WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Aug. 3, members of the Air-Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) visited more than 20 Congressional offices as part of AHRI’s inaugural lobby day and Congressional reception.

According to AHRI president and CEO Stephen Yurek, these activities were “part of a broader government relations strategy that AHRI has undertaken this year to educate members of Congress about the contributions of AHRI member companies — from the energy-efficient products they produce, to the economic activity and jobs they contribute.”

Policy Priorities

During the meetings on the Hill, AHRI members discussed issues important to the industry, including passage of the Implementation of National Consensus Appliance Agreements Act (INCAAA) and expansion of energy efficiency tax credits.

Specifically, AHRI members urged their representatives to pass Senate bill 398 and to introduce similar legislation in the House. S.398, or INCAAA, would establish regional minimum efficiency standards for central air conditioners, furnaces, and heat pumps.

The manufacturers also urged Congress to consider how the Department of Energy’s recent rule on certification and enforcement will require unnecessary testing of HVACR commercial products in order to comply with federal standards. According to AHRI, “Overall, this regulation adds needless costs to government and industry, duplicates efforts, and provides no value to the public.”

AHRI members also pushed for the inclusion of the 25C tax credits in any tax-extenders legislative package, as well as a tax credit for commercial equipment.

Reception Takes the Cake

The Capitol Hill visits were followed by a Congressional reception in the Rayburn House Office Building lobby. The reception was hosted by AHRI; Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA); Heating, Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI); Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling Contractors (PHCC); and North American Technician Excellence (NATE). 

AHRI members and staff along with the leadership of ACCA, HARDI, NATE, and PHCC, mingled with more than 350 Congressional aides, discussing the importance and job-creating power of the HVACR and water heating industries. A map of the United States illustrated the more than 1 million jobs supported by the industry.

To further emphasize this point, a massive 250-pound cake from Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken, N.J., was on display, depicting the many products manufactured by the industry. Carlo’s Bakery is featured in the TLC show “Cake Boss.” The cake cleverly depicted products manufactured by the HVACR and water heating industries. It was shaped like a city block complete with commercial and residential buildings equipped with life-like HVAC and water heating systems.

Publication date: 08/29/2011