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  • Thursday, June 10, 2021 10:27 AM | Anonymous

    The HVACR industry is sliding toward a unified generation of low-GWP refrigerants

    At this time last year, the HVAC industry was in state of upheaval. Half the country’s state governors were in the process of implementing the EPA’s invalidated SNAP Rules 20 and 21; the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act seemed stalled in Congress; and California’s Air Resources Board (CARB) was moving ahead with proposed regulations that outpaced the state’s building codes. These factors, along with others, were leading to a patchwork of regulations that threatened to derail the U.S. HVAC industry’s global leadership. A year later, however, many of those issues are seemingly resolved and the industry is on the verge of moving toward a unified and safe transition to a new generation of low-GWP refrigerants. 

    Air Force HVAC Tech

    U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Stephanie Holt, 366th Training Squadron, HVAC/R Apprentice course, checks the HVAC system’s refrigerant pressure at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas. (Courtesy of Picryl)

    California Air Resources Board (CARB)

    A year ago, California was pushing ahead with proposed regulations that would put the air conditioning industry in an awkward position. Its proposed regulation prohibiting stationary air-conditioning equipment with a GWP higher than 750 meant that — because building codes would not be updated in time to accommodate mildly flammable A2L refrigerants — there might not be legal products available on the January 1, 2023, implementation date. During the summer of 2020, the state’s fire commissioners rushed to review the new codes and standards, but when they announced that they would not update the state’s building codes ahead of the next code cycle, CARB and the industry worked together to find a solution.

    CARB agreed to move its proposed implementation date for stationary air-conditioning back to January 1, 2025, and is currently working with the industry to establish a reclaimed refrigerant program that will help offset any increase in emissions due to the date change. Its implementation date and GWP limit for comfort chillers remain January 1, 2024, and 750, respectively, while its rules for industrial process chillers are based on discharge temperature to provide flexibility for niche low-temperature applications. In addition, the state’s supermarket industry and CARB collaborated on the following rules for grocery stores:

    • Refrigerants with a GWP greater than or equal to 150 will not be allowed in new stationary refrigeration systems charged with more than 50 pounds, effective in 2022.
    • Existing food retail facilities with refrigeration systems charged with more than 50 pounds must collectively meet a 1,400 weighted average GWP or 55 percent greenhouse gas potential (GHGp) reduction relative to a 2019 baseline by 2030.


    The American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act

    When it was signed into law at the end of 2020, the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act, or the AIM Act, gave the U.S. EPA the authority to phase down HFCs using the same mechanism is used to phase out Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) under the original Montreal Protocol. As opposed to SNAP Rules 20 and 21, which were vacated by the federal courts, the AIM Act does not rely on the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gases. Rather, it gives the EPA the narrow authority to phase down HFCs without “opening” the Clean Air Act, which would leave the door open to regulate other sources of emissions.

    The AIM Act follows the Kigali Amendment’s phasedown schedule, seeking to reduce the usage of HFCs by 85 percent in 15 years based on a baseline which the EPA is currently developing. That baseline will be finalized by September 2021 along with allocation rules for regulated sectors. While there are no sector-based controls in the legislation, industry and environmental groups can submit petitions to the EPA asking for limits for certain sectors. The Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) is currently working with its member companies to develop sector-based controls petitions for comfort chillers, stationary air conditioning, and commercial refrigeration. It is expected that these industry petitions for stationary air conditioning and comfort chillers will closely follow what CARB has proposed, while the petition for commercial refrigeration may vary from CARB’s weighted-average GWP approach.

    The Kigali Amendment

    The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol is an international treaty signed in 2016 that aims to reduce greenhouse emissions from HFC refrigerants. The treaty allows each ratifying country to determine its own regulatory structure such as an outright ban, a quota system, or an allocation. Thus far, more than 120 countries have ratified the Kigali Amendment, including the European Union, Japan, Australia, Mexico, and Canada.

    While the AIM Act’s phasedown will bring the United States into compliance with Kigali Amendment, the U.S. Senate has not ratified the treaty. Even with compliance outside of ratification, there are several reasons why AHRI and the Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy are pushing lawmakers to ratify the Kigali Amendment. The U.S. has more than 30 years of leadership with the Montreal Protocol and ratifying Kigali is consistent with that legacy. In addition, failure to ratify, even with compliance through the AIM Act, risks allowing U.S. competitors to delay their own ratification until the U.S. does so.

    SNAP Rules 20/21 & The U.S. Climate Alliance

    To achieve the first two phasedown steps in the Kigali Amendment, the U.S. EPA under the Obama administration set a phasedown schedule for high-GWP refrigerants using rules 20 and 21 of its Significant New Alternatives Program (SNAP). These rules were used to regulate the phaseout of CFCs and HCFCs during the initial Montreal Protocol and the EPA believed the Clean Air Act gave it similar authority to act on greenhouse gases. Two refrigerant manufacturers, Mexichem and Arkema, however, sued the EPA in federal court over this interpretation and won, effectively limiting the federal government’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases without new legislation.

    When President Trump announced he would withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord, many governors from around the country formed the U.S. Climate Alliance. This group, which now includes 24 states and Puerto Rico, has pledged to implement policies that advance the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. The Climate Alliance represents 55 percent of the U.S. population and an $11.7 trillion economy and about half of these states have included HFC regulations as part of their climate plans.

    All of these states, except California, are planning to implement some form of the former SNAP Rules 20 and 21. The AIM Act’s phasedown, however, goes well beyond that of SNAP Rules 20 and 21. And while the AIM Act does not include federal pre-emption, which would prohibit states like California from regulating further than the EPA, it does obviate the need for the other Climate Alliance states’ SNAP regulations. Currently, the industry is helping the Climate Alliance states to understand the AIM Act’s phasedown and its impact on their SNAP Rules.

    SNAP Rule 23

    In the spring of 2020, the U.S. EPA issued a Notice of Proposed Rule Making for SNAP Rule 23. This rule proposes to list a number of A2L refrigerants as acceptable substitutes in several sectors, including:

    • R-448A, R-449A, and R-449B for food retail refrigeration.
    • R-452B, R-454A, R-454B, R-454C, and R-457A for residential and light commercial air conditioning and heat pumps.
    • R-32 for residential and light commercial air conditioning and heat pumps, excluding self-contained room air conditioners.

    Once finalized, this proposed rule will help pave the way for a smooth transition to A2L refrigerants since R-32 and R-454B are the two leading low-GWP candidates to replace R-410A in residential and light commercial air conditioning applications.

    Building Codes

    With the passage of the AIM Act and ASHRAE and UL standards for A2L refrigerants either completed or well on their way to completion, state and local building codes that incorporate those safety standards are the next hurdle for the refrigerant transition in the United States. The AIM Act gives the U.S. EPA the authority to regulate the use of HFCs; however, it is up to states and local jurisdictions to allow for the use of mildly flammable A2L refrigerants in their building codes. Should these localities not update their building codes with the latest ASHRAE and UL safety standards ahead of the EPA’s implementation date, they risk not having legal products available to their constituents. In fact, that is exactly the choice CARB faced as it was pursuing an implementation date of January 1, 2023, for stationary air conditioning.

    Currently, the International Code Council’s (ICC) International Building Codes and the International Council of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials’ (IAPMO) Uniform Mechanical Code, the two most commonly used model codes, are currently in their 2024 update cycle. During this cycle, the model code councils are reviewing the ASHRAE and UL safety standards for incorporation in the next edition of their model codes. Should these standards be adopted by the model codes councils, which is expected, states and local jurisdictions that use those model codes can incorporate them into their individual buildings codes ahead of January 1, 2025, the expected implementation date for stationary air conditioning in California and, potentially, nationwide under the AIM Act. States and local jurisdictions can also incorporate safety standards directly into their building codes without waiting for model code updates.

    As AHRI works with states to help them better understand the implications of the AIM Act, the issue of local building codes is coming to the fore. In Texas, which has no statewide building codes, a novel legislative approach has emerged to ensure local building codes are ready for a national refrigerant transition. State Senators Nathan Johnson (D) and Paul Bettencourt (R) recently introduced SB 1210, legislation that would clarify that local building codes applicable to commercial or residential buildings or construction cannot prohibit the use of a substitute refrigerant allowed by the U.S EPA. The effective date of the legislation is January 1, 2023. This legislation would effectively force local jurisdictions to update their building codes to allow for A2L refrigerants, paving the way for a smooth transition in the state. AHRI and its member companies are supportive of this approach and it could emerge as a model for other states as well.

    Conclusion

    After a year of unprecedented uncertainty—not to mention a pandemic, a smooth U.S. refrigerant transition is finally starting to come into focus. The potential for CARB’s GWP limits and implementation dates to align with the EPA’s sector-based controls under the AIM Act create an environment in which a de facto nationwide HFC regulatory framework could actually emerge. And with model building codes on track to incorporate updated safety standards by 2024, all of the pieces are falling into place for a safe transition to low-GWP refrigerants.

    May 1, 2021 -John Sheff

    https://www.achrnews.com/articles/144845-the-refrigerant-policy-landscape-a-national-framework-comes-into-focus?oly_enc_id=0628A8667290C2T


  • Wednesday, May 12, 2021 10:13 AM | Anonymous

    Many of you will say cash is most important. Yes, it is critical for survival, paying the bills and payroll. But, what if you have a false sense of security because you have cash in the bank?

    What if you have more than $800,000 in the bank? Is this too much? A participant in one of my Building Profit and Wealth classes had more than $800,000 in the bank. Many people told him to take money out of the business, however, his company was hit with a lawsuit, where he ultimately prevailed.

    Legal fees? Around $700,000 over a 5-year period. What if he didn’t have the money in the bank? That would have severely affected the ability to operate his business. Yes, the time was still a hassle. However, he didn’t have to worry about finding and paying for the best legal representation available. He didn’t have to worry about the company going bankrupt over the lawsuit.

    What if Your Cash is Growing?
    That is good, maybe.

    Two partners started a company and grew it to $2 million in revenues over a 12-year period. The owners paid attention to the amount of cash in the bank and whether they could take their supplier discounts.

    They did not pay attention to the company profit and loss statement or balance sheet.

    When the company hit $2 million in revenues, growth leveled out. The lack of growth caused cash problems. Occasionally they had to struggle to meet payroll. Taking discounts on payables? Not frequently. They just didn’t have the cash to do it. They were smart enough to get help.

    When I did the analysis, the company was losing a nickel for every dollar they took in the door for that time period. Their pricing was way too low. They didn’t pay attention to the overruns on materials. Cash, yes. Profits, no.

    This story illustrates that just because you have cash does not mean your company is profitable.

    Profits are Necessary
    Profits turned into cash are even more necessary. Your company can be profitable and still go out of business. How? A bank calls your line of credit because management philosophy has changed and the bank thinks construction loans are too risky. This has happened to many contractors who were profitable, yet didn’t have the cash to pay back a loan in 30 days.

    This past year, COVID-19 was the culprit. Contractors with restaurants or restaurant suppliers holding 80 percent of their customer base didn’t make it. Those who survived quickly found customers in other industries and had the cash saved to survive the few months before PPP loans took effect.

    It’s much better that your company have the cash savings to be its own line of credit. Saving 1 percent of all revenues that come in the door and all residential maintenance prepayments will help you do it.

    Never have more than 25 percent of your customer base with one company or more than 25 percent of your customer base in one industry. If a customer goes bankrupt or an industry dies, your company will suffer losses. However, they won’t be catastrophic losses.

    Profitability
    Even more important than profits are continuous profits, i.e. profitability.

    Continuous profits, turned into continuous cash, give your company the best chance for survival and building wealth. It makes no sense to have a profitable month, then a loss the next month, then a profit, then a loss. Or several months’ loss and having to hope for hot/cold weather to make up for the losses. What if the weather doesn’t turn hot or cold?

    It’s better to determine how your company will have continuous profits. Yes, there might be a month or two in the year when the company experiences a loss. However, year over year, the company is getting more profitable. It is building its profitability. Assuming this is happening, find ways to at least break even in the one or two months that never seem to be profitable.

    A revenue contest for all employees works. When the company achieves the dollars in revenue that it needs to break even that month, then the owners take everyone, including their spouses, for a dinner at a nice restaurant and pays for the babysitters. Send the contest information home to the spouses and significant others. They will help get the company employees working toward the goal. They probably would enjoy an evening out! And, the company will at least break even in a traditionally unprofitable month.

    Or, ask your team members how to achieve a certain revenue goal. Give them an incentive to achieve it. If everyone is focused on the revenue goal there is a high likelihood that it will be achieved (you determine the profits from those revenues and don’t necessarily have to share the profit goals).

    The answer to the question posed in the title of this article: Profitability, then profits, turn those into cash. Save the cash. You will be your own line of credit and sleep better at night.

    Originally published: 04.01.21 by Ruth King
    https://www.hvacrbusiness.com/cash-profits-profitability.html

  • Wednesday, May 12, 2021 9:50 AM | Anonymous

    David has been with Target Sales for eight years and will continue his duties in the field as a trainer for both contractors and distributors alike on the gulf coast and center of the state.

    At the end of 2020, Target Sales founder Grant Meyers named David Waugh Vice President of the company effective January 1, 2021. David has been with Target Sales for eight years and will continue his duties in the field as a trainer for both contractors and distributors alike on the gulf coast and center of the state. In his new role he will further liaise with principals at all levels of the industry here in Florida. David has been in and around the industry since prior to college with a background in field work, manufacturing and business administration.

    David Waugh

    About Target Sales
    Founded in 1984, Target Sales is “a training company that sells”. Primarily focused on the Florida HVAC/R industry, the company prides itself on having a knowledgeable sales staff willing and able to train and educate their clientele. With an extensive catalog including over a dozen leading manufacturers from around the globe, Target Sales is proud to have represented Dust Free products for 10 years, LG Residential/Light Commercial Ductless products for 14 years and Panasonic Ventilation products for 18 years!

    For more information on Target Sales, visit www.targetsales.com or call 813-899-9498. Contact David Waugh by calling 813-323-8317 or emailing david@targetsales.com.

    4 May 2021
    https://hvacinsider.com/target-sales-names-david-waugh-vice-president/

  • Wednesday, May 05, 2021 11:46 AM | Anonymous

    Updates to codes and standards must first occur before flammable refrigerants can be used.  

    There has been significant movement at the state and federal levels recently regarding refrigerant regulations, and at a recent webinar, experts from Emerson and AHRI discussed the impacts of these impending HFC phasedown rules. They also discussed the changes that need to be made to building codes and standards before alternative refrigerants — many of which have slightly different flammability characteristics — may be used in stationary air conditioning and commercial refrigeration equipment.

    This is shaping up to be a pivotal year in terms of refrigerant regulations, and keeping up with all the latest developments will be crucial for HVACR contractors.

    Federal Regulations

    There are several major actions that are taking place at the federal level, including the recently passed American Innovation and Manufacturing Act of 2020 (AIM Act). This gives the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the authority to phase down the consumption and production of HFC refrigerants and establish sector-based limits.

    Rajan Rajendran.

    CONTINUED SERVICE: It’s important to note that the EPA will not do something that strands any equipment — that is not in their DNA, said Rajan Rajendran of Emerson. Courtesy of Emerson.

    “The AIM Act, which was signed into law on Dec. 27, directs EPA to establish production and consumption phasedown limits that are consistent with the Kigali amendment within the next nine months,” said Rajan Rajendran, vice president, systems innovation center and sustainability at Emerson. “The amendment starts off with the 2011-2013 baseline, then in 2022, the available supply is reduced to 90% of the baseline. In 2024, the available supply will be reduced again to 60%, and then the next big drop is 2029. Those are important dates for the entire supply chain to ensure readiness for this transition.”

    The AIM Act also authorizes the EPA to establish standards for HFC management, including the service, repair, recovery, recycle, and reclaim of refrigerant. In addition, stakeholders are developing proposals for a national recovery/recycling program (discussed below), said Rajendran.

    “What’s important to note is that the EPA will not do something that strands any equipment — that is not in their DNA,” he said. “So if you already have a piece of equipment, you can continue to service it for as long as you own it. Any specific requirements will focus on allowing refrigerant to be available for existing equipment. Whenever we talk about SNAP [Significant New Alternatives Policy] rules or anything like this, EPA has been careful to make sure that existing equipment can continue to operate.”

    Speaking of SNAP rules, EPA continues to work on SNAP Rule 23, which was released last year. This rule proposed listing multiple substitute refrigerants, including the HFOs, R-448A, R-449A, and R-449B, in new medium-temperature stand-alone refrigeration units, as well as several mildly flammable (A2L) refrigerants, including R-454B and R-32, for new residential and light commercial air conditioners and heat pumps, subject to use conditions.

    “Industry comments were submitted, and EPA has taken all our comments into account and is determining whether the final rule will need to be reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), so we’re still waiting on that,” said Rajendran. “The key takeaway is that the EPA continues to evaluate and list additional substitutes in order for us to move in the direction of lower GWP. That activity is an extremely important one, because no matter what the states do, whether it's California or Washington state, all these states depend on the EPA to actually approve the refrigerants by application. So that is still very much an important function of the EPA.”

    “We're impatiently waiting for SNAP Rule 23 to be completed, and there’s more in the queue,” said Helen Walter-Terrinoni, vice president of regulatory affairs at AHRI. “With the change in presidential administrations, there’s a bit of a backlog that they’re working through. But, we should definitely, definitely anticipate more listings. I would also expect to see some more A2Ls and perhaps even A3s on SNAP applications going through the process once the 60335-2-89 standard is complete. I know that there are some proposals that are being held until they have the standard in their hands.”

    Two other actions at the federal level that could affect the HVACR industry include the Biden administration submitting the Kigali amendment to the Senate for advice and consent to ratify and rejoining the Paris agreement. Under this agreement, countries are pledging to limit the global temperature increase to 2°C above pre-industrial levels while pursuing efforts to limit the increase to 1.5°C.

    “Now, it's an agreement, it's not a treaty, so we're not bound to it,” said Rajendran. “However, there is something called the intended nationally determined contribution (INDC), which is a plan that says what the country is going to do. When the next international meeting on climate change happens on April 22, we think there's going to be some kind of an update to this INDC, which was actually published and issued by the US State Department back in 2015. The U.S. did include HFCs in that original INDC. We will have to wait and see.”

    State Rules

    At the state level, California and other members of the U.S. Climate Alliance are moving forward with their own HFC phasedown mandates. California has been at the forefront of this activity, and on Dec. 10, the Board approved the staff proposal. When these regulations are finalized, California will become the first state in the nation to adopt regulations that will require a transition for HFC refrigerants in commercial and industrial stationary refrigeration units, as well as commercial and residential air conditioning equipment.

    Jennifer Butsch.

    UPDATED STANDARDS: According to Jennifer Butsch of Emerson, in order to use A2Ls in larger charge quantities, it would be necessary to update the standards in order to move forward. Courtesy of Emerson.

    Under new rules from the California Air Resources Board (CARB), starting in 2022, there is a 150-GWP limit for new or fully remodeled facilities that utilize commercial refrigeration equipment containing more than 50 pounds of refrigerant. There are varying requirements for existing facilities, which were explained by Jennifer Butsch, director of regulatory affairs at Emerson.

    “If you are a retail food company and you have a fleet of stores in California, you need to either meet the 1,400-GWP weighted average across your fleet or achieve a 55% reduction in the greenhouse gas potential relative to 2019 baseline levels,” she said. “Take note that they did change the baseline year; originally it was 2018, now it's 2019.”

    On the air conditioning side, there is a 750-GWP limit across multiple end-uses, but the date of implementation is different. CARB is proposing a 2023 date for smaller room air conditioners and dehumidifiers and a 2024 date for chillers, which is consistent with the already adopted SNAP Rule 21.

    “They did delay from 2023 to 2025 for residential and commercial air conditioning, and to 2026 for VRF,” said Butsch. “This was largely driven by the fact that building codes currently do not enable the use of low-GWP, lower flammability refrigerants for those systems.”

    In addition to the 2025 delay for residential and commercial systems, CARB is implementing a new refrigerant recycle, recovery, and reuse program called R4. This program requires that manufacturers shipping new equipment for use in California calculate the projected refrigerant charge of that equipment for the years 2023 and 2024. Manufacturers must then purchase at least 10% of that amount in reclaimed refrigerant to be used in new systems, said Butsch.

    Other states in the U.S. Climate Alliance are also continuing to adopt SNAP Rules 20 and 21, but the dates are end-use specific and start dates vary by state. States including Washington, New Jersey, Colorado, New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Virginia already have their final legislation in place. Other Climate Alliance states are still in the proposed rulemaking phase.

    “Although we are supportive of the adoption of SNAP Rules 20 and 21 into state law, the one thing that we had concerns over was the complexity that the state-by-state approach would bring,” said Butsch. “This hodgepodge melding of dates and different administrative requirements really adds a level of complexity and hence why we as industry really desire one federal approach.”

    For this reason, AHRI has been actively encouraging states in the Climate Alliance to move away from SNAP rules and move toward the necessary building codes to enable the federal transition, said Walter-Terrinoni.

    “There are 50 states that need to adopt safety standards in the building codes, but even more than that, there are hundreds of local jurisdictions, counties, cities, etc., that need to get that done,” she said. “So we've been encouraging states to move away from the SNAP rules and move towards enabling the transition at the federal level.”

    This approach seems to be working, as Washington State is offering new legislation that would require the inclusion of necessary standards into building codes to enable A2L use in air conditioning and commercial refrigeration equipment, said Walter-Terrinoni. They have also added language that would allow them to walk away from the sector-based regulations if there are similar regulations at the federal level.

    Codes and Standards

    In addition to a flurry of activity regarding refrigerant regulations, there is a significant amount of work taking place on the codes and standards that would allow the use of flammable refrigerants in commercial refrigeration and air conditioning equipment.

    For comfort cooling applications, product safety standards UL 60335-2-40 third edition and ASHRAE Standard 15 have already been updated to allow A2L refrigerants. However, work has already started on the fourth edition of UL 60335-2-40, said Butsch, so improvements will continue to be made as more manufacturers begin using the standard and finding things that they would like modified.

    On the commercial refrigeration side, development is underway to update the safety standard, UL 60335-2-89 for the second edition, which covers mechanical, electrical, and refrigerant safety. This edition also includes a provision in Annex CC for refrigerant safety in which equipment using A2Ls must demonstrate that in a leak event, they are able to comply with the requirement for mitigation in the specified test scenario, said Butsch. This standard underwent public review in early February and will undergo a second public review later this year.

    ASHRAE Standard 15 also encompasses mechanical, electrical, and refrigerant safety but is largely based on installation requirements and building occupancy type. Butsch anticipates updates relating to the use of flammables in commercial refrigeration will occur sometime this year.

    “It does coordinate with the product safety standard, as there’s a lot of overlap between the two,” she said. “Today we’re stuck at the 150-gram limit for A3 refrigerants and 500 grams for A2Ls in commercial refrigeration equipment. To use A2Ls in the larger charge quantities that we would like — and a lot of research has been done to support that — we would need both of these updated in order to move forward.”

    The UL 60335-2-89 standard includes higher charge limits for A3 and A2L refrigerants, but the proposed limits are based on whether the equipment is self-contained (A3 and A2L) or remote (A2L only). There is also a differentiation between equipment that has doors or drawers. For example, for self-contained closed cases, there is a proposed limit of 300 grams of A3 refrigerants and 5.3 pounds of A2L refrigerants. For self-contained open cases, the proposed charge limits are 500 grams of A3s and 8.6 pounds of A2Ls. For remote equipment, there are varying charge limits of A2Ls, depending on the required mitigation system.

    As all the speakers made clear in this webinar, progress needs to continue on refrigerant regulations and their corresponding codes and standards in order to meet the 2024 model code cycles and to prepare for the AIM Act phasedown.

    March 24, 2021
    Joanna R. Turpin
    HFC phasedown / HFC refrigerants / refrigerant regulations / refrigeration systems

    https://www.achrnews.com/articles/144652-hfc-phasedown-regulations-take-shape?oly_enc_id=0628A8667290C2T

  • Thursday, April 22, 2021 10:58 AM | Anonymous

    MACCA would like to share the following educational opportunity available to our Apprentices or anyone considering starting their own business. 

    The State College of Florida is offering a temporary grant that runs in Spring 2021 and just extended to summer 2021.
    In order to secure Spring or Summer 2021 funds, Apprentices should complete a Scholarship Application for this grant. 
    Apprentices must be able to show “need” within the Scholarship Application. 
    The courses do need to be taken during the Summer semester which has two different starts. The first is May 11th and the second is June 28th
    All summer classes are done by August 10th 

    Courses include:

    Total Credit Hours: 12

    If you qualify for scholarship funds, these dollars will offset the cost of tuition and fees only for the eligible Workforce Certificates.
    The most that an apprentice can be awarded is up to $1000, which would cover three courses.
     Business Specialist is an eligible certificate and is only 12 credit hours/4 classes
    If interested in applying for the Rapid Credentialing Scholarship, just click HERE
    Should you have any questions, please contact Jennifer Boris at 941-363-7216 or BorisJ@SCF.edu.


  • Monday, April 12, 2021 9:06 PM | Anonymous

    On March 29, 2021, Governor Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill 72, which protects Florida businesses from lawsuits claiming COVID-19 injuries or damages, effective immediately.

    The legislature sites a strong and vibrant economy is essential and that potentially limitless civil liability, especially in the wake of a pandemic, could cause businesses, entities, and institutions to react in a manner detrimental to the state’s economy and residents. The new law intends for certain business and governmental entities along with educational and religious institutions, to enjoy heightened legal protections against liability as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Q: How does this impact businesses?

    The new law creates notable legal obstacles for plaintiffs to pursue COVID-19 related lawsuits against businesses. In short, the law protects businesses that made a good faith effort to comply with government issued health standards, to include CDC guidelines, and state and local guidelines.

    For non-health care providers, a complaint must include an affidavit from an active physician asserting the COVID-19 related damages, injury, or death occurred as a result of the business’s actions or omissions. Should the plaintiff fail to comply with these requirements, the court must dismiss the lawsuit. If the court determines that the business made a good faith effort to comply with set standards, it is immune from civil liability. Even if the business lacked good faith efforts to comply, it is the plaintiff’s burden to prove, by clear and convincing evidence, that the business acted with gross negligence.

    For health care providers, a complaint must be pled with particularity, but no physician’s affidavit is required. A plaintiff also faces a heightened burden to demonstrate that the health care provider was grossly negligent or engaged in intentional misconduct to bring a successful claim. The bill strengthens affirmative defenses for health care providers that substantially complied with and relied upon health standards, effectively providing them civil immunity if the provider can prove one or more of their affirmative defenses by the greater weight of the evidence.

    A one-year statute of limitations applies to COVID-19 related lawsuits. For a cause of action that occurred before March 29, 2021, the statute of limitations would begin on the effective date.

    Matthew Naples | Claims Consultant |BKS-Partners| E Matthew.Naples@bks-partners.com

    This material has been prepared for informational purposes only.

    BKS Partners, LLC, and its affiliates, do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. Please consult with your own tax, legal or accounting professionals before engaging in any transaction.


  • Monday, November 25, 2019 3:47 PM | Anonymous

    NAPLES, FL – Conditioned Air and Honest Air Conditioning of Venice, Fla. on October 2 announced a partnership under which Honest Air will be acquired by Conditioned Air and operate as a division of the air-conditioning contracting and service firm. This merger expands Conditioned Air’s presence in Sarasota County and enables Honest Air Conditioning to provide enhanced products and services.

    “This is a great partnership as our two companies share the same core values and a commitment to serve our customers with honesty and integrity and to provide service that will exceed their expectations,” said Tim M. Dupre, President and Chief Executive Officer for Conditioned Air.

    Once the transaction is completed, Honest Air Conditioning will operate under its existing name as a division of Conditioned Air. A number of improvements also are in the works to allow the company to better serve customers, such as an updated dispatching/operating software program.

    A number of improvements also are in the works to allow Honest Air to better serve customers, such as an updated dispatching/operating software program.

    “We will have more access to employee training programs to ensure that we have the best technicians in the market,” said Nicholas J. Masher, President of Honest Air. “Our service fleet also will have increased inventory, which will allow us to serve customers faster, and improved buying power will ensure our ability to provide fair and competitive pricing in the local market.”

    Headquartered in Naples, Conditioned Air is currently the region’s largest air-conditioning contracting and service firm with a total of 390 employees serving Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Sarasota and Manatee counties. The company expanded into Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties in 2011, mostly to serve existing clients in those markets. The company has since experienced tremendous growth, increasing revenue and boosting its employment throughout the region.

    To accommodate further growth in the northern region, Conditioned Air last year moved into the remaining flex space in its northern headquarters building located on Knight’s Trail Road in North Venice, growing from about 5,000 square feet up to 15,000 square feet. The company also has been increasing employment and expects to hire an additional 15 to 20 people over the next year.

    The acquisition of Honest Air Conditioning fits with Conditioned Air’s strategic plan to grow the company both organically and through acquisitions of companies with similar corporate cultures.

    Honest Air Conditioning has served the South Florida community since 2000. It is owned by husband and wife team, Nick and Brooke Masher. The couple is committed to the local community, to providing superior service to their customers and to running a successful company that provides a rewarding career to their employees. The Mashers will remain in a leadership role.

    Founded in 1962, Conditioned Air offers local expertise in light commercial and residential HVAC systems, including design, engineer, estimate, installation and maintenance of new construction, refrigeration, indoor air quality and dehumidification systems. For additional information or to schedule service, call 1-888-COLD-AIR or visit conditionedair.com.

    https://www.contractingbusiness.com/residential-hvac/conditioned-air-and-honest-ac-announce-merger

  • Thursday, November 14, 2019 12:13 PM | Anonymous

    Local heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) companies are partnering with CareerEdge and Suncoast Technical College (STC) to offer a free fast-track HVAC Installation and Maintenance program which will launch in January.  The employers are looking for a way to recruit and rapidly train people for a very specific skill set, namely the installation and maintenance process, and then develop these employees further over time through internships and apprenticeship programs. CareerEdge brought the employers and college together to determine the industry’s workforce needs and to identify the specific curriculum components of this program, which will be a condensed version of STC’s HVAC Technician program.  The tuition-free class will begin January 21, 2020 and run through June with classes held in the evening Monday-Wednesday from (5:30pm - 9:00pm) at STC’s main campus 4748 Beneva Rd., Sarasota.& nbsp; The program will also include CareerEdge’s Bridges to Careers soft skills training. HVAC company representatives will volunteer to teaching modules in the class in order to enhance the hands-on, real-world nature of the program.

    Funding for the program is made possible by the Eppard Family Foundation and the generous support from the local HVAC business community. No technical experience is required for this training and all interested applicants, will need to apply for the free program and be screened by the college and employers. Interested applicants must apply by Friday, November 22, those selected will be notified and must attend a mandatory information session. For more information, visit careeredgefunders.org/bridges-to-careers/ 

  • Wednesday, October 23, 2019 12:33 PM | Anonymous

    FRACCA President Message 

    Rick Sims 10-16-19 

    One of the things I’ve always enjoyed about our trade is that it’s continuously advancing with new technological innovations. Most often we think of manufacturer led innovations that advance methods, materials or components to bring benefits to consumers. I was recently introduced to a new Florida grown innovation that does this by updating the inspections process for AC equipment replacements using tech we all have. While attending the October meeting of MACCA ( Manasota Air Conditioning Contractors Association ) I was introduced to the new video inspection program offered by Manatee County Development Services that uses technology to better facilitate AC changeout inspections. I was very impressed. Congratulations to MACCA for sticking with this idea for so long and now finally seeing it really happen. Congratulations to Manatee County for your outstanding innovation. 

    Basically, it works like this; a completed AC equipment replacement is recorded in high def video using a mobile device. There are very specific guidelines explaining exactly what the contents will show ( and not show ). The video is uploaded to the Manatee County inspections portal where it is reviewed inhouse for compliance and approved digitally without need for a conventional on-site inspection. The program is voluntary; contractors or owners who want a conventional inspection can still get one. It is specifically for like-for-like AC equipment replacements. 

    Think of all the direct and indirect benefits. Scheduling of inspections is basically eliminated as are arranging and coordinating physical access for the inspector. It eliminates any inconveniences posed to the owner to facilitate the inspection. These are some of the primary things that building departments and contractors must devote resources to manage daily that simply go away with this new program. In SWFL, 35% of all permits are for AC equipment replacements; there is no other permit type with this high level of demand. Anytime a municipality can so drastically improve the efficiency of its highest volume service, it’s a big deal. The elimination of travel to provide inspection services is a fast lane to slashing the cost of providing these services and erases a great deal of carbon footprint from operations. 

    This is a very smart use of today’s technology. Everybody can take HD video these days and uploading it to Manatee County has been made as easy as posting to social websites. Municipal technology is often behind the times and clunky; it’s great to see one take a leap ahead like this. Many building departments already casually use still images to supplement plans, communicate or maybe even to make verifications of compliance. These are often just mail attachments and may come with file size limitations. This new program is set up for simple upload directly from the mobile device directly into the inspections portal. HD video can be reliably transmitted without file size issues. Manatee County can review the video to determine compliance without coordination with contractors or owners. They never even have to leave the building; the video is GPS and time stamped proving time and location recorded. Real time GPS and time data make it more than just a video; it’s a data augmented recording. There are specific guidelines that protect the integrity of code compliance and the privacy of those whose property is recorded. Owners must agree that video content will become public record or may opt out. 

    Thanks to all those MACCA members who worked so patiently for this. We will see you at the 2020 FRACCA Education Conference on Daytona Beach where you can let us know how this new program is working out and whether you can recommend it to the rest of us.  

    NOTE: We would also like to recognize the City of North Port for also instating video inspections as well!! 

  • Wednesday, September 18, 2019 2:04 PM | Anonymous

    Tropic Supply Demo Day

    Newest Line of Mini-Splits from SAMSUNG

    Thursday, October 10, 2019
    7:30 am - 11:30 am
    T-12 Port Charlotte Resource Center
    20100 Veterans Blvd.
    Port Charlotte, FL 33954
    P: (941) 255-8330

    Thursday, October 10, 2019
    1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
    T-14 Sarasota Resource Center
    7533 Claxstrauss Drive
    Sarasota, FL 34240
    P: (941) 378-0910



    Learn About Tropic Supply’s Newest Line of Mini-Splits from SAMSUNG:

    • Novus - provides a quality and economical solution for cooling a single room or zone. (115V)
    • Smart Pearl - Samsung’s most efficient and “smart” system - featuring built-in wifi, self-diagnostics and an error monitoring system. 
    • Wind-Free - exclusive cooling technology that provides users with a cool indoor climate without the discomfort of direct cold airflow. 
    • Multi-zone systems offer multiple indoor unit and control options. 
    • VRF technology available for both single-phase and 3-phase applications. 

    For further information on this please visit here


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