Keeping it Cool The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engnieers

Keeping it Cool

 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 evolves. 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 Illinois Chapter, located in Cook County’s Evergreen Park is part of a widespread, national and international  organization. Newly-elected president Laura Ludwig, who took office in July of  this year, leads ASHRAE Illinois, the organization’s largest chapter. The Illinois Chapter of ASHVE, the precursor to today’s society, dates back to 1907. The Illinois chapter has a significant amount of  documents and literature related to its activities over more than a century.  

 Promote Betterment of Society

 “Our main focus is to promote the betterment of society through education of  professional resources in the air conditioning, heating and refrigeration  business,” says Ludwig. “My role as president is to direct and organize the chapters’ functions and to represent the chapter to the national organization as well as  to represent it to the community at large.”  

 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 & refrigeration 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.  

 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.  

 Guidance for Professionals

 Ludwig says that since there are chapters all over the world, chapters operate  independently then report to regional chapters for guidance, adding that it’s an extremely-structured organization.  

 “The reason I joined many, many years ago was for the education. My college  degree [a bachelor’s degree in science and mechanical engineering] gave the theory but it never  took me beyond the theory,” says Ludwig. “ASHRAE gave me resources in terms of people and education materials and seminars  that allowed me to take my college education and put it into practice. It was  very pragmatic. It was very functional for me to join ASHRAE.”  

 She’s big on ASHRAEs’ education programs and seminars. “We recently had a great seminar that was covering DOAS [dedicated outdoor air  systems]. It’s a ventilation methodology that allows reduction in energy uses by using more  outdoor air ventilation and then using another type of system to do the  mechanical. It’s a nice environmental way to cool and ventilate a building. We are all very  interested in ways to save energy, which is a big component of ASHRAE.”    

 Ann Connery Frantz is a Massachusetts freelance writer. Staff Writer Christy  Smith-Sloman contributed to this article.  

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