CARLSBAD, Calif. — The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute’s (AHRI) 2014 annual meeting, held in Carlsbad, California, boasted record attendance. While much was discussed during the five-day event, the most talked-about topic was government regulation.

“We have a serious problem — or concern, at the least — with the regulatory climate,” outgoing AHRI chairman Robert McDonough said to the crowd.

Government Intervention

Stephen Yurek, president, AHRI, informed members the Department of Energy (DOE) intends to issue 18 rulemakings affecting industry products and equipment. Of those, only five are scheduled for implementation after the current political administration leaves office. This means 13 rulemakings are likely to go into effect over the next two years.

“Frankly, we do not like what we see,” said McDonough, who also serves as Carrier Corp.’s president of residential and light commercial systems (RLCS) — North America. “This year, we took action to litigate against the DOE on two of those new regulations. We did that for good reason. We have a responsibility as an industry to act when regulators overstep their bounds. It is our obligation to defend both our industry and the consumers that use our products from escalating regulations that increase cost and complexity and do not deliver the economic value promised while destroying demand.”

McDonough made it clear that this approach does not mean the HVACR industry is against improvements in efficiency.

“The fact that we look to protect our interests and the interests of our employees and our customers does not mean we are against energy efficiency. To the contrary, we have worked diligently to improve the efficiency of our equipment. Today’s homes are 30 percent larger than they were 20 years ago, but energy consumption is flat. This is even more impressive when you consider all the energy-consuming items in homes today,” McDonough said.

Technically Feasible, Economically Justified

For regulations to be effective, AHRI insists they must pass the twin-test threshold of being technically feasible and economically justified.

AHRI made a big effort in 2014 to make sure leaders in Washington, District of Columbia, heard from them. They increased interaction with elected officials through an industry awareness campaign that included a Chairman’s Challenge, which promoted one-on-one interactions with political representatives. It worked, as the amount of meetings between members and political reps jumped from 14 visits in 2013 to 26 in 2014.

“These interactions are absolutely critical in our efforts to engage Congress on issues that are important to us. Our voice is being heard,” Yurek said.

AHRI also had 17 interviews with the mainstream media in 2014 after conducting only three in 2013. AHRI representatives appeared in Reuters, USA Today, and Politico articles.

“We are confident our message is reaching the necessary policy makers in Congress and those in the agencies that regulate our business. Our message is getting to the people we need to reach,” said Francis Dietz, vice president of public affairs, AHRI.

Awards and Honors

During the event, AHRI elected new officers and presented awards to industry leaders.

AHRI’s new chairman is Ed Purvis, executive vice president, Emerson Climate Technologies Inc. Doug Young, Residential Heating and Cooling, Lennox Intl., was elected vice chairman; Chris Drew, Burnham Holdings Inc., treasurer; and McDonough, immediate past chairman.

The executive committee will consist of Dennis Appel, Luvata Grenada; Gary Clark, Goodman Mfg.; John Galyen, Danfoss; Nick Giuffre, Bradford White Corp.; Bill Johnson, Hillhoenix; Chris Peel, Rheem Mfg. Co.; Earle Pfefferkorn, Cleaver-Brooks; Dave Regnery, Trane, an Ingersoll Rand brand; Rod Rushing, Johnson Controls Inc.; Bill Steel, Bard Mfg. Co.; and Kevin Wheeler, A.O. Smith Corp.

The Richard C. Schulze Award is given for distinguished service and commitment to AHRI and the industry’s goals and objectives. Those receiving the award in 2014 included: Ron Duncan, Magic Aire; Phillip Johnson, Daikin Applied; Dave LaGrand, Nordyne; Bill McQuade, Johnson Controls Inc.; and Rajan Rajendran, Emerson Climate Technologies Inc.

The AHRI Distinguished Service Award is AHRI’s highest honor and recognizes industry leaders who have made significant contributions throughout their careers. AHRI awarded C. David Myers, former vice president and president, building efficiency, at Johnson Controls Inc.

“We are pleased to recognize these thoughtful, tireless leaders and thank them for their service to AHRI and the HVACR and water heating industries,” said Yurek.

AHRI has also announced two new certification programs: Central Station Air-handling Unit Casings (AHUC) and Liquid-to-Liquid Brazed & Fusion Bonded Plate Heat Exchangers (LLBF). The two new programs join AHRI’s 41 other programs, all of which verify the performance ratings for more than 40 product categories via random selection and annual testing at third-party laboratories.

AHRI Standards 1350 (I-P) and 1351 (SI), “Mechanical Performance Rating of Central Station Air-handling Unit Casings,” will serve as the rating standards for the new Air-Handling Unit casing certification program. When paired with AHRI’s existing Central Station Air-Handling Unit Supply Fan, Forced Circulation Air-cooling & Air-heating Coils, and Air-to-Air Energy Recovery Ventilators certification programs, the new program can help ensure the overall performance of an air-handling unit. The AHUC program will verify casing deflection and casing air leakage, and it has the option of verifying thermal transmittance with leakage, thermal transmittance without leakage, and thermal bridging.

Products tested in the Liquid to Liquid Brazed and Fusion Bonded certification program are rated to AHRI Standard 400, “Liquid-to-Liquid Heat Exchangers,” which applies to production models of brazed and fusion bonded plate-type heat exchangers with heat duty up to 16 MBtuh and flow rates up to 1,200 gallons per minute (gpm), utilizing water and/or sea water as fluids in heating, cooling, and district energy HVAC applications. As with its gasketed plate-type liquid-to-liquid heat exchanger program, AHRI will offer specification sheet verification for this program, providing an additional layer of performance reliability.

“These new programs demonstrate our commitment to providing marketplace clarity and a level playing field for all manufacturers,” said Bill Tritsis, vice president of certification. “AHRI programs have served the HVACR and water heating industries for more than 50 years by independently verifying manufacturers’ performance ratings for a variety of equipment.”

Publication date: 1/19/2015

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