The Climate Control Companies Association (CCCA) has several exciting new initiatives underway to encourage and support its members towards excellence and innovation, while promoting ethics and integrity in the sector.
The Association’s Chair, Matthew Darby, a refrigeration specialist who owns and operates EcoChill, says CCCA has reached a Memorandum of Understanding with EECA, which has agreed to endorse a new, tiered product and installer accreditation scheme for CCCA members.
“We have worked closely with EECA to establish a criteria around credibility, professionalism, qualifications and processes that will enable qualifying companies the opportunity to become EECA endorsed CCCA members. The purpose is to recognise businesses that work to improve energy efficiency standards and gains for customers.”
The initiative will help to raise the profile of endorsed members, and continue to lift standards as companies strive to achieve the required criteria.
Matthew says the new structure, which is currently being fine-tuned ready to be launched by the end of the year, is ‘monumental’ for the sector.
“As a very small industry it can be quite hard to achieve recognition and acknowledgement from government, with our lobbying around driving standards and increasing accountability often falling on deaf ears. To establish the relationship with EECA is a huge leap in terms of tangible benefits.”
The Association has also announced it will award an annual education scholarship for a CCCA member company employee for training or education.
“This award can be used for any local or international course that will upskill individuals in specific areas of need within the industry. The board sees this initiative as pivotal over the long term and is another example of the Association helping to improve standards and drive member support,” says Matthew.
The scholarship will be presented at the next HVAC&R Conference, being run by CCCA at ASB Showgrounds, Auckland from 10-13 May 2017.
Two other awards for Business Innovation and Business Excellence will also be presented at the conference.
“These awards are a great way to acknowledge companies that are going above and beyond to achieve new standards, excel and innovate.”
Like many trades, climate control companies are struggling to attract new entrants to their workforce, which has prompted the Association to introduce a new Youth Engagement Programme, says Matthew.
“We are in the early stages of getting a working group together for this exciting project. Typically our industry suffers from a lack of awareness from the general public, school leavers and other professionals. Through the Youth Engagement Programme we plan to engage with young people and highlight the sort of career pathways and opportunities available to them in the climate control industry. This could be anything from working on the tools, to getting involved in product development, project management, or even starting a business.”
There is also potential for CCCA to deliver a similar message to older professionals who may not be aware of the options open to them in the sector, says Matthew.
CCCA was formed around six years ago when the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Companies Association (RACCA) and HVAC Contractors Association merged.
“The history of CCCA dates back to the 1970s between these two organisations. It made sense to consolidate them given the size of the industry and the fact there were already many people who were members of both Associations.”
CCCA represents any company in the refrigeration, air conditioning, ventilation, and HVAC sectors including contractors, suppliers and wholesalers.
“We try to cover a broad spectrum of companies from different sectors right across the industry.”
Representatives from each sector sit alongside Matthew on the board, which also has an Executive Officer, Paul Town.
Three CCCA members, Brian Rees, Grant Price and Dave Nicolls, also participate in Current Standard Committees, on behalf of industry and the Association, which consist of industry experts working together with widespread industry consultation and public input to create Standards that provide potential solutions to issues, resolve problems and provide a means of compliance with legislation.
“Joint Standards with Australia also help us remove technical barriers to trans-Tasman trade and improve quality and efficiency through shared resources.”
A current focus of the Association is to form closer business alliances with other organisations in a bid to reduce energy consumption, says Matthew.
“We have formed a natural partnership with EECA and the Energy Management Association of New Zealand, which are both great bodies to work alongside as we face some real challenges in terms of driving energy efficiency.”
With a level of air conditioning or refrigeration in almost any kind of building, CCCA is aware that some systems are poorly established and maintained, and will therefore use excessive energy.
“The partnership between the three organisations is working well, and we are also working hard to development a relationship with our sister organisation AMCA in Australia. The size of the industry over there is phenomenal when compared to ours and they have fantastic training facilities. Rather than trying to reinvent the wheel here around training and tools, we have developed a relationship with AMCA that has allowed our members access to theirs.”
Matthew says the government is currently consulting with CCCA through its latest round of Emissions Trading Scheme assessments.
“The government wants to understand the impact of refrigerants used by our industry and we are very close to understanding and helping the government to ascertain the best way to navigate this issue from an industry point of view.”
Back in the early 1990s when CFCs were phased out under the Montreal Protocol, a ‘very effective’ refrigerant recovery programme was put in place, he says.
“At the time it was a shining star in waste minimisation in New Zealand. On the back of that, the next stage is to introduce new refrigerants, and accelerate the phase down of High Global Warming Potential Synthetic Greenhouse Gases. This includes HFC, the most common refrigerant used globally which has the biggest negative impact under our obligations to the Kyoto Protocol.”
Matthew expects some ‘real clarity’ around phase down targets within the next six to nine months.
“We definitely have the government’s ear on this issue, which makes it the perfect time to be a member of the Association. Once protocols are established we are in the best position to help and support HVAC and refrigeration businesses to make the transition.”