“Despite the down economy, a record number of teachers showed up to learn about new and changing technologies in our industry,” said Howard Weiss, marketing director for HVAC Excellence. “Many of these instructors were told there was no money available for travel to conferences, yet they still came. How? They paid their own way. They showed they are truly dedicated to their students and providing the industry the next generation of HVACR technicians.”
The theme of the event was “Green is the New Gold,” and more than 40 sessions were offered on new and changing technologies, changes in federal legislation, energy efficiency, best practices, training techniques, and green and sustainable applications.
A GREENER FUTUREIn a session presented by David Boyd, vice president of education for Appion Inc., attendees listened to a short history of the electrical power grid in the United States. He demonstrated how the HVACR industry’s lack of quality installations and service are affecting the electrical grid and costing Americans millions of dollars.
According to Boyd, the majority of equipment installed today is improperly sized and charged, while poor evacuation of refrigerants is dramatically affecting system performance. In the end, he said, millions of dollars are being wasted through excessive energy usage caused by improperly installed and serviced HVACR equipment. He urged conference attendees to train the next generation of technicians to properly size, install, and service HVACR equipment for a greener America.
Chris Haslinger of the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices (UA) also said new people entering the industry need to be taught concepts and terminology related to green mechanical systems, sustainable HVACR, electrical, energy-efficiency concepts, energy management, and alternative energy systems. He outlined what the UA and its employer partners are doing to prepare technicians for the challenges of the new green economy and asked educators and trainers to join them on their quest.
The UA has built two mobile classrooms that travel around the country to aid in teaching green and sustainable technologies - and the first-generation mobile training center was at the conference, allowing attendees to see firsthand the many ways in which a building can become more energy efficient, use fewer natural resources, and have minimal impact on the environment.
Another key presentation was hosted by Christina Spaulding, senior account manager for DuPont ISCEON Refrigerants, who provided a market update on the status of refrigerants including a regulatory update on the phaseout of HCFC-22.
She covered climate change legislation and its probable impact on HFCs, as well as the next generation of refrigerants including HFOs. Spaulding further discussed HCFC-22 retrofit issues and the pending carbon tax legislation.
TRAINING TECHNIQUESBill Johnson, author of “Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technology,” made a rare appearance from retirement to share his knowledge with the next generation of HVACR instructors. Johnson, one of the most popular online authors of the decade, has been writing the Btu Buddy column forThe NEWSfor years. He presented two sessions, and both times he spoke his 120-seat classroom was packed to standing-room-only.
Johnson discussed training techniques for educators and trainers who need to drive occupation information into the long-term memory and create active participation in the process of learning HVACR.
Johnson was also joined at the conference by other well-known industry authors, including John Tomczyk of Ferris State University, Eugene Silberstein of Suffolk County Community College, and Carter Stanfield of Athens Technical College.
ENERGY AUDITOR CURRICULUMAt the conference, attendees expressed a great deal of interest in learning about the national energy auditor training and certification program developed for the federal government in response to growing marketplace demand for energy auditors.
The UA was granted the development of the program to create a nationally recognized worker training and certification standard for comprehensive energy auditing training.
In partnership with HVAC Excellence, ESCO Institute and the Green Mechanical Council, the UA developed an energy auditor curriculum that consists of 13 individual modules, containing a sum of 27 classes, totaling 800 contact hours. This allows instructors to partially integrate the program into their curriculum or offer it as a stand-alone energy auditing program.
Graduates of the course will have the title of Certified Energy Auditor (CEA) conferred upon them by the Green Mechanical Council. The pilot testing of the new program began at the United Tribes Technical College (UTTC) in January of this year. The college, located in North Dakota, represents the first time the federal government has selected a group of Native Americans to pilot test a program.
EDUCATOR CREDENTIALSHVAC Excellence also promoted its program to validate educator credentials by offering its exams at the event.
During the conference, more than 100 people took various Certified Subject Matter Educator (CSME) exams in an attempt to earn the prestigious title of Certified Master HVACR Educator (CMHE). The CMHE title is not easily attained since an educator must obtain a score of 80 percent or higher on six area-specific HVAC CMSE exams and must also pass the capstone exam.
Over the last year, nine educators have had the title of CMHE conferred upon them, and one of them was present during the National HVACR Educators and Trainers Conference. Silberstein, who is the co-author of “Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technology,” was presented a CMHE plaque during a special presentation.