St. Louis served as the host city for the ASHRAE 2016 Annual Conference June 25-29. Nearly 1,800 people were in attendance.

Installed as ASHRAE president at the conference was 2016-17 president Timothy G. Wentz, P.E., Fellow ASHRAE, HBDP, and associate professor at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. As president, Wentz chairs the society’s board of directors and executive committee.  His theme, “Adapt Today to Shape Tomorrow,” is based on the goal in the society’s strategic plan to adapt.

Wentz relates this goal to his personal history of moving from a slide rule in his early college days to a hand calculator and now a computer or smartphone as an example of the challenges and opportunities inherent in adapting to new technology. His speech can be read at

“When it comes to change, we tend to ‘hang on’ to what feels safe as long as possible,” Wentz said. “When we can’t see the future we don’t know how far we will fall. That can be frightening. We must work to shape tomorrow so we feel empowered to ‘let go.’”

In other news, it was announced that ASHRAE’s 2015-16 RP campaign reached a new high of $2.57 million donated by members, chapters, and companies. ASHRAE RP campaign funds are used to support ongoing research projects, ASHRAE Learning Institute, Young Engineers in ASHRAE (YEA) Leadership activities and scholarships.

Some 100 sessions with 400 speakers were offered as part of the conference technical program. Trending at the event were sessions related to the philosophy and ethics of different building industry professionals, which examined how buildings are created by “constructive confrontation,” via teams of building industry professionals drawn together with different education, training, method of working, communication skills, and membership of professional bodies.

A seminar was the “ASHRAE Fellows Debate: Productivity is the Measure of Indoor Air Quality,” in which two teams debated whether productivity can be measured. A seminar on “Energy Management for Multi-Building Portfolios from the Owner-Operator and the Consultant Perspectives” provided insights into successful energy management through the experiences of both consultants and owner-operators.

The conference featured two full-day professional development seminars and eight half-day short courses from the ASHRAE Learning Institute. Popular courses were focused on variable refrigerant flow, troubleshooting humidity control, and 90.1-2013 HVAC/Mechanical.

The ASHRAE 2017 Winter Conference takes place in Las Vegas, Jan. 28-Feb. 1, 2017. Held in conjunction with the Winter Conference is the ASHRAE co-sponsored AHR Expo,  Jan. 30-Feb. 1, at the Las Vegas Convention Center.