It’s tough to scan the news these days and not see a story on indoor air quality (IAQ). For the built space, indoor air quality remains a primary focus, especially as we get deeper into the winter months and even more time is spent indoors. Add a robust trifecta of flu, COVID-19, and RSV to the mix, and SMACNA contractors are facing an unprecedented opportunity to grow our customer base and expand our services.
It is often quoted that people spend 90% of their lives indoors, so the fact that the White House wants to treat air quality with the same focus and investment spent on water and food safety is welcomed attention.
Funding sources are numerous, tax incentives are expanding, and performance contracting is growing in popularity as many projects are looking at ways to offset improvement costs through energy efficiency gains.
SMACNA, along with many chapters, are focused on maximizing the opportunities that indoor air quality improvements present. SMACNA is launching a two-pronged campaign targeting building owners, operators, and school superintendents. The first objective of this effort is to generate awareness and raise interest in HVAC improvements, share funding resources and provide those most interested with an opportunity to pursue conversations directly with our members.
The second objective is to ensure our members are well-prepared to capitalize on inquiries that may start with conversations about indoor air quality improvements, but may lead to more substantial work in the future.
To help contractors convert IAQ inquiries into more substantial work down the road, SMACNA is working with iTi and NEMI to provide as many HVAC members as possible with IAQ Technician and IAQ Supervisor training. This training will provide contractors the ability to offer ventilation verifications as a service. Ventilation verifications offer contractors the opportunity to provide a physical assessment service that establishes a relationship with the customer, providing the customer with a baseline for adequate ventilation with an ongoing maintenance schedule. Hopefully, the relationship leads to HVAC system improvements and more substantial work over time.
SMACNA and NEMI will be offering an IAQ webinar for members in January to go over the IAQ technician and supervisor training process and how members can participate in NEMI and SMACNA efforts to promote indoor air quality improvements.
One minor (but critical) task you as a SMACNA member can do to help capitalize on this effort, is to take a moment to confirm that you have current, public-facing information in your SMACNA Member Profile. There are now data fields to capture public-facing information, such as a main phone number, an email address for the business, a URL for a website and/or social media handles to direct prospects to your company. SMACNA will be using this data to promote our members.
Lastly, if you wish to get a head start, NEMI offers a variety of resources on their site regarding ventilation verification which can be found here: www.nemionline.org/ventilation-verification/.
We are excited about all the opportunities in 2023, and I am personally excited about the prospects for our association and our industry in the coming year.
Aaron Hilger is CEO of SMACNA, bringing more than two decades of executive association leadership to this role. Hilger is focused on building a stronger, more competitive environment for all SMACNA contractors.