Cheers to 2023!

I hope everyone had a happy and safe holiday season and welcomed the new year with family and friends. I always love the blank slate a new year brings, and 2023 is chock-full of new opportunities in the plumbing and HVAC industry.

As I sit writing this column, we’re busy planning our editorial schedules for our two largest tradeshows of the year: the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS), held jointly with the NAHB International Builders’ Show (IBS) and the National Hardware Show (NHS), during Design and Construction Week (DCW), and the AHR Expo. These two shows used to be a month apart, but, like last year, they are being held in back-to-back weeks. Needless to say, we are preparing for a marathon.

Tradeshows like these are so important for engineers and contractors because not only do they get a first look at new, upcoming products and technologies, they also offer education and training sessions, sometimes for continuing education credits or professional development hours. Engineers are no stranger to these, as they are required to maintain PE licensure, though each state varies with its requirements.

As always, the ASHRAE Winter Conference will be held in conjunction with the AHR Expo, at the Omin Hotel at CNN Center and Building A of the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Feb. 4-8. ASHRAE recently released its technical program for the conference, which includes eight conference tracks and more than 100 technical sessions, including a brand new track, “Pathways to Zero Energy Emissions and Decarbonization.” This new track highlights methods being developed to reduce carbon impact on the global environment, and the actions ASHRAE and its members are taking to advance these efforts.

Other technical program tracks include: Fundamentals and Applications; HVAC&R Systems and Equipment; Refrigeration and Refrigerant; Grid Resilience and Thermal Storage; Pathways to Zero; Energy Emissions and Decarbonization; Multifamily and Residential Buildings; Operations and Maintenance; and Building Simulation and Virtual Design in Construction.

However, let’s be honest. Not everyone can take time out of their busy work and home lives to drop everything to attend a tradeshow, no matter how valuable it might be. Recognizing that important fact, ASHRAE’s Winter Conference includes both in-person and virtual options for attendees. The ASHRAE Learning Institute will also offer 20 courses during the conference, which are approved for continuing education credits toward maintaining P.E. licensure.

ASPE is another great organization and resource for engineers, as it has a catalog of on-demand courses and articles to further education on a variety of topics. Plus, ASPE hosts webinars, quarterly workshops and publishes monthly “Read, Learn, Earn” articles to earn CEUs.

ASPE recently announced a call for presentation proposals for its upcoming 2023 Tech Symposium, which will take place Sept. 28-Oct. 1 in Bellevue, Washington. This year’s symposium will cover the industry’s hottest topics, including Codes & Standards; Water Quality; System Design; Sustainability; Construction; Specialty Design; Fire Protection & Life Safety; and Med Gas/Healthcare. As I just attended my first ASPE event (2022 ASPE Convention & Expo) this past fall, I’m really looking forward to the Tech Symposium this year and meeting more engineers in the field.

One last quick place for engineers to earn free PDHs is the BNP Media Continuing Education Center. These courses are presented in many different formats ranging from article to webinar, and provide the opportunity to earn multiple CEUs. For example, PM Engineer currently has two courses hosted on the CE Center: Best Practices for Legionella Mitigation — Part One and Part Two.

Both of these courses offer credits in the form of 1 AIA LU/HSW, 1 RCEP PDH, 0.1 IACET CEU, 0.1 ASPE CEU and 1 PDH. To receive credit and/or a certificate of completion, engineers must complete the course in its entirety and pass the quiz with an 80% or higher. A certificate of completion will be available for download following each quiz and will be stored in the Credit Tracker tab on the CE Center.

PM Engineer plans to have three more editorial courses available in 2023, ranging in topics from commercial water heating to indoor air quality. So Stay tuned.

It’s an exciting time to be in the plumbing and HVAC industry — product development and new technologies are moving much faster than ever before. The downside to that is, plumbing and HVAC pros must stay up-to-date on the latest information, design trends and products. It can seem like a daunting task, but there are plenty of trade organizations to help you manage that effort. You’re already taking the time to improve your knowledge and industry awareness by reading trade journals, such as PM Engineer, so I think you’re on the right track.

I hope 2023 is your best year yet.

I leave you with one of my favorite quotes about this time of year from Edith Lovejoy Pierce: “We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day.”