Marta San Román is the General Director of AFEC, the Spanish association of HVAC equipment manufacturers. In our ‘Faces of the Eurovent Commission’ series, she gives us her viewpoint on the F-Gas Regulation discussions in Spain.
Marta San Román graduated with a bachelor’s degree in physics and then spent 15 years working with magnetic components for the electronics industry. She later drifted towards the HVACR sector as she got involved in projects related to magnetic refrigeration. She transitioned to a manufacturer of commercial and industrial refrigeration cases and equipment, obtained 30 years of international experience in various positions by gaining knowledge in research and development, product management and marketing strategy, which gave her the advantage to later join AFEC.
At AFEC, she has the opportunity to develop her passion for sustainability and energy efficiency for comfort, indoor air quality and environmental health in a decarbonised society. For our ‘Faces of the Eurovent Commission’ series, the Eurovent Team had a few questions about F-Gas Regulation and also asked for her words of advice for women who intend to join the HVACR sector.
What are the main focus points that AFEC is involved in?
The main focus points that (pre)occupy us are to foster sustainable business and sector growth for our associate members, climate change, compliance, energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, removing trade barriers, knowledge dissemination and training. In the legislation context, some of the subjects that are keeping our agendas busy in 2023 are the Ecodesign, Energy Labelling, F-Gas, market surveillance, Energy Performance of Buildings Directive and effects on ventilation, regulation and control, the revision of the local building codes, subsidies, heat pumps deployment from RePowerEU and energy savings certificates in Spain.
This is just to quote a few issues. As you can imagine, as for any other national organisation and given the different product families and companies profiles, there is a wide variety of subjects and focus areas, and too limited time and resources sometimes.
Talking of regulations, what are the current discussions in Spain regarding the F-Gas Regulation review and what is AFEC’s standpoint on this regulation?
In Spain, AFEC promoted the collaboration of 15 sectors and associations, from manufacturers to end users in many different industries, to disseminate fact-based information with technical and scientific arguments to the EU Parliament, as well as to the Spanish representative body for F-Gas, the OECC (Spanish Office for Climate Change), from MITECO (Ministry for Ecological Transition, the environmental body).
AFEC is holding meetings with other Ministries, such as the Ministry of Economy and Ministry of Industry, so that they become aware of the potential effects of the most extreme positions. Furthermore, AFEC and the Spanish industry are committed to achieve climate neutrality by 2050, but at the same time, we are concerned about extreme positions that could impose undesirable consequences in Europe, with especially serious effects in warm climate countries such as Spain. Air conditioning and refrigeration are fundamental in essential sectors such as hospitals and health and educational centres.
AFEC and the industry alliance of 15 Spanish associations think that there is no one-fits-all refrigerant solution, that a holistic approach is needed to find the best balance of efficiency, safety, economically viable and lower GWP and environmental impact, that both fluorinated and non-fluorinated refrigerant solutions are needed to achieve the sustainability goals.
Today is the International Women in Engineering Day. What advice would you give to women thinking of joining the HVACR industry?
For the women who would like to be part of the HVACR industry, my word of advice is that do not think about it, just do it. There are no regrets in doing so. If you like facing new challenges every other day and like to continuously learn or you have a passion for sustainability and clean energy, then this would be a good industry for you. It is filled with inspirational people and enterprises who are contributing to protecting wellbeing and health. Another aspect is that you may become a role model for other (younger) women by creating new solutions, developing more efficient systems with lower carbon footprint, connecting the world and applying new technologies (also digital) around HVACR. You would have a great opportunity of being part of a network with experts and have the chance to train and share your personal experiences.
AFEC is the Spanish association of HVAC equipment manufacturers. It cares for environmental impact since its inception in 1977 and works continuously on activities that contribute to the decarbonization of society. After 47 years of activity, the prestige of AFEC has acquired great relevance, both for manufacturers and companies that make up the Spanish HVAC sector, and for the Public Administration, other associations and legislators, as well as institutional, standardization and certification bodies. It has a solid and relevant sectorial presence with an extensive network of technical and regulatory experts and the monitoring of the statistical evolution of the markets.
About the Eurovent Commission
Eurovent’s Member Associations are represented in the Eurovent Commission, which is Eurovent’s steering committee. The Eurovent Commission does not only define the general political guidelines of the association, but also monitors and mediates the activities of its subordinated Product Groups. It also serves as a forum for exchange of information and cooperation between the Member Associations. The Eurovent Commission ensures that Eurovent positions are always broadly representative of wider European interests across all sizes of enterprises. The Eurovent Commission elects a Chairperson for a three-year term and appoints a Vice-Chairperson for a one-year term according to a rotating schedule. Both are automatically members of the Eurovent Board.