Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘HVACR’

Five Prestigious Reasons to Become an HVACR Apprentice

BobLabbett_Blog Bob Labbett | V.P. – Aftermarket Distribution, Cold Chain

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

As National Apprenticeship Week (March 4–8, 2019) once again approaches, the critical shortage of qualified HVACR technicians within the U.S. continues with an estimated industry shortfall of 118,000 technicians by the year 2022. Recruiting apprentice HVACR techs remains as challenging as ever, because students with an aptitude for technical trades are not being encouraged to pursue vocational or technical training. Students need to be convinced that an HVACR career path is a viable alternative to a four-year college degree, offering them a chance to work on new and emerging technologies in meaningful careers that contribute to society.

What’s stopping them? One is the perception among American high school students that a college degree is more valuable and prestigious than an apprenticeship and a fast track to a career. The other is that we collectively as an industry are not adequately presenting them options. Here are five great reasons for a high school student to consider becoming an HVACR apprentice.

  1. College is more popular — and more expensive — than ever.

At least two-thirds of the high school class of 2020 intend to go to college; this represents the highest rate of secondary education attendance in U.S. history. They and their parents know that college is getting more expensive, while financial aid is shrinking. The average student graduates with an average of $40,000 in student loan debt just as they’re about to begin looking for an entry-level job. What isn’t as well-known is that about half of all college students drop out without earning a degree — and with no real job skills. Yet schools, guidance counselors and peers continue to push students straight to college.

  1. There is an alternative: A fast start — with no debt.

When many “traditional” students are just starting their sophomore year in college, some of their high school friends will be beginning their careers as HVACR apprentices with average entry-level salaries ranging from $47,000–$60,000 a year, depending on skill set. It’s a matter of supply and demand, and being an HVACR tech is a vocation in extremely high demand. It’s time high school guidance counselors had information about alternative apprenticeships on hand.

  1. An apprenticeship is a wise path for students who can use their heads — and their hands.

A bright student with some high school courses in math and/or physics can learn to read a blueprint and earn an HVACR apprentice certificate at a community college in six months to a year, at little or no cost and with no student debt. Others can even start straight out of high school, getting paid while earning their certificate on the job. In an industry that needs 118,000 new HVACR apprentice technicians, their certificates mean they are almost certain to get job offers from almost any company to which they apply. As an apprentice, their future career tracks are limited only by their ambition and drive (or lack thereof).

  1. An apprenticeship is a top-notch education.

An HVACR tech certificate may not sound as glamorous as a college degree. But four years of on-the-job training in a technical field are easily the equivalent of a four-year academic degree. HVACR techs are responsible for maintaining healthy environments at major medical centers. They work in the aerospace industry and in high-tech corporations. HVACR techs know how to maintain and repair 12-ton coolers, heat pumps, furnaces, ultralow-temperature freezers and refrigerators; they can manage the electronic systems that connect them; and they can run the software and internet programs that monitor and control them. HVACR techs work with advanced technologies, doing essential work that significantly affects people’s lives.

  1. They’re wanted.

The HVACR industry is working with educators, unions and contractor organizations to make it even easier to earn apprentice certification, with more online courses, night classes and technically advanced curriculums to create valuable on-the-job training. Even the federal government has stepped in, with the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act providing funds for students who are looking for more career-oriented education after high school.

 

Refrigerant Management: How Changes to Section 608 Impact Our Industry

JohnWallace_Blog_Image John Wallace | Director of Innovation, Retail Solutions

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

I was recently interviewed for an article in ACHR’s The News magazine, “EPA’s Proposed Changes to Section 608 Cause Concern in the Industry,” where I provided my perspective on the current state of leak detection, repair and other provisions.

Refrigerant leak response and repair regulations have placed our industry in uncertain waters. As you may know, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a new rule that rescinds some provisions of its Section 608 mandate, affecting equipment with 50 lbs. or more of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) or other substitute refrigerants. These best practices were developed in consultation with the HVACR industry to ensure safety, establish proper reclaim and recycling processes, and of course, reduce carbon emissions.

In November 2016, the EPA extended the scope of Section 608 — from refrigerants containing ozone-depleting substances (ODS) to nonexempt substitute refrigerants such as HFCs. Because the Court of Appeals ruled in 2017 that the EPA could not ban HFCs, the agency has decided that it also did not have the authority to regulate these refrigerants under Section 608.

Establishing best practices

Awareness of the importance of leak detection has grown exponentially in recent years. Today, most companies understand that implementing a leak response and repair program is simply a best practice. And for those companies that have already taken steps to comply with Section 608, the vacating of this rule will have little impact.

I stated in the article: “These procedures not only benefit the environment but also help ensure HVACR equipment operates at peak efficiency, including at the lowest overall cost. One of the benefits of the existing regulations has been to raise the awareness of best practices related to HVACR maintenance. Increased awareness generally leads to broader adoption by those in the industry, regardless of whether regulations are in place.”

Simply put, leak detection and repair programs make good sense, regardless of the regulations in place or the type of refrigerant being used. However, with the reversal of Section 608, equipment operators will no longer be under federal mandate to follow these widely adopted refrigerant management best practices:

  • Conducting leak rate calculations when refrigerant is added to an appliance
  • Repairing an appliance that leaks above a threshold leak rate
  • Conducting verification tests on repairs
  • Conducting periodic leak inspections on appliances that exceed the threshold leak rate
  • Reporting to the EPA about chronically leaking appliances
  • Retrofitting or retiring appliances that are not repaired
  • Maintaining related records
  • Overseeing technicians’ use of certified equipment and the reclamation process

These procedures are already considered to be the optimal standard practice, and end users who are focused on operational excellence are likely doing many (or most) of them today.

Maintaining other key program elements

The absence of a federal mandate for responsible HFC management creates a quandary for our industry. Currently, the EPA is seeking comments about the remaining provisions of Section 608, raising concerns about the potential for overturning other benefits of programs — specifically, guidelines for refrigerant reclaim procedures and technician certification and training programs.

Proper refrigerant reclamation reduces the likelihood of introducing impurities, which could lead to premature failures and increased maintenance costs for owners of HVACR equipment. What’s more, the certification program provides the vital information on how to deal with the ever-growing number of refrigerants. As I stated in the article: “One benefit of certification is that wholesalers are able to sell refrigerants to technicians who have a sufficient background and understanding of their liability under the Clean Air Act.”

Path forward

Already, several states are adopting standards for leak detection and control. Again, as I noted in the article, “We are already seeing some states such as California enact regulations that adopt many of the requirements in Section 608. Other states will likely step in, which may create more headaches for the industry. This could create problems for the industry and lead to a patchwork of inconsistent regulations that would be challenging for manufacturers and service providers to navigate.”

As always, Emerson will help you stay informed about further changes to Section 608. Regardless of the regulatory decisions, we’ll continue to provide guidance and expertise on how to design and implement refrigerant management programs.

Copeland Scroll™ and Supervisory Controls Come out on Top

Phil Moeller | Vice President – Product Management, Refrigeration
Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

The 2019 AHR Expo (International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition) Innovation Awards winners have been announced, with Emerson taking home the hardware for its Copeland Scroll fractional-horsepower, low-temperature compressor in the Refrigeration category. Emerson’s Supervisory Controls were also recognized as finalists in the Building Automation category.

Copeland Scroll

Winners of the AHR Expo Innovation Awards were selected by a panel of third-party American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) member judges who evaluate all award entries based on innovative design, creativity, application, value and market impact. Award entry fees are donated to an organization in need of HVACR repairs, upgrades or installations, giving all competitors something to root for, whether they win or lose.

The Copeland Scroll fractional-horsepower, low-temperature compressors utilize liquid-injection technology and cooling discharge temperatures to help reduce compressor stress and meet federal regulatory requirements. Ensuring compliance with EPA and DOE regulations and granting compatibility with environmentally conscious refrigerants allow facility managers to meet energy and sustainability goals while simultaneously lowering their collective footprint without having to sacrifice productivity or efficiency.

The Supervisory Controls platform provides building and system management, control, power and simplified operation for refrigeration, HVAC, lighting and more. By collecting, analyzing, reporting and communicating performance history and metrics like energy usage, HVAC discharge and space temperatures, facility managers can quickly respond to issues that may impact customer experiences, food safety and operating costs — all from the convenience of their desktop computers or mobile devices.

Both products are geared toward helping customers stay ahead of the curve and adapt their operations in a rapidly changing industry without having to completely overhaul their operating structures and systems. High-efficiency equipment like the Copeland Scroll fractional-horsepower, low-temperature compressor and supervisory controls can help improve operations, mitigate risk, save money and further sustainability efforts.

Emerson will continue to develop new products to meet customer needs and strive to refine current products to help customers realize their most optimized and reliable operations to date, while still addressing compliance concerns and sustainability goals. Emerson is honored to be recognized by the AHR Expo panel of judges for our work and want to congratulate the other winners and finalists.

Five Trends That Will Impact Retailers In 2015

RetailersRetailers are utilizing data-driven approaches to offset a moderate economy, varying consumer behavior and the continued rise of online competitors.

Read more

MAKING SENSE of Embedded Electronics in HVACR Equipment

While the prevalence of electronics continues to expand into nearly every aspect of our lives, the refrigeration and air conditioning industries have been slow to embed electronics in HVACR equipment. Unfortunately, the primary reasons for this reluctance can be attributed to a lack of awareness and education about the promise of electronically enabled systems.

For many OEMs, there is a fair amount of confusion surrounding the operation, maintenance and repair-ability of systems with embedded electronics. And among the consumer base, there’s a general misunderstanding about the value that electronics bring versus their perceived risks and costs.

Our next MAKING SENSE webinar will address these apprehensions and make a compelling case for electronic connectivity and system communications in HVACR equipment. Join us via webinar or in the booth at the 2015 AHR Expo on January 26 in Chicago, as we explore the potential of electronics and facilitate a panel discussion from Emerson’s lecture area in their booth, #5010, from 2–3 p.m. CST.

banner-MakingSense-Webinar11

In this complimentary webinar, we’ll explore the many advantages of embedded electronics, including:

  • Accurately diagnoses system problems the first time
  • Limits misdiagnosis and call-backs
  • Establishes improved maintenance contracts through better communications
  • Increases productivity through prognostics that identify potential failure points
  • Improves OEM installation verification and subsequent warranty issues

In an industry faced with disruptive equipment failures, a declining number of qualified technicians and increased service costs, we think it’s time to re-evaluate the many benefits of embedded electronics. With their tremendous untapped potential, electronics hold the promise of ushering in a new era of reliability in HVACR equipment.

The webinar will be led by Mike Murphy of The NEWS and include a list of distinguished panelists from a cross-section of our industry, including: John Wallace of Emerson Climate Technologies, Randall Amerine from AT&T, Paul Stalknecht of ACCA and George Hernandez from the U.S. Department of Energy.

We hope you’ll join us via webinar or in the booth on January 26 from 2–3 p.m. CST from the AHR Expo show as we are making sense of embedded electronics.

Learn more and register by visiting our website at: EmersonClimate.com/MakingSenseWebinars

%d bloggers like this: