Heating and cooling systems within condominium developments are called upon to provide safe, consistent energy to residents. The people who bring you heat, air cooling and refrigeration know that, and want to find what works—and what doesn’t—as technology evolve. They invest a good deal of time and effort into finding and sharing the answers to this search and similar questions about their work. What results are higher standards for buildings, better efficiency and safety for all?
The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers—ASHRAE, founded in 1894—has a membership of more than 50,000. As an exceptionally active professional and educational organization, ASHRAE focuses on advancing heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration products, improving environmental sustainability, and encouraging the best technology through research, standards writing, publishing and continuing education.
Food for Thought
That’s a tall order, but members don’t shy away from it, attending sessions like the recent, “Are High-Performance Buildings Really Performing?” and supporting research into new product and technology development. ASHRAE chapters are busy, sustained in part by the support and involvement of ASHRAE’s executive board.
The New Jersey chapter is comprised of 695 members and is part of a widespread, national and international organization. Newly elected president Jim Sarno has held the post since July 1st but has been involved with ASHRAE for many years. “There are so many benefits of joining ASHRAE but I would say the biggest is the opportunity to get involved with energy codes,” says Sarno, a professional engineer. “There’s also great networking opportunities and it’s a great place to meet others and learn.”
ASHRAE came about through the 1959 merger of the American Society of Heating and Air-Conditioning Engineers and the American Society of Refrigerating Engineers.
Membership includes engineers and others associated with heating, ventilation, air conditioning or refrigeration—such as indoor air quality and energy conservation, green/solar, HVAC, etc. Because the connection to the national/international organization is so strong, membership provides access to state-of-the-art HVAC&R technology and opportunities to participate in research and development of that technology. Education and training are another aspect that is important to membership and part of ASHRAE’s goals. Even students in the field are welcomed as members.
A Worldwide Society
All told, more than 51,000 people, from more than 100 nations, make up the society—engineers, mechanical contractors, building owners, employees of manufacturing companies, educational and research institutions, government or any organization concerned with environmental control. Professionals in related fields, such as architecture and medical research, are allied with the organization.
With such a diverse membership, it’s only natural that ASHRAE is creating technology that meets current and future needs as well as catering to member interests, such as career improvement. There is considerable interest in new products, sustainable systems, green energy systems, member training, business operations and career opportunity. Both individual chapters and the national organization present training and learning opportunities to members.
ASHRAE’s Historical Committee sponsors and conducts research into the history of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration, encouraging publication of historical and profession-related materials, as well as making them available to members. Regional and chapter historians assist in the process.
Sarno believes the benefits of membership are immeasurable, noting that the New Jersey Chapter members include consulting engineers, sustainability leaders, contractors, manufacturers and architects, providing an excellent conduit to network with other professionals in the field.
The New Jersey chapter hosts numerous social events throughout the year like golf outings or its recent Night at the Races where members and their significant others met at the Meadowlands Racetrack for an evening of food, camaraderie and fun.
Sarno also points out that ASHRAE provides its members with access to the latest technology through standards, guidelines, professional certification programs and online learning. The group also recently awarded a scholarship to Josh Zaro, a third year student at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, a public research university located in Newark.
NJ ASHRAE recently held a clean energy seminar that started with ASHRAE member and engineer Doug Shattuck presenting information about incentives that are available for energy saving products and projects through New Jersey’s Clean Energy program. For more information on upcoming seminars, go to www.njashrae.com.
Ann Connery Frantz is a Massachusetts freelance writer. Staff Writer Christy Smith-Sloman contributed to this article.