Celebrating 125 Years

State of the Society

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Darryl K. Boyce, P.Eng.| 2019-20 ASHRAE President
State of the Society/Farewell Message| 2020 ASHRAE Virtual Conference

It has been an honor to serve as president of this great organization during this Society year. Throughout this journey as president, I’ve had the privilege of visiting with ASHRAE members across numerous Chapters and had the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of meetings. I’ve had a chance to share my childhood memories of being around large equipment and rugged individuals who operated and maintained that equipment. I shared my path into Mechanical Engineering as a young Technologist and most importantly I got to discuss ideas surrounding our focus for the Society Year - Building for People and Performance – Achieving Operational Excellence.

By sharing this focus on operational excellence with ASHRAE members and industry stakeholders, my hope is that I effectively inspired others to ensure good operational performance for the people who live, work and interact in the buildings they create. Achieving operational excellence challenges us as a Society to learn, get engaged and act differently.

ASHRAE members have touched buildings all over the world, in many different facets. The defining global message that shines through time and again is that we are passionate about the buildings we design, build, commission and operate. We can honestly say “That’s my building.”

I am very proud of what ASHRAE accomplished during this Society year and I am excited to have been a part of these endeavors.

Let me share some of the ways that ASHRAE continues to engage and grow as a society:

  • Five new chapters were added during the 2019-20 Society Year - three chapters in India and two chapters located in Oman and Libya, bringing us to a total of 197 chapters globally. New sections in Abuja (ah-boo juh), Vietnam and Ghana were added for a total of 32 ASHRAE sections.
  • Twenty-six new student branches were added in the 2019-20 Society Year.
  • In addition, we shared our message through social media with 2,003 followers on the ASHRAE President’s Facebook page, gained over 5,000 Likes & Shares, and participated in dozens of interviews for industry and mainstream publications.

As you know, we are living the real-world challenge of designing and building a great environment for our staff and volunteers through our new ASHRAE Global Headquarters building - a showcase example of a state-of-the-art energy-efficient office building renewal and renovation. The new global headquarters will be built ready to harness onsite energy production, turning our investment into a certified high-performance net-zero-energy ready building. We couldn’t be more excited about this project.

We continued to grow our partnerships and relationships to help extend this year’s theme of operational excellence. Through 9 signed memoranda of understanding , we established or renewed formal relationships with organizations who share our interests. Our influence grows as we nurture collaborative relationships.

Improving operational performance has been a priority of ASHRAE’s for a number of years now, and as we adjust to a post pandemic world, all indications are that operational performance will continue to be one of the top driving forces in the built environment through standards, guidelines, training and groundbreaking research.

ASHRAE research has a profound impact on our industry and the world. Since 1959, ASHRAE has sponsored more than 900 research projects with a combined value of approximately $78 million. Currently, ASHRAE supports more than 55 active research projects with a combined value of more than $8.9 million. The value of our research lies in ASHRAE’s technical committee structure that ensures that research meets the needs of the people who occupy our buildings.

ASHRAE integrates our research and knowledge into standards, publications, educational programs and policy. In January, the U.S. Department of Energy issued a final rule, clarifying that the DOE must meet its statutory requirements to adopt ASHRAE Commercial Building Energy Efficiency Standard 90.1 energy conservation levels. In April, ASHRAE’s online instructor led course on the Role of HVAC Systems on Infection Control was one the highest attended online courses EVER. In May, ASHRAE published and released Guideline 12 - an updated guideline to assist in the control of legionellosis associated with building water systems.

Existing standards and guidelines are being revised, new standards are being produced and many research projects are underway to expand our technical knowledge. Let’s continue to be part of the solution as a cross section of industries look to our leadership for guidance.

In early November, ASHRAE and the UN Environment Progamme announced the selection of five projects for the 2019 Lower Global Warming Potential Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Innovation Award, recognizing people who have developed or implemented innovative technological concepts in developing countries to minimize global warming potential through refrigeration and air-conditioning applications. Applications are currently be accepted for this award in its second year – further emphasizing ASHRAE’s commitment to the adoption of energy efficient solutions that lessen the impact of  global warming.

This was also a year when we built on Presidential Member Sheila Hayter’s vision of a New Energy Future with the publication release of the “Smart Grid Application Guide” and we laid the framework for the Fall release of the “Designing for Operational Excellence Guide,”which will focus on concrete steps needed to design a building that meets the needs of occupants and achieves operational excellence.

Like all businesses around the globe, ASHRAE had to react to the ongoing threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the Society determined a respond to the evolving circumstances around this crisis, a priority of ours was to present guidance on how to ensure that buildings are prepared for future epidemics. Out of this urgency for sound guidance, the ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force was established to help deploy ASHRAE’s technical resources to address the challenges of the current pandemic and future epidemics as it relates to the effects of HVAC on disease transmission in healthcare facilities, the workplace, home, public and recreational environments. The ETF has worked tirelessly to provide pertinent information to industry professionals and to the general public. Their guidance has been seen by over 500 million people globally and represents operational excellence in action.

ASHRAE’s commitment to creating a healthy and sustainable built environment remains evident. In June of 2007, we released ASHRAE Vision 2020: Producing Net Zero Energy Buildings. As a follow up to this plan, I appointed a
Vision 2030 and Beyond: Buildings of the Future Presidential Ad Hoc Committee to develop ASHRAE’s plan for preparing our members and our Society to lead the transition to the future buildings by 2030. This is another example of ASHRAE’s forward-thinking leadership.

I’ve had the pleasure of being actively involved in ASHRAE for many years now and I must say it is the passion of our volunteer leaders that keeps our Society vibrant and impactful to the communities we serve.

As we navigate life in a complicated and dynamic world, we all have had to change the way we do business, raise families, interact with each other and learn. Like the rest of the world, our plans to host our Annual Conference in Austin had to change. To put in perspective what this change to our Annual Conference represents, allow me to give you a brief history lesson. ASHRAE has had an Annual Conference as “ASHRAE” since 1959. Before that, Semi-Annual Conferences started with the American Society of Heating and Ventilating Engineers in 1897. So, this is the first time ASHRAE has not hosted an in-person Annual Conference since at least 1959.

ASHRAE has evolved over its more than 125 year history, as evident with this our first-ever Virtual Conference – truly connecting our membership across the globe. ASHRAE continues to bring its members exception technical content and new ways to connect to ASHRAE and industry peers.

In the days leading up to this event, ASHRAE has conducted more than 300 committee meetings to continue developing standards, to continue conducting Society business and to produce multi-levels of important work through technical committees. Our Society remains open for business as we carry out our mission to serve humanity by advancing the arts and sciences of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, refrigeration and their allied fields.

As I finish my year as your president and a reflect on sharing my story of being thrust into the role of “man of the house” at 14 years old and becoming the chief operating officer of our sub-standard housing, I realize that I was already learning and becoming passionate about the idea that “making or building things” is just not enough. This is where I began to appreciate the importance of safe, healthy and effective building operations. My journey as president this year has shown me through the work of our amazing volunteers around the world that we CAN and WILL do better for those who operate our buildings.

I am truly disappointed that I was not able to connect with more of our amazing members in person this spring and I appreciate the warm welcome that I did receive from our members and associated organizations when I was able to travel - Thank You!!

I intend to continue working with ASHRAE to ensure operational excellence for the buildings we create because our work as a Society is good for buildings, it’s good for the people who live and work within those buildings and it moves us closer to achieving our vision of providing a healthy and sustainable built environment for all.

Thank you for allowing me to be your president this year.