06 May 2024

JB Warranties April 2024 Round-Up

JBW Blog - April2024 Roundup - Featured Image

We’ve wrapped up the first month of the second quarter, finalized our tax paperwork, and even refreshed the look of our website, all while maintaining typical operations along the way. If we had to guess, you’ve had a pretty busy month, too—that’s why we’re here to fill you in on the latest news!

Circling back to our previous March Round-Up, we took a look at a collection of HVAC and plumbing hot topics including, ASHRAE’s 90.1-2022 standard approval by the Department of Energy, Carrier becoming the first to announce lower GWP refrigerant heat pump orders, and PHCC’s recent trip to Capitol Hill. Now that May is underway, let’s take a look at what occurred throughout April.

1. EPA Announces First Ever National and Legally Enforceable Drinking Water Standard

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), also known as “forever chemicals,” are linked to various cancers, heart and liver damage, and even child development issues. They’ve also been detected in drinking water supplies across the country. On April 10, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a new drinking water standard in efforts to combat PFAS pollution concerns nationwide. 

The new PFAS ruling will help reduce exposure for roughly 100 million U.S. residents and, ultimately, prevent thousands of deaths and serious illnesses. The rule establishes legally enforceable limits for various PFAS types, including PFOA, PFNA, and HFPO-DA. It will require public water systems to complete initial monitoring and reporting within three years and implement reduction strategies, if necessary, within five. 

In part of this new regulation, the EPA also announced $1 billion in funding to help states and local territories develop PFAS testing and treatment solutions. The new PFAS ruling coupled with expansive funding will help the EPA work alongside state and local officials to address water systems, significantly reduce exposure over time, and improve drinking water supplies nationwide. 

2. ASHRAE and UNEP Open Submissions for the 2024 Lower Global Warming Potential Innovation Award

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) announced this month that they would begin accepting submissions for their 2024 Lower GWP Innovation Award. This recognition helps encourage developing countries to develop and adopt new refrigeration and air-conditioning (RAC) management tactics to help reduce global warming.  

The Lower-GWP Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Innovation Award assesses inventive HVAC project design and implementation across residential and commercial/industrial facility applications. Awardees are selected using various criteria, such as the project's ability to transform conventional concepts into new innovations and its economic feasibility to developing countries. 

Entries are being accepted now through August 15. Selected Lower GWP Award submissions will be showcased in upcoming ASHRAE and UNEP publications and events. 

3. Biden-Harris Administration Awards First State Home Energy Rebates Funding

On April 18, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that it approved New York to be the first recipient of the Inflation Reduction Act’s Home Energy Rebate program. In part of this decision, the state of New York will now receive $159 million to develop a program that helps save homeowners money on various energy-efficient electric appliances. 

Through the Home Energy Rebate Programs, New York homeowners can save up to $14,000 on home upgrades through various product rebates and discounts, including but not limited to:

  • $8,000 off an ENERGY STAR heat pump for space cooling and heating 
  • $1,750 off an ENERGY STAR  heat pump water heater
  • $1,600 for insulation, air sealing, and mechanical ventilation products 

Out of 11 other states that have submitted applications for Home Energy Rebate program funding—Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington—New York was selected first by the DOE. The rebate program falls under Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act and will continue to provide $8.8 billion in nationwide funding to help lower energy costs, enhance home efficiency, and promote environmental justice. 

4. Lowes Foundation Awards $1 Million Gable Grant to SkillsUSA

In late April, the Lowes Foundation awarded $1 million to SkillsUSA to benefit the future influx of young professionals venturing into the many skilled trades. SkillsUSA is a leading workforce development organization that empowers young students to explore the skilled trades. As it stands, the organization represents more than 400,000 teachers and students nationwide. 

On May 7, SkillsUSA will hold a National Signing Day where these rising professionals can sign a letter of intent to commit to various trade apprenticeships, jobs, and educational endeavors. Students and their families will be invited to blue carpet events across select Lowes stores to honor and recognize their decision. Since 2023, the Lowes Foundation has awarded over $18 million in grants to numerous organizations that work to drive skilled trade interest and training. 

5. DOE Announces Better Buildings Initiative to Accelerate Heat Pump Manufacturing

At the Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit on April 3, the DOE announced new Better Building Initiatives aimed at reducing energy costs and emissions through heat pump adoption. Titled the Better Buildings Commercial Building Heat Pump Accelerator, manufacturing partners including Carrier, Trane, and Lennox will increase the production of higher efficiency and cost-effective heat pump rooftop units.

With increased manufacturing of innovative heat pump solutions, the Biden-Harris Administration believes they can more effectively address the climate crisis, lower energy costs, and continue to drive energy innovation. Likewise, the DOE’s Better Buildings Initiative is also working to partner with private and public sector leaders to promote climate leadership and drive workforce development. 

As heat pump manufacturing ramps up, commercial organizations such as Target and Amazon will assess new technology and adopt these solutions to support these efforts. The ultimate goal is to have more affordable rooftop heat pump units readily available on the market as soon as 2027. If deployed at scale, the Better Buildings Commercial Building Heat Pump Accelerator could save commercial operations upwards of $5 billion in ultimately costs each year. 

Tune In Next Month for JB Warranties May Round-Up

It’s no secret that April was a busy month… Then again, what month isn’t busy when you’re in the trades? Here at JB Warranties, we understand the hectic nature of owning and operating an HVAC or plumbing business. That’s why, in addition to our industry-leading extended warranty plans, we provide technicians and contractors with ongoing education and information regarding trade businesses.

So, while you’re here, don’t forget to check out our latest blog posts, from our guide to the importance of strong trade company culture (and how to build it) to a helpful overview of the benefits of short-form video content for HVAC growth. Plus, you can always tune back in next month for another monthly round-up, where we’ll have gathered the latest news for you. See you then!