As this is being written temperatures are near 100°F here on the Illinois/Wisconsin border and a drought is in full force. The hue and cry is, “See, see, global warming! Told you it was real!”

Now I had just come back from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., where temperatures also were near 100°, and where the every-other-year concurrent conferences on compressors, refrigeration and air conditioning, and buildings took place and drew close to 600 attendees from 30 countries.

And it seems, the folks from Europe were telling me, that the Old World was experiencing one the coolest and wettest summers on record. That led me to conclude that it isn’t global warming, but North American warming we were experiencing — and who knows what that is.

Another interesting aspect of the Purdue conferences was that many of those who had studied environmental issues as related to HVACR and building design were not ready to list causes of global (or North American) warning. And while they were able to give statistics on how energy-efficient design and proper installation and service can reduce energy consumption, and how tight systems and use of lower global warming potential refrigerants are pluses, several were not ready to say what impact those actions will have on reducing environmental warming.

The general point was that at the least such energy-efficiency efforts can’t hurt and more than likely will help.

For me and for many others, the value of all this is that it reduces the costs of operating HVACR systems. That means smaller energy bills. And the way things are going with energy costs and new standards of efficiency, the payback on that can be very fast.

Publication date: 8/20/2012