In January 2010 at the Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo) in Orlando, Fla., we at the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) officially unveiled our new certification mark. At our AHR Expo booth and in our print material, we proclaimed that, “Blue is the new green.” What do we mean by that? Our new, unified mark — which symbolizes the union of three previously separate certification programs (ARI Certified, GAMA Efficiency Rating Certified, and I=B=R) — is blue. What makes it the new green is its essential role in ensuring efficient performance in heating, air-conditioning, refrigeration, and water-heating products.
It's important for designers, engineers, facility managers, specifiers, architects, and building owners to know that a symbol is meaningless unless it stands for something solid. Any company can make any claim it likes about any product. It can say a product is the biggest, smallest, fastest, most luxurious, and most energy-efficient. But how do you know, for example, that all of the brownies made in the Perfect Brownie pan will come out perfect without shelling out “only” $19.99 plus shipping and handling? It's very easy to do an Internet search and see if anyone has independently verified whether the claim is true.
The same is true for almost any product — just check out the popularity of Consumer Reports. People want to know if what they're thinking of buying is a good product that performs as advertised.
You could say that AHRI is the Consumer Reports of the HVACR and water-heating world and that the AHRI Certified mark is the trusted symbol of performance.
On the commercial side, those who are responsible for meeting energy-efficiency goals must be sure that the HVAC and water-heating equipment specified for a project will perform as advertised. If it doesn't, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification or building-code compliance might not be achieved, which could result in a whole host of other issues, none of them good.
If your HVAC or water-heating system is installed and it's not helping to meet your energy-use targets, you're up the proverbial creek without a paddle. You can't just tear it all out and start over so the role you had planned for your HVAC system will be fulfilled.
Blue is the new green on the residential side as well. As more customers buy equipment that qualifies for a federal or state tax credit or utility rebate, they will be able to use the certificate from the AHRI Directory of Certified Product Performance (www.ahridirectory.org). If you're unsure of the federal tax-credit rules, visit AHRI's Website at www.ahrinet.org. The tax-credit button on the home page makes it easy to get the information you and your customers need.
So why is the AHRI Certified mark the trusted symbol of performance? For one thing, it's a time-tested, quality program that has been certifying product performance for more than 50 years.
We maintain quality by randomly selecting products to test in each of 36 certification programs, not allowing manufacturers to just present a product for testing.
We oversee the testing — which is done at independent laboratories — for all of the products in our certification program. When testing is complete, we report back to the manufacturer with the results. Products that don't pass must be re-rated to reflect actual performance. Any failure results in penalties and penalty testing at a higher cost to the manufacturer, so there is a monetary interest in ensuring performance from the start.
Anyone interested in peace of mind with regard to the performance of heating, cooling, commercial-refrigeration, and water-heating equipment must insist on products that bear the AHRI Certified symbol.
Stephen R. Yurek is president and CEO of the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI). AHRI is the trade association representing manufacturers of HVACR equipment manufactured and sold in North America. The group focuses on certification, standards, envionmental advocacy, education, and the workforce, as well as global initiatives, research, and industry statistics. For more information about the association, go to www.ahrinet.org.
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