ASHRAE’s global summit aims to improve HVAC&R issues

Aerial view of Istanbul at night

In October, I joined over 200 representatives from the heating, ventilating, air conditioning and refrigerating (HVAC&R) industry for a global summit hosted by ASHRAE’s Region-at-Large in Istanbul. The summit attracts people from all facets of the industry — designers, owners, operators, commissioning providers, contractors, manufacturers and professional organizations from around the world — and focuses on the top issues facing HVAC&R. This year’s summit addressed concerns with topics titled “Decarbonization,” “IEQ/Wellness,” “Food Security – The Cold Chain” (the temperature-controlled supply chain), “Climate Crisis Mitigation,” “Energy Security” and “Workforce Development.”

Bringing such a large group of HVAC&R professionals together to discuss these challenges offered a great opportunity to help the industry. After keynote speakers delivered short presentations on the topics, everyone was divided into groups, each joined by an industry expert, to discuss the issues, find their causes and deliberate the ramifications.

I participated in the group that discussed indoor environmental quality and wellness in buildings, and I drew on my experience as a voting member of ASHRAE’s Epidemic Task Force and former chair of its Environmental Health Committee. I found that with the wide range of personalities, experiences and expertise in these groups, the toughest part was making sure to focus on just identifying the problems. The biggest takeaway from my group’s discussion is that everyone is struggling to find the balance between indoor environmental quality (IEQ) and the energy and carbon it takes to provide a comfortable and safer environment than the code-minimum design.

After each group presented their thoughts and answered audience questions, they developed action plans, which became a fairly detailed work plan not just for ASHRAE, but for the entire HVAC&R industry. The audience then provided additional feedback and input on the subject areas for the groups’ proposed plans. The leaders of the breakout groups took this work and input from everyone at the summit to detail the plans for the summit’s final report. You can learn about everything that was presented and discovered during the summit in the report on ASHRAE’s website. The intent is that all the supporting organizations in the HVAC&R industry will adopt these plans to help improve these important issues.

Wade Conlan, P.E., CxA, BCxP, LEED AP® BD+C, is Hanson’s commissioning and energy discipline manager who works at the Orlando, Florida, regional office. He has been extensively involved with ASHRAE. Talk to him about how commissioning can help address these key issues by emailing him at wconlan@hanson-inc.com.