I just returned from the ASHRAE [American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers] Winter Meeting in Chicago where there was an emphasis on the installation, operation, and maintenance of HVAC systems. We have all heard the numbers by now that 80 percent of all the buildings that will exist 30 years from now are already built.
This year there was a cornucopia of information that was directed toward the technician, and as some of us have been saying for years, the best designed buildings ever built will not live up to their potential if they are not properly maintained. That is why I attended almost every seminar I could that was related to building maintenance and retrocommissioning to see what the latest is for new and existing buildings.
There is plenty of information available for the technician to keep up to speed on the latest designs. The next step is on us to take the initiative to utilize these resources. The way I see it, we are the first line of defense in keeping the design intent of owners and designers intact. The buildings have been designed; they have been built and commissioned. The standards and guidelines have been written, and there is a roadmap for success when it comes down to implementing the “Grand Plan.” The onus is on us to get trained and stay up with the ever-changing technologies that are in these buildings.
My advice is to get trained and stay current. There are numerous paths you can take to be successful. Some are free, others cost money and all require investing time to improve your skills. It is unfair to your customers to learn on equipment that is foreign to you while the building owner pays for expertise you do not have. A well-trained technician knows what he is working on when he takes the call and helps keep energy-efficient designs intact!
Shawn P Masterson, CM, LEED AP BD&C
President, Central Arizona ASHRAE
Instructor UA Local 469
Refrigeration Pipefitter Examining Board vice president & treasurer
Publication date: 03/19/2012