When it comes to building performance, who has the biggest influence? Manufacturers who develop the equipment or designers who design the systems? That is the question ASRHAE will ask during the technical program at the society’s 2014 Winter Conference, Jan. 18-22, at the New York Hilton in New York City. The International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Expo will be held in conjunction with the Winter Conference, running Jan. 21-23.

The debate, “Manufacturers are the Real Designers,” is part of a track focused on systems and equipment. It takes place at 8 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 20.

Victor Goldschmidt, consultant from Northport, MI, is chairing the debate, which is the fourth in a series offered by the College of Fellows to address issues of importance in the industry. The first three addressed the sustainability of cities, relevance of ethics, and the sustainability of sustainability.

“In most instances there is a healthy cooperation between equipment manufacturers and design consulting engineers,” Goldschmidt said. “At times there can be conflicts in resolving responsibilities. The debate will allow opposite arguments to be considered leading to the best results.”

Some of the issues Goldschmidt expects to hear addressed include the impacts and relationships of integrated product development and building information modeling; the difference between equipment-driven and system-driven designs; the roles and expectations for design manufacturers and for professional design engineers.

A fun twist in the debate is that lots are drawn on Monday morning just prior to the start of the debate for which side each team will argue, so debaters have to be prepared for either their pro or con arguments. Each speaker presents a team by team opening argument. The audience joins in the debate before closing argument.

Team one is made up of Larry Spielvogel, P.E., consulting engineer; George Adams, president of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE); and ASHRAE Presidential Member Tom E. Watson, P.E., of Daikin Applied.

Team two is made up of ASHRAE Presidential Member Richard Rooley of Rooley Consultants; Don Beaty, P.E., of DLB Associates; and ASHRAE Presidential Member Bill Coad, P.E., with Coad Engineering Enterprises.

For more information, visit www.ashrae.org/newyork.