Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) is a group of over 4,000 air conditioning contractors who work together to improve the industry, promote good practices, and keep homes and buildings safe, clean and comfortable.

The association shares one common goal: to make the HVACR industry, and every professional contracting business, more successful.


One of the many ways ACCA attempts to do this is by fighting aggressively for members’ business interests in the industry, as well as lobbying for important issues on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

In 2003, ACCA instituted the Committee on Special Talks to Advance Relations and Strategies (CO-STARS) program to bring contractors and senior manufacturer executives together to discuss areas of mutual concern, and create specific solutions that can help the entire industry.

CO-STARS meetings are held one to three times a year with various manufacturers in both the residential and commercial sectors. Some of the companies invited to participate in CO-STARS meetings have included Carrier Residential (October 2008), Lennox Residential (February 2008), Carrier Commercial (October 2007), Trane Commercial (February 2007), York International and McQuay (October 2006), Rheem Residential and York Commercial (October 2005). Topics as varied as service competition and industry alliances that serve the common good are often the subject of discussion among the executives, and attendees on both sides of the boardroom find themselves involved in enlightening conversations.

Ray Isaac, 2008 ACCA chairman, said, “The opportunity to sit face-to-face with our partners on the manufacturing side, and have frank and open dialogue has been invaluable. Both the manufacturers and ACCA professional contractors have gained a better understanding of, and appreciation for, the issues each side faces in serving the needs of our industry. We are all partners in this industry, and the CO-STARS forum opens the doors of communication that helps that partnership work. These had been closed for too long.”


ACCA’s lobbying and educational efforts on behalf of contractors in Washington are a big part of the foundation of the association. Though it is easy for day-to-day operations to cause members to lose sight of the impact legislation has upon their respective businesses, Paul Stalknecht said.

One important issue facing contractors is depreciation rates for commercial equipment.

Currently, the federal tax code for the depreciation-holding period for commercial HVACR equipment is 39 years. This is not beneficial to owners of commercial buildings because the equipment lifespan of properly maintained HVACR equipment is 15 to 20 years. As a result, commercial building owners have no incentive to replace older, less efficient equipment with newer, more energy-efficient HVACR equipment because of the 39-year holding period.

H.R. 4574, is scheduled to be introduced during the 111th Congress by Representative Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) and Representative Melissa Bean (R-IL). The proposed legislation reduces the 39-year depreciation holding period to a more realistic schedule. It will have two recovery period options. A 20-year option for equipment that exceeds ASHRAE 90.1 by 10 percent and a 25-year option for everything else.

Both Hoekstra and Bean tried to have the legislation attached to the current economic stimulus package, and later attached as an amendment. H.R. 4574 provides a realistic recovery period, providing an incentive to commercial building owners to replace older equipment with new equipment, and encourages energy conservation.

In the past 15 years, there have been dramatic changes in HVACR technology, making the equipment manufactured today extremely energy efficient. The HVACR systems now being installed in America’s homes and businesses make obsolete many of the commercial heating and cooling systems in use today.

Providing a financial incentive to building owners now would encourage them to upgrade to more energy-efficient equipment instead of waiting until their obsolete equipment breaks down, which is the current practice today.


In addition to its annual convention, ACCA convenes several major events for its members. The 2nd Annual National HVACR Service Managers Forum is scheduled for Oct. 1-2, 2009, in New Orleans. The first-ever National HVACR Residential Sales Managers Forum will be held March 26-27, 2009 in St. Louis. People who have succeeded in this business, and who continue to make big sales no matter what the economy is doing, are expected to be on hand for this inaugural event in St. Louis, The Gateway to the West.

Publication date:02/23/2009