01 Jul 2024

JB Warranties June 2024 Round-Up

JBW Blog - June2024 RoundUp - Featured Image

Just like that, June has come to a close. With month six in the bag, we’re officially halfway through the year — but nowhere close to the end of peak season for HVAC and plumbing! As service calls continue to have phones ringing off the hook, government decision-makers and industry-leading manufacturers have also been hard at work, and you know we’ve gathered the latest news. 

Back in our May Round-Up, we took a look at a collection of trending industry topics, including JB Warranties' new integration with ServiceTitan, LG’s launch of their new HVAC training academy in Boston, and Daikin’s new commitment to accelerate California’s 6 million heat pump goal. Let’s now take a dive into June to recap what unfolded in the industry over the past month. 

1. ASHRAE Celebrates World Refrigeration Day 2024 

This month, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), alongside many other organizations, celebrated World Refrigeration Day on June 26. World Refrigeration Day is a yearly campaign highlighting the critical roles refrigeration, air-conditioning, and heat pump technology play in modern society. 

This year's theme, “Temperature Matters,” explored the impact of this technology on indoor environmental quality and how efficiency can help foster sustainable development while mitigating negative impacts. As part of this focus,  ASHRAE and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) partnered to create various web-based learning courses, including:

  • Energy Efficiency Literacy for Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Systems
  • Refrigerant Management for New Engineers
  • Refrigerants Literacy (SI)

To learn more about these courses, HVAC professionals who are ASHRAE members can visit the ASHRAE UNEP Portal and register for free. Members should also keep an eye out for ASHRAE’s upcoming release of Decarbonizing Building Thermal Systems: A How-to-Guide for Heat Pump Systems and Beyond for even more information about ongoing sustainability efforts in the industry. 

2. EPA Grants One-Year Extension for VRF Systems Using High-GWP HFCs

The month of June also saw the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) propose a new rule to amend a provision in the ongoing Technology Transitions Program and the program’s various regulations. These regulations aim to reduce the use of climate-damaging hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in various HVAC products, including air conditioners and heat pumps. 

In the new rule proposal, the EPA plans to allow one additional year (until January 1, 2027) for contractors to install new residential and light commercial variable refrigerant flow (VRF) systems that use HFCs with a Global Warming Potential (GWP) of 700+. Such installations will only be permitted if the system was manufactured or imported to the U.S. before January 1, 2026. 

The reason for the extension stems from concerns from HVAC manufacturers, who were worried that the existing January 1, 2026 compliance date would leave them with stranded inventory — and significant financial impacts. The EPA acknowledged these concerns and introduced the new proposal to mitigate the fears surrounding stranded inventory across the HVAC sector. 

3. LG Launches Global R&D Efforts to Develop High-Performance Heat Pumps in Extreme Cold

This past month, LG Electronics announced a new global research and development (R&D) triangle partnering with resources from North America, Asia, and Europe to create the next generation of specialized heat pumps. Titled the European Consortium for Advanced Heat Pump Research (ECAHR), LG aims to develop specialized heat pump technologies optimized for extreme cold climates in areas such as Northern Europe.

The collaboration partnered LG with various European universities, including Oslo Metropolitan University in Norway and the University of Naples Federico II. Researchers plan to follow the foundation of the LG Advanced Cold Climate Heat Pump Laboratory in Alaska to guide efforts in enhancing low-temperature climate performance in LG HVAC products. Later on in August, LG will also partner with a university in Harbin, China to expand its research on cold climate heat pumps.

4. Carrier Partners with the DOE to Develop Next Generation Heat Pump Rooftop Units

Leading HVAC manufacturer, Carrier, announced this month that they would be partnering with the Department of Energy (DOE) and its sustainability initiatives to develop the next line of high-efficiency light commercial heat pump rooftop units (RTUs). These new heat pump units aim to reduce the life cycle costs for commercial users, including retail, office, and education customers.  

By partnering with the DOE’s Commercial Building Heat Pump Accelerator initiative, Carrier gains access to the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory to test the efficacy of its upcoming technology and validate individual product claims. This will allow Carrier to help customers like major retailers effectively meet ongoing decarbonization goals all while enhancing energy efficiency. 

The DOE estimates that heat pump packaged RTUs can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy costs by up to 50% compared to conventional natural gas models. The Commercial Building Heat Pump Accelerator will continue working with HVAC consumers and professionals to expedite the development and adoption of these units that help push environmental efforts forward. 

5. Interplay Learning Launches New Mobile App

Interplay Learning, a leading provider of immersive online and virtual reality (VR) skill trade training announced the launch of a new mobile app this month. The new mobile app will provide users with on-the-go access to Interplay’s career development platform to help HVAC and plumbing companies enhance training efforts and boost team-wide productivity. 

The Interplay mobile app can provide users with in-the-moment information while out in the field, allowing for improved knowledge retention and a higher service quality. Interplay’s mobile content is produced and verified by subject matter experts, providing technicians with a way to promptly obtain the answers they need without time-consuming internet searches or the use of unreliable sources. 

Beyond instructional resources, rising HVAC and plumbing professionals can also test their knowledge by taking customized skills assessments while on the go. With the help of AI, skills assessment results on the Interplay app are then analyzed to provide users with personalized course recommendations they can use to fill skill gaps and boost their development. 

Circle Back Next Month for JB Warranties July Round-Up

That’s a wrap on June, folks! As always, the HVAC and plumbing industry has provided tons for us to review as July kicks into gear. Looking for additional reading? Head over to the JB Warranties Blog to check out other June updates, including The Rise of DecarbonizationEffective Sales Strategies for HVAC and Plumbing Businesses, and The Benefits of HVAC and Plumbing Service Contracts.