“The only thing that is constant is change...” Heraclitus, philosopher, 475 B.C.
As I enter into the fifth year of my career with the Radiant Professionals Alliance (RPA), and I look back at all of the work and accomplishments, most of which were done by a great group of volunteers, I feel a great deal of pride in knowing that we, as an industry have become stronger today than we were when I first joined the RPA.
Here are some very notable events:
The Uniform Solar Energy and Hydronics Code (USEHC): In 2015, after three years of hard work by numerous volunteer task groups, International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) unveiled the very first code and standard addressing hydronic heating and cooling installations developed under IAPMO’s American National Standards Institute (ANSI) voluntary consensus development guidelines.
This is significant in that none of the existing nationally-recognized mechanical codes really address the needs of the hydronics and radiant industries. Certain aspects are covered, such as major components and installation techniques, but only this code brings it all together in the form of an ANSI-recognized voluntary consensus standard. This is the foundational standard around which our hydronics industry can rally. It levels the playing field. The citizens of a jurisdiction that adopts this code can expect that their heating/cooling system will deliver the comfort and efficiency that they expect and pay for.
This is a living, breathing document, meaning that on a tri-annual basis it is completely reviewed by subject matter experts, with changes proposed and adopted to reflect current state of the art. The next version will be published in 2018. The great thing about this code is that if you, as a contractor, distributor or other person with an interest in hydronics has a proposal for any part of this document, the process affords you an opportunity to make you proposal public to effect code changes. At present, to the best of my knowledge, it is the only hydronic code/standard that is designated an American National Standard I encourage you to get involved in the ongoing development process of the USEHC, and to let your voice be heard.
For more information, contact Alma Ramos, Manager of Code Development at 909/230-5528 or e-mail her at [email protected]
Hydronics Industry Alliance — Commercial (HIA-C): This subcommittee of the Hydronics Industry Alliance was formed to allow the manufacturers of hydronic heating equipment the opportunity to have a publicly recognized podium, and a megaphone to bolster the known advantages of commercial hydronics technologies. Times, they are a-changing, and what was once the “normal” of the industry is changing as well. One constant that has not changed is the fact that we are all in the “comfort” business. As our industry friend and icon Robert Bean has said many times, “Design for comfort, and efficiency will follow.” The HIA-C has a mission to show the world, without a doubt, that the use of water-based solutions for transferring energy around a building is the most efficient method known to mankind. Though varying claims are circulating regarding other heating and cooling systems, HIA-C provides the commercial consumer with the facts that prove hydronics’ efficiency.”
The HIA-C wants to make sure that end-users are very aware of the known benefits and advantages of using water as the main energy transfer agent. The HIA-C has developed software which allows building owners, A/E firms and contractors the opportunity to look at proposed building designs, and see the cost differentials between all possible system configurations up front, before construction is started.
The inputs for this software come from existing, well-known, operational buildings that utilize these various types of systems. Major cities, including New York and Chicago, have already begun cataloging and bench-marking the results of these different systems. Sitting right there on top of the stack, shining as the most efficient system type, is hydronics. Please consider joining the HIA-C team and help show the value of hydronic heating and cooling systems for commercial buildings. Visit http://bit.ly/2jQExev for more information on how to become a member, or call Alan Wald at 1-909-472-4211.
I’ve decided to step down from this very stressful position at the request of all of my medical professionals who have said that if I don’t get rid of the stress, that my body is going to revolt.
ASSE/IAPMO/ANSI Standard 19210 “Hydronic Installer” Professional Qualification Standard: Standard 19210 is the first American National Standard established to certify professional hydronic system installers. It was developed by ASSE International, a recognized professional qualifications standard development organization. It is an intense training program that addresses not only conventional hydronics, but also the technical nuances of hydronic radiant heating and cooling systems. The course content includes 24 classroom contact hours, and concludes with a proctored, 100 question exam. Successful trainees will become ASSE International-certified hydronic system installers.
As more and more Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs) adopt the USEHC, the Standard 19210 Training and Certification Program will allow AHJs the opportunity to specify this certification as a minimum requirement for receiving hydronic/radiant system installation licensure within their jurisdictions.
Even before it becomes a requirement, it allows a hydronics contractor the opportunity to market themselves as being the very best at their trade, and shows that they have taken the initiative to keep themselves abreast of technology changes. 19210 Certification proves to the world that a contractor really does know what they are talking about. Certification instills a high degree of consumer confidence, since the contractor has made a significant effort to stay on the cutting edge of comfort technology, and has successfully passed an examination to prove it. The certification requires a minimum of two years of field experience in the pipe-fitting trades in order to qualify to sit for the training and the examination. For more information on a class schedule, go to http://bit.ly/2iW8aM4or call Les Nelson at 909-218-8112
Continuing education: The RPA, in conjunction with HeatSpring, has and will continue to offer many classes relating to hydronic comfort and efficiency to the industry. As someone who has been in the industry for over 40 years, I can tell you that it is extremely important to keep up with technological changes that occur on what seems like a daily basis. If you get stuck in a rut, you will be left behind by the rest of this fast paced industry. For more information on the hydronic classes offered by HeatSpring, visit http://bit.ly/2jTPqMZ.
Now, about this column’s headline “Changes”... I have tendered my resignation as the executive director of this fine organization. Before I leave, I have some cleanup work to be done, and my last official day will be April 1, 2016.
As I get older, I think about something that was said to me a long time ago by my great friend and industry icon Dan Holohan. He said, “If I’d have known I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of my body...” Truer words could not have been spoken. I am beginning to feel the effects of age, lately experiencing less than ideal health conditions. I’ve decided to step down from this very stressful position at the request of all of my medical professionals who have said that if I don’t get rid of the stress, that my body is going to revolt. The revolution has already begun, and I need to begin paying more attention to this situation if I want to enjoy retirement in the near future. I will remain a member of the RPA and will continue to provide my technical expertise when and where needed.
I intend to go back to doing what I was doing before I went to work for the RPA, that being a radiant consultant. I mothballed my former company known as Mark Eatherton and Associates, and I intend to begin marketing myself as Intelligent Radiant Solutions.
The newly-appointed RPA Advisory Group will participate in ongoing management support, providing guidance to IAPMO in regards to ongoing RPA activities, including education, code development, advocacy and professional certification. It just won’t be under my sole direction.
In closing, I can’t thank all of the individuals enough who have helped me to bring this organization to this point. I’d love to name you all individually, but there is a limit to the number of words that I am allowed to place in this article, and I’ve already exceeded my quota. You all know who you are. From the RPA Board of Directors, to all of the individual members who have donated their time and expertise — from the bottom of my heart, thank you for your services and support, and please, consider staying aboard on one of the advisory committees to help us keep this wonderful organization moving forward.
Contact [email protected] if you are interested in sitting on the advisory committee. And to the staff of IAPMO, thank you for all of your support over the last five years. It has truly been an amazing trip, and as I look back over our accomplishments, I can rest easy knowing that we kept the organization alive and moving forward.
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