ASHRAE Std. 180 progress; Must Read study on HVAC technician behavior

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  JULY 2015

Standard 180 Committee Reports Progress at In-Person Meeting

A four hour meeting of the Standard 180 (SPC 180R Inspection and Maintenance of Commercial Building HVAC Systems) project committee was held on June 26 at the Summer ASHRAE convention in Atlanta, GA. The Standard 180 subcommittees, formed at the January ASHRAE meeting, delivered preliminary reports.

Two major decisions were highlighted at the second meeting of the committee.

  1. Bob Baker, ASHRAE representative on the WHPA Executive Committee, characterized as “big news to the WHPA” a decision to proceed with development of a user manual now on the application and use of the current Standard 180 content, rather than wait until the revised standards are developed and published.

    Bob, Co-Chair of the WHPA Executive Committee, said, “If we had waited until the revised standard was published before working on the user manual, it would have delayed the finished product for a long time.”

    Don Langston, who represents ACCA on the WHPA Executive Committee and who is Chair of the WHPA Commercial Quality Maintenance Committee, is the Chair of the ASHRAE subcommittee developing this user manual.
  2. Another major decision at the recent ASHRAE meeting was for the three subcommittees reviewing Section 5 tables to make recommendations using a single, unified format. These three subcommittees, formed at the January meeting, are chaired by Dale Rossi of Field Diagnostics, Mike Gallagher of Western Allied, and Donald Prather of ACCA. All three are WHPA member organizations.

    A comprehensive report was delivered at the meeting on progress on eight of the Unitary Equipment Tables (Section 5). See sidebar to the right for more information.

ASHRAE Standard 180 Subcommittees

Following are the Standard 180 subcommittees and their Chairs (a * denotes WHPA member organization). Each group will report to the Standard 180 Committee at the next ASHRAE meeting, which is January 2016 in Orlando, FL.

Standard 180 Committee Chair
Tom Paxson (Pax-Sun Engineering, Inc.*)


  • Dale Rossi (Field Diagnostics*) –Section 5, tables 1,8,12, 14, 16, 22, 24, 25
  • Mike Gallagher (Western Allied*) – Section 5, tables 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10
  • Donald Prather (ACCA*) – Section 5 table 7, 11, 13, 15, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 23
  • Glenn Friedman (ACCA*) - New Technology Tables
  • Don Langston (ACCA*) – User Manual
  • Kristin Heinemeier (UC Davis*) – Section 4
New ASHRAE Standard 180 Tasking Review Gets Big Head Start from WHPA Efforts

Years of detailed work by the WHPA contributed to a lively discussion on Standard 180 Section 5 tables of maintenance tasks during the recent ASHRAE Standard 180 Committee meeting.

Dale Rossi of Field Diagnostics, Chair of the WHPA’s Commercial Quality Maintenance (CQM) Tasking Working Group, is also Chair of the ASHRAE subcommittee covering much of the same technical territory.



Dale Rossi, Chair of WHPA and ASHRAE committees

EMI Consulting Report Summary
CA Study of HVAC Technician Behavior A “Must Read” for the Industry

EMI Consulting recently completed Phase II of the HVAC Contractor and Behavior Study. This report, developed over two years, has been called a “must read” for everyone involved in installing and maintaining HVAC systems.

The focus of this study was on technicians; 218 HVAC technicians were surveyed by telephone and a smaller number of interviews with contractors, market actors, and  implementers.  The research team explored implementation challenges faced by technicians, qualities of contractors’ business models that prevent or contribute to ideal field practices, and training/certification needs in order to fully transform the market.

This study was built upon an earlier study completed in September of 2012 that focused on the role of contractors and technicians on the service, maintenance, and installation of HVAC systems.

9 Study Recommendations

The key findings below are from the Summary and Recommendations section of the HVAC Contractor and Behavior Study, Phase II.

  1. Guidelines for how to enact the standards when training technicians and contractors on the specifics of the ACCA/ASHRAE standards.
  2. Conduct case studies with technicians to better understand how the standards are currently enacted in the broader marketplace. 
  3. Develop a proactive branding strategy.
  4. Provide sales training to technicians. 
  5. Craft QI and QM training so contractors and technicians are well-versed in the value proposition.
  6. Provide tools such as case studies and data that contractors and technicians can use to demonstrate energy savings and reliability to customers. 
  7. Consider pairing Quality Maintenance contracts with financing of new HVAC equipment purchases.
  8. Educate customers about the training/certification requirements for trade allies to participate in the QI and QM programs. 
  9. Design and teach ways to build QA/QC into contractors’ internal processes. 
  Dr. Ellen Steiner of EMI Consulting, Director of the research team and also Co-Director of the WHPA Staff, commented on two ways that the report directly relates to the WHPA.

"First, I think the results and recommendations serve as one foundation to ground the work of the different WHPA committees by providing a real-world snapshot of contractor and technician behavior.

"Second, and perhaps most importantly, I believe the WHPA can activate these insights to drive change in the larger HVAC industry.

"The WHPA provides a unique stakeholder engagement model within the complex and competitive business of HVAC efficiency in California, providing a diplomatic forum between groups with very different backgrounds and motivations. It is this compilation of viewpoints that can take these results to further the market transformation of the HVAC industry in California."

Recap of the CEC/CPUC Action Plan

On April 29th, representatives from the CPUC, CEC, and Utilities joined the WHPA in a landmark ‘Industry Collaboration Teleconference Webinar’ to discuss the WHPA-facilitated stakeholder engagement process for the CPUC’s revision of its California Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan (CEESP V2.0) and the CEC’s update to its Existing Buildings Energy Efficiency Action Plan.

Participant stakeholders representing all aspects of the California energy efficiency and HVAC markets had an opportunity to learn about how the WHPA, CPUC and CEC would collaborate in the stakeholder process, as well as openly interact with CPUC and CEC representatives directly responsible for their plan’s respective revisions.

CLICK HERE for a summary of the meeting, and all presentations plus an audio recording.

Need Help Selling Energy Efficiency?

The Workforce Education and Training Committee of the WHPA developed two resources to help contractors identify sales training programs and savings estimating tools. Since their launch in Feb. 2015, these pages have been visited almost 1,000 times by 270 people.

HVAC Sales Training Providers
This webpage lists professionals and organizations that are experts at training how to sell energy efficiency projects to homeowners and business owners.

HVAC Savings Estimator Tools
Proposals for energy efficiency measures are more likely to be approved if they contain statements and/or data about the benefits that the customer will realize from the projects being proposed. This directory of estimation tools was developed to help improve proposals for energy efficiency investment in HVAC systems.

  WHPA Develops Two New Resources for HVAC Industry

The Regulatory Policy Activity webpage was created to support the WHPA’s key mission of leveraging industry expertise by providing guidance on energy efficiency policy.

This page summarizes relevant regulatory policies, links to the reports, and provides commenting deadlines.

The WHPA’s new HVAC Research page has quickly become the go-to resource for impactful HVAC-related reports.

It offers a variety of useful studies on topics such as operations & maintenance best practices, contractor & technician behavior, and fault detection & diagnostics, to name a few.
The Western HVAC Performance Alliance was established in 2009. About 231 organizations in 26 stakeholder categories are working together to help transform from the residential and small commercial HVAC industry to ensure that technology, equipment, installation and maintenance are of the highest quality to promote energy efficiency and peak load reduction. In this role the WHPA provides input to California Investor-Owned Utilities.


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