Mark Price, HVAC/IAQ Manager for the Fluke Corporation, talks about IAQ issues with attendees to the ARI Workshop at FSU.

BIG RAPIDS, Mich. - Any discussion involving the hottest topics in HVAC today inevitably includes IAQ. One company sent a representative out to talk about IAQ issues with an audience of educators at the recent Air-Conditioning & Refrigeration Institute (ARI) Regional Workshop at Ferris State University. Mark Price, HVAC/IAQ manager for the Fluke Corp. gave educators a perspective on IAQ.

He listed several topics at the top of the IAQ discussion list including greenhouse gases/energy conservation and building occupant awareness and litigation. “Tenants are paying a lot of money on rent and they are demanding healthy IAQ,” Price said.

He also listed some of the key issues facing HVAC contractors and service techs:

• Productivity;

• Safety;

• System performance;

• Training gap developing with technicians and promised performance.

On the last point, Price said, “We see a coming of the super tech; people who are trained in system performance. These techs will be well-trained and motivated.”

Price discussed the cost of energy consumption of HVAC systems in commercial buildings, citing an annual bill of $55 billion. “These systems will get a lot of attention in the future,” he said. “There will be a need to increase building performance. That’s why energy efficiency is an important issue with facility managers.”

Price noted better efficiency eventually leads to better productivity. He said 77 percent of what technicians respond to are temperature issues. “Productivity among occupants can increase from 0.5 percent to 5 percent in a comfortable environment,” he said.

He said the key challenge for the future will be the technician’s ability to optimize HVAC systems to realize a greater return on investment promise to building owners.

“Building owners will need a well-trained, well-funded, and well-resourced maintenance team,” Price said.

He added this maintenance team should be equipped with tools for monitoring temperature, humidity, airflow, CO, CO2, particle counting, power logging, power quality, and thermal imaging.

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Publication date:08/06/2007