President’s Message by Gary Schrift

The months after IIAR’s annual conference are always when I think about the next membership year ahead. While there’s always a lot going on in these last few days of summer, it’s nice to pause for a moment and reflect on what it means to be an IIAR member and our new plans for the future.

I thought I’d take this opportunity to talk about what makes this organization (and this industry) genuinely great.

Education: IIAR has always been focused on harnessing our collective resources and knowledge to give back to our industry. Whether that means providing refreshers on the use and implementation of our technology or laying the groundwork for the next generation of engineers, education is a top priority.

To that end, your membership organization produces and updates online courses through the Academy of Natural Refrigeration platform, providing training on the many IIAR standards and guidelines. This vast resource of non-commercialized educational materials, many also available in Spanish, significantly supports all members concerned with the safe and sustainable design, installation, and operation of ammonia and other natural refrigeration systems. These educational materials are continually being expanded to further integrate into the platform quality educational material from other affiliate organizations providing even more educational services to the world. Currently, we also create and present bi-monthly online webinars, publish peer-reviewed technical papers, and develop and update online videos providing training on essential refrigeration, service, and design.

Scholarship: No educational effort would be complete without an effort to attract and train new talent in our industry, and IIAR does that through our Ammonia Refrigeration Foundation. Presently, scholarships are provided annually to Junior and Senior level full-time college students pursuing a degree in engineering or a related technical field leading to a career in the refrigeration industry. You may have met many of our scholarship recipients at our recent annual conference in Long Beach. I’m happy to report that this group is growing faster than ever, filling the pipeline of good candidates for employment by our members.

Standards: The formation of the guidelines that drive the growth of our industry has always been the core of IIAR’s mission. As a standards organization, the material we produce proves to code bodies, governmental departments, and end-users that natural refrigerants can be applied safely and managed efficiently for refrigeration and comfort cooling applications. We already know that natural refrigerants are safe for the environment. Our standards ensure the safe use of natural refrigerants by dramatically reducing the chance of an accidental release and dramatically increasing the safety of personnel and neighbors of the facility.

Research: To inform and support standards creation, we need to first understand what we want to describe in our standards, and that’s where research comes in. IIAR research projects are coordinated by the Research Committee and IIAR staff and funded by the Foundation. These projects result in the development of products like guidelines for Mechanical Insulation Installation or three computer programs available in conjunction with the IIAR Ammonia Piping Handbook. These reflect significant changes to the pipe sizing chapter, wet suction riser selection, and economic considerations.

Meanwhile, proposed research projects will result in a better understanding of ammonia dispersion and detection in refrigerated space and engine rooms, and best piping practices to avoid hydraulic shock based on CFD modeling and comparisons to actual past events.

Advocacy: Of course, the final step in standards creation is to take what we’ve produced as an organization and get it applied in real life. That’s where our advocacy effort comes in.

Every IIAR program and initiative is made possible by your membership and, additionally, by your leadership as a volunteer.

I’d like to use this space this month to remind everyone to renew their IIAR membership and find a new way to get involved. It’s the best way to make sure you connect with this ever-growing community of friends and colleagues who are passionate about natural refrigerants.