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A recent ASHRAE Journal/AHR Expo Annual Economic Outlook Survey indicates that 2018 was a good year for the HVACR industry and 2019 is expected to follow suit. The report says 87 percent of respondents feel confident about the coming year. About 44 percent of survey respondents reported a sales increase of more than 10 percent for 2018, up from 35 percent in 2017 and an all-time high for the annual poll.

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In 2017, survey participants named new construction as most promising, but this time they mentioned retrofits and renovations. When talking about their customers, HVAC professionals said reliability is still the most important requirement, but energy efficiency and indoor air quality are now more in demand than ever before. Energy efficiency saw the fastest growth, with 96 percent of respondents ranking it ‘important’ or ‘very important.’

When talking about specific trends or issues that will impact business in 2019, the most mentioned items were IoT (Internet of things), and the rise of connected buildings as related to energy efficiency and intelligent control. Concerns included rising tariffs and specialized talent shortages.

Survey details reveal positive expectations across all market categories including residential, commercial, institutional buildings, office buildings, lodging, industrial, data centers, restaurants and laboratories. Lodging seems especially robust with projections up 10 percent from last year at 64 percent.