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A New Year, But A Lot of Work Still

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The winter months are now here – as is the end of my term as ACCA Chairman. Needless to say, this has been a challenging year not only as the Chairman of ACCA, but as a HVAC contractor. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to serve the HVAC industry during this time, but I am also grateful to have an organization like ACCA to support and inform me in order to navigate this “business as unusual” climate.

ACCA has had steady membership growth and our supporting industry partner numbers have increased through this perilous year. Intuition would tell you otherwise, but during a crisis or economic uncertainty people search for a reliable source of information and guidance. The staff at ACCA has certainly been that source. Most of the staff worked from their homes and yet were able to accumulate information for the loans in the Paycheck Protection Program, worked to have the HVAC industry listed as essential, developed training for the new A2L refrigerants, as well as addressed a multitude of HVAC contractor issues. Certainly, the devoted ACCA staff has been a major source of our success this year.

Take refrigerants: ACCA supports and secured the introduction of the AIM Act, which includes a federal approach to refrigerant phase-out schedules (otherwise known as federal preemption), as opposed to a patchwork of state phase-out schedules. ACCA is also developing comprehensive training and safety protocols as we move into flammable refrigerant use. ACCA has been a longtime champion of contractor and consumer safety, and the case of flammable refrigerants is no exception.

ACCA recognizes that the release of HFC and CFC refrigerants into the atmosphere can have a negative impact on our environment, including contributing to ozone depletion and higher greenhouse gas concentrations. ACCA also recognizes that the HVACR industry consumes a significant amount of energy.

As such, ACCA supports the EPA’s authority to regulate refrigerants and supports Congress providing the proper authority for the EPA to regulate refrigerant sales and charging and recovery protocols. ACCA also supports increased funding for EPA’s enforcement programs, allowing EPA to conduct robust and equitable enforcement on those who illegally vent refrigerants. In addition, the EPA and the Department of Energy should promote to consumers the importance of quality HVAC installation practice.

The ACCA is also working to secure COVID-19 liability protection for HVACR contractors. COVID-19-related lawsuits and their consequent exorbitant legal costs could deter entities from engaging in business and economic activity, and they could ultimately cripple small businesses and have extreme adverse effects on the HVACR contracting industry.

ACCA supports S. 4317, the SAFE TO WORK Act, which would offer common sense liability protections to essential workers—including HVACR professionals. In the past, Congress has come together in times of crisis to pass needed liability protections with strong bipartisan support. ACCA strongly feels that the same resolve is needed today in order to protect our members from unnecessary, costly COVID-19 related legal actions.

Another source of ACCA success is our board of directors and working committees. I have been so privileged to have worked with such dedicated and intelligent individuals. Their leadership through this year — especially during the pandemic — has been amazing.

As with any association, the membership is extremely important to its success. Through our Contractor Forum, ACCA members have shared, consulted and informed each other to help fellow contractors navigate through this year. For those who have not participated in the Contractor Forum, I encourage you to do so. The answer to your question may be just a post away!

Although ACCA was unable to have a conference and expo for 2020 and 2021, plans are being made for an informative fall event for 2021. I assure you it will be an event you will not want to miss.

Hopefully the new year will bring an end to the pandemic and business can get back to “usual.” I assure you that ACCA will be there to support you and the HVAC industry for whatever the new year brings! Best wishes for you, your family and your business.

Lanny Huffman
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Posted In: ACCA Now, Opinion

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