WHPA Aims to Improve Quality Maintenance

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  JANUARY 2016

WHPA Proposes Revisions to Standard 180 Economizer Table

One of the oldest committees in the WHPA is also one of its busiest. The Commercial Quality Maintenance Committee (CQM) was founded with the original set of WHPA Committees in 2009. Six years later, two of its Working Groups have just received unanimous Executive Committee approval for two trailblazing work product.

The ANSI/ASHRAE/ACCA Standard 180 User Manual Working Group produced an outline for a Standard 180 User Manual in just five meetings (see next article). Meanwhile, the Standard 180 Maintenance Task Working Group (MTWG) focused on improving Economizer Table 5-12.

The original mission of the MTWG was to revise task descriptions, suggest new tasks, and eliminate unnecessary tasks in Economizer Table 5-12 of Standard 180. The group embraced the challenge of succinctly stating how to verify the function of the components, if the user configurable settings are appropriate to the application, the functionality of the system, and more.

Economizers Enter the Digital Age

Dale Rossi (Field Diagnostics Services), Maintenance Task Working Group Chair, presented the work of his team at the December Executive Committee meeting. He said what makes this report especially significant:

"Our major breakthrough was proposing modifications to account for digital economizers, which are not recognized in the current Standard 180 table.

I found it interesting that none of the experts in the Working Group have ever seen a well-defined maintenance procedure for digital economizers. Part of quality maintenance is to know whether or not there’s a problem with the economizer. Our proposed tasks only take 5 minutes, which was important to us because if it took longer it wouldn't be easy to sell."

Working Group sets out to Clarify Standard 180

Numerous parties have noted ambiguities or inconsistencies in Section 1-5 of ANSI/ASHRAE/ACCA Standard 180. In September 2015, the CQM Committee embraced the challenge by forming the Standard 180 User Manual Working Group.

The Working Group's mission was to conceptualize the development of a comprehensive user manual for ASHRAE’s Standard 180 User Manual Subcommittee. They sought to provide broad, consensus-based suggestions on what should be included, how the content might be organized, and how to effectively present the clarifications.

A major open issue yet to be resolved is, who exactly is the audience of the user manual? The Working Group was divided on if it should be the responsible party—such as the owner—or if it should be for technicians. If you feel strongly, please let your voice be heard by contacting WHPA staff or replying to this email.

Don Langston, ACCA Board Member and CQM Committee Chair, said, "Creating a User Manual for Standard 180 is a huge task. We decided to start with an outline of what it would even look like. Our goal isn't to create the user manual, but to provide an organized foundation and suggested clarifications to guide the Standard 180 User Manual Subcommittee in developing one."

This work product has been sent to ASHRAE for use during the ASHRAE Standard 180 User Manual Committee meeting in January 2016. Don Langston represents ACCA on the committee as Vice Chairman and is the Subcommittee Chairman for the User Manual Committee.

WHPA Annual Leadership Meetings 2015

Carmen Best, CPUC, presents to the Executive Committee, Council of Advisors, and Committee & Working Group Chairs

Eurlyne Geiszler, CEC; Carmen Best, CPUC; Jan Berman, PG&E; Nancy Jenkins, SCE; Athena Besa, SDG&E

The WHPA's annual Leadership Meetings were held in San Diego on November 4 - 5, 2015. They were the largest in-person meetings in the WHPA's history, attended by 66 people with 38 member organizations.

It was quite the event: people braved the rain, mingled at the pool bar, and enthusiastically deliberated how to "Reinvigorate the HVAC Vision."

California Technician Behavior Study

Ellen Steiner and Donna Whitsett of EMI Consulting finalized a study on HVAC technician behavior in 2015.

  • 25 of 26 contractors said they look for techs with NATE certifications when hiring. Only 15% of the technicians said they hold a NATE certification.
  • Both contractors and technicians rated online training as the least effective type of training, although some are better than others.
  • 89% of technicians who perform installation work are also responsible for initiating sales with customers.

Ellen and Donna also offered recommendations to the HVAC industry based on the results.

  Census of HVAC Technicians

The WHPA recently conducted a census of the credentials held by HVAC technicians in California.

On a related note, ACHR News published an e-book titled Solving the HVACR Certification Puzzle to "…introduce readers to the multiple certification organizations within the industry as well as spell out the advantages of getting technicians certified."  

The 31-page e-book is divided into four chapters:

  • Certifications Create Competency, Invoke Trust
  • Business Benefits of Technician Certifications are Numerous
  • Certification Provides Benchmark for Contractor Quality
  • Certifications Help Distinguish HVAC Professionals
The Western HVAC Performance Alliance was established in 2009. About 247 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. For more information, contact info@performancealliance.org.


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