Greetings. I’m coming to you from my well-heated bunker, better known as my condominium on the North Side of Chicago. Without question, this winter is the most brutal I’ve experienced.

The winter of 1993-94 is a distant second, but as a sixth-grader I welcomed the weather. My middle school was shuttered for two days, giving me plenty of time to build a “luge track” with my cousin and play NHL ’94 on my Sega Genesis. Twenty years later, I finally realized that those salad days are long gone until I hit a PowerBall jackpot.

This relentless winter hit New York City Jan. 21-23 during the AHR Expo at the Javits Center. BNP Media Group Publisher Bob Miodonski was on the floor and reported that attendance remained strong despite the outside elements hampering travel plans.

He also returned home with exhibitors’ press materials promoting manufacturers’ renewed focus on energy efficiency.

Xylem promoted its “Power of e” — the “e” meaning efficiency, naturally — with a broad product portfolio that includes its Series e-1510 single-stage end-suction centrifugal pump and the ecocirc XL large wet-rotor circulator pump. BNP Media’s Plumbing group got a sneak peak of these products at Xylem’s Little Red Schoolhouse last fall.

Taco promoted its “Be Smart. e-Smart” branding. Now, the company places an e-smart tag on its most resource-saving products. This branding also is the company’s 2014 New Year’s resolution as it understands the earth’s resources are limited so it is focused on creating better solutions that save water, energy and money.

Grundfos invited AHR attendees to visit its “Ecadamy,” an Internet-based training platform, to learn more about its energy-efficient products.

ASHRAE held its annual conference in conjunction with the AHR Expo. On the floor, major emphasis was put on ASHRAE’s 90.1 standard, which provides minimum requirements for energy-efficient designs for buildings (excluding low-rise residential buildings).

Since its inception in 2001, the 90.1 standard has undergone three enhancements including the most recent in 2010 after the latest technologies became available.

Changes to the minimum efficiency levels of HVAC equipment were made in ASHRAE 90.1, which the Department of Energy approved and notified states that they should have adopted by October 2013. These changes include that energy recovery be required for many more HVAC systems.

Exhibitors shared thoughts on how DOE has become more of an influence on energy efficiency than ever before. Karen Meyers, Rheem’s government relations director, says that DOE introduced 21 rules related to our industry last year alone. 

I continue to learn more about this industry every day and am impressed with its drive to improve. Don’t cut off this rebooted push for energy efficiency. Engineers, embrace the technologies wherever possible.

Manufacturers, continue to promote and enhance your products. Don’t forget to listen to the designers and end users about any unforeseen issues in the installation and/or the day-to-day operations.

It’s time to bring it all together on all levels — manufacturing, government and engineering. It’s time to make a concerted effort to make this nation’s hospitals, schools, stadiums and all commercial applications to be as energy efficient as possible.