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  • Thursday, January 26, 2023 3:05 PM | Anonymous

    Legislative - Weekly Recap

    Lawmakers convened in Tallahassee on Tuesday for the third interim committee week. This week was the busiest yet, with the first and second committee weeks being taken up by Special Session on property insurance and the Inauguration. Many committees heard panels and presentations from agency staff, and several early filed bills had their first hearings.

    Speaker Renner unveiled one of his top priorities for session, HB1, a school choice bill that would expand school voucher eligibility to all K-12 students.

    The bill removes nearly all eligibility parameters on the Family Empowerment Scholarship Program, which is currently limited to households earning at or below 375% of the federal poverty level. This would enable any parents of K-12 public school-age children to receive vouchers to send their child to private school, although children from families with income below 185% of FPL or are in foster care would get priority. The bill would also eliminate almost 10,000 special needs students on waiting lists for scholarships by funding those school positions, and the bill also allows parents who home-school their children to be paid under the scholarship program.

    Governor DeSantis unveiled several legislative priorities this week. One initiative, titled ‘Prescribe Freedom’, would permanently ban Covid-19 vaccine requirements and mask mandates, and protect health care practitioners’ rights to disagree with “the preferred narrative of the medical community”. In a 2021 Special Session, the legislature passed a bill that prohibits vaccine mandates for employees and mask mandates in schools, however this law is set to expire in June. The Governor’s proposal would also prohibit ‘Vaccine Passports’. The Governor has not provided bill language.  

    Legislators will convene for Committee Week #4 next Monday, January 23rd. There are four committee weeks left until the start of the 2023 Legislative Session on March 7.

    Below is your weekly bill report of items we watch for you in Tallahassee. Just to let you know, I’ve highlighted bills that are moving.  If anything, you want to know more about or wish for us to engage on with lawmakers, please let me know. 

    FRACCA - Weekly Legislative Update

    Ordered by Bill Number

    HB 0085 Causes of Action Based on Improvements to Real Property by Snyder

    Causes of Action Based on Improvements to Real Property: Revises time in which action founded on design, planning, or construction of improvement to real property must be commenced; revises date on which statute of limitations period begins; provides for calculation of statute of limitations period for multi-dwelling buildings; defines "material violation." Effective Date: upon becoming a law

    Current Committee of Reference: House Civil Justice Subcommittee

    Actions

    01/19/2023 HOUSE On Committee agenda - Civil Justice Subcommittee, 01/26/23, 9:00 am, 404 H

    HB 0089 Building Construction by Maggard

    Building Construction: Revises definition of term "class A air-conditioning contractor"; prohibits certain persons or entities from making substantive changes to building plans after permit has been issued; provides exceptions; requires certain persons to provide certain information to certain persons or entities; provides that certain persons are subject to disciplinary action under certain circumstances. Effective Date: July 1, 2023

    Current Committee of Reference: House Regulatory Reform & Economic Development Subcommittee

    Actions

    01/10/2023 HOUSE Now in Regulatory Reform & Economic Development Subcommittee

    SB 0304 United States-produced Iron and Steel in Public Works Projects by Boyd

    United States-produced Iron and Steel in Public Works Projects; Requiring governmental entities to include a requirement in certain contracts that certain iron or steel products be produced in the United States; authorizing the use of foreign steel and iron materials in certain circumstances; requiring the Department of Management Services and the Department of Transportation to adopt rules for specified purposes, etc. Effective Date: 7/1/2023

    Current Committee of Reference: No Current Committee

    Actions

    01/19/2023 SENATE Filed

    HB 0315 Civil Remedies for Unlawful Employment Practices by Andrade

    Provides limits on judgment for punitive & compensatory damages for certain claims; authorizes aggrieved party to bring civil action for certain claims within specified timeframe regardless of determination made by Commission on Human Relations. Effective Date: July 1, 2023

    Current Committee of Reference: No Current Committee

    Actions

    01/20/2023 HOUSE Filed

    Download information here

    - Submitted 01/20/2023 by: Edward Briggs, Vice President of Government Relations & Community Affairs

  • Thursday, December 08, 2022 3:05 PM | Anonymous

    The new facility also contains an AHRI-certified laboratory

    image001.jpg

    NEW CONSTRUCTION: A-Gas is completing the construction of its latest refrigerant separation towers at its Rhome, Texas plant. (Courtesy of A-Gas)

    After recent heavy investment in the expansion of their capacity in the U.S., A-Gas is completing the construction of its latest refrigerant separation towers at its Rhome, Texas plant. The expansion project, which began earlier this year, represents A-Gas’ continued commitment to deliver cutting-edge technology aimed at substantially increasing the quantity of reclaimed refrigerant gases, bringing new capacity online in 2023 to supply the U.S.

    “The demand for high-quality reclaimed refrigerants grows yearly,” said Mike Armstrong, president of A-Gas Americas, “As the United States phases down virgin HFCs, technologies like this will provide an efficient and valuable service to our customers and supply partners. Through the utilization of existing products, we can minimize waste, extend product lifecycles, limit emissions, and provide more circular economy solutions to our customers.”

    Expanding the recovery and reclaim of refrigerant gases is essential for the implementation of the production and consumption phase down of HFCs under the AIM Act. Recovery and reclaim, along with other refrigerant management practices, could prevent the emissions of 90 billion tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent, according to The 90 Billion Ton Opportunity: Lifecycle Refrigerant Management, a recent report by a trio of environmental groups.

    A-Gas’ new separators will be operational in early 2023 and will more than double the separation capacity at the current site — addressing a critical need highlighted by the NGO report. A-Gas also added an AHRI-certified laboratory at the Rhome plant, making it their second AHRI lab in the U.S.

    The new separation equipment and AHRI lab will enable the reclamation of mixed refrigerants received from customers across the U.S.. Even the most complicated mixes of refrigerants can be separated into valuable components and reconstituted into AHRI-700-certified products through this technology. In bringing this capability online, millions of additional pounds of reclaimed refrigerant can be safely returned to the marketplace annually.

    “This technology continues to push forward responsible lifecycle refrigerant management in the U.S.,” said Taylor Ferranti, commercial vice president of refrigerant management at A-Gas. “It ensures our valued customers have access to a long-term, sustainable supply of reclaimed refrigerants for all their needs without compromising their values. Our Rapid Recovery network can continue to safely recover refrigerant while our reclamation processes bring that material to AHRI-700 grade for future use.”

    Ferranti added, “In 2022, A-Gas is proud to have had a record year for reclamation. Our investment in this technology shows our continued commitment to supply the industry with reclaim, supporting the circular economy.”

    Article Courtesy of ACHR News

  • Monday, October 17, 2022 11:44 AM | Anonymous

    SEER to SEER2 Conversion

    As you may know, the DOE has changed the testing procedure used to rate the efficiency of HVAC equipment to be more representative of installations in today’s homes. Equipment will now be rated according to SEER2. The DOE is also raising the minimum standards for efficiency for both straight cool and heat pump products. While it varies between equipment type, minimum efficiencies are increasing about 7-10% or 1 SEER point.

    The chart to the right illustrates the relative comparison of today’s SEER and the new SEER2 ratings.


    Starting January 1, 2023, INSTALLATIONS of RESIDENTIAL STRAIGHT COOL SPLIT PRODUCT must meet the new SEER2 requirements. Inventory of existing residential straight cool split products must be sold and installed prior to this date. Tropic Supply started stocking SEER2-rated residential straight cool product in September of 2022 to ensure a smooth transition.

    The sale and installation of RESIDENTIAL HEAT PUMP SPLIT PRODUCT AND ALL RESIDENTIAL PACKAGE UNITS will be regulated based on the DATE OF MANUFACTURE. As a result, Tropic Supply will continue to stock current models of residential heat pump split systems AND residential package units through the first quarter of 2023. New SEER2 rated residential heat pump splits and package units will start to arrive in the first and second quarter of 2023 to ensure a smooth transition.

    LEARN MORE:

    Learn more about these changes here:

    www.ruud.com/HVACKnowZone

    https://www.youtube.com/user/alliedairenterprise/videos



  • Monday, October 10, 2022 5:43 PM | Anonymous

    State Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier said he will consider the 8.4% reduction on new and renewed workers' compensation policies recommended by the National Council on Compensation Insurance. The licensed rating agency assessed data from 2019 and 2020 to recommend the new lower rate on behalf of workers' compensation insurance companies. In a report submitted to the state, the national insurance organization found a consistent decline in wage replacement claims from injured employees seeking workers' compensation benefits. Florida's roofing industry is backing the new rate reduction, citing a fear that rates will increase in the future due to the "Great Resignation," and an uptick in less-experienced roofers, accompanied by an increase in demand for housing and construction, plus rising medical costs and a tight reinsurance market. "Due to all of this we are here today because of the uncertainty of the insurance market, we are asking for the consideration to freeze the current (roofers') rate class code," said President of Florida Roofing and Sheet Metal Association Matthew Criswell. Altmaier did not definitively say whether the rate will be frozen or reduced but did say he will consider public comment on the issue until Oct. 7 while his actuaries continue to review the report. If Altmaier approves NCCI's recommended 8.4% reduction effective January 2023, workers' compensation rates in Florida will have decreased by nearly 74% over a 20-year time span.

    Florida Politics / NCCI Testimony

  • Monday, October 10, 2022 5:33 PM | Anonymous

    Treaty to cut HFC use

    Segments of the HVACR industry are hailing the ratification of the Kigali Amendment, an international agreement to cut the production of refrigerants that are a major contributor to global warming when they escape into the atmosphere.

    The move is expected to create domestic jobs and boost U.S. exports of air-conditioning and refrigeration products. The Kigali Amendment, already agreed to by more than 130 other countries, was ratified by the U.S. Senate on a bipartisan vote, 69-27, on September 21.

    Senate Ratifies Kigali Amendment - By Matt Jachman, ACHR NEWS

  • Thursday, September 22, 2022 12:55 PM | Anonymous

    Decarbonization and the HFC phasedown are spawning innovation in the HVAC industry.

    The current environmental trend right now is electrification, which is part of a broader global strategy to decarbonize economies around the world. In the U.S., the federal government, along with numerous states, has pledged to aggressively reduce — and potentially eliminate — carbon emissions over the next few decades. This typically involves encouraging Americans to replace their fossil fuel appliances like gas furnaces with electric heat pumps. But most heat pumps and air conditioners currently use R-410A refrigerant — or even R-22 in older units — which is a high-GWP HFC that the federal government is in the process of phasing down.

    In response to this conundrum, a raft of so-called “clean tech” startups and other research groups are looking for ways to reduce carbon and refrigerant emissions through the use of new cooling technologies. The result is a number of promising innovations, which could bring significant changes to the HVAC industry.

    Decarbonized Cooling
    One such startup is Blue Frontier in Boca Raton, Florida, which recently made headlines when Bill Gates’ clean energy investment fund, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, announced it was spearheading a $20 million investment to accelerate new company’s ability to bring its “ultra-efficient sustainable air conditioning technology” to market. According to Blue Frontier’s owner and founder, Dr. Daniel Betts, this investment will help the company realize its goal of significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions by decarbonizing building cooling.

    Blue Frontier Air Conditioning System.

    Blue Frontier Air Conditioning System.
    NEW SYSTEM: A prototype of Blue Frontier’s new air conditioning system, which is expected to be commercially available in 2025. (Courtesy of Blue Frontier)




    “Blue Frontier solves the problem of the high energy and power consumption of traditional air conditioning and the increasingly high climate change impact due to that energy consumption,” he said.

    “Blue Frontier air conditioners consume 50% to 90% less energy and also store energy at a fraction of the cost of batteries, so that low-cost, low-emission electricity can be used to provide cooling during evening peak load times.”

    Blue Frontier’s packaged rooftop air conditioner contains a novel heat exchanger that both cools and dehumidifies air through the use of a salt solution (liquid desiccant) that removes humidity from the air without increasing its temperature, explained Betts. This dry air can then be cooled through the indirect evaporative cooling process, which separates about 30% of the dry air, flows it adjacent to the rest of the air within the heat exchanger, and subjects it to evaporative cooling. This process cools down the 70% remaining bulk air without increasing its humidity, creating conditioned, low-humidity air.

    Click here to read full article - By Joanna R. Turpin, ACHR NEWS


  • Thursday, September 08, 2022 3:00 PM | Anonymous

    Focus Energy in the Right Place During Regulatory Changes

    Tick, tock … the countdown for the Department of Energy’s regulatory changes are quickly coming upon us, and the regulations just keep stacking. New laws have been enacted — for example, as of June, the Defense Production Act went into effect declaring that noncondensing indoor gas furnaces would be phased out beginning in 2029. There are two more acts waiting for legislation: the ICEE HOT Act of 2022 will reduce residential building greenhouse gas emissions and increase energy security by incentivizing electric HVAC equipment, water heating, and other home appliances across the supply chain; and the HEATR Act of 2022, which aims to establish upstream incentives for manufacturers to transition production to heat pumps. Plus, the HVACR industry is on the brink of yet another refrigerant phasedown — R10A is effectively eliminated in January, and the refrigerant transition is complicated by the fact that it is occurring on a state-by-state basis, which leads to more confusion. Collectively, there is a lot to wade through, but you can see that all roads are leading to electrification and the highest efficiency equipment. Ready or not, this massive push is coming.

    To start, let’s look at what got us to this place — the place where a government agency has to step in to regulate our industry. There’s no denying the industry faces a mix of consumer, contractor, manufacturer, and environmental challenges, but I keep reiterating these known truths:

    In North America, 80% of replacement sales are made at the time of a breakdown. There are currently over 260,000 technicians just in the United States; this means that there are over 260,000 opinions on diagnostic processes, equipment replacement, and equipment efficiency. With a technician making a manual recommendation, U.S. consumers purchase the lowest efficiency replacement model available 81% of the time. And, the final truth is that residential HVAC is the No. 1 contributor to the global climate crisis. This is why we are now faced with imminent change.

    If we’re honest, the only thing consistent about our industry is inconsistency. There is no one standard model for technicians — hence the 260,000 variances in opinion. Inconsistent application of the known best practices leads to poor field recommendations, poor consumer experiences, and an overall mistrust of the industry. If we don’t address the consumer experience and the overwhelming desire for transparency, then there is zero way that you can effectively navigate these upcoming changes or be able to explain to your customers why this is the time for a “more affordable” replacement system; why pricing and standards will change in January; why if you have a heating and cooling system and one appliance breaks down, why the whole entire system needs to be replaced. If they don’t trust you, they won't believe you.

    There are really three areas you need to be focusing your energy on for the coming changes...

    READ FULL ARTICLE HERE
    Article by: Darren Dixon
    , AHCR News


  • Thursday, July 21, 2022 3:08 PM | Anonymous

    On Monday March 21st, 2022 Sarasota County Building officials met with representatives of MACCA to discuss needing engineered roof stands on a changeout when the roof was not being replaced. It was agreed that as long as we reinstalled it in the same manner that we found it that it would not have to be brought up to new wind load requirements.

    There was also discussion in regards to the installation of a mini split unit in a garage and it was explained that it is acceptable in Sarasota County with the standard Mechanical permit along with an electrical permit. No other load calcs or energy calcs needed.

  • Thursday, July 21, 2022 3:06 PM | Anonymous

    On Monday July 11th, a meeting was held between MACCA and Manatee county officials to discuss the use of hurricane rated condenser pads. It was a productive meeting in which MACCA was able to discuss the challenges we were having with Manatee county due to them not allowing us to use the Hurricane rated condenser pads. Also, Manatee county was able to discuss their side of the issue and explain the liability they face by not enforcing their interpretation of the code. In the end, Manatee county was able to find an interpretation that allowed them to enforce the code and allowed the AC contractors to continue to use the hurricane rated condenser pads. A win for all.

  • Thursday, June 23, 2022 2:32 PM | Anonymous

    New terminology is used with mildly flammable refrigerant

    The HVACR industry is in the process of transitioning away from HFCs such as R-410A to alternative refrigerants that are mildly flammable (A2L). Because of their flammable nature, these refrigerants are referred to in terms that may not be familiar to contractors and technicians.

    At the recently held HVAC Excellence National HVACR Education Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, Jason Obrzut, director of industry standards and relations at ESCO Group, explained the properties of A2L refrigerants, as well as what the terminology means.

    Levels of Flammability

    First of all, it’s important to understand that refrigerants have different levels of flammability (and toxicity), which are governed by ASHRAE Standard 34, Designation and Safety Classification of Refrigerants. In the U.S., residential and light commercial air conditioning equipment has almost universally used refrigerants that do not propagate a flame (A1), such as R-22 or R-410A. But now new refrigerants, such as R-32 and R-454B will be coming on the market, and these are mildly flammable, or A2L.

    ASHRAE Standard 34 assigns an identifying reference letter and number to each refrigerant to classify it according to the hazard involved in its use, see Table 1. The capital letter designates a toxicity class based on allowable exposure, while the numeral denotes flammability. As Obrzut noted, “‘A’ designates low toxicity, while ‘B’ is higher toxicity. The numbers 1, 2, and 3 are the levels of flammability, and the lower the number, the lower the flammability.”

    Image in modal.

    TABLE 1: ASHRAE Standard 34 assigns an identifying reference letter and number to each refrigerant to classify it according to the hazard involved in its use.

    As far as flammability is concerned, ASHRAE has designated four classifications of refrigerants (there is no nonflammable classification for refrigerants, as most are capable of ignition when exposed to a high energy ignition source such as an open flame):

    • Class 3 for highly flammable refrigerants such as hydrocarbons;
    • Class 2 for flammable refrigerants such as R-152a;
    • Class 2L for lower flammability refrigerants such as R-32 and R-454B; and
    • Class 1 for refrigerants that do not propagate a flame when subjected to conditions specified by ASTM Standard E681.

    A2L refrigerants were given that designation because of their lower flammability limit (LFL), which is an important term to understand. LFL is the minimum concentration of a flammable substance – in this case a refrigerant – that is capable of ignition when there is a sufficient mixture of air and the substance. It’s expressed as refrigerant percentage by volume, so the lower the number, the greater the probability for ignition.

    “For example, R-290 has an LFL of 2.1%, which means when it reaches 2.1% of the air by volume, it can be considered a competent mixture, and it will burn (see Table 2),” said Obrzut. “A2Ls have a higher LFL, so you need a greater amount -- a larger leak -- and enough oxygen or air in order to achieve that competent mixture.”

    Refrigerant R-32 R-454B R-1234yf R-717 Ammonia R-152a R-290 Propane R-600a Isobutane
    Safety Group A2L A2L A2L B2L A2 A3 A3
    LFL 14.4% 11.8% 6.2% 15% 3.9% 2.1% 1.8%
    Auto Ignition Temperature 648°C
    1,198.4⁰F
    496°C
    924.8⁰F
    405°C
    761⁰F
    651°C
    1,203.8⁰F
    440°C
    824⁰F
    455°C
    851⁰F
    460°C
    860⁰F
    Minimum Ignition Energy (MIE) 30 – 100 mJ 100-300 mJ 5,000 – 10,000 mJ 100 – 300 mJ 0.38 mJ 0.25 mJ 0.6 – 0.7 mJ
    Burning Velocity 6.7 cm/s 5.2 cm/s 1.5 cm/s 7.2 cm/s 23 cm/s 46 cm/s 41 cm/s
    Heat of Combustion (HOC) 3,869 Btu/lb 4,420 Btu/lb 4,408 Btu/lb 9,673 Btu/lb 2,708 Btu/lb 19,905 Btu/lb 19,000 –19,200 Btu/lb
    TABLE 2: LFL is expressed as refrigerant percentage by volume, so the lower the number, the greater the probability for ignition. (Courtesy of ESCO Institute)


    R-32, for example, has an LFL of 14.4%, and R-454B has an LFL of 11.8%. On top of having a competent mixture of air and refrigerant, a high amount of energy is needed to ignite it, such as an open flame. “Essentially, we have to have a decent amount of refrigerant leak into a place where there’s enough air, and in that same place, we have to have some sort of open flame that keeps burning. The stars really have to align in order for ignition to take place,” said Obrzut.

    Read Other Important Terms and Full Article here: https://www.achrnews.com/articles/146639-a2l-terms-you-should-know


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