I have been an ASHRAE member for a long time, and have been to many local and national events, but I still enjoy attending the biannual conventions.
Here are 6 reasons to attend:
1. The Seminars: If you miss a particular seminar, or others you may have wanted to see, you can still see them on the Virtual Conference site. Contact ASHRAE at (404) 636-8400 if you need more information.
2. The Technical Committee (TC) or other meetings: This is where the rubber meets the road. Among other things, the TCs are responsible for putting on the seminars, updating the Handbooks, and suggesting projects to be funded.
In addition to doing important work of ASHRAE, you make invaluable relationships that will last you throughout your working life. Only about 5% of conference attendees go to these meetings, but those people are the movers and shakers of the industry. Here is where you will learn the many new ideas, equipment and systems that are happening and, if you get involved with a particular TC, you might even be the one bringing some of these new ideas to the floor.
3. The Exhibits (winter convention only): I always make time to get on the exhibit floor, even if only for a short time (which is all I usually have). The last day of the convention is a great time to get on the exhibit floor as it’s never crowded then and you can spend as much time as you want in a particular exhibit. It’s another excellent way to see new equipment and systems close up, and ask questions of the experts who designed them.
4. The Networking: It’s wonderful to catch up with peers you see only at the ASHRAE conventions, plus have new meetings with members from all over the world. I’m looking forward this year to seeing some of the new friends I made from the Spain chapter when I spoke at their RAL CRC in Madrid in September.
5. The Technical Tours: We serve as LEED Project Administrator on many different types of buildings so I always try to make at least one of these tours to see how things are done in other areas. We recently performed an ASHRAE Level II energy audit on a hospital in SE Michigan, and they performed a number of the retrofits we recommended. I learned about some of those retrofits when we toured another hospital 2 years ago.
6. The Future: In addition to the above items that offer insight into the future of the industry, it was great to see younger engineers from all over the world. As a past Chair of the Detroit Student Activities Committee, it really made me feel good to witness their excitement and their participation in seminars. Hurray for the YEA (Young Engineers in ASHRAE) program!
With 55,000 attendees and more than 1,800 exhibitors, there is something for everyone in the industry at an ASHRAE Convention. It is definitely time well spent.
ASHRAE conventions are a win-win situation.