For the past couple of weeks, we focused our thoughts on things that were, but now we’ll reflect on industry chatter, challenges and analysis heard and discussed during the past few weeks. Although we have no magic 8-ball or crystal ball, nearly everyone we’ve talked to expects a better year for business in 2012.
What else have we heard around the water cooler?
- GREENER STANDARDS: In 2012, companies will continue to see an increased emphasis on designing and retrofitting green buildings. The evolution of greener energy codes is making way for higher efficiency in 2012. ISO 50001 is emerging as an internationally recognized standard for energy management system requirements. As energy codes continue to evolve sustainably, companies are adopting green building elements across their line of products to stay ahead.
- TIGHTER ENERGY STANDARDS: The 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) will be 30% more energy efficient than its 2006 predecessor—realizing a goal pursued for the last several years by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and many collaborating organizations in the energy codes’ community. This exemplifies the direction that codes and standards are moving in general, such as California’s Title 24 energy code and ASHRAE Standard 90.1.
- NEW LEED SYSTEM: The newest version of the green building rating system is phasing in next year with new credit categories, more specific technical requirements and more market segments included. This upcoming transition to LEED 2012 addresses evolving design and construction, and operations and maintenance practices. Mandates across the country will continue to use LEED as the standard for minimum sustainable building standards.
- SUSTAINABLE WASTEWATER MANAGEMENT: As the sustainability movement becomes the norm, greater efforts are in the works for the building industry. The development of green urban districts and sustainable urban design will continue to drive wastewater management innovation and make the case for municipalities to take the plunge into investing in their water systems for future environmental benefits.
- SYSTEMING: The concept of “Systeming,” which calls for the design and purchasing of accessories with the pump as a total package instead of purchasing pumps, components and accessories piecemeal, should be a key focus as buyers look for total value and intelligent solutions.
- BETTER SYSTEMS INTEGRATION & AUTOMATION: Open-technology platforms collecting and managing data from building systems and other data sources will improve facility efficiency. Integration will allow managers and operators to monitor and control temperature and lighting and water usage from a single console, which can improve overall facility performance.
- PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS: More partnerships will be formed to identify and create energy and water-saving projects. These can be seen as win-win situations as they involve guarantees that savings will offset some or all of the costs of these facility and infrastructure renewal projects. These partnerships can remove what is usually the biggest barrier to sustainability projects — financing.
- TRAINING: A greater focus on webinars, workshops, seminars and training at facilities like Bell & Gossett’s Little Red School House.
Let’s end with adding that it looks like 2012 should see continued growth in the HVAC industry as pent up demand for products and increased interest in new technologies from both residential and commercial customers drive sales.
We send you our best wishes for a productive and profitable 2012.