“As the association approaches its 20th year in existence, this is an exciting time for NADCA and the industry,” expressed Brad Kuhlmann, NADCA’s president. “More than ever, NADCA is being recognized in commercial job specifications, by engineers, and also by the end users, both in the commercial and the residential sectors. To meet this demand, many NADCA members are looking to expand their services to include HVAC inspection, maintenance, and restoration.
“In response to this industry growth, NADCA leaders have created a new tagline for the association.”
CURRENT MARKET CONDITIONSAccording to the association, the demand for HVAC system cleaning has been driven by concerns about IAQ. While this trend is expected to continue, NADCA’s board believes that energy conservation will have an even greater impact on the industry as it moves forward.
Given that HVAC system operation accounts for anywhere from 50 percent to 70 percent of the energy used within a typical building, it makes sense that any energy reduction strategy begin with the HVAC system. With that in mind, NADCA is pleased that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) adopted and publicized a study by Pacific Gas and Electric stating, in part, that professional cleaning of condenser and evaporator coils can result in energy savings of up to 30 percent.
“That will only help our industry flourish even more,” said Kuhlmann.
To boost their own cause, NADCA entered into an agreement with the University of Colorado for a $250,000 research project designed to provide members with a tool for estimating the energy savings associated with HVAC cleaning and restoration projects. The research project was also commissioned to develop a field-testing protocol for NADCA members, designed to facilitate collection of data to provide broader support for linking HVAC cleaning and restoration to energy savings. This project is designed to encompass residential and low-rise commercial buildings. (For further details regarding the planned research project, see sidebar below.)
“NADCA’s goals are to document the relationship between HVAC maintenance and restoration and energy savings,” said Kuhlmann. “This is part of the larger goal of positioning members to serve as the HVAC energy savings experts.”
NEW INDUSTRY AND MISSIONIt is not unusual for an association to change its identity in an effort to adapt to change in the market. Kuhlmann and NADCA’s board believe the term “air duct cleaning” has served the association well, but each believe it is time to develop an identity that more accurately portrays the association and the scope of services provided by its members.
“The board considered and discussed this issue at great length,” said Kuhlmann. “The discussion focused on the fact that NADCA has long been an international organization, with member companies that offer far more than air duct cleaning. These facts are evidenced by the 31 countries represented within NADCA membership.”
While not yet ready to change the name of the association, the board adopted the tag line, which it said encompasses the initiatives outlined below.
•Standards:NADCA said it will enhance standards “to delineate requirements for residential, commercial, institutional, and industrial HVAC maintenance and restoration projects.
•Training:The association said comprehensive training will be developed and delivered to enable members to expand into emerging markets for HVAC inspection, maintenance, and restoration.
•Certification:The board noted that preliminary findings call for establishing separate credentials for commercial and residential markets, as well as an advanced certification requiring greater knowledge and experience.
The association said it is looking forward to the publishing of ASHRAE Standard 180P, Standard Practice for Inspection and Maintenance of HVAC Systems. It believes this standard is “expected to generate greater demand for comprehensive HVAC inspections, performed by qualified professionals.”
In the end, NADCA believes its 2008 Strategic Plan “will help members grow their businesses through development of broader knowledge, skills, and abilities in the areas of HVAC inspection, maintenance, and restoration, based on an enhanced set of industry standards.”
Sidebar: Research ProjectA computer-based energy simulation for typical residential and low-rise commercial buildings will be used by University of Colorado researchers to conduct an in-depth study of how HVAC pressure drop affects energy consumption in these settings.
The research team also developed an energy simulation to represent typical usage for a standard housing construction located in Denver.
The characteristics of the base model are:
• single-family detached residence;
• three bedrooms; 2,500 square feet gross floor area;
• 1,800 square feet in gross conditioned, living floor area;
• basement foundation; and
• two-car attached garage.
Upcoming stages for the project include the development of a light commercial base case model and a parametric study of how HVAC system pressure drop is related to energy consumption in that environment.
The research team will also begin developing a lab experiment based on the findings of the energy simulation studies. The results from the simulation studies will serve as the basis for all experiments during the following phases of the project.
The project will have four phases, and the first is already underway. During the first month, researchers are to develop a strong methodology for the base energy simulation model to be used for the parametric study.
Phase II will involve full-scale lab experimental analysis. Phase III will involve field monitoring analysis. Phase IV will include guideline and analysis for post-project field tests.