Newman Consulting Group

Six Reasons I Still Go to ASHRAE Conventions

I recently returned from the ASHRAE Annual Convention in Dallas (#ASHRAE, #Dallas2013). For me, ASHRAE conventions make it easy to keep up with new developments and new ideas in heating, cooling, ventilation, filtration, Standards and more. Since HVAC can amount to more than 70% of a building’s energy use, and I am an energy efficiency consultant, I need to stay on top of new ideas, codes, Standards and best practices.

I have been an ASHRAE member for a long time, and have been to many ASHRAE local and national events, but I still enjoy attending the biannual conventions. Here are six reasons to attend at least one ASHRAE convention per year:

  1. The Seminars: One of the most important seminars I attended was on changes coming in Standards 90, 62 and 189. If you missed that one, or others you may have wanted to see, you can still see them on the Virtual Conference site. The cost to ASHRAE members is $299 you were not registered for the entire conference. Contact ASHRAE at (404) 636-8400 if you need more information.
  2. The Technical Committee (TC) or other meetings: This is where the rubber meets the road. Among other things, the TCs are responsible for putting on the seminars, updating the Handbooks, and suggesting projects to be funded. In addition to doing important work of ASHRAE, you make invaluable relationships that will last you throughout your working life. Only about 5% of conference attendees go to these meetings, but they are the movers and shakers of the industry.
  3. The Exhibits: I always make time to get on the exhibit floor, even if only for a short period. It’s another excellent way to see new equipment and systems close up, and ask questions of the experts who designed them.
  4. The Networking: It’s wonderful to catch up with peers I see only at the ASHRAE conventions. This year I met many people from ASHRAE Region XIII, the Far East, where I will be speaking as a Distinguished Lecturer later this year. I also visited with colleagues from Brazil and Colombia I met while speaking there last year.
  5. The Technical Tours: We serve as LEED Project Administrator on many different types of buildings so I wanted to see the Baylor Cancer Center, a LEED Gold certified hospital. We also recently performed an ASHRAE Level II energy audit on a hospital in SE Michigan, and they are doing some of the retrofits we recommended. On the tour, I not only saw what Baylor had done for LEED, but also had some useful discussions with their facility people.
  6. The Future: In addition to the above items that offer insight into the future of the industry, it was great to see younger engineers from all over the world. As a past Chair of the Detroit Student Activities Committee, it really made me feel good to witness their excitement and their participation in seminars. Hurray for the YEA (Young Engineers in ASHRAE) program!

With 55,000 attendees and more than 1,800 exhibitors, there is something for everyone in the industry at an ASHRAE Convention. And if you missed the winter event, you can go to the one in Denver this June.

It was definitely time well spent – and I can still see the seminars I missed on the Virtual Conference site. All in all, ASHRAE conventions are a win-win situation.

Topics: HVAC, Codes & Standards, Energy Codes, ASHRAE, Sustainability, Energy Audit