“As our planet warms, we need it [air conditioning] more than ever to keep our people cool,” he said in a recent Virgin Blog. “Worldwide, by 2030, extreme heat could lead to a $2 trillion loss in labour productivity. India’s economy alone stands to lose $450 billion (not to mention the 200 million Indians exposed to dangerous heat conditions each year).”

He believes that air conditioning manufacturers have “barely scratched the surface of their technology potential” before suggesting that “even the most advanced products have only achieved 14% of their maximum theoretical efficiency”. A figure he describes as “pathetic”.

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