Industry News

A new report from the Brookings Institution provides a detailed and data-driven look at careers in the water sector, finding that while there are looming shortages and a need for diversity in the workforce, water jobs are a tremendous economic opportunity for the American worker. The Water Environment Federation encourages its members to closely review Renewing Read More

A new report from the Brookings Institution provides a detailed and data-driven look at careers in the water sector, finding that while there are looming shortages and a need for diversity in the workforce, water jobs are a tremendous economic opportunity for the American worker.

The Water Environment Federation encourages its members to closely review Renewing the Water Workforce: Improving water infrastructure and creating a pipeline to opportunity, which was released June 14.

“The report reveals the sizable economic opportunity offered by water jobs, including the variety of occupations found across the country, the equitable wages paid, the lower educational barriers to entry, and the need for more diverse, young talent,” write authors Joe Kane and Adie Tomer of the Brookings Institution.

Kane and Tomer examined occupational employment data and made several key findings:

  • In 2016, nearly 1.7 million workers were directly involved in designing, constructing, operating, and governing U.S. water infrastructure, spanning a variety of industries and regions.
  • Water occupations not only tend to pay more on average compared to all occupations nationally, but also pay up to 50 percent more to workers at lower ends of the income scale.
  • Most water workers have less formal education, including 53 percent having a high school diploma or less. Instead, they require more extensive on-the-job training and familiarity with a variety of tools and technologies.
  • Water workers tend to be older and lack gender and racial diversity in certain occupations; in 2016, nearly 85 percent of them were male and two-thirds were white, pointing to a need for younger, more diverse talent.

“While the Water Environment Federation and our colleagues across the water sector have long been aware of the challenges and opportunities of our workforce, we are grateful that the Brookings Institution produced this timely, detailed report that contains fresh data,” said Eileen O’Neill, WEF Executive Director. “It is imperative on all of us to examine the findings and accelerate our efforts to ensure a sustainable and talented water workforce.”

This spring WEF nationally launched a jobs program that provides training and certification in the field of green infrastructure. The National Green Infrastructure Certification Program (NGICP) establishes national requirements for working on green infrastructure projects, promotes a skilled green workforce, streamlines the process of connecting qualified talent to in-demand jobs, and supports community-based job creation in U.S. cities. NGICP is working with local organizations to expand the program nationally, including partnering with community colleges and STEM high schools to incorporate the curriculum into educational institutions and member associations to engage existing infrastructure workers. NGICP is also partnering with workforce development organizations to engage many of the chronically un- and under-employed in urban areas across the country.

WEF also maintains the Job Bank, continually updated site with new employment listings for careers in wastewater, including water and wastewater management, operations, consulting engineering, and other career paths in water quality. Visit the Job Bank.

To read the Brookings report visit: https://brook.gs/2HCBFdj

Continuing economic expansion in the U.S. does not appear to be translating into rapid growth in construction spending, concludes the Marcum Commercial Construction Index for the first quarter of 2018. The report from Marcum LLP’s national Construction Services group found that nonresidential construction spending in March, the most recent period for which construction data are available, declined Read More

Continuing economic expansion in the U.S. does not appear to be translating into rapid growth in construction spending, concludes the Marcum Commercial Construction Index for the first quarter of 2018. The report from Marcum LLP’s national Construction Services group found that nonresidential construction spending in March, the most recent period for which construction data are available, declined 0.3 percent on a monthly basis and expanded by just 2.5 percent year-over-year on a seasonally adjusted, annualized basis.

“Much of that growth, perhaps all of it and then some, can be explained by rising construction materials prices and expanding compensation costs,” writes Anirban Basu, author of the report and Marcum’s chief construction economist. “Despite first quarter GDP data indicating brisk expansion in nonresidential investment, private nonresidential construction spending is up by roughly the inflation rate, indicating that that the volume of services delivered over the past year has not expanded in real terms – at least if these data are to be believed.”

Several subsectors of the industry did register strong growth over the 12-month period, with Conservation and development (24.5%), Transportation (18.5%), Public safety (11.8%), and Lodging (11.8%) construction as the biggest gainers. The largest drop-offs occurred in Religious (-7.9%), Manufacturing (-7.0%), and Power (-6.2%) spending.

Mr. Basu contrasted lackluster spending data with more optimistic construction job growth. “The construction industry has added 257,000 new jobs, representing a growth rate of 3.7 percent, over the past year.  That represents a significant growth in construction staffing.  These statistics are more consistent with anecdotal and other data than the spending data,” he wrote.

Seventeen of the 20 largest U.S. metropolitan areas experienced growth in construction employment in the 12 months ended March 2018. The greatest gains were seen in Phoenix, AZ (8.7%); Miami, FL (8.0%); and Riverside, CA (7.8%). Only St. Louis, MO (-0.8%); Philadelphia, PA (-1.4%); and Minneapolis, MN (-2.4%) lost construction jobs during the period.

The report also noted continued improvement in the overall U.S. unemployment rate, which declined to 3.9 percent in April 2018. However, Mr. Basu attributes the decline to shrinking labor force participation, which he says should be rising, based on available job openings: “The fact that labor force participation has been declining strongly suggests that human capital shortages will continue to worsen, and that implies faster wage growth (fine), more inflation (not so good), and higher interest rates (problematic for many).”

While higher borrowing costs can be expected to flatten construction activity in the middle- to long-term, he foresees a positive trend for the construction industry in the near-term:  “[A] combination of recently enacted tax cuts, consumer and business confidence, positive wealth effects attributable to the performance of financial and housing markets, a stronger global economy, and accommodative global monetary policy should position 2018 to be the best year for economic performance in America since 2005.  Since nonresidential construction lags the overall economy by roughly one year, even if the broader economy stumbles next year, nonresidential construction activity is likely to be elevated in 2019.”

Joseph Natarelli, national leader of Marcum’s Construction Services Group and an office managing partner in New Haven, Connecticut, said, “Aside from the labor pressures of availability and wage increases which we nearly always note, we’re seeing inflation and interest rates rise at the same time. That forecasting cocktail was garnished, this past quarter, with unpredictable and less than favorable weather, which is a real negative factor in many major U.S. construction markets at this time of year. Of the 16 nonresidential subsectors, only 4 had double-digit, 12-month growth — Lodging, Public Safety, Transportation, and Conservation and Development.  Let’s hope that future infrastructure construction turns around the 12-month negative growth in Highways and Streets.”

Marcum Construction Summits

Additional insight into the prevailing dynamics of the construction industry will be the focus of the remaining 2018 Marcum Construction Summits, to be held in New Haven, CT, on September 25;Nashville, TN, on October 1; and Irvine, CA, on October 18.  Mr. Basu, the country’s preeminent construction economist, will keynote all three conferences, which are presented in partnership with the construction industry’s leading trade organizations. For sponsorship and registration information, visit www.marcumevents.com.

For the complete Marcum Commercial Construction Index, visit www.marcumllp.com/construction.

Marcum Construction Services

One of the leading construction accounting firms in the U.S., Marcum LLP’s Construction group provides audit, consulting, and taxation services to clients ranging from start-ups to multi-billion-dollar enterprises. The group’s professionals, among the country’s foremost experts in construction accounting, are frequent industry authors and speakers and also serve as technical reviewers for the AICPA’s construction audit and taxation guides. In addition to the quarterly Marcum Commercial Construction Index, the group publishes the annual Marcum JOLT Survey Analysis, a discussion of employment trends in the construction industry. For more information, visit www.marcumllp.com.

For more information, visit www.marcumllp.com.

To view available classes at a Navien Training Academy, visit our training site by clicking here. Summer is the perfect time for contractors to train and educate themselves on Navien products before the busier heating season arrives. As the leader in condensing technology, Navien continues to innovate with product updates, contractor programs and new products Read More

To view available classes at a Navien Training Academy, visit our training site by clicking here.

Summer is the perfect time for contractors to train and educate themselves on Navien products before the busier heating season arrives.

As the leader in condensing technology, Navien continues to innovate with product updates, contractor programs and new products, making Navien training essential for any contractor to stay informed on Navien and include Navien as part of their business growth plan.

Navien Training Academies offer a variety of classes covering Navien tankless water heaters, combi-boilers, boilers, accessories and more. Contractors new to Navien can attend introductory classes covering the basics of Navien products. Advanced classes detailing wiring, piping, service, hands-on training and more are offered to those with previous Navien training.

To view available classes at a Navien Training Academy, visit our training site by clicking here.

Contractors training with hands on
For additional information on the Navien Training Academies, visit training.navieninc.com. For training opportunities in your area or outside of the Navien Academies, visit NavienInc.com/field-training.

Atlanta — ASHRAE announced its 2018 Undergraduate Program Equipment Grants, encompassing a group of 25 undergraduate projects led by students from around the world. The awarded grants total more than $113,000 and will help the winning students to complete undergraduate projects. The Undergraduate Program Equipment Grants is an ASHRAE program that provides grants to engineering Read More

Atlanta — ASHRAE announced its 2018 Undergraduate Program Equipment Grants, encompassing a group of 25 undergraduate projects led by students from around the world. The awarded grants total more than $113,000 and will help the winning students to complete undergraduate projects.

The Undergraduate Program Equipment Grants is an ASHRAE program that provides grants to engineering, technical and architectural schools worldwide. Its goal is to increase student knowledge, learning and awareness of the HVAC&R industry through the design and construction of senior projects. Grants are used to fund equipment and supplies for senior projects and two-year technical school projects that focus on ASHRAE-related topics.

“Participating in the ASHRAE Undergraduate Program Equipment Grants gives students the opportunity to be challenged through hands-on experience working on a real-world professional project,” says Bill Simpson, chair of the ASHRAE Student Activities Committee. “Not only do these grants provide a greater depth of industry knowledge to undergraduate engineering, technical and architectural students, they demonstrate ASHRAE’s commitment to investing in future generations of building professionals.”

Winning projects are chosen based upon guidelines including: relevance as an ASHRAE-related topic; long-term student impact of the project; amount of funding requested; and the participating students’ involvement with ASHRAE.

This year’s winning projects are:

• “Atmospheric Water Harvesting,” California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo
• “Supply of Equipment to the Laboratory of Thermotechnology,” National University of Asunción
• “Indoor Air Quality Based Economizer Trainer Construction,” New York City College of Technology
• “Development of Split AC Test Rig Working on Inverter Technology and Charged with Environment Friendly Refrigerant R-32 – As a Laboratory Equipment for Engineering Students,” Nirma University
• “Integration of Smart Building Control into Existing Building Automation System (BAS) Using the Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) Technology,” North Carolina A&T State University
• “A Heating and Cooling Learning Environment to Test Thermoelectric Panel Performance Which Includes Natural Convection Flow Visualization Using PLIF and PIV,” Oklahoma State University
• “An Organic Rankine Cycle Learning Environment Using HVAC&R Components,” Oklahoma State University
• “A Dual-Use High Efficiency Variable Speed Dehumidifier,” Oklahoma State University
• “A Variable Speed Dedicated Outdoor Air System For Low Energy Homes,” Oklahoma State University
• “Refrigeration, Air Conditioning, and Ice-Plant System Under One Condensing Unit As a Demonstrator-on-Wheels for Engineering Students,” Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila
• “Visualizing the Invisible: a Hands-on Teaching Laboratory for Indoor Air Quality Principles,” Portland State University
• “Net Zero Water (NZW) and Desiccant-Assisted Evaporative Cooling (EC) for Data Center Air Conditioning,” University of Texas of the Permian Basin
• “Design and Prototyping of a Cloud-Based Smart Dual Fuel Switching System (SDFSS) for Residential Hybrid HVAC System for the Ryerson Engineering Program,” Ryerson University
• “Investigation and Design to Improve Comfort Needs and Energy Efficiency in a Historical University Building,” St. Ambrose University
• “Training Unit for Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) Air Conditioning Systems,” Technological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong
• “Build Hydronic System,” Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon
• “Project and Development of a HVAC Confluent Jets Systems Installed in Corner Walls of an Experimental Chamber,” Universidade do Algarve
• “Optimization and Construction of the Standing Wave Thermoacoustic Refrigerator,” Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman
• “Design and Construction of a Guarded Hot Box for Thermal Performance Evaluations of Building Envelope,” University of Alabama
• “A Web-Based Dashboard System for Real-Time Monitoring of Environmental Conditions and Electricity Generation/Consumption in Louisiana Solar Decathlon Home,” University of Louisiana at Lafayette
• “Pump/Turbine Generator Workbench,” University of North Texas
• “Design of Energy Recovery Heat Exchanger Coupled with Phase Change Materials for Building Temperature Control,” University of North Texas
• “A Closed-Loop Test Bed for Air-Conditioning and Heat Pump Equipment,” University of Oklahoma
• “Tiny Test Facility for Building Energy Modeling,” University of Utah
• “Calorimeter Test Apparatus for Refrigerant Compressors,” University of Wisconsin—Madison

The top two projects will be presented during the Student Program at ASHRAE’s 2019 Winter Conference, taking place Jan. 12-16, 2019 in Atlanta. Top projects are “A Dual-Use High Efficiency Variable Speed Dehumidifier,” Oklahoma State University and “Refrigeration, Air Conditioning, and Ice-Plant system under one condensing unit as a demonstrator-on-wheels for Engineering Students.” For more information about the program, please visit www.ashrae.org/grants.

Falls Church, Va. — Recognizing excellence in the HVACR industry, Rheem has partnered with the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors—National Association (PHCC) to sponsor the association’s 2018 HVAC Contractor of the Year Award. The only global manufacturer to design and produce heating, cooling, water heating, pool/spa heating and commercial refrigeration products, Rheem is proud to support this prestigious Read More

Falls Church, Va. — Recognizing excellence in the HVACR industry, Rheem has partnered with the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors—National Association (PHCC) to sponsor the association’s 2018 HVAC Contractor of the Year Award. The only global manufacturer to design and produce heating, cooling, water heating, pool/spa heating and commercial refrigeration products, Rheem is proud to support this prestigious award, presented at PHCC’s annual CONNECT Conference and Product & Technology Showcase.

This year, PHCC and Rheem will team to honor the HVACR contractor who best represents the ideals of the profession. Nominees are judged on professionalism, merchandising and management skills, innovative techniques, trade involvement and community service. The application deadline is July 31, 2018.

“We greatly value Rheem’s support of this award and of PHCC’s strategic goals,” says PHCC President Laurie Crigler, L&D Associates, Aroda, Virginia. In addition to this sponsorship, Rheem will be showcasing its HVAC line of products at CONNECT this year, “helping us to better serve members in both the plumbing and HVACR markets,” she adds.

Adds Mike Branson, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Rheem Air Division: We are proud to be part of programs that recognize the hard work contractors do day in and day out. Rewarding excellence and innovation are especially important to us and we are excited to collaborate with PHCC on a program that highlights the best practices of our industry’s top contractors.”