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ASHRAE President Sheila Hayter Tours Nortek Factory; Promotes 'Building Our New Energy Future' Campaign

March 9, 2019
ASHRAE is turning to manufacturers for help in planning and executing tomorrow’s HVAC equipment with a goal of net-zero building energy efficiency.

Oklahoma City, Okla. Feb., 2019 — Touring state-of-the-art HVAC manufacturing facilities, such as Nortek Air Solutions’ new multi-million dollar Nortek Oklahoma Coil Plant here on Feb. 5, is just one facet of the campaign by 2018-2019 ASHRAE President Sheila Hayter, P.E., that is preparing building professionals for tomorrow’s electric grid and energy efficiency challenges.

The U.S. electric grid infrastructure is more than 100 years old and its strained capacity will fall short of tomorrow’s anticipated energy needs, according to Hayter. Therefore, ASHRAE is petitioning manufacturers, engineers and other HVAC industry members to design more sustainable equipment and buildings that will put less load on the nation’s electric infrastructure. This will help transform the current one-way passive electric grid into a more active infrastructure that integrates Internet of Things (IoT), alternative energy and other technologies resulting in a goal of net zero and grid-interactive buildings.

Hayter provided a synopsis of the aspiration’s progress to more than 500 ASHRAE members attending the annual President’s Luncheon held at the 2019 ASHRAE Winter Conference and AHR Expo 2019 last January where she outlined the association’s“Building Our New Energy Future; What Buildings Professionals Need to Know About Changes Coming to our Energy Sector”campaign. 

Hayter, Nortek CEO Bruno Biasiotta and local engineering students and professors toured the 80,000-square-foot plant that opened last summer. The facility demonstrates the St. Louis-based NAS’ commitment to modernizing both manufacturing processes and the end-product copper coils used in its commercial HVAC products. ASHRAE hopes to educate building professionals and their clients on Distributed Energy Resources, because DSRs represent critical technologies and strategies through which buildings evolve from passive consumers to active partners with the grid, according to Hayter. 

“I was impressed Nortek recognizes the industry’s coming changes and is offering itself as a resource, while also providing knowledge and leadership to the building industry as it looks forward to discover new solutions for energy use,” said Hayter, who is also a senior research advisor at the Department of Energy’s, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Golden, Colo. 

Connecting with ASHRAE Chapters, such as inviting the ASHRAE’s Central Oklahoma Chapter–Region VIII on the plant tour, is another facet of bringing the association’s campaign to the grassroots level, according to Hayter who visited five international and 13 North American chapters during her first year as president last year.

Jeff Forman, president of the Central Oklahoma Chapter and partner of manufacturer’s representative, Mechanical Sales Midwest Inc., Oklahoma City, helped organize the tour.

The tour was also attended by chapter members and a dozen engineering students and three professors: Jie Cai, Ph.D., assistant professor, School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Okla; Christian K. Back, Ph.D., and Craig R. Bradshaw, Ph.D., both assistant professors, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Okla.

Nortek’s annual Golden Circle ASHRAE donations to the Central Oklahoma Chapter’s local colleges, as well as four other North American chapters operating near its factories, helps fund HVAC research that might lead to a more efficient electric grid someday.

“Buildings, vehicles, IoT and alternative energy sources are converging to define a new energy future,” said Biasiotta. “Working with ASHRAE, Nortek is invested in being a part of the solution in creating well buildings with net zero impact.”

Nortek Air Solutions and its affiliated brands have over 300 years of combined experience in the HVAC industry. Nortek Global HVAC — once known as Nordyne — celebrates its 100th Anniversary this year.