President’s Message by Dave Rule

The International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration is growing, both within the United States and abroad, thanks to the use of natural refrigerants and IIAR’s efforts to bring awareness of their value to other countries.

This year’s annual IIAR Natural Refrigeration Conference and EXPO, convening March 3-6 in Phoenix, is both a reflection of that growth and an opportunity to build IIAR’s membership and extend adoption of natural refrigerants to new groups of end users.

As we welcome returning IIAR members, new members and invited guests, we also would like to call attention to IIAR’s accomplishments in the past year and the opportunities we have for further achievements in the coming months.

One of the most interesting developments, seen in the new format for the conference, is the growing adoption of natural refrigerants in the commercial refrigeration market, where exciting new technological advancements are making ammonia refrigeration safe and feasible for those applications.

This year, IIAR has partnered with North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council to put together a conference agenda that offers a technical program which embraces commercial refrigeration as well as our traditional industrial market. The technical program will include technical papers, panels, and workshops presenting specific topics that are relevant to engineers and management, working in the commercial as well as in the industrial sector of our industry.

To broaden ties and mutual understanding between both sectors, IIAR has made a concerted effort to extend invitations to key individuals in refrigeration to ensure that engineers and management staff of end users, equipment manufacturers and contractors who work in the supermarket industry are well aware of the IIAR conference. We want to be sure that key personnel on the commercial side learn of the benefits of participation in this educational and networking opportunity. We anticipate that a significant number of people working in the commercial sector will attend this year’s conference.

Members and staff of IIAR have been quite active this past year. Among the accomplishments are the new Academy of Natural Refrigerants online programs that offer certificate credentials for both the English and Spanish-speaking member community, a number of new publications addressing safety management and ammonia piping selection methods, as well as new online access to videos and other educational materials aimed at multi-facility training needs.

People attending this year’s conference will have a great opportunity to review these new publications in the IIAR Expo Knowledge center and to learn more about these new member services and publications.

One of our most exciting initiatives is IIAR’s international outreach, through our growing chapters program and the interest other countries have in adopting IIAR standards.

Costa Rica, which Yesenia Rector, IIAR International Director and I visited in January, is at the forefront as it moves along the path toward full regulatory acceptance of ammonia. To accomplish that, the country needed to be sure that ammonia facilities were designed, installed, managed and decommissioned properly. To that end, IIAR has been working with Costa Rica’s College of Electrical, Mechanical and Industrial Engineers as well as government officials led by Costa Rica’s First Lady, Claudia Dobles Camargo. They have recently completed converting measures and translating regulatory language and the country has now adopted IIAR-2, IIAR-4 and IIAR-8.

The next step for Costa Rica is to educate stakeholders about the intricacies of the newly adopted standards. While Yesenia and I were there in January, we held a seminar on the new regulations and IIAR will assist with educational programing that’s been developed as part of the ANR.

Costa Rica and our IIAR Chapter are taking a leadership position in this work, with several other countries in Central America now interested in pursuing a similar path to safety standards in their countries. We are confident that these efforts will have a significant impact on the safe use of natural refrigerants in this region while protecting the quality of our environment.

At our March conference, David Solis, the Central American and Caribbean IIAR chapter chair will deliver a presentation about Costa Rica’s adoption of IIAR standards and progress in the Latin American region on adopting regulatory support for ammonia refrigeration.

So, I welcome you to the 2019 IIAR Natural Refrigeration Conference and EXPO, and expect that you will find many interesting and challenging opportunities to participate in these and other important programs to make the world a better place through the safe and sustainable use of natural refrigerants. I look forward to seeing you at the conference.