Both current and future formed the keynote address during opening ceremonies by Terry Townsend, a presidential member of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers. His talk was titled, “Greening the HVACR Industry.”
Noting the engineering, installation, and servicing skills of RSES members, he said, “You are a primary reason that an ideal green building with optimal conditions for both its inhabitants and the environment can exist.”
He looked at current issues related to oil and natural gas supplies, as well as rising costs, and said the nation could well be at the tipping point, which is why activism is needed. “We are on the precipice of climate system tipping beyond which there is no redemption,” he said. “We are going to have to reduce our CO2 emissions by 85 percent. But just by using existing equipment (properly installed and serviced), we can reduce that by 65 percent with nothing new.
“Architects, engineers, and RSES members can reduce the effects of mankind on the environment, climate change, and our dependency on fossil fuels.” He said problems have to be solved “one step at a time. There is no magic bullet.”
SESSIONSMore than two dozen technical sessions encompassed a wide range of HVACR technologies including a number related to refrigerants.
In a session titled, “Recover-Recycle-Reclaim,” Joseph McCallister of ICOR International talked about how the industry is using 180 million pounds of R-22 a year for service but could face a 40 million shortfall within 10 years if there is not a stronger switch to available R-22 alternatives and more use of reclamation options. “We have and are going to have alternative refrigerants laid out for us,” he said.
When it comes to reclaim, he encouraged contractors to seek out service providers who are established and offer benefits to technicians such as a cylinder exchange program. Some four hours was devoted to a seminar on HFC-410A presented by Garth Denison of Sporlan, a division of Parker.
Denison noted that R-410A is becoming the preferred refrigerant for new air conditioning applications in light of the phaseout of R-22. He acknowledged the concern some technicians have over the higher head pressure of R-410A as compared to R-22. But he said that should not be an issue with technicians who are knowledgeable about R-410A and follow manufacturers’ instructions in installing and servicing equipment with the refrigerant.
INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVESDespite negative stories about job shortages, Patricia Shutt of the Indiana Department of Energy told a luncheon audience that “there are jobs looking for people” especially in HVACR. She said, “The shortage of trained labor will increase 24 percent in the next five years.
“The problem is that there is too much emphasis on four-year degrees; and state and national standards pushing high schools to stress college. But only 20 percent of U.S. jobs require a B.S. or B.A. degree or higher. Most require some post-secondary technical training.”
She encouraged those in the HVACR industry “to get the ear of the governor in your state” to promote more attention to technical training.
In his comments to delegates at the annual business meeting, Executive Vice President Mark Lowry noted the society’s focus on e-learning, as well as the increased efforts on RSES to relate to sister organizations. He noted that there were four such organizations represented at the 2007 annual conference, whereas the 2008 event has 11. “Other organizations are interested in what we have to say … just as we are interested in what they have to say.
“To make things happen just can’t be left to chance,” he said.
He also noted RSES continues to fine tune its chapter format, pulling charters from inactive chapters and focusing on the estimated 200 active ones. “Members find value in chapters that are active. They provide things of value to members and potential members,” he said.
CEREMONIESDuring the business meeting, Larry Lynn of Columbia, Tenn., was elected international president to serve in that position until the fall of 2009. Dick Burks of Leander, Texas, was named RSES Member of the Year. Speaker of the Year Award was presented to Dave Daubermann of Emerson Climate Technologies Inc.
Two industry individuals were presented with the Manufacturers Service Advisory Council (MSAC) Member of the Year Award. They were Sherri Wilkerson of Carrier Corp. and Jamie Hale of ICOR International.
MSAC is made up of individuals from the manufacturing sector who assist RSES in various training and education projects. The award is for a person “who has accumulated a lifetime of outstanding achievements in advancing the HVACR profession,” according to a statement from MSAC.
Sidebar: The BeginningsThe Refrigeration Service Engineers Society – which celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2008 – was formed in 1933 when Herbert Herkimer, who operated a trade school in New York City, saw the need to train personnel on a national scale beyond what was being offered by manufacturers and the few trade schools in operation then.
“This kind of training had been done through trade guilds for centuries, and learning a trade through a guild was still somewhat prevalent in the 1930s,” said historian Willis Stafford, who in 1983 wrote a book on the first 50 years of RSES. “It was on this premise that Herkimer conceived the idea of a national organization with the sole purpose of education.”
Herkimer initially worked with about 50 other like-minded industry persons resulting in RSES being officially incorporated on Feb. 9, 1933.