Mankind often does not understand or perceive the significance of “in the moment” historic events, especially events that occur by chance or coincidence. The accidental discovery of penicillin by Alexander Fleming, the chance finding of the Dead Sea scrolls by a Bedouin shepherd searching for a stray sheep, and the adhesive “mistake” of 3M researcher Spencer Silver that led to Post-It notes, are a few examples of significant occurrences that almost didn’t happen. Events such as these can have dramatically positive effects on immense groups of people. The greater the positive effect and the more serendipitous the occurrence, the greater the appreciation that usually results.
As such events relate to the confluence of building science and facilities management (FM) practice, something very special is occurring, a collaboration that can have tremendous benefit to facilities professionals.

The current engagement of APPA and ASHRAE (the American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers) is important to report and appreciate. The newfound relationship between these two organizations would not be occurring without what could be characterized as the result of both chance and deliberate actions. The recent January 2018 ASHRAE Winter Conference saw a new and higher level of APPA presence, thanks to more than three years’ work by elected leadership in both organizations. The vision of Pete Strazdas, 2016 APPA President, was to actively name and seek deeper collaboration and alliances with other FM-related organizations, including ASHRAE. Strazdas’ leadership resulted in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between APPA and ASHRAE in 2016, to foster mutual executive communications and collaboration. ASHRAE’s 2016 President, Tim Wentz, as a long-standing faculty member at the University of Nebraska, also hap- pens to have a deep appreciation of university facilities managers.

The current ASHRAE leadership also happens to have current or past ties to university facilities. Darryl Boyce, current ASHRAE treasurer and ASHRAE Fellow, is the assistant vice president of facilities management and planning at Carleton University in Ontario, Canada.

Boyce was instrumental in the joint ASHRAE/APPA research that preceded the publication of the APPA standard APPA 1000, Total Cost of Ownership for Facilities Asset Management. Boyce has assembled a multidisciplinary task group (MTG) to address operations and maintenance (O&M) of high-performance buildings, a group which APPA represents with voting members. The inaugural MTG meeting occurred at the January 2018 ASHRAE meeting. The specific MTG outcomes are yet to be determined. Strategic goals of the MTG include training programs for FM professionals and technicians, and feedback to designers on more effective buildings that address best O&M practices.

ASHRAE President Elect Sheila Hayter also has historic connections to APPA. Her grandfather, Kenneth Hayter, was South Dakota State University facilities director for several decades, and was one of the founding CAPPA (Central Region APPA) members in 1953. This FM/APPA connection has noted nostalgic value for Hayter, thanks to memories of her grand- father’s leadership in APPA and CAPPA. She has also emphasized the importance of facilities professionals, specifically APPA members, because of their input on ASHRAE standards, design guide- lines, and other ASHRAE publications.

All these circumstances have created a perfect environment for APPA facility professionals to impact HVAC design standards and codes. This is an exciting time, considering the compilation of the TCO standard Facilities Informatics Maturity Matrix Technical Report, and the opportunity for applying APPA expertise to ASHRAE standards, guidelines, and related codes. The APPA Standards and Codes Council also assembled an ASHRAE Work Group in the fall of 2017. Five of the Work Group members met at the January ASHRAE meeting to begin collaborative work on technical commit- tees. To repeat, the timing could not be more perfect for the Work Group members’ engagement.

The outcome of this collaboration may not be as widely notable as that of Post-It notes, but certainly has the potential to create more sustainable, effectively operated, and well-maintained facilities.

David Handwork is director of planning, design and construction at Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, AR, and a member of APPA’s Code Advocacy Task Force. He can be reached at