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Thank You for 2018, and Stay Tuned for '19

Thank you for your support and readership. In 2019, we will continue to cover issues and trends that affect you, the HVACR contractor.

I received an email from a gentleman requesting a Contracting Business article from 1991 on R-22 in refrigeration systems. The magazine I needed was on a nearby bookcase, along with
every other CB from the past 30 years. We have them all, by the way, going back to 1944. I scanned it and sent it off to him. He was thankful.

That little bit of help symbolizes what we strive to do here each day: provide HVACR contractors with the information they need to mange their businesses and troubleshoot problems. Some recently-completed research tells us we’re succeeding. Thank you for your support of our print and digital publications and online content.

Another “Thank You” goes out to those industry manufacturers and service providers who rode with us in 2018, with sponsored online content, and advertising for print, digital and Internet. We can’t do it without you.

“Thank You” also to our fine contributors, Rob “Doc” Falke, Dominick Guarino, Charlie Greer, Tom Casey, Matt Michel, Weldon Long, Gary Elekes, Mike Agugliaro, and many more thought leaders who helped us help you.

The year 2018 saw activity in areas related to refrigerant and energy efficiency legislation, though it was in a different direction than expected. We await a final decision from the Environmental Protection Agency on its September Proposed Rule — “Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Revisions to the Refrigerant Management Program’s Extension to Substitutes,” and other portions of the Section 608 program. We hope EPA sees the error in potentially providing any unqualified person access to HVACR refrigerants.

Information obtained at the recently-completed HARDI Conference is that EPA will be making the right kinds of changes.

In June, a D.C. Court of Appeals judged that EPA’s authority to regulate ozone-depleting substances under Section 612 and other statutes does not give EPA authority to order the replacement of substances that are not ozone depleting but that contribute to climate change (still a hotly debated concept).

Also in June, the Supreme Court denied a request by the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute to hear its appeal of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision that the California Energy Commission’s Title 20 regulations were not preempted by the federal Energy Policy Conservation Act (EPCA). Bottom line is, more states may begin following California in setting their own appliance efficiency regulations. That, we don’t need.

The year ended with no action by the U.S. Senate on ratifying the Kigali Amendment, which would bring about an orderly, global phasedown of HFCs, which is said to cause global warming.

My personal wish is that "warming" proponents would give heed to their opponents, who are armed with valid data that shows non-existent warming, and in fact, the existence of planetary cooling.

 

Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) convened a successful Leadership Forum, a new event which continues the AHRI tradition of helping industry manufacturers establish ongoing efficiency standards. AHRI is modifying its approach to product sections, in a way that will give companies of every size a voice in product discussions. See my report on page 14.

Those of you still dragging your feet, please begin moving to alternative refrigerants as soon as possible, and away from R-22. Only 4 million pounds of R-22 will be produced in 2019, which is a 55% reduction in R-22 production from 2018’s amount. R-22 production will cease entirely in January, 2020.

Acceptance of ductless mini-split for homes and VRF/VRV for commercial buildings continues to expand. Growing numbers of contracting firms have started to incorporate GPS fleet monitoring and paperless invoicing. At the ServiceTitan ‘Pantheon’ conference, we were told of company product developments that will allow contractors to be vastly more aware of customer preferences, almost to the point of
being telepathic.

The Internet of Things is expanding into greater numbers of homes and buildings. Energy saving technology development continues, as we will see at the January AHR Expo in Atlanta.

Another issue that extends into 2019 is, of course, the labor shortage in HVACR. We saw effort and some progress locally, and increased national awareness, but more remains to be done.

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