Global warming. Global warming. Global warming! Tired of hearing about it? Then go ahead and put your head back in the sand. OK, I am not a scientist, an environmentalist, Al Gore’s illegitimate son, nor do I hug trees. However, after reviewing the content of the report on the state of planetary warming issued two months ago by the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, well ... you should give it a quick read. “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal,” it states.

What’s more, there is “very high confidence” that human activities since 1750 have played a significant role by overloading the atmosphere with carbon dioxide, hence retaining solar heat that would otherwise radiate away.

Are we all doomed? Listen to the folks at Green Mechanical Council and you might think so - especially if we, as a country, do nothing. Both chairman Dan Chiles and executive director Tom Meyer were preaching their gospels to HVACR instructors - yes, teachers - at the recent HVACR Excellence-sponsored Educators and Trainers Conference held last month in Las Vegas. Admittedly, not all present were alarmed or even acted concerned. One attendee questioned the facts presented by Chiles. Another thought it was a good idea to tell his students and possibly join GreenMech’s cause.

I think it’s a good idea to tell your customers that we all must begin conserving energy, whether they believe in global warming or not. After all, there are those who believe air conditioning is “evil,” in that it consumes too much energy. Therefore, we still need to prove to consumers that with a properly installed and maintained system, they are actually consuming far less energy than otherwise.

Now is a good time for this industry to be proactive. This may mean siding with the global warming folks, letting the world know that the heating and cooling industry is trying to do its part by manufacturing and installing energy-efficient equipment and systems.

If we can cooperate with the scientists regarding refrigerants, HCFCs, et al, we can do the same with global warming ... right?

PLUG FOR GEOTHERMAL

We missed a golden opportunity with Time magazine recently. Its April 9 cover declares loud and clear: “The Global Warming Survival Guide: 51 Things You Can Do to Make a Difference.” While it did not encourage readers to turn off their air conditioners or to rely on fireplaces for home heating, it did give a plug to geothermal technology (which was No. 10 on its list, by the way).

It would be great if this industry could get together to produce a pamphlet that could be passed on to every consumer and household. The front cover could simply state: “Are you doing your part to halt global warming?” Turn the page and it would scream: “We can help you.” Inside would be the facts and figures, letting consumers know the value of a properly maintained and installed system.

As we all know, rarely do building owners/operators or residential consumers link problems such as uncomfortable levels of humidity, high utility bills, high dust levels and/or poor indoor air quality to a substandard design, improper equipment selection, subpart installation, or incomplete commissioning. Lack of understanding causes consumers and building owners/operators to consider “first price only” when making purchasing decisions about HVAC equipment. These purchasing decisions ignore the overall societal benefits that high performance, properly installed equipment offers.

TWO-FOLD PURPOSE

This proposed drop-off pamphlet could actually serve a dual purpose. It could also let the public know that this industry is looking for more technicians in its effort to “help save this planet.” As you may know, the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics estimates that there will be 22,000 job opportunities in the HVAC-related skilled trades that will go unfilled annually between 2008 and 2012. Why not alert the public when given the opportunity?

This is where I wish this industry had one, recognized association. It could establish a national telephone hotline, whereby callers could be hooked up to potential HVACR schools and/or contractors. (One can dream, right?)

Even if you do not believe in global warming, isn’t it a good idea to preach energy conservation anyway? Do we really think fossil fuels will be around forever?

If you think so, then maybe you ought to keep that head buried in the sand.

Publication date: 04/23/2007