The online network connects end users and contractors with natural refrigerant experience.
Natural refrigerant-based technology is gaining traction in North America, but for some end users it’s still difficult to find qualified contractors and technicians for installation, start-up and maintenance.
To address that challenge, the North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council (NASRC), Mill Valley, Calif., has created the Natural Refrigerants Service Network – a free online directory where end users can find contractors with natural refrigerants know-how, and contractors can post their experience.
The network website (www.NASRCNetwork.org) was launched to a small group of contractors for beta testing in September and is now fully launched for public use. NASRC is currently building out the network by recruiting qualified contractors.
The idea for the network came about when beverage giant Red Bull approached NASRC, searching for technicians that had experience in servicing hydrocarbon equipment.
“We heard from end users that finding qualified service contractors is a major concern in choosing natural refrigerant-based equipment and systems,” said Danielle Wright, executive director for NASRC. “The perception is they won’t be able to find someone to maintain or repair the system when it goes down, and this prevents them from even piloting natural refrigerant technologies in the first place. We realized a platform was needed to connect end users searching for natural refrigerant service and contractors with the expertise.”
Red Bull’s request provided the inspiration NASRC needed to launch the service network website, and Wright says Red Bull has remained a key advisor throughout the website creation process.
“We heard from end users that finding qualified service contractors is a major concern in choosing natural refrigerant-based equipment and systems.”
– Danielle Wright, executive director, NASRC
The network offers end users free access to a directory, where they can search for a contractor by location or natural refrigerant type. Contractor profiles will include refrigerant specialties, qualifications and examples of previous natural refrigerant projects.
“It’s easy and free for contractors to create a profile,” Wright explained. “They select their areas of expertise with CO2, ammonia and hydrocarbons, and have the option to list their service areas by county, state, ZIP code and city. That becomes a searchable database for end users or others looking for expertise in natural refrigerants.”
So far around a dozen contractors have obtained listings including Source Refrigeration, Key Mechanical, and Professional HVAC/R Services. In Connecticut, Colchester-based Eastern Refrigeration is also in the network.
Wright said that NASRC plans to expand the site beyond the directory to include natural refrigerant events, a resource center, and a place for contractors to post job opportunities.
“The first stage is to populate the site with contractors that have experience with natural refrigerants,” she said, “then we will focus on filling the service gaps across North America.
“Ultimately, we hope the site will serve not only as a comprehensive network of skilled contractors but also as a platform for natural refrigerant resources and training opportunities that will drive an increase in the number of experienced contractors.”
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