Lakewood-Last month Red Rocks Community College recently completed a comprehensive upgrade to the learning lab for their Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) program, making the facility the most advanced HVAC lab in the region. The upgrade was funded by the college’s Rocky Mountain Education Center (RMEC), which offers non-credit workforce development and training. Renovations will enable RMEC to offer the current workforce an energy-efficient program while simultaneously improving the quality of RRCC’s degree program in this field.
The newly upgraded residential and commercial HVAC lab has 3,000 square feet of training area and equipment. The upgrade team worked for five weeks moving equipment and materials from the existing lab before the start of the renovation. Once the space was cleaned and the new floor coating was installed, the team created a layout of the new space and invited professionals from the industry to view their plans. Several manufacturers and HVAC contractors partnered with the team to donate $20,000 in new high tech equipment for training. Supporters include CarrierWest, Honeywell, Major Heating and Air Conditioning, Haynes Mechanical Systems, AMS, and EBM Papst. Copeland and Danfoss will be contributing to the project in January.
The upgrade team of part-time instructors Charlie Gutierrez and Jeremy Beard, staff member Lenny Miller, and students Brennan Pralle and Bud Stott worked over seven months to complete the project.
According to instructor Ed Hegwood, there is strong demand for residential and commercial buildings to tie indoor climate systems into new “smart grid” systems.
“The fact is energy-efficient or green HVAC is rapidly becoming the way of doing business,” said Hegwood. “All workers at all levels of the HVAC industry need to keep up with new techniques in this new green economy.”
Hegwood further explained that HVAC workers who do not have current certifications or understanding of the new technology will have difficulty getting the higher incomes associated with these technologies.
Rocky Mountain Education Center and Red Rocks Community College train technicians to be HVAC Energy Efficiency Systems Specialists. These specialists effectively free the stranded energy and money that exists in buildings today.
Upgrades to the HVAC lab enable training for both residential and commercial structures.
Residential lab – Students learn to conduct comparative analysis and retrofit training, starting with the most basic 60% efficient furnace working their way through 80% and 95% efficient furnaces (modulating gas valves and electronically commutated fan motors). The lab has several furnace units used for retrofit training. All furnace units, 80% efficient and higher, are arranged to simulate single family as well as multifamily installations. These units have spilt system air conditioning evaporator coils and matching remote mounted condensing units 12 to 18 Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER).
Commercial lab – Students perform comparative analysis and retrofit training, starting with the most basic 8 Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) roof top units working their way through 12 EER and 18 EER with digital scroll compressors, variable speed drive alternating current fan motors, modulating gas valves, and electronically commutated fan motors. Several of the roof top units are used for retrofit training. A computer room air conditioning unit is part of the retrofit training.
For complete information on these training programs, visit www.rmecosha.com/HVAC.
More about Red Rocks Community College: Since 1969 Red Rocks Community College has delivered quality education to students of all ages and backgrounds. RRCC offers high-quality, affordable education programs leading to two-year degrees or professional certificates. The college serves over 15,000 students per year online and at campus locations in Lakewood and Arvada. www.rrcc.edu.
More about RMEC/OSHA Training Institute: As the continuing education department of Red Rocks Community College and the OSHA Region VIII Training Institute, RMEC is dedicated to providing customized education services at our location or that of our clients. Our instructor pool includes leadership professionals with a wide range of technical backgrounds with expertise in change management required in today’s highly complex industries. Our laboratories and classrooms include replicas of industrial operations equipment and instrumentation digital control software. RMEC partners with major providers of technical certifications to include pre-employment and industry testing services to ensure building contractors are current in energy efficiency and alternative energy installation and operations. Thanks to our employer partners RMEC has launched nationally the first OSHA authorized course for oil and gas exploration and production worker safety. www.rmecosha.com.