When you think about it, around 90 per cent of our lives are spent indoors, making air quality in these environments vital to our health and well-being. CEO at Fläkt Woods, Didier Forget, has a few more statistics to throw around. “Every day, every person breathes 20,000 litres of air, compared to drinking two litres of water or eating one kilogram of food. Whether people are at work, are engaging in leisure activities, or are at home, our air technology solutions bring enormous benefits: better air quality, ambient temperature, quiet operation, lack of odours and controlled humidity.
“On top of that, we ensure that all of this technology is energy efficient. We are best in class with our air technology, but what sets us apart is our commitment to energy-efficient products.
“In a large building, for example, the cost for an HVAC system can be very high—so it is our challenge to provide the best air with economical solutions over the life cycle of our products and systems. Also, the criteria can be different for each application. For example, in a school, noise will be important as well as air quality. Then you have offices, public buildings and shopping centres, which all have unique needs, and over the past decade we have developed expertise within each of these applications.”
Didier came on board from a role with General Electric, leading its Energy Division in Europe. “All my working life I have been in international corporations,” Didier says. “My background was in fact from a different industry, working in energy products and energy services. Fläkt Woods was a merger between two companies: Fläkt from Sweden and Woods from England, so on the one hand you’ve got a very Nordic culture and then on the other hand you’ve got a very English culture. When the company began looking for a CEO, they wanted someone ‘neutral’, so they took a French guy, with international experience, and set him up in Switzerland.”
His experience in energy services may go some way to explaining Didier’s commitment to energy-efficiency when it comes to Fläkt Woods’ products. That, and his understanding that architects and builders on large projects such as office buildings and hospitals want to deliver cost-effective solutions to their clients. “The first way to make a building energy efficient is to ensure it is insulated,” he says.