Let’s do the numbers: in 2014, the HVAC industry is feeling optimistic about technology, growth and success.
It should come as no surprise to anybody that the beginning of a new year often brings with it a sense of hope and renewal. People like to make resolutions, do projects they’ve been putting off, reconnect with old friends, that kind of thing. You can blame the Roman god Janus if you like, or perhaps the Gregorian Calendar we’ve been using since the late 16th century, but January has long signified a time to start over — and look forward.
And when it comes to the HVAC industry, it sure looks like a sense of growth and optimism is on tap for 2014.
One report from Navigant Research suggests that global spending on energy-efficient HVAC systems — which was already on the rise in 2013 — will experience even more substantial growth in 2014, and will surpass $33 billion in annual revenue by 2020. Even more specifically, Navigant also forecasts a nearly doubling in annual revenue spent on commercial building automation systems from 2013 to 2021, in part due to the industry’s technologies that “…continue to evolve from point solutions built from proprietary products toward open and integrated systems converged with modern information technologies,” according to this report.
In fact, last year in an annual survey (via achrnews.com) of 250 heads of energy in 20 industries all over the world, 45% of corporations said that they’ll spend more on energy management — including renewable energy, HVAC, lighting, building technologies, energy software, and energy services — in 2014 than they did in 2013. About one-third of respondents to the survey cited cost savings from proper building energy management as the primary motivation for the increase in spending.
So where will that increased spending be realized? Well, from an increase in U.S. constructions starts. In its 2014 Dodge Construction Outlook, McGraw-Hill Construction predicts that total U.S. construction starts for 2014 will rise 9% to $555.3 billion, up from the 5% increase that was estimated for 2013. This measured expansion, due in part to growing improvements in bank lending, and interest rates that are expected to remain low, will be partially found in a 17% increase in the construction of commercial buildings, with warehouses and hotels leading the way.
Even institutional buildings are expected to see increases – and although they’re expected to be relatively small increases, they’re significant to note because construction of these types of buildings has been in decline for the past five years. Indeed, from Central Michigan University to Wawasee High School in northern Indiana to UNC Charlotte to Montgomery County in Maryland where a six-year school construction budget plan is under discussion, schools of all types and sizes are revitalizing plans for growth and new construction.
And these kinds of surveys and forecasts have lent themselves to ever-growing optimism among HVAC industry leaders. According to an ASHRAE/AHR Expo survey sent to more than 1,000 manufacturers worldwide, 79% of respondents said their prospects for business in 2014 were either good (60%) or excellent (19%) — and that was up from 70% in 2013. 90% predicted their sales to increase in 2014, and those predictions were evenly divided among jobs classified as new construction, maintenance/replacement, and retrofit/renovation.
So how do you feel about 2014? Are you feeling cautious, or is the future so bright you’ve got to wear shades? Let us know your outlook for the new year in the comments below.
Felt. Sparkles. Bells. Winking, blinking Christmas lights. To some, these festive decorations portend the Christmas season in all of its glory and joy. But unfortunately, some choose to deploy these otherwise benign baubles into deranged holiday fashion nightmares.
Oh, the humanity! The horror.
Who wore it worst? Tell us which Ugly Sweater gave you the hives in the comments below.
You are a controls contractor who installs current switches. A job calls for the installation of fifteen current switches on a variety of motors with different ratings. You have two choices of current switches, a fixed set-point or an adjustable set-point switch.The fixed set-point switch is great because you can do the install without ever working on a live circuit, increasing your safety and eliminating the chance of dealing with an arc flash incident. The only problem is that you have 15 switches to install and you do not know the horsepower of each of the motors, so you are forced to carry a number of different set-point switches in order to make sure that you have enough switches with proper set-points to complete the job. Not only is it expensive to carry this type of inventory, but unless you carry fifteen of each switch, you can’t guarantee that you have the necessary switches for the job. If it happens that you run out of one type of switch, you may have to come back another day with the sufficient number of switches, costing you not only inventory but also time that you could have spent on another job site.
The adjustable set-point is flexible enough to be used on a variety of different powered motors, thus it eliminates the cost of carrying excess inventory. While increased convenience is great, it also compromises your safety by increasing your risk of experiencing an arc flash hazard. During an installation of an adjustable current switch, the installer is working on an energized circuit and must wear a PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) Suit. The installer must adjust the potentiometer with an insulated screwdriver until the LED indicates that the switch is at the appropriate set point. Arc flash hazard is unpredictable and can be caused by one of a number of different circumstances, making installing a current switch within a live enclosure a dangerous job. Is the money saved from carrying fewer inventories worth the price of your safety?
Until recently, these were the only two options for controls contractors; however a recent innovation from Setra Systems will change the way controls contractors can purchase and install current switches. Setra’s new Sure-Set Split Core Current Switch (Model SSC) offers all of the same cost savings associated with the adjustable current switch without compromising the safety of the installer. Each Sure-Set (four models) has nine pre-configured set-points, allowing the installer to safely match the settings of the switch to the rating of the motor and complete the installation on a cold circuit, eliminating the need to make any adjustments in the vicinity of a live enclosure.
Most motors where these switches are installed are rated in horsepower (hp) rather than amps. Calculations can be time consuming if the installer needs to match the amp settings on the switch with the hp settings on the motor. The Sure-Set is calibrated in horsepower, with a scale that covers the most common motors which saves the installer time because there is no need to make any calculations. The scale selector also has mechanical detents to assure the installer that the correct range has been selected.
The Sure-Set is the answer to the problems of every controls contractor. Not only does it solve your inventory and safety issues, you can also save time on installation because there is no need to wear a PPE suit. The Sure-Set is a contractor’s best opportunity to save money on installation, inventory and safety. Ditch the suit, cut your install time and put the savings back in your wallet.
- See pricing and specifications for the Setra Systems Sure-Set Current Switch on alpscontrols.com.
- Learn more – watch the Setra Systems Sure-Set video on alpscontrols.com.
©Setra Systems, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Once again, we’re offering exclusive CAN2GO product training at our Pittsburgh office, 10.29 – 10.30.13.
We had a terrific response last year when we offered you the opportunity to visit our Pittsburgh office and participate in a two-day product and programming training session for CAN2GO products.
So this year we thought we’d go ahead and do it all over again. We’re funny like that.
If you’re a control contractor or system integrator, you’ll most likely want to come find out about CAN2GO products, which offer wired and wireless solutions for HVAC, lighting and metering building automation applications. With their products, you can save time on the job and money on electrical costs by:
- Controlling lighting and HVAC in one controller
- Controlling EnOcean and ZigBee end-devices
- Controlling wired end-devices
- Supporting metering applications
- Creating gateways from EnOcean to BACnet, ZigBee to BACnet and more
- Deploying wired and wireless solutions
- Managing your BAS using a web BEMS
And now we’ve got your chance to learn much more about CAN2GO when we host an exclusive training session on October 29th and 30th.
Yes, that’s coming up soon. So you’d better hurry up and read the rest of this.
In this jam-packed two-day session, you’ll get an overview of network design and CAN2GO wireless technology planning; an overview of CAN2GO product capabilities and Lua scripting – including how to program HVAC and lighting applications; and you’ll receive hands-on exercises in configuration, wireless planning and Lua scripting. Even better, once you’ve completed the training you’ll be eligible to purchase CAN2GO products on alpscontrols.com at a specially-discounted pricing.
This is a must-attend training event because we are the only U.S.-based resource for purchasing CAN2GO products and we have limited availability that’s getting scooped up fast.
Here are some incredibly important bullets with more information and things to click:
- The cost for the two-day session is $495.
- To register, send an email to Curtis McCormick in our office here. Please include in your email your name, company name, and phone number.
- Plan to bring your laptop with Firefox installed – and here’s where you get Firefox if you don’t already have it.
- Find a hotel in Pittsburgh near our offices to stay in:
Time is flying – so register NOW to ensure you get a seat.
In the close collaborations that we form with the manufacturers whose products we sell on our site, we frequently get into deep “what if”-type discussions about products, industry trends, and how to work together to meet the challenges of building automation pros such as yourself.
And usually what happens next is that those manufacturers return to their design and engineering teams to come up with exciting and innovative new products for you to use.
We were recently kicking some ideas around, and decided that we’d reach out to you to weigh in:
Thanks for your opinion!
When you purchase your HVAC and building automation products online from alpscontrols.com, you’re already getting the best, most innovative products from our industry’s most well-known brands. And what’s more, our manufacturers are constantly offering free shipping options on your orders — so we thought we’d take this opportunity to give you an update on how you can save money right now.
Take a look:
- c3controls — Free ground freight on orders over $400 (catalog link)
- Connect-Air International — Free ground freight on orders over $1150 (catalog link)
- Danfoss Graham — Free ground freight on all variable frequency drive orders (catalog link)
- E-MON — Free ground freight on orders over $1100 (catalog link)
- Genesis Cable — Free ground freight on orders over $1150 (catalog link)
- Hoffman — Free ground freight on orders over $2300 (catalog link)
- Johnson Controls — Free ground freight on orders over $4500 (catalog link)
- KMC Controls — Free ground freight on orders over $1500 (catalog link)
- Panel Fab — Free ground freight available for orders of 20 or more EZ Panels — some restrictions apply; download more information here (catalog link)
- Parker Hannifin — Free ground freight on orders over $1800 (catalog link)
- PECO Manufacturing — Free ground freight on orders over $1900 (catalog link)
- Ruskin — Free ground freight (catalog link)
- Saginaw — Free ground freight on orders over $1250 (custom orders excluded) (catalog link)
- Sensor Switch — Free ground freight on orders over $1250 (catalog link)
- Siemens — Free ground freight on orders over $2500 (catalog link)
- Siemens — Free ground freight on all butterfly valve orders (catalog link)
- Vaisala — Free ground freight (catalog link)
Last month, we hosted our first Project Management Tools webinar, and in fact we pulled it off – if we humbly do say so ourselves – rather successfully. Both webinar sessions were filled to capacity, we took a handful of great questions, and our attendees have given us some terrific feedback.
Is that overselling it? We certainly hope so.
Either way, on June 11th, 2013, at 10:00 AM EST and June 18th, 2013, at 3:00 PM EST, Jim will show you how to build a material kit in your alpscontrols.com customer dashboard.
“What’s a material kit,” you say? Good question!
- It’s an online tool that helps you create a kit of parts that you order with regularity.
- This allows you to build, for example, a panel with all of the parts inside it, or a VAV box assembly, or anything you want, with as many parts as you want.
- And once you’ve built a material kit, you can save it in your online account and order it with a single click as many times as you want in the future.
The webinar will be about 30 minutes long, and it’s ideal for control contractors, purchasing agents, accounting folks, project managers — pretty much everyone at your company. The only requirement is that you need to have a customer account on our site; if you currently don’t, you can register here and we’ll create an account for you before the webinar.
We’ve mentioned to you a number of times that your customer dashboard on alpscontrols.com offers a robust set of project management tools that will change the way you order control parts for your projects — and save you plenty of time and truckloads of money. But even though we tell every single person we know about these tools, we occasionally meet a customer who isn’t taking advantage of them.
Because on May 9th, 2013, at 9:00 AM EST and May 23rd, 2013, at 3:00 PM EST, Jim’s hosting a webinar jam-packed with tips and tools that’ll help you save time, reduce errors and make your projects run more efficiently. You’ll learn:
- How easy it is to upload an entire valve schedule or material list into your online shopping cart
- How to organize your projects into purchasing phases and keep track of what’s been ordered, invoiced and shipped
- Where to view all of your product documentation in one place
- How to find all your invoices for a single project on one screen
- …and lots, lots more.
The webinar will be about 30 minutes long, and it’s ideal for control contractors, purchasing agents, accounting folks, project managers — pretty much everyone at your company. The only requirement is that you need to have a customer account on our site; if you currently don’t, just click the orange REGISTER NOW link at the top of the alpscontrols.com homepage and we’ll create an account for you before the webinar.
Next week, a handful of us from alpscontrols.com will be traveling to Dallas, Texas to attend the 2013 AHR Expo with a couple thousand of our closest pals in the HVAC industry.
Will we see you there? It’s certainly possible, but we’d also like to suggest that you stop by and visit a bunch of our supplier-partners who will be exhibiting their newest and greatest products at the show. Here’s a quick peek at who among our manufacturers will be there, and where to find them:
- Automation Components (ACI), Booth #940
- Bacharach, Booth #1118
- Badger Meter, Booth #2616
- BAPI, Booth #825
- Belimo, Booth #733
- Blue Ridge Technologies, Booth #933
- CAN2GO, Booth #945
- Cleveland Controls, Booth #2313
- Connect-Air International, Booth #715
- Contemporary Controls, Booth #889
- Continental Control Systems, Booth #761
- Danfoss Graham, Booth #1333
- Dent Instruments, Booth #823
- Dwyer, Booth #675
- E+E Elektronik, Booth #766
- Eaton Cutler-Hammer, Booth #2349
- E-Mon, Booth #5620
- Functional Devices, Booth #779
- GE Sensing-Telaire, Booth #804
- KMC Controls, Booth #729
- Neptronic, Booth #629
- ONICON, Booth #925
- SenseAir, Booth #720
- Setra Systems, Booth #890
- Solidyne, Booth #972
- Spartan Peripheral Devices, Booth #739
- Vaisala, Booth #872
- Viconics, Booth #953
- WattStopper, Booth #839
Have a terrific time in Dallas, and we hope to see you there!
We’d like to take this opportunity to say a word to you today, just one word:
See, we know that wire is important to the everyday operation of getting your building control projects done – but the way that you’re currently purchasing wire for these jobs is, most likely, inefficient and costly.
As always, we’d like to help you with that. So allow us to spend a few minutes acquainting you with these Five Spectacularly Great Reasons to Buy All of Your Wire from alpscontrols.com:
- The glorious convenience of one-stop shopping.
You’re already coming to alpscontrols.com for so many parts that you need for your projects, but did you know that you could add wire to your shopping cart as well? In fact, you can find hundreds of wire and cable variations on our site, filter them by gauge, conductor, shielding and rating, and choose specific packaging options: reels, in boxes, or reels-in-boxes.
- Consistent, reliable pricing.
This one is a pretty big deal. Pricing on wire and cables is subject to wild fluctuations because copper – wire and cable’s primary component – is a worldwide commodity item.
So when most wire distributors quote you a price, you’re never really sure if they’re treating you fairly. Today they might cut you a deal because copper prices are low and they want to win your business; tomorrow they could gouge you on price because the market’s more volatile.
So what do you do? You end up spending way too much time and effort chasing the best prices on wire, but you can never truly be sure if you’re getting the best price.
We do it differently. Our wire manufacturer ConnectAir International works with us to keep prices consistent and reliable over time, despite fluctuations in market prices. Because ConnectAir buys in bulk, they’re able to keep their prices steadier than just about any other cable supplier in the industry.
- ConnectAir has specifically designed cables for the controls industry.
In fact, very few other companies even stock cables and wire designed for your controllers. ConnectAir is the source of cables expressly made for systems by:
- Johnson Controls
So that means you can easily find a dependable cable solution for your system on our site – and feel confident that it’s the right one.
- We save you money on shipping, too.
We save you time and money on your shipping because ConnectAir sends it directly to you, not to a distributor’s warehouse where it has to be rerouted and shipped again. And even better: ConnectAir has multiple shipping locations (in Anaheim, CA; Atlanta, GA; Boston, MA; Phoenix, AZ; Portland, OR; Seattle, WA; and Tracy, CA), so they can deliver your wire and cable order anywhere in the United States within three days – and they’ll ship it ground freight for free on orders over $1150!
- We know control contractors and we know how to solve your problems.
Our many years of experience in the HVAC contractor world mean that we’re right there on the spot with you if you need advice and support (which you can find on alpscontrols.com right here!), and we work closely with ConnectAir to ensure that you can get everything you need. ConnectAir also offers customer-specific labeling options and colors through our site, and doesn’t require minimum orders.
Thanks for reading.