October 2007

Volume 16, Number 10

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New Organization Supports Green Mechanical Subcontractors

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Hydronics engineer Tom Meyer has enough experience to know that what gets built is never exactly what is on the plans. He has also observed that most of the people who actually build green buildings are not well served by the education and training opportunities in today’s green building world. Those insights led him to create the Green Mechanical Council—GreenMech for short—to provide basic training for mechanical contractors and to seek more respect for their work within the broader green building world. “Installers and service technicians are the cutting edge of the whole industry. The rest of us have to start supporting them instead of sitting on them,” Meyer says.

Founded in August 2006, GreenMech has grown rapidly to more than 100 member organizations. These members include several major mechanical contractor trade associations, a large share of contracting firms, and some equipment manufacturers, among others. “Everybody is coming together for one thing,” Meyer says: “To improve mechanical systems in buildings.”

As a practical example of the challenge that installers face in green buildings, Meyer points to the multiple water-supply piping systems that these buildings sometimes have, for potable water, rainwater, and graywater, for example, in place of the single system in conventional buildings. While the plans may distinguish multiple systems by color, Meyer notes, in the field there is a real risk of cross-connecting them, with possibly disastrous results. “How do we keep this from happening?” he asks, adding that GreenMech aims to be the forum for that type of conversation.

GreenMech seeks to partner with the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and to become an educational program provider for the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). ”We will become the mechanical educators at other than the engineering level,” Meyer claims, adding, “We’re the conduit to the guy who puts his butt in the truck in the morning.” GreenMech recently pilot-tested its initial course, titled the Green Awareness Certification Program, and got a positive response, according to Meyer. This course, tailored for mechanical systems technicians, introduces students to the basic technologies and concepts of the green design world.

– Nadav Malin

For more information:

Tom Meyer, Executive Director

Green Mechanical Council

Neenah, Wisconsin

877-347-3360, 920-722-4462

www.greenmech.org

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September 28, 2007