Who uses Cooling ?

Refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pumps play a vital part in the lives of everyone 


Businesses involved in this sector

Cooling and temperature control are a necessary part of many businesses and services in the industrial and commercial sector.  For example businesses manufacturing equipment and components (UK and import), wholesalers and distributors of equipment,  contracting companies providing engineering services (consultancy, technical sales, design, installation, service, maintenance); users of refrigeration technologies (e.g. supermarkets, hospitals and medical applications, IT telecoms and data servers, building cooling, heat pumps), as well as researchers and teachers in colleges and universities involved in research and development work.


Applications of technologies

All types of food and drink production, storage, distribution rely on refrigeration. It is also essential for industrial or manufacturing retailing and service activities including food or drink related, mining, textiles, papers, chemical processing, pharmaceuticals and medical applications, air conditioning in vehicles and refrigerated transport, construction and refurbishment of industrial and commercial premises (air conditioning) and increasingly domestic (heat pumps which use refrigeration technology), telecommunications and information technology servicing (data centres, computer rooms and serves), professional consultancy in construction, architecture, engineering services, scientific research and development in universities and businesses. 


This video explains some of the ways we use refrigeration technologies today and the kinds of jobs involved:


Food and cold storage

One of the major users of cooling technologies in the UK is logistics industry. Logistics is about delivering produce.  The video below gives you a behind the scenes look into a large modern cold storage facility: 


Economic contribution to the UK

The RACHP industry is usually divided into five broad sectors namely:

  • building air conditioning and heat pumps (i.e. for industrial buildings, shops, offices and houses)
  • commercial refrigeration (i.e. for retail, particularly food, and catering)
  • industrial refrigeration and climate control (i.e. for the manufacturing and processing industries e.g. chemicals, biological properties and foods and for cold storage)
  • transport refrigeration (i.e. for containers, ships, rail, trucks and vans) 
  • domestic refrigeration (i.e. refrigerators and freezers for home use)

Estimates for the market value of each of these sectors made by London South Bank University, for both the UK and Europe, are shown below.  Market values per annum for the main sectors of the RAC industry

RAC sector


Air Conditioning

£0.7 billion


£0.5 – 0.7 billion


 Not known


£0.2 billion


£0.7-1.0 billion


This indicates a total market size and direct economic impact of the RACHP industry is of the order of £2.4 billion per annum (2013). The indirect market value of goods and services that are reliant on refrigeration is approaching £100 billion pa.

RACHP technologies are also used widely in mobile air conditioning applications in cars, trains, airplanes and buses.

Cooling Science Homepage

Careers in refrigeration