HFC Emissions Are Actually Increasing, Plus the Future of Refrigerants

Ideally, after the global phasedown of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerant gases, we would all transition to a refrigerant technology that would never have to be replaced again. Climate hawks often describe hydrofluorocarbons as a kind of white rhino, a rare area of policy that everyone — industry, environmentalists, Democrats, Republicans — can agree on.

After replacing HFCs, some are trying to sell the idea that it is possible come up with a “future-proof” solution that would ensure no further disruptions or further regulations. In reality, it’s unrealistic to think that there is a silver bullet of refrigerants.

INCREASING EMISSIONS

According to a new study by the journal Nature Communications, hydrofluorocarbon emissions actually appear to be growing at record values. The study contradicts previous predictions that hydrofluorocarbon emissions would drop by around 90% from 2015 to 2017.

Two years after China and India pledged to reduce HFC emissions in factories that produce the gas, the countries reported that they had almost wholly eliminated HFC-23 emission. However, in 2018, not only did HFC-23 emissions increase, but they reached an all-time high. Why is this? The study finds that it is very likely that China has not been as successful in reducing HFC-23 emissions as reported. Without additional measurements, it is hard to know whether India has been able to implement its abatement programme.

Expectedly, the new findings have a massive implication on the Kigali Amendment. While the Kigali amendment does not yet bind China and India, their reported reduction would have put them on course to be consistent with Kigali. Had the emissions reductions been as large as reported, the researchers estimate that the equivalent of a whole year of Spain’s CO2 emissions could have been avoided between 2015 and 2017. However, it looks like there is still work to do.

HFC ALTERNATIVES

Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were invented in the 1930s, and due to their safety and efficiency, became the standard. In the 1980s, as their negative environmental impact on the ozone layer became known, the industry met the challenge with HFCs, which have no ozone layer impact. Today’s challenge is to address HFCs’ potential climate impact. Once again, the industry is ready to provide safer and more efficient solutions.

The new generation of choices available today all have a reduced impact on climate, but also come with their set of drawbacks. All of them, including those marketed as “natural refrigerants,” are in fact factory-made. Ammonia and HFOs are synthesized in chemical reactors. Hydrocarbons are petrochemicals produced by cracking in oil and gas refineries, and CO2is a purified industrial gas. Ammonia is highly toxic, hydrocarbons are highly explosive, and CO2 requires very high operating pressure, complicated controls, and may not be efficient in all climates. All must also be further refined to meet the purity requirements of today’s equipment. All consume raw materials and energy and produce waste when manufactured. All must be packaged and transported. The user must decide which trade-offs they can accommodate to best meet their needs.

THE FUTURE

Can any of the above solutions provide us with a future free of disruption? If you have to deal with ammonia leaks, hydrocarbon-related explosions, systems breaking down, or complex systems that are hard for users to adopt or transition to, your business will be disrupted. Although we know the global HVACR industry will continue to improve, it’s impossible to call any solution “future proof”. New scientific advancements, along with progress in the industry will continue to push new innovations forward in order to maximize equipment efficiency, while keeping a focus on safety and the environment.

FIELDBOSS stays current on industry trends to keep you informed on what’s happening in the HVACR world. Read our blog and sign up for our newsletter for all the latest news.

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Insect Protein: A New HVACR Opportunity

If HVAC contractors found meeting the demands of cannabis growers challenging, wait until they start working in the latest growing field — insect protein. The edible insect industry is projected to be reach $1.336 billion by 2025, and could be worth $8 billion by 2030. Roughly 2 billion people in 130 countries, including Kenya, Thailand and Mexico, already regularly eat insects. 

People generally associate the word “insect” with something disgusting. But many insects are incredibly nutritious, and a key, sustainable solution to help us tackle food shortages, global warming, and increasing greenhouse gas emissions. The meat industry already takes an enormous toll on the environment, gobbling up huge amounts of land and water. To put it in perspective, to produce one pound of beef, you need around 5,000 gallons of water, whereas to produce one pound of cricket protein, you need less than 5 gallons of water.

For the most part, feed insects need to breed indoors, and this comes with very exact HVAC requirements. In conventional animal farming, heating or cooling is normally provided just to prevent exposure to extreme conditions; in insect farming, it is a requirement to ensure productivity. As these insect protein businesses scale up, HVAC will be one of their main challenges.

HEATING AND COOLING

To keep the temperature at the required level, several elements could be used depending on the requirements of the insect species. Each species of insect comes with its own requirements. For example, crickets need a temperature of 85°F and 30-40 percent humidity. However, in order for insects to become a viable food source for people and animals, they need to grow everywhere. This means replicating the natural conditions in which the insects grow.  

There are various devices that can be implemented for insect mass rearing. This includes water heating systems like storage tank water heaters, on demand water heaters, heat pump water heaters, hybrid heat pump water heaters, hot-water supply boilers, and a combination of them. If heating is provided from the floor (eg, through hot water piping), the heat will distribute uniformly in the room by lifting the hot air from the base to the top. But if heat is to be distributed by air, this can be done using hot-water heat exchangers. Construction of this type of system is costly, but when heating requirements are high, this is one of the most commonly used systems.

Air conditioners or heat pumps could be used either to heat or to cool down rooms. Heat pumps are often used in insect mass rearing facilities because, in addition to being energy efficient, they can be used for cooling and heating using one single device and are easy to implement in climate automatization systems. Implementation cost is high but they are very flexible and have a fast reaction to changes. One of the latest innovations in heat pumps is the use of geothermal energy (geothermal heat pumps). They save energy but are more expensive due to ground perforations required for installation of the geothermic heat exchanger.

THE FUTURE

Right now, the industry consists of a lot of small players, although there are some large U.S. companies, such as Aspire Food Group. As a result, most improvise their HVAC systems using off-the-shelf technology. Although climate control is a must for these companies, it’s also a major investment for a low-margin business. This makes investing in necessarily robust systems a challenge. The low margins also means farm owners have concerns about energy efficiency and other ways to control costs.

Vendors interested in pursuing this industry need to understand these concerns, along with specific requirements of breeding. If they do so, it could mean a lot of potential work for HVAC contractors who aren’t bugged by working with bugs. There is huge potential in this marketplace, and as planet earth warms and the population grows toward 10 billion people by 2050, we will need to rethink our approach to food production. Insects might just be the solution we’ve been looking for.

FIELDBOSS stays current on industry trends to keep you informed on what’s happening in the HVACR world. Read our blog and sign up for our newsletter for all the latest news.

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Jonathan Taub, FIELDBOSS President, to Speak at AHR 2020

The AHR Expo is the world’s largest HVACR event, attracting the most comprehensive gathering of industry professionals from around the globe each year.

This year Jonathan Taub, President of FIELDBOSS ,will be speaking at the AHR Expo. Come check it out. You don’t want to miss it!

EVENT INFORMATION

Title: Capturing, Tracking, and Automating Critical Field Staff Activity

Description:

Learn how FIELDBOSS leverages Microsoft Dynamics 365 technologies to track and automate field recommendations, travel time, maintenance checklists, documentation and more.

Tuesday, February 4 • 2:45 PM – 3:05 PM

Location: Theater B

Cost: FREE to all registered AHR Expo attendees

SHOW DATES & HOURS

Monday, Feb. 3, 10am – 6pm
Tuesday, Feb. 4, 10am – 6pm
Wednesday, Feb. 5, 10am – 4pm

 SHOW LOCATION

Orange County Convention Center
9800 International Dr
Orlando, FL 32819

AHR booth
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7 Ways to Stay Mentally Healthy as a Contractor

Running any business is challenging, but the uncertainties of contracting make it tougher than most. A limited supply of skilled labor, late payments, online reviews allowing unscrupulous customers to hold you hostage, ever-mounting regulations, rising costs, high customer expectations and more. The pressure hangs heavy like an impending storm while the terror of total business and financial risk are all part of the game. You know what it’s like to be worried not just about your own family, but the families your business supports as well. Even when you’re home, your thoughts are on the business. Your sense of self-worth might be wrapped up in how the business performs and it’s hard to remember that your worth is more than your current net worth.

If this feels familiar, you are not alone. Far from it. A few years ago, a team from the University of California at San Francisco, UC Berkeley, and Stanford University announced research findings that showed entrepreneurs were twice as likely as a control group to be depressed.

At some point, everyone struggles. Every successful contractor fought through the same moments of trial and uncertainty that seem so insurmountable. Before they became successful, most of the leaders in our industry failed — and failed more than once. To make matters worse, hardly anybody talks about it because talking about it is admitting a weakness none of us think we are supposed to have.

Here are 7 ways to stay mentally healthy as a contractor business owner:

  1. Put Your Mental Health Above All Else: To run a successful business, you need to be at your best mentally, physically and emotionally. Mental health issues can have debilitating side effects on your business, not to mention your life: We don’t make good decisions when we’re burnt out or stressed out. Finding at least a small amount of time for yourself every day is an important part of self-care. 
  2. Healthy Eating: Eating right helps. Under stress, we eat the wrong foods and consume too much alcohol. Avoid lots of sugar. Avoid alcohol. Do not binge, and do not skip meals. Eat lean. Eat healthy. This will raise your serotonin levels, which helps regulate mood.
  3. Exercising: When the darkness closes in, exercise is the last thing you want, but need the most. Exercise stimulates the release of endorphins, which is your body’s happy drug. Endorphins, which cause “runner’s high,” give you energy and make insurmountable problems solvable.
  4. Gratitude: Make a list of the things you still have in your life, the things that were important before you went into business. Give thanks for them. Gratitude crowds out depression.
  5. Getting Sufficient Sleep: Getting between 7-8 hours of sleep every night is crucial for your brain and body to reset, and will leave you feeling less on edge. Try to find a sleep routine that will promote a good night’s sleep, such as shutting off all your electronics as early as possible.
  6. Be Social: It may feel like the last thing you want to do, but spending time with friends or family is incredibly important for your wellbeing. If you’re comfortable, share your struggles and feelings with those closest to you.
  7. Don’t be afraid of therapy: If the stress of being an entrepreneur becomes overwhelming, get professional help from your family doctor, counselor, psychologist, or other mental help expert as soon as possible. You’ve hired accountants, lawyers, and other professionals for things you can’t tackle on your own, so what makes this any different? Think of it as the most important investment you could make.

Running a business can take its toll, and feelings of anxiousness, depression or stress are signs that you’re neglecting your mental health. Practicing self-care as an business owner is beneficial to your personal well-being and makes good business sense. Remember to follow these steps so that you can run a successful business without worrying about letting your happiness or well-being fall by the wayside.

FIELDBOSS helps you manage your business so that you can reduce your stress and increase your efficiency. Our focus is to help you get the most out of your labour resources and deliver the information you and your staff need to run your business.

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New Software is Only Part of the Equation

Technology adoption

Business owners want their company to run smoothly, like a well-oiled machine. An organization that works efficiently is one of the primary goals of implementing new software, but often technology improvements don’t yield the intended results. Why is this?

Technology changes are not always done in conjunction with business process enhancements. Technology changes will not bring value if they do not work together with people and process changes, just like parts in a machine.

Where things can go wrong

When organizations move toward modernization and improvement, their main goals are usually to increase automation in an effort to improve efficiency, increase flexibility, cut costs, and keep up with ever-present, ever-changing market and customer demands.

Technology on its own is generally not the magic potion for all these challenges. It requires a concerted effort between technology, process and people. Without a focused effort on these key elements, projects generally fail to achieve the expected results.

Technology

 “We just need software that is really easy for everyone to use.” When it comes to software, there is no such thing. The only way to make software simple to use is to take away features, preferences, and choices. Simple software is inflexible and weak. That’s the secret to making software easy to use. Most companies don’t follow any kind of established business model. The way they do things is a hybrid of the company they once worked for, their own ideas, and the ideas of the various employees that have worked there over the years. That means you need flexible software that offers a wide array of options, methods, and possibilities. Flexible software is going to take more time to learn than it would “simple” software that forces you to do things their way.

Process and Procedure Management

Process and Procedure Management is the hardest part and is the cornerstone to user adoption success. Organizational leaders who can explain, motivate and continually drive standardized processes will ensure staff buy in and project success. Organizations who back away will find that the staff may return to their old ways of working – negating any system replacement objectives.

People

Begin by getting buy-in from a small group of experienced employees in each user role—planners, dispatchers, technicians, and supervisors. Having been in field service for a while, they know the business and have experienced the pains more than anybody. They might even be more willing than newer employees to accept changes if they understand how the new technology will make their jobs easier. Make sure this group has good communication and networking skills. These influencers can become ‘power users’ who will be the software experts. They will come to know the product inside-out and be the go-to people for anyone in your company who has questions about it.

FIELDBOSS is a flexible and configurable platform that allows you to work the way you want to work, now and in the future. Our focus is to help you get the most out of your labour resources and deliver the information you and your staff need to run your business more efficiently, profitably, and with lower risk. If you are considering implementing field service management software, working with a knowledgeable experienced partner like FIELDBOSS can help ensure a successful transition and user adoption. Contact us for more information.

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The State of Steel and Aluminum Tariffs in 2020

Tariff

The US and China signed a phase-one trade agreement on January 15th to ease the ongoing trade war tensions, paving the way for another stage of trade negotiations. But it is only the start of negotiations to defuse a broader economic standoff between the two sides. The truce lowered rates on a portion of Chinese tariffs but left them on $360 billion worth of Chinese products. Under the phase-one deal, China agreed to purchase more American products and adjust the way its economy is managed. However, the agreement does not appear to affect the 25% tariffs applied to Chinese steel and aluminum early in the conflict.

At first, the tariffs were an instant bonanza for domestic steel producers. With much fanfare, some announced ambitious expansion plans. Today, the steel industry tells a different story. Steelmakers that once supported Trump’s steel tariffs have had a change of heart, and steel production has consecutively declined, resulting in several layoffs and cutbacks. A tariff is a tax, and if you tax an item the price of that item goes up, resulting in purchasers buying less of that item. And that’s
what’s happening to the domestic steel industry today. U.S. manufacturing, which along with the construction sector is the principle consumer of American steel, is currently in recession.

For the HVAC industry, the trade war’s effect depends on which part of the industry is being asked. However, three statements earn broad agreement:

  • Overall, the industry views the tariffs as bad for business and would like to see them disappear.
  • The added cost of the steel and aluminum tariffs most relevant to HVAC pricing is being passed on to the consumer.
  • American consumers, over the last several months, do not seem to be feeling this impact in a way that affects their purchasing decisions.

Air Conditioning Heating & Refrigeration Institute’s (AHRI) member survey indicated that 70 percent of its manufacturers have been affected by the pertinent tariffs. Customers are absorbing the brunt of these tariffs and contractors should mitigate damage to customer relations by communicating with customers about tariff realities, building quotes that reflect current realities, and considering force majeure clauses in contracts.

Residential HVAC

Luckily, the residential HVAC industry and their customers may have some inherent insulation from tariffs: infrequent nature of purchasing heating and/or air conditioning systems. Tariffs may make a new heating system 14 percent more expensive today than it was in 2017. That still might not affect the way a potential customer looks at pricing if they haven’t bought a unit since 2003. People in that situation know that the fix is relatively expensive but rare.

Commercial HVAC

While that may help contractors on the residential side, commercial HVAC contractors and their clients have had no such luck. Commercial work often means more lead time and more of a delay between a successful bid and the work itself. That increases the chances for an interim price hike due to tariff-induced increases in the cost of steel and other materials. The resulting spike in project cost can make for a displeased customer and an uncomfortable conversation.

With no relief from steel or aluminum tariffs visible in the near future, this may be a good time for a quick review of force majeure, which includes events such as acts of God, strikes, war or acts of the government, as something contractors’ contracts should include. Force majeure commonly comes up in relation to natural disasters, but it can represent some protection if the clause is included in a contract before a given tariff. If the problem is an existing tariff, then the best solutions may be pricing the tariff in originally and/or creating windows of pricing with some shared burden in the case of unexpected costs.

USMCA

China isn’t the only international trade and tariff hotspot with HVAC relevance these days. On December 19, 2019, the United States House of Representatives passed the USMCA with bipartisan support by a vote of 385–41. On January 16, 2020, the United States Senate passed the trade agreement by a vote of 89–10. The bill is now awaiting President Trump’s signature. Once Trump signs the USMCA implementation bill it will officially cancel NAFTA but not the 1989 Canada-US Free Trade Agreement, so in case parties fail to extend or renew it in 6 years, FTA would become the law. Once Donald Trump signs the USMCA implementation bill into law, NAFTA is officially cancelled but 1989’s Canada-US FTA would only be ‘suspended’

Conclusion

As details on the ‘Phase 1’ trade deal come rolling in, disappointment from the steel industry is apparent. Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, which includes manufacturers and the United Steelworkers union, said in a tweet, “All those ‘forgotten men and women’ in U.S. factories have, once again, been forgotten.” The administration has said it will address some of these changes in Phase 2 of the negotiations and is keeping tariffs in place in part to maintain leverage for the next round of talks. Mr. Trump said he would remove all tariffs if the two sides reach agreement on the next phase. The last chapter of the trade deal states that Washington and Beijing will agree on the timing of new negotiations — although no timeline is given. While fresh trade negotiations are expected to begin soon, Trump has said he would prefer to wait until after the November election to finalize another agreement.

FIELDBOSS stays current on industry trends to keep you informed on what’s happening in the HVACR world. Read our blog and sign up for our&nbsp newsletter for all the latest news.

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Serving Cannabis Industry Poses Challenges for HVACR Contractors

Cannabis Industry

When it comes to growing marijuana, a controlled environment is pretty much everything. From heat and humidity to ventilation and air quality, the HVAC industry goes hand in hand with cannabis growing facilities. The cannabis industry shows potential for massive growth as an in-demand product becomes accessible to millions of consumers, but it also faces the uncertainty common to any growing segment. Yet despite facing many challenges, contractors remain optimistic about the marijuana grow industry.

Technical Challenges:

Temperature and Humidity – When growing cannabis, you can’t underestimate the importance of an HVAC system. A good HVAC system regulates temperature, humidity and air quality. An HVAC system also regulates airflow, provides ventilation and can increase technology in grow rooms, depending on how sophisticated the system. An HVAC system for a cultivation facility isn’t like other HVAC systems. Cultivators have specific needs, and building and running a proper system catered to cannabis isn’t that simple. Too little or too much humidity will spoil the crop. They’re some of the most demanding environments to try to condition. HVAC contractors need to get the systems right because of the money at stake if it fails and the crops suffer. 

Energy Consumption – Grow rooms are also extremely energy intensive. In addition to needing powerful HVAC systems to keep temperature and humidity within range, they also require an incredible amount of energy for specialized lighting. The lights are often on 24-hours a day.

Odor Management – With a high concentration of marijuana plants, grow rooms are notorious for producing an overwhelming aroma within a small space. One of the biggest municipal issues contractors face is odor control. Cannabis emits an extremely pungent smell, and this arises as the biggest objection among neighbors during the vetting of a proposal. HVAC contractors must assure their clients they can control the smell.

Business Challenges

Cash Crops – All this equipment and service comes at a cost, but access to banking has been a major issue for the cannabis industry. As the cannabis industry grows, the shortage of financial services for cannabis companies has become more of a headache. It’s not as simple as walking into a bank and opening an account. At first, banks were unwilling to work with growers and sellers because while sales may have been legal in the state, the proceeds remained illegal at the federal level. More banks today serve the industry. But growers still have limited options. Those banks only have a select number of accounts and often charge high fees for those services.

The banking situation, however, does show signs of improvement. Congress is considering bills to expand bank access for the industry. The Treasury Department already eased restrictions for banks, allowing them to work with cannabis companies as long as they produce enhanced transaction reports. More growth funding today comes from traditional investors, such as private equity firms, that pay out of existing funds rather than cash from sales. However, until legislation like the SAFE Banking Act, which is currently in the House of Representatives, shifts the headwinds, cannabis companies will continue to have limited access to financial products most businesses take for granted.

Levels of Regulation – Where is marijuana legal in the U.S.? With every state but three legalizing marijuana in at least some form, the US is a little bit greener than a few years ago. Now there are numerous different state laws on the legalization of recreational marijuana. Legal states like California and Colorado offer widely available dispensaries, while in places like Alabama and Georgia, which are technically medical marijuana states, possession still may lead to felonies.

States making the transition to allowing recreational use, rather than just medical use, are still struggling with implementation. For example, Michigan decriminalized marijuana in 2018 and started allowing recreational sales on Dec. 1, but a majority of cities, including Detroit, have banned recreational dispensaries.Many expected a building boom when California’s recreational regulations went into place. That didn’t happen. Instead, shops opened without any cultivators licensed to supply them. This caused issues with HVAC contractors being paid, since the customers found themselves without cash flow.

Many operators in the cannabis business started out when the entire field was illegal. Contractors now need to insist on following every rule to the letter. There are still plenty of unlicensed operations. Contractors must check to make sure their clients have proper licensing from both the state and the local municipality. Most states maintain an accessible database, but verifying the local license often proves more challenging. 

Challenges aside, once a grower finds a contractor they trust to take care of them, they are likely to be quite loyal. Growers will have very high-tech equipment and they will pay a premium to maintain it. 

FIELDBOSS stays current on industry trends to keep you informed on what’s happening in the HVACR world.  Read our blog and sign up for our newsletter  for all the latest news

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FIELDBOSS Releases New Video Library

FIELDBOSS is excited to announce the release of our new video library. With so much functionality within our software, it can sometimes be challenging to explain all the cool tools FIELDBOSS has to offer.

Our new video library offers an easy way to showcase the FIELDBOSS workflows and processes. Watch how we navigate a service call, a maintenance contract, a field request, and a quoted repair. We also highlight some of our unique features including dashboards, case types, and assigning cases.

As a single, integrated system, FIELDBOSS provides you with the tools you need to run your business more efficiently, and leverage the resources you already have.

Click here to watch our new videos, and be sure to subscribe to stay up to date with our latest features and functionality.

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Contractors Need to Be Prepared for an Economic Downturn

Recession

You can’t run from a recession, but you can get your field service business in a better position to survive it. Recession talk is all around us these days, yet nobody really knows when the next recession will hit. Whether the economic downturn happens next quarter, next year, or later, odds are the economy will slow down sometime in the near future. And when a downturn starts, it can move quickly.

The savvy contractors are those who take the time to get ready for a downturn, whenever it might come. In highly volatile and uncertain times, organizations need to develop a resilience capacity, which enables them to cope effectively with unexpected events such as tariffs, trade wars, technician shortages, and interest rate hikes.

Given the volatility of the current economic environment, achieving resilience will require a new, flexible approach to operations as well as a robust, comprehensive contractor management software. By connecting out-dated, disconnected and slow processes, businesses will be able to quickly respond not only to the fast pace of change of digital and other innovations, but also to an aging workforce, increasing costs to run a business, and rising consumer demand for fast delivery.

Companies can increase their readiness for the unexpected by making real-time strategic and operating decisions that improve performance. Even in good economic times these are helpful actions to take, as they ensure an organization is ready, whatever storms may come their way.

Companies should act now, when the economy is stronger, so that they can adjust quickly to a changing environment. Automation, digitization, and analytics are changing industries faster than ever before, and the pace of change is only accelerating. And with political flux and trade disputes on the rise, economic disruption becomes more a question of “when” than “if.”

What worked five or ten years ago no longer works. To pivot in time, businesses need to be lighter on their feet and quicker in their reflexes. By understanding where your operations are slow today, you can take practical steps to become more resilient tomorrow.

So how can your field service company stay profitable in an unpredictable economy? You have to be prepared. A comprehensive field service management software can help your company mitigate risk to stay profitable in challenging times.

Here are 3 ways FIELDBOSS field service management software can help contracting business owners stay profitable in an unstable and uncertain economy:

1. Real-time visibility and reporting: A comprehensive field service management software offers an in-depth understanding of your business. If you know how many service calls you need per day for your service department to stay profitable, then you know in real-time if you are short on calls. If you are short on calls, you can advise your team to follow up on open repair quotes and see if the customer is ready to schedule. Real-time reporting also offers:

– A detailed, real-time view of the whole business

– Intelligence to recognize emerging trends

– Potential to seek and respond to new opportunities or threats

– Power to understand key areas delivering profit and loss

– Make fast, informed decisions based on accurate and live information

2. Maintenance Agreements: Maintenance agreements are the key to off-season profitability and economic downturn stability. They ensure companies stay busy and profitable. As well, many field service industries such as HVAC and Elevator Service are somewhat recession proof: people still need their equipment to work, so they opt for repairs over replacement. This creates more work, and, eventually, that client will still need a replacement. FIELDBOSS can help automate and efficiently manage your maintenance contracts and also alert you to which clients are not signed up yet.

3. Manage unbillable time: During times of economic instability, some contractors become more aggressive in their pricing in order to attract more clients. However, rather than lower your rates, look at what you can do to lower your overhead and expenses. Think about managing unbillable time — time between calls, organizing and inputting paperwork, or any labor you pay that does not have revenue associated with it. An end to end field service software can help decrease unbillable time by:

– pinpointing which technicians aren’t pulling in any revenue

– creating the need for fewer dispatchers, schedulers and back-office personnel

– invoicing more quickly

– eliminating duplicate data entry

– reducing technician paper-work

– increasing first-time fix rates

– decreasing technician drive-time

An unstable economy doesn’t have to mean the end of your business. Contact us today and learn how with a little lateral thinking and the help of a comprehensive field service management software, your company can sail through the hard times and come out stronger than before.

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Bipartisan HFC Phase-Down Bill Introduced in US Senate

Bipartisan HFC Phase-down bill

After months of hard work by industry stakeholders and government representatives, Sens. John Kennedy (R-Louisiana) and Tom Carper (D-Delaware) introduced The American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act of 2019. The Bipartisan HFC phase-down bill, introduced on November 1, would give the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the authority to regulate HFCs in line with the Kigali Amendment.

Specifically, the bill would:

  • Authorise the EPA to set sector-based use restrictions.
  • Direct the EPA to establish standards for the management of HFCs used as refrigerants and for the recovery of used substances; and
  • Gradually phase down the production and consumption of HFCs through an “allowance allocation and trading programme”.

“The ultimate goal is to ensure a smooth phase-down that doesn’t disrupt jobs and leave the US behind in an emerging global market,” according to Mr Carper and Mr Kennedy.

“The world is moving away from hydrofluorocarbons, and the US is in danger of getting stuck at the starting gate. We want these new refrigerants to be produced in the US, not China,” added Mr Kennedy. 

The new legislation, which would authorize a 15-year phase-down of HFCs, would give the business a clear timeline for transitioning to new lower GWP refrigerants and lay the groundwork for a smooth transition to new technologies. This legislation would enable the U.S. to export these new refrigerants, not import them.

Many US companies have already invested billions of dollars to produce and sell next-generation technologies to replace HFCs. The AIM Act builds upon these investments, allowing U.S. companies to grow their manufacturing operations at home.

The legislation has widespread support from the industry. AHRI reported its hope that the Senate will move quickly on this bill, and that the House will follow suit so that this transition can begin.

ACCA also supports the Senate legislation, noting that it is a good start to create a uniform HFC phasedown schedule. ACCA has been advocating for federal legislation, because many states – led by California – are working to create their own HFC phasedown plans. According to ACCA, this will lead to a confusing patchwork of phasedown schedules, regulatory schemes, and other complications when dealing with new refrigerants. A state-by-state approach to the HFC phasedown could also lead to the sale of products to consumers, because the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may not have authority to regulate new products since they are non-ozone depleting.

ACCA states that this legislation contains important safety, training, and certification language that would safeguard its members and allow for a safe introduction of mildly flammable refrigerants, which was ACCA’s highest priority in the Senate legislation. ACCA is also working with the House of Representatives on improvements to the Senate legislation, noting that it would like to see detailed language that gives the EPA authority to prohibit the sale of refrigerants to non-certified individuals. ACCA also supports including language that would protect contractors from liability involving accidents caused by new refrigerants.

Will this bill move forward? It’s possible but we will likely have to wait until after the 2020 election and see where the new incoming Congress and President fall. If things stay the same then there will likely not be a Federal HFC phase-down for quite a while within the United States. Instead, individual States will continue to adopt their own HFC phase-downs with each one being just a little bit different.

FIELDBOSS stays current on industry trends to keep you informed on what’s happening in the HVACR world. Read our blog and sign up for our newsletter for all the latest news.

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