President’s Message by Dave Rule

This issue of the Condenser marks the end of the last member year, and the beginning of a new one. It also marks our annual conference, where we come together from all corners of our industry to talk about the trends and technology shaping our business – at IIAR’s Annual Industrial Refrigeration Conference and Exhibition.

Whether you’re a longtime IIAR member, a first time attendee or a committee member dedicating your time and attention to one of our many projects, your contribution to this industry, and at this conference is vital.

It’s an exciting time for our industry, a time of change. As regulations and technologies evolve at a breakneck pace, we’re seeing new opportunities and applications for refrigeration grow like never before.

We are truly an industry in transition. And while all corners of our business world are expanding, we’re seeing the impact of three central trends on our business environment.

First, CO2 technologies, long considered something of an outlier from a technology perspective, are moving into the mainstream, and opening the door in new commercial arenas, such as supermarkets.

Second, new, low-charge systems are also expanding our marketplace, but in an entirely different way, by introducing new industrial and commercial applications for ammonia that allow us to operate more efficiently and below some federal regulatory thresholds such as those set out under the process safety management and risk management programs.

Third, the phase out of R-22 here in the United States, and the broader F-gas phase out currently underway in the European Union, is starting to heavily influence decision processes in the commercial and industrial market.

Propelled by regulatory change and environmentalism, and fueled by our industry’s relentless development of new, ever safer and more efficient technologies, an unmistakable trend has emerged.

The world is moving towards natural refrigerants. I’ll use this month’s column to lay out the goals your organization is working hard to meet and the initiatives we’re taking in this new membership year.

The face of our industry will look very different in even five years, and that means that now is a critical time for IIAR to take a leadership position, especially when it comes to our primary mission, which is guiding the industry in standards development and code adoption.

I’m happy to report to you that your staff, volunteer leadership and committee members have risen to that challenge. In the last year, we’ve made incredible progress on the development of IIAR-2, the most comprehensive safety standard for ammonia in the world.

IIAR-2 is already having an impact on changes in building codes and construction standards, and we’ve submitted changes to the IMC and UMC to reflect this new body of safety information.

IIAR-2 is truly our industry’s flagship standard, and it’s just the tip of the iceberg. We’re rounding out this effort with an entirely new suite of IIAR standards. This year, your staff is hard at work creating several new member tools and services.

First, is a dedicated website portal to deliver support to our end-user community. This portal will feature access to customized IIAR information and resources for this important membership sector. Similarly, this year, we launched a website portal for our regulatory community – to provide easy access to essential industry standards, guidelines and training materials for OSHA and the EPA.

And, to facilitate easy access for all of our members to the publications and services that make IIAR the technical authority of this industry, we’re excited to announce that we’ll launch a new IIAR member app in just a few months.

Meanwhile, we’re continuing our strong commitment to advocacy and education. On the advocacy side, IIAR has re-committed to a 5-year formal alliance with OSHA, which the agency considers one of its most successful industry programs.

And finally, on the education front, we began work in partnership with RETA to identify ways to grow our industry’s pool of new talent. By developing a community college-level curriculum that can be delivered by schools across the nation, we hope to prepare the next generation for a career in our industry with a core refrigeration program.

I’ve mentioned some big goals that IIAR is moving forward to meet. We’ve set the bar high, and all of these exciting projects take a significant effort from your staff to realize.

These projects also depend on the hard work of our volunteer committee members and board leaders, who often put their dedication to this organization before their own professional and personal obligations.

That dedication has put us in a stronger position than ever to pursue the new opportunities, more global mindset and important transitions that are setting the stage to make this new member year more exciting than ever.