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More than 2,800 HVACR industry professionals, building systems engineers, architects, contractors and students, gathered in Las Vegas and virtually from Jan. 29-Feb. 2 for the 2022 ASHRAE Winter Conference. Registered conference attendees were provided entry to the co-sponsored AHR Expo, held on the same dates at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
"This year's conference and expo marked the first time that the Society has been together for our Winter Conference in two years and the return to the AHR Expo after last year's cancellation," said 2021-22 ASHRAE President Mick Schwedler, P.E., Fellow ASHRAE, LEED AP. "While the numbers are expectedly lower than past conferences, in-person attendance still exceeded our expectations and our virtual attendees added a welcomed dynamic to our sessions. We are grateful to everyone involved in establishing a comprehensive health and safety plan for our attendees, which included guidance provided by the ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force."
The Winter Conference featured over 50 technical sessions, updates from Society leaders, tours, social events and livestreamed sessions for virtual attendees. Top sessions included Introduction of Building Decarbonization, HVAC Design, Control and Operation of Hospitals After COVID-19 Fiasco and CPS 21: Refining ASHRAE COVID Guidelines and Standard 100.
The AHR Expo offered a total of 1,573 exhibitors, with 281 international exhibitors, occupying 443,769 sq. ft. of exhibit space in the Las Vegas Convention Center. More than 43,000 people preregistered to attend the show, including 130 media representatives.
At the Winter Conference, Schwedler provided updates related to the Society's current theme, "Personal Growth. Global Impact. Feed the Roots." He focused on personal development and how the Society's extraordinary global growth and impact to the built environment has nourished the roots of the global HVACR industry.
"When we concentrate on our mission and vision and talk about our impacts – we make the world more sustainable and resilient to future changes," Schwedler said. "We reduce both energy utilization intensity and environmental emissions. We helped mitigate a global pandemic by keeping vaccines cold – and their efficacy high – 40% of the world's food spoils between the field and consumption. We reduce that. And most importantly, we keep students and staff in schools, and occupants of the built environment safe and healthy."
Schwedler's State of Society address manuscript and presentation can be found at ashrae.org/president.
During the plenary session, Jeff Littleton, ASHRAE Executive Vice President and Secretary, reported on the Society's current initiatives, as well as the dedication of ASHRAE volunteers during the pandemic.
"A Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Board subcommittee is focused on proactively driving diversity, equity and inclusion at all levels of the Society," said Littleton. "Task groups have been formed to drive Society strategies on decarbonization and on international standards. We've released 14 new and 24 revised publications and standards. Examples of new publications include the ASHRAE Design Guide for Natural Ventilation and the ASHRAE Guide for HVAC in Hazardous Spaces. We've even released the children's book Lucy's Engineering Adventure. The commitment of ASHRAE's entire global membership to the Society's work has never wavered during the pandemic. I find that truly remarkable. When so much of our professional and personal lives has been disrupted, some 7,000 ASHRAE volunteers at the society, regional and chapter levels continue to drive ASHRAE forward."
Experienced and emerging leaders in the industry were recognized during an honors and awards ceremony. Record-breaking polar explorer, Ann Daniels, closed the plenary session with an inspiring presentation on good leadership, teamwork and self-belief.
ASHRAE Learning Institute (ALI) offered 17 courses. New courses were as follows: Advanced High-Performance Building Designs: Key Concepts for Lifelong Building Sustainability, V in HVAC – What, Why, Where, How, and How Much (includes Basic Requirements of Standard 62.1-2019), Best Practices for Installing DDC Systems, Save 40% by Complying with Standard 90.1-2019, Principles of Building Commissioning: ASHRAE Guideline 0 and Standard 202, Guideline 36: Best in Class HVAC Control Sequences, Changing Environments and Loads for Data Centers (High Density, Liquid Cooling, Edge Computing and Health Impacts of Indoor Air Extraction, Ventilation, and Filtration – Same or Different.
All registered attendees, both in-person and virtual, will have access to the virtual conference environment for 12 months post-conference. Registration is still open for access to the virtual conference until January 2023 at ashrae.org/2022winter.
ASHRAE remained committed to the health and safety of conference attendees. In addition to shipping all in-person attendees FDA approved rapid COVID-19 tests to administer prior to attending the conference, ASHRAE partnered with Vital Circle to provide access to medical assistance and testing for attendees while onsite. ASHRAE's Commitment to Care details explains health and safety measures the Society implemented for attendees before, during and after the conference. The Commitment to Care document is available at ashrae.org/2022winter.
The 2022 ASHRAE Annual Conference will take place June 25-June 29 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The 2023 Winter Conference will take place Feb. 4-8, and the AHR Expo, February 6-8, in Atlanta.