As part of AHRI's 2019 Reinvent initiative we are pleased to introduce AHRI Connect, an online platform allowing members and invited guests to combine their skills, knowledge, and interests to lead AHRI and the HVACR industry into the future. AHRI Connect consists of multiple online "communities" where members can engage in self-moderated, forum-style discussions; access information such as meeting agendas, minutes, and details for upcoming meetings and events; create and edit documents together; and participate in voting activities. AHRI Connect is the new on-demand, one-stop-shop for members to participate in multiple AHRI activities from anywhere and without the constraints of time zones and scheduling conflicts.
AHRI Connect communities reflect the Reinvent structure. Each AHRI business and strategic committee, leadership council, and industry sector has its own online community. In response to the directives of these bodies, online communities for working groups will be chartered to make recommendations, to solve specific issues, or to author standards or other documents. Gone are the days of sections and committees being reliant on emails, meetings, and teleconferences to take action and share information. The flexibility of the online AHRI Connect environment allows communities to form quickly and operate continuously, resulting in more efficient work and quicker project completion. Members can update their interest areas in AHRI Connect, which will help them to stay abreast of forming communities, such as new working groups.
Getting started in AHRI Connect is simple. Visitors to AHRI Connect will see a list of communities and can request to join the ones of interest. Most communities will have a set period of 1-2 weeks in which the community will be open for membership requests. AHRI staff that serve as Community Administrators will assess, based on a community's charter, if requesting individuals should be part of that community. For example, it may not be appropriate for a non-AHRI member who does not participate in AHRI certification programs to belong to a community tasked with discussing a specific certification issue. However, if a community is tasked to write a standard, it would be appropriate to include AHRI members and non-members in that community. In addition to determining the community membership roster, if a community is likely to engage in online balloting, the Community Administrators will assign each community member a voting role: primary voter, alternate voter, or non-voter. If multiple individuals from the same company are present in a community, AHRI will work with the company to determine the appropriate voting role assignments. Once the community's roster is set, the community will begin to work.
Members may manage their AHRI account information here. Those ready to begin exploring can do so by visiting AHRI Connect! New communities are forming often, so even if you don't see something of interest now, there will certainly be something of interest later. Please note that not all the communities will be created in AHRI Connect prior to Spring Meeting. New Working Groups will be added as they are formed.
We look forward to AHRI Connect connecting more individuals to AHRI and the HVACR industry!
Centralized AHRI Data Services Support
In March, AHRI centralized all online Data Service customer support by switching to a new help request ticketing system hosted by FreshDesk.com. The new system supports customers and users of the AHRI Directory, ACS, iSTARS, and licensed data subscribers. Help requests are submitted via a simple form located on the Directory, ACS, and iSTARS sites, and tickets are automatically distributed to the appropriate AHRI staff. In addition to the help function, the new ticketing system provides users access to a knowledge base of articles about AHRI's tools and how-to instructions, and also gives users the option to create their own user portals. The portal provides centralized access to all of the customer's submitted tickets, including status and history of responses between the user and AHRI. In addition to an enhanced user experience, the easy-to-use ticketing system features collaboration tools that allow AHRI staff to work together more efficiently and provide better and faster customer responses. In the first month of usage, AHRI received 800 tickets through the new ticketing system, with an average AHRI response time of less than 7 hours and average ticket resolution time of 38 hours.
AHRI Directory Upcoming Implementation
- Enhancement for self-service auditing that will allow manufacturers to have more visibility into the reporting and publication status of their records and allow for self-audit of this important data. Pending completion of technical enhancements, implementation is estimated to begin mid Q2 and continue through Q3.
- Applicant record editing will allow applicants to edit their records until the AHRI engineer locks them for testing. As of now, any edits to applicant records need to be scripted in by the Directory technical team. Implementation is estimated to begin mid-Q2 and continue through Q3.
- Front end enhancements to make better use of screen real estate and create a streamlined user experience. Implementation is estimated to begin mid-Q2 and continue through Q3.
- Collaboration with EPA to include ENERGY STAR-Certified USAC/HP and VSMSAC/HP models in the ENERGY STAR product finder tool. Target launch is end of Q2.
- Collaboration with the California Energy Commission to streamline the report submission process through the development of a new web service for third party certifiers. Implementation is estimated to be complete in Q2.
- Development of a new report to DOE and NRCan on Fan Energy Rating (FER) for residential gas-fired furnaces. Reporting to commence on or before July 3, 2014 (regulation effective date).
Streamlining the Statistics Program
In an effort to simplify reports and provide members with accurate, timely, and meaningful reports, AHRI conducted a survey last year about the usefulness and frequency of the unitary reports. The General Statistics Committee also established a working group to develop revision criteria and recommendations for streamlining reports.
The General Statistics Committee Working Group met multiple times and developed criteria to handle revisions to unitary reports. This was approved by the General Statistics Committee and the Unitary Committee. In summary, all statistics participants should continue to submit all revisions to AHRI, but AHRI will determine if the revisions should be made.
To further simplify the process for unitary reports, in 2019, we are changing from monthly publication of EER, IEER, and Exports reports to quarterly, and the refrigerant type report form monthly to annual. The General Statistics Committee will also review the realignment of the unitary reports into three reports – a commercial unitary, a residential unitary, and a ductless report. These changes will eliminate eight reports that are currently sent on a monthly or quarterly basis, saving a total of 64 reports.
Every year there is a greater demand for increased industry data, and it is AHRI’s duty to safeguard this data while producing accurate reports. To continue to produce accurate data for AHRI and its members, we will continue to pursue opportunities to streamline reports for simplicity and expand our offerings in the coming year.