Editors Blog

Murphy's Law: Performance Testing Time

July 16, 2008
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“Simply put: HVAC performance testing is quickly becoming a necessity.” Or so says an article by Jim Bergmann that will soon be appearing in The NEWS.

I wonder if that is really true.

The article cautions that building scientists, weatherization people, and utilities are getting involved in the HVAC industry. Conventional thought says that as energy costs become an increasing concern and that as the nation’s energy infrastructure is being stretched to the limit, HVAC systems are going to be more critically scrutinized to make sure they are performing as they should. This part I agree with - I can see this happening.

The part I am not so sure about is “quickly.” Everything in this industry is market-driven, right? (Like the rest of the world is different?) Until consumers understand that their HVAC systems are more than heating and cooling machines tucked away in the basement or attic, or covered up by bushes on the side of the building; until they realize it is really their building’s energy management system; until they really equate improper installation practices to higher energy bills; until they feel financial pain because their energy management system is performing sluggishly; until they get woken up from their complacency - there will be no “quickly.”

Now, just because the change won’t be quick does not mean it isn’t coming. Some degrees of HVAC performance testing are already being mandated in some locales. Look at the front page of the 7/21/08 issue of The NEWS for information on what Albuquerque, N.M., is doing with efficiency standards. Can regulated testing be far behind?
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