Industry News

Acquisition means expanded service and building automation systems for customers throughout Idaho  Harris, a leading mechanical contractor, today announced that it has acquired HVAC Controls & Specialties, a privately-held company based in Garden City, ID. With the acquisition, Harris will extend its workforce in Idaho – from Boise and the Treasure Valley, to Jerome, Burley, McCall, and Sun Valley. Known Read more

Acquisition means expanded service and building automation systems for customers throughout Idaho 

Harris, a leading mechanical contractor, today announced that it has acquired HVAC Controls & Specialties, a privately-held company based in Garden City, ID. With the acquisition, Harris will extend its workforce in Idaho – from Boise and the Treasure Valley, to Jerome, Burley, McCall, and Sun Valley.

Known for its work in service and building automation systems, HVAC Controls & Specialties will be incorporated by Harris and led by Executive Vice President of Service + Building Automation, Bob Swanger.

“This acquisition reflects our continued commitment to serve customers throughout Idaho,” says Swanger. “Specializing in automation, mechanical and energy solutions, we knew Todd’s business would merge well with ours and that his group of highly-trained workers would complement Harris’ team in serving new and existing customers. Our values align as well. Todd has operated his company as a close-knit family business with a culture that emphasizes loyalty, strong ethics, and a ‘do it right or don’t do it’ mentality.”

Over the past year, the companies partnered on a project for St. Luke’s Hospital in Boise, Idaho. Working on the hospital’s new central utility plant, parking structure, and shipping and receiving building, crews provided a complete controls package, then integrated the new system into existing controls. Harris’ General Manager Jacob Mecham from the Blackfoot, Idaho office worked on the project and says, “without Todd’s team, we could not have gotten this project completed.”

Since 1994, HVAC Controls & Specialties has provided service and installation solutions for commercial buildings, including hospitals, schools, factories, government and high tech industries. The acquisition means greater access to skilled and trusted technicians, programmers, engineering specialists, and installers.

“It’s about delivering peace of mind and excellence to our customers,” Swanger continued. “Building owners know their facilities will be maintained with the highest level of quality and performance. This offers a great opportunity to grow and manage BAS and service at Harris and bring our expertise to more customers in this region.” HVAC service/installation, DDC controls and design, energy saving solutions, commissioning, air-balancing, DDC system integration and retrofits will remain key business components.

HVAC Controls & Specialties President Todd Petersen started his career working in general construction. After an injury, he went on to study electrical instrumentation. He worked in pneumatic and direct digital controls before starting his own company nearly 30 years ago.

“I’m very excited about this next stage of our business,” says Petersen. “As part of the Harris family, we will be able to maximize resources and capabilities for our customers and provide great opportunities for our team.”

Improvement in reducing the carbon footprint of its tankless water heaters, boilers and direct-vent wall furnaces Creating a healthier way of living® is Rinnai’s brand promise, and there’s no better way to uphold it then to invest in research and improvements resulting in cleaner and more efficient energy sources. Rinnai, whose previous product inventory leveraged industry Read more

Improvement in reducing the carbon footprint of its tankless water heaters, boilers and direct-vent wall furnaces

Creating a healthier way of living® is Rinnai’s brand promise, and there’s no better way to uphold it then to invest in research and improvements resulting in cleaner and more efficient energy sources. Rinnai, whose previous product inventory leveraged industry norms like propane or natural gas, tested the use of Hydrogen-Enriched Natural Gas (HENG) across its tankless water heaters, boilers and direct-vent wall furnaces. This low-carbon energy source – a combination of natural gas with hydrogen – decreases carbon intensity and improves combustion in end-use products. After thorough research and testing, Rinnai’s products have been approved for use with HENG and depending on the product can use up to 30% hydrogen. End users benefit by preserving fuel, improving the products cost efficiency and most importantly, reducing carbon dioxide emissions to better the environment.

“We want to honor our promise of Creating a healthier way of living® by offering customers a greener energy that fosters a healthier environment,” said David Federico, Brand Director. “With our products approved for use with HENG, we can help reduce the carbon footprint of Rinnai water and space heating appliances without sacrificing quality.”

The demand for clean energy has been on the up and on for quite some time and the importance to customers continues to rise. With those user preferences in mind, HENG makes it possible to lower the carbon intensity of natural gas, delivering a cost competitive solution for protecting the environment.

For decades, hydrogen has been considered as an alternative energy carrier. According to the article “Hydrogen-Enriched Natural Gas, Bridge to an Ultra-Low Carbon World,” the concept isn’t new. Due to its small carbon footprint compared to other fuels, natural gas is playing an important part in changing the environment for the better through reducing release of other pollutants besides carbon dioxide, such as nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and other hydrocarbons.

“On top of environmental benefits, the cleaner burning HENG safely leverages the existing natural gas infrastructure already in place for our products,” said Federico. “So, there’s no need for product upgrades or modifications to utilize HENG. It’s a seamless transition.”

By applying already set in place infrastructure to lowering carbon dioxide emissions, HENG helps maintain high efficiency and reduces the carbon footprint of Rinnai water and space heating appliances, which is a great step towards Creating a healthier way of living®.

To learn more about Rinnai, visit www.rinnai.us.

Watts will host a customer webinar, Irrigation Backflow Prevention: Specification & Compliance, on Thursday, April 8, at 11:00 am ET. Design is the foundation of a successful irrigation system. During this webinar, our industry subject matter expert will discuss: How to help maintain compliance and make service easier for irrigation flow control solutions The basics Read more

Watts will host a customer webinar, Irrigation Backflow Prevention: Specification & Compliance, on Thursday, April 8, at 11:00 am ET.

Design is the foundation of a successful irrigation system. During this webinar, our industry subject matter expert will discuss:

  • How to help maintain compliance and make service easier for irrigation flow control solutions
  • The basics of navigating compliance, specification, and design for irrigation backflow prevention

By attending the entire webinar, attendees can receive 0.1 Continuing Education Unit (CEU) through the American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE).  To register for this webinar, visit: https://bit.ly/3fk1q71.

After a challenging year resulting from the global pandemic that hit full force in March 2020, the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors—National Association (PHCC) reports that – one year later – there are signs that conditions are improving. A contractor sentiment survey conducted by PHCC finds that 84% of respondents rank the continuing impact of COVID-19 on their Read more

After a challenging year resulting from the global pandemic that hit full force in March 2020, the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors—National Association (PHCC) reports that – one year later – there are signs that conditions are improving.

A contractor sentiment survey conducted by PHCC finds that 84% of respondents rank the continuing impact of COVID-19 on their businesses as having either a “low” or “medium” impact compared to 57% in spring 2020, when PHCC first began tracking trends during the pandemic. In addition, the number of people ranking impact as “medium high” to “high” has dropped to 9% from 43% in spring 2020.

“A year after COVID-19 hit, PHCC members indicate that they are cautiously optimistic that we are turning a corner toward better times ahead,” says PHCC President Hunter Botto. “Respondents also noted that their businesses have stabilized after several difficult months of disruption. They also see new business opportunities in the future, which is very good news for our industry.”

In fact, an annual environmental scan conducted by PHCC in January 2021 predicted an increased demand for home improvement spending; touchless products; upgraded and energy efficient equipment; smart technology; air and water filtration and purification; and IAQ markets, including UV and bipolar ionization.

While the overall outlook is positive, the plumbing and HVACR contractors responding to the sentiment survey cite several ongoing challenges, including maintaining a safe and fully operational staff; increased operating costs related to new safety requirements; addressing employee and customer health and safety concerns; customer delays on projects because of economic concerns; disruptions in the supply channel; and a fear of a potential recession.

Regarding manufacturers and suppliers’ responsiveness to supply chain issues, respondents noted many have been helpful by offering creative alternatives to products currently unavailable. There was an overall recognition that manufacturers and suppliers are also facing material cost increases and shortages, transportation challenges, workforce issues, etc. “They have been super helpful, but have had their own people issues, concerns and interruptions,” one contractor said.

Contractors indicate they have established many safety procedures to mitigate safety risks for employees and clients, including employee screening, social distancing, disinfection measures, increased communication about safety protocols and requirements for Personal Protective Equipment.

“As we look back on the last year, PHCC members – operating as essential businesses – illustrated time and time again that they are true professionals committed to keeping their employees, customers and communities healthy and safe,” Botto says. “As always, our members have shown they are extremely resilient in tough times.”

Another positive indicator is that – after recently completing its annual membership renewal process this spring – PHCC realized an increase in both renewing and new members.

“We are grateful for the loyalty demonstrated by our members throughout this crisis,” Botto says. “We are also excited to see growth in membership when business owners are assessing the ROI on every expenditure. Now more than ever, they can see the value of supporting and engaging with their association.”

To help navigate the many unexpected changes they faced, members relied on PHCC resources and videos via its COVID-19 Recovery Center, as well as monthly webinars, state and local support, advocacy, member discounts and access to Personal Protective Equipment.

After the transition to online instruction in 2020, the leader in technical education will expand its offerings to students across the country. Minneapolis — In Fall 2021, Dunwoody College of Technology will begin offering two online degree programs, construction management and bachelor of architecture, for the first time in the school’s 107-year history. Students will Read more

After the transition to online instruction in 2020, the leader in technical education will expand its offerings to students across the country.

Minneapolis — In Fall 2021, Dunwoody College of Technology will begin offering two online degree programs, construction management and bachelor of architecture, for the first time in the school’s 107-year history. Students will experience innovative, project-based learning in the virtual space with industry-leading software and technology. Both programs will offer flexible, barrier-free online learning options for current students and working professionals who are interested in taking the next step in their career.

“This past year provided the opportunity to develop and implement online learning practices as we adjusted to a new way of operating during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Provost Scott Stallman. “That opportunity has opened the door for us to reach students in new areas of the country, and we are excited to deliver Dunwoody’s exceptional education, and the great careers that follow, to students beyond Minnesota.”

Dunwoody, a nonprofit institution of higher education and a leader in technical instruction, was approved to be a nation-wide provider of online education by the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) in December 2020. The approval allows the college to offer the bachelor of science in construction management and the bachelor of architecture as online-only options to students from states outside of Minnesota.

“For more than a century, Dunwoody has been a leader in hands-on, applied technical education, preparing students for high-skill, in-demand career fields,” said Cindy Olson, Dunwoody’s vice president of enrollment management. “That tradition will continue as the college expands into the online learning space. Students will benefit from small classes taught by faculty who have worked in the field. In addition, students enrolled in the program will receive a laptop loaded with state-of-the-industry software and technology. ”

The construction management completion program is designed for students and working professionals who need the flexibility of an online program that allows them to attend part or full-time and finish at their own pace. During the program, students learn how to successfully influence and lead production teams, develop projects, and grow businesses. Students will complete real-world service learning projects and work with renowned organizations and industry professionals.

With the shortest path to licensure, combined with a unique stackable degree format, Dunwoody’s bachelor of architecture is the perfect fit for those that want to become a licensed, practicing architect, but need the flexibility of an online degree. The program is rooted in a tradition of community engagement, social responsibility, and leadership in the profession, both locally and globally. Dunwoody’s bachelor of architecture is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB).

The application for admission is now open and interested students should contact Admissions at admissions@dunwoody.edu for information or fill out the online application.