Copper’s high conductivity, durability, and workability give it a dominant role in the fast-growing and rapidly changing heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC(R)) market. The HVAC(R) market comprises a variety of product types used in both residential and commercial applications, from room air conditioners and large commercial systems to commercial and industrial refrigeration.
Altogether, these systems make up a USD 140 billion market that has grown by 55.5 percent over the last 12 years. Room air conditioners make up the majority of the units sold, and they also form the largest sector for copper. The market for room air conditioners requires annually about 1.04 million tons of copper, compared with 430,000 tons for refrigeration products and 220,000 tons in chillers.
Copper has played a key role in market drivers like climate change mitigation, product efficiency, and design improvements that have expanded the HVAC(R) market and present an opportunity for continued growth. Meanwhile, emerging markets present further opportunities for market expansion. Countries like India, Indonesia, and the Philippines have high populations as well as a high number of cooling degree days, which measure potential demand for air conditioning. These countries have the lowest density of room air conditioners in place. These market factors represent a significant demand opportunity for additional units.
Growing climate change concerns and an increase in minimum efficiency performance standards (MEPS) and labeling of room air conditioners worldwide have created a greater demand for product efficiency. Copper’s inherent properties are helping to meet this demand through improved designs. The HVAC(R) market will continue to adapt to climate change mitigation and efficiency demands. These trends are expected to have a significant impact on the market and copper will continue to have a big role to play.