President’s Message by Gary Shrift

The International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration is growing, both within the United States and abroad, thanks to the use of natural refrigerants, and nowhere is this more evident than at the IIAR annual conference.

This year, we’ll meet in person in Long Beach, California to discuss everything from HFC phaseouts to the AIM Act, to new technologies.

I always look forward to the annual conference (and the spirited discussions that happen there). This meeting is both a reflection of IIAR’s growth and an opportunity to build membership and extend the adoption of natural refrigerants to new groups of end users.

As we welcome returning IIAR members, new members, and guests, I would like to call attention to a few of the exciting features of this year’s conference and the opportunities we have for advancement in the coming months.

There will be numerous educational opportunities throughout the conference, and attendees can earn professional development hours.

The sessions get started on Sunday with the Vessel Design, Analysis and Inspection program, which will feature four speakers who will examine aspects of vessel design, specification, fabrication, inspection, and maintenance and repair. It is designed to give attendees a greater awareness and knowledge of the complete life cycle of pressure vessels.

We’ve also created several workshops, including an AIM Act workshop this year. Participants will be speaking on various aspects of the AIM Act, covering everything from EPA requirements, including what refrigerants will be phased out, to how the financial industry sees sustainability. The panel also includes a professor who will address how students see environmental work.

The workshop panel, Solving the Technician Shortage, will address the significant labor gap in the refrigeration trade. The panel will review the results of the North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council’s recent technician workforce assessment, explore key challenges, and identify strategies to strengthen workforce recruiting, training, and retention.

I’m excited to be teaming up with NASRC this year, an organization that shares a common mission with IIAR, which is to advocate for natural refrigerants.

The NASRC focuses its attention on commercial refrigeration, especially for grocery stores. But we can certainly learn from each other and help each other reach our common vision.

Also new this year, IIAR will host a Women in Natural Refrigeration panel discussion and workshop on Tuesday afternoon, which is open to all attendees.

In this workshop, titled: Diversity and Inclusion in Natural Refrigeration, attendees will learn firsthand from other professionals and leaders in the industry about the experiences that helped them in shaping a successful career.

This year, we’ll meet in person in Long Beach, California to discuss everything from HFC phaseouts to the AIM Act, to new technologies.

Meanwhile, the IIAR Regulatory Panel will feature longtime IIAR member Peter Thomas who has put together a terrific panel consisting of representatives from California state regulators and end users.

History shows that regulatory decisions enacted in California can influence federal law and federal enforcement interpretations, so we’ll explore the current environment of California regulations with representatives from CalOSHA and CUPA/CalARP.

One of the most interesting developments, examined in this issue of the Condenser, is the growing adoption of natural refrigerants. There are more options than ever in packaged equipment, and package and low-charge systems are growing alongside traditional installations and natural refrigerants.

Several factors are driving that growth, including strong growth in the overall frozen food markets and construction markets requiring new refrigeration systems and interest in reducing the quantity of ammonia at a facility and staying below regulated thresholds.

It’s an exciting time for natural refrigerants and I’m looking forward to having these conversations in person at our second post-pandemic conference this year.

As we respond to the interesting and challenging opportunities ahead of us, IIAR can make the world a better place through the safe and sustainable use of natural refrigerants. Whether it’s signing up to work on a committee, or just participating in the many opportunities to learn and network, there will be no shortage of things to do in March, and I urge you to get involved in the work of your organization in any way you can. I look forward to seeing you at the conference!