On May 3, 2022, the HVAC industry lost a true trailblazer with the passing of Gregory Robert (Rob) Falke, due to complications from COVID-19.
Falke’s career began after joining his father's residential/commercial HVAC company in Turlock, California. His job was managing service and sales. In his sales position, Falke quickly discovered that comfort issues plagued many buildings. As an avid reader of every HVAC technical journal and magazine he could get his hands on, Falke learned about an air capture hood and studied everything he could find on measuring airflow. He soon purchased his first balancing hood to help correct significant comfort issues in one customer's building. Before long, he was correcting airflow issues in buildings across California’s central valley.
In the late 1980s, Falke pioneered the idea of applying commercial balancing knowledge to residential HVAC systems. As he tested and fixed more systems, he wrote procedures and processes to consistently measure and record his findings. Within a few years, he decided he needed to teach these concepts to fellow contractors and helped found the National Comfort Institute (NCI) with Dominick Guarino. Together they began the journey of training thousands of HVAC professionals.
Falke is considered the father of modern airflow testing and diagnostics and residential airflow balancing. His focus on airflow and duct system renovation led to the development of NCI's first-rate technical training team, whose focus on airflow remains key to that organization's mission today.
His final legacy began in 2016 when he launched and chaired an ASHRAE committee to develop a standard for measuring the performance of installed HVAC systems. Four years later, ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 221: "A Test Method To Field-Measure And Score The Cooling And Heating Performance Of An Installed Unitary HVAC System," was published. This standard embodies Falke's and NCI's vision of how HVAC system performance should be tested and rated.
For more than 30 years, Falke published hundreds of articles in magazines across the HVAC Industry. He spoke at dozens of conferences and association meetings, touching and improving the lives and technical skills of contractors across the United States. Rob Falke’s influence will continue for generations.