ASHRAE to Explore New Certification Programs, Offers New Guidelines on CO2 Refrigerant

By Consulting Specifying Engineer Staff August 1, 2006

In response to member and market demand, ASHRAE is exploring a certification program that will focus on areas of the building environment such as commissioning, health-care facility engineering, building operation and sustainability. The Society is pursuing partnerships with other HVAC&R-related organizations.

“By offering certification, ASHRAE will make our members more valuable to the industry,” Terry Townsend, P.E., ASHRAE president, said. “Certification from ASHRAE will add professional credibility to their work, as well providing educational resources to better enable them in designing and operating buildings that are more efficient.”

A market research survey conducted by the organization last year showed a strong interest by members in providing certification. More than 80% of members indicated that ASHRAE should offer certification to individuals who complete a series of courses or seminars in a specific area of study.

In support of certification, ASHRAE will expand its existing educational program, known as the ASHRAE Learning Institute.

In addition, ASHRAE is working make it easier for members to keep up with their current professional development hours to maintain existing professional registration.

“We are looking at tracking educational course attendance to qualify for professional development hours,” Townsend said. “We must make it as easy as possible for our members to educate themselves so they can get ahead in their careers.”

In other news from ASHRAE, the organization announced that guidelines for using carbon dioxide as a refrigerant have been added to its ASHRAE 2006 Handbook, Refrigeration , which covers the refrigeration equipment and systems for applications other than human comfort. It includes information on cooling, freezing, and storing food; industrial applications of refrigeration; and low-temperature refrigeration. Primarily a reference for the practicing engineer, the volume is also useful for anyone involved in cooling and storage of food products.

Carbon dioxide was used in the early stages of refrigeration, an ASHRAE spokesperson explained, but fell out of favor with the development of halocarbon refrigerants. But because of its good environmental properties and relative safety, there’s renewed interest in CO 2 as a refrigerant.