Presidents Message by Gary Schrift

It’s that time of year again: after the conference and before we dive into the travel and rushed schedules of a new membership season. While there’s always a lot going on, these last few days of summer are a great time to reflect on what it means to be an IIAR member and what new plans we have for the future.

I thought I’d take this opportunity to talk about the things I believe make this organization (and this industry) truly great. Standards: These are the core of IIAR. These guidelines drive the growth of our industry by proving 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. The 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.

Education: Presently we create and present monthly online webinars, publish peer reviewed technical papers, develop and update online videos providing training on basic refrigeration, service, and design, and produce and update online Academy Courses 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.

Scholarship: Presently, through our Ammonia Refrigeration Foundation, recently renamed Natural Refrigeration Foundation, scholarships are provided annually to Junior and Senior level full-time college students pursuing a degree in engineering or 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. I’m happy to report that this group is growing faster than ever, filling the pipeline of good candidates for employment by our members.

Research: Research projects coordinated by the Research Committee and IIAR staff, and funded by the Foundation, resulted in the development of guidelines for Mechanical Insulation Installation and 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. Ongoing and proposed research projects will result in a better understanding of ammonia dispersion and detection in refrigerated space and engine rooms, estimating ammonia release quantities, and best piping practices to avoid hydraulic shock based on CFD modeling and comparisons to actual past events.

Advocacy: Routine interaction with OSHA, EPA, CSB, and DHS has resulted in many past advancements of our mission towards safety but also the removal of regulations that were impractical to implement. We are actively engaging with OSHA on the development of an Emergency Preparedness Guideline that would recommend and allow the practical use of air-purifying respirators, with the CSB to remove the additional burden of reporting an ammonia release to the CSB when such releases are already reported to the NRC, and with the EPA in managing their expectations of the initiative to improve compliance with the General Duty Clause of the Clean Air Act at facilities with small ammonia refrigeration systems.

Lastly, work continues with the many code bodies of IMC, UMC, NFPA, and IFC, and having them continue to recognize IIAR standards and remove any requirements that are conflicting with IIAR standards and potentially harmful to personnel and the ammonia industry if implemented.

IIAR continues to focus on all of these things: regulatory initiatives, international outreach, standards development, and educational programs, giving us all a leadership role in the global cold chain. 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 be sure 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.