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Taking CO2 refrigeration training to college

USA: The North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council (NASRC) and training provider the ESCO Group are developing a CO2 curriculum for community college and trade school HVACR programmes.

Together, they hope to address one of the root causes contributing to a shortage of US technicians trained to install and service “natural” refrigerant technologies.

While the US is waking up to the use of “natural” refrigerants, market barriers such as high upfront costs, a lack of performance data, and a shortage of trained technicians have prevented the widespread adoption of natural refrigerants.

NASRC is a non-profit organisation working in partnership with over 130 stakeholders from the supermarket refrigeration industry to overcome the barriers to natural refrigerant adoption in supermarkets, including technician training.

According to NASRC, several factors contribute to the technician training challenge, including a shrinking workforce and limited training opportunities and resources. “But in many cases, it begins with a lack of exposure to natural refrigerants during initial training because natural refrigerants have not been incorporated into school curricula at a national level,” says NASRC.

“Technicians should be exposed to advanced refrigeration technologies, including natural refrigerants, as early as possible in their training,” insisted NASRC executive director Danielle Wright. 

ESCO Group, an educational and training body for the HVACR industry, is the primary source of HVACR curriculum for schools in the US and a leading training entity for school instructors. 

The two organisations have formed a committee composed of CO2 experts, training specialists, contractors and technicians, equipment manufacturers, and school representatives to help develop the curriculum. The curriculum is expected to be finalised and available to schools in 2021.

“Once the curriculum is complete, our goal is to see it widely adopted by HVACR programmes across the country to build a future technician workforce that is well-versed in CO2 technologies,” said Wright.

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