ASHRAE stands for the American Society of Heating, refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers. The group we know today as ASHRAE was originally founded in 1959 after two engineering groups, the American Society of Heating and Air-Conditioning (ASHAE) and the American Society of Refrigerating Engineers (ASRE), were merged. The organization seeks to continually improve the design and construction of heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, and refrigeration systems in a way that is more energy efficient.

ASHRAE’s vision is “A healthy and sustainable built environment for all.” To uphold that goal, they have developed technical standards for the industry that focus on building services, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, and recommendations on the sustainable development of new technologies. Those standards, alongside the four-volume ASHRAE handbook, are reviewed periodically for any necessary updates. The society also spearheads research projects and has continuing education programs for those who are interested in the field.

Anyone can become an ASHRAE member if they are interested. There are four different grades of membership to consider based on your situation:

  • The Member status is available for those who have twelve years of experience or a combination of professional experience and education that is equivalent.
  • The Associate status is for those who have been involved in the industry for a handful of years and are primarily focused on developing their skills and expanding their network.
  • The Affiliate status is for those who are under 30 years old or have been honorably discharged from the military within the past five years. This level of membership is an introductory level.
  • The Student membership option is for engineering students who are considering forming a career within the HVAC&R industry.

Proper heating, refrigeration, and air-conditioning is essential for industrial facilities. It’s even more important that they adhere to consensus standards like those provided by ASHRAE since their primary goal is to keep systems running efficiently and to keep employees safe.


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