According to the Environmental Protection Agency the average American spends 93% of their life indoors…. 87% is spent indoors at their work and home and the other 6% is spent in their automobiles. With that much time spent inside we should all be more concerned with Indoor Air Quality. Recently Cambridge Engineering’s Doug Eisenhart published a post about IAQ that focused on the effects of temperature and productivity of a workforce because ambient air temperature is an IAQ factor. Doug was spot on with his comments about productivity and its correlation to temperature. Along with temperature the quality of the air from indoor pollutants is also an important IAQ factor that needs our attention. Pollutants such as volatile organic compounds (VOC), particulates and carbon dioxide, to name a few, can not only affect short term productivity but can also have long lasting negative health consequences to those working in that environment. One way to alleviate these types of IAQ problems is to have the building properly ventilated through the use of mechanical ventilation of filtered outside air. By using High Temperature Heating and Ventilation (HTHV) products that use 100% outside you have the ability to not only heat the space but also ventilate the space in an effort to help reduce the types of indoor air pollutants that can sometimes cause serious health problems. HTHV products, when combined with appropriate air filters offer a very energy efficient way to heat and ventilate a structure during the winter months when bringing in outside air is the most problematic. There is plenty of information available that can provide guidance on indoor air quality and ventilation. Here are two that I have found useful: 1. OSHA publication titled - Indoor Air Quality in Commercial and Institutional Buildings can be located on OSHA’s website at https://www.osha.gov/Publications/3430indoor-air-quality-sm.pdf 2. ASHRAE publication titled - Indoor Air Quality Guide: Best Practices for Design, Construction and Commissioning is a free publication located on the ASHRAE website at https://www.ashrae.org/resources--publications/bookstore/indoor-air-quality-guide. The guide is designed for architects, design engineers, contractors, commissioning agents, and all other professionals concerned with indoor air quality. ASHRAE also has available for purchase their ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 62.1-2016 Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality. Standard 62.1 specifies minimum ventilation rates for new and existing buildings that are intended to provide indoor air quality that is acceptable to human occupants and that minimizes adverse health effects. This publication is located on the ASHRAE website at https://www.ashrae.org/resources--publications/bookstore/standards-62-1--62-2. Let us know what you think about the IAQ subject and look for more post on Indoor Air Quality in the future.

For the last 3 years my team has been traveling North America visiting with Cambridge Engineering’s, Sales Representatives to spread the word about options available to Building Owners, Building Operators, Design Engineers, Contractors and Utilities when recommending and selecting heating and ventilation solutions for their building or retrofit projects. 419818 We have been attempting to call out 3 core concepts for the key influencers when considering improvements to their buildings. 1.) Safety - Use of 100% outside air, direct fired HTHV and MAU technology is inherently safe. Ventilation and Heat are provided by the same blower that cannot be separated. These technologies can improve indoor air quality. Ventilation is the key to safety, preventing the buildup of products of combustion. 2.) Energy Efficiency - HTHV technologies provide the highest btus/cfm ratio thus creating more net useable btus or heat to satisfy the air load and the conductive load in high bay warehouses, distribution centers and manufacturing facilities. 3.) Lowest Total Installed Cost - HTHV technologies deliver 3 system in 1 piece of equipment. HTHV technologies deliver A.) Heat, B.) Fresh air ventilation and C.) Even temperatures throughout the building. This 3-in-1 system reduces total equipment cost and the installation costs associated with connections necessary to install multiple pieces of equipment. Engineers may call this a cleaner design. During our recent Contractor Advisory Board, an influential Design Build Contractor, Paulson-Cheek (Atlanta, Georgia), called us out on our failure to identify THERMAL COMFORT as a primary value in his selection and use of HTHV equipment in his high bay building designs. I’d like to share a brief video from Marshall Cheek regarding his comments on this subject: 

 Marshall’s callout on Thermal Comfort was very insightful. We often undervalue the importance of building occupant comfort in a cost competitive new construction or retrofit building environment. Understanding the importance of creating a safe and comfortable working environment for people engaged in the real physical activity such as: warehousing, distribution center and manufacturing facilities, compels us to add this 4th leg to the table.   safety Are people more productive when their workplace is comfortable? One ergonomics expert, Chris Adams, who in addition to being a Human Factors Engineer & Industrial Designer, has been providing human factors engineering to NASA, states that: temperature has a major impact on productivity. According to one of Chris’s articles, 71.5 F is the optimal temperature for 100% productivity. His report details the following information: As temperature increases at: • 77 degrees fahrenheit we're about 98% productive • 82 degrees fahrenheit  = 95% • 87 degrees fahrenheit = 90% • 92 degrees fahrenheit = 85% As temperature decreases at • 66 degrees fahrenheit we're about 98% productive • 63 degrees fahrenheit = 95% • 59 degrees fahrenheit = 90% Soliciting solid Building Owners and Building Operators’ input during the design phase of one’s building project makes sense, according to this report. Adding personnel comfort level to our discussions and being able to articulate the impact that consistent temperatures may have on people’s productivity is beneficial. Inherent Equipment Safety, Energy Efficiency, Lowest Total Installation Cost and People Comfort are all important topics of discussion when discovering what is most important to owners and operators. People Comfort is high on my list of questions. What does a 5% gain in productivity mean to an organization in real dollars? Answer this question and compare it to an investment decision and it makes for better decision making in an equipment selection. Thanks for sticking with me to the end here. How important have you found thermal comfort to be in your conversations regarding HVAC design? Does the same hold true for people working in the warehouse? Should it? 71.5d egrees fahrenheit sounds good right now as it’s 100 degrees fahrenheit in St. Louis as I write this blog post.

Truly understanding your customer’s needs and the value they place on your products and services is paramount to success in business. Defining and refining your value to the customer takes total organizational alignment. Alignment around the importance of the information and collaboration around collecting it, communicating it, and acting on it are vital. [caption id="attachment_199" align="alignnone" width="300"]value concept handwritten on blackboard value concept handwritten on blackboard[/caption] Customer Advisory Boards are a great way to engage the leadership in your own organization. They allow you to capture candid feedback on measuring existing corporate value statements against your messaging across the company. Are your value statements landing? Do they resonate with the people receiving them? What would your customers say is most important to them? Customer Advisory Boards provide three major benefits to an organization. 1. Deepening Relationships with Customers 2. Understanding Your Customer’s Value Language 3. Identifying Your Product/Service Gaps Deepening Relationships: People do business with people they like. Putting people together with one purpose, “How can we help one another achieve more together?” or better yet, “How can I help you over achieve for your organization? My win is wrapped up in yours.” Putting your customers together with your business leaders across the enterprise can create awesome bonding and momentum. Understanding Your Customer’s Value Language: We all want to be spoken to in our own value language. I can be just as guilty as the next of projecting what I think is important to customers rather than speaking in their terms. “Energy efficiency is important to building owners and facilities managers,” I state. The customer stated, “Energy efficiency is really important to owners, but I also want to cut 2% out of the total costs of the project. That is more important right now. Can you help me do that?” How valuable is your proposed solution in the language of the customer? Go well beyond economic value to draw out all things valuable and then have your Customer Advisory Board rank them. Then, and this is key, change your language based on their responses and challenge the list continuously through an ongoing Advisory Board engagement process. Identifying Your Product/Service Gaps: Through intentional questioning, you can uncover items requiring your organizations attention. What is the number one problem you are facing with the use of our product? Share with us any challenges you’ve had with our products? What else have you experienced? How many times has that occurred? How would you suggest we improve what we’re doing? What are others doing in this space that you feel is innovative? A great way to clear the session of any fear of sharing “bad news” is to coordinate a pre-Advisory Board survey that probes into improvement areas. Also, don’t defend or justify any mistakes or gaps. Just reply, “Thank you for sharing that.” Your customers will share openly if their input is appreciated and not explained away. Build an Advisory Board and you’ll build a deeper relationship with your customers, knowing how to speak their language and fine tune your products/services for success. Have you created or participated on an Advisory Board? I’d love to hear your experience in the comments below.

Our Senior Leadership team recently returned from Japan where they were on an educational journey to bring back ideas from Japanese businesses that had been working on LEAN initiatives for many decades. Their trip included a visit to Lexus, the luxury car maker and part of the Toyota family of brands. As they were departing for their trip I asked that they solicit feedback from the Japanese companies regarding LEAN and it’s applications to sales organizations.

One might describe the Sales Cycle as the time it takes to obtain an interested prospect through a customer purchase order and finally through the ongoing post-purchase customer engagement. If you look at the Sales Cycle in 3 stages, you may find it easier to look for waste in the sales process. Waste will reveal itself in time, motion, over processing and/or wasted human potential of associates. The Sales Cycle -3 Stages: Pre-Sale Activity / Direct Selling Activity / Post Sale Engagement Pre-Sale Activity Building interest with prospects takes research, dedication, focus, creativity and a concise definition of value for one’s target audience. Marketing and Sales teams work closely to refine these target audiences and the messages that will drive desired customer response; typically outreach, raising their hand in some fashion for contact or more information. Eliminating waste from these processes can be accomplished through building a standardized approach to the various activities required to deliver in clear, simple language – Who is our target? What is our value proposition message? How will we communicate it internally & externally? How will we measure our success? Who is accountable for each pre-sale activity? What are the desired timeframes or deadlines? A clearly defined launch formula shortens the cycle. Compressing the time it takes to complete these pre-sale activities is LEAN applied to the sales cycle. Each delay, restart or off track adventure eats time and energy. What areas of your process can be leaned out? Direct Sales Engagements The Sales Team has a prospect, whether obtained through the marketing engine or through direct sales customer prospecting. Are your sales team members capable of building instant rapport and interest? Do they have the skills necessary to do so? Were they measured in the hiring process or ongoing performance evaluations against a standard in order to predict their success in their role? Have they been educated on a definitive sales approach? Is leadership spending the right amount of time, watching, listening and coaching sales team members? Show me a sales person with a rich pipeline of business and I’ll bet money that they have done the hard work of preparation, outreach, communication, post visit follow up and continuous touches necessary to close deals. Direct selling without a process, a script, a consistent message, a consistent list of questions, a consistent approach to customer engagement will result in the absence of results. LEAN thinking applied here in the sales process is as applicable to sales professionals as it is to operational, manufacturing personnel. What standard work or best practices can you point to formally in the sales process that are evident across the sales team? Post Sale Engagement Now that we’ve received a purchase order, what systems, processes or steps do you have in place to communicate with your customer? Do you have in place automated order confirmations detailing shipment dates from the factory? Confirmations of product shipments and anticipated arrivals to benefit the customer are a great way to communicate order status and shipment. Whether invoicing at time of purchase order or at shipment are those communication automated, manual, efficient, clear and understandable? Does your marketing team then continue to touch your customer with the correct frequency according to plan, to stay in front of the customer base with information that is relevant to your customer segment? Are there opportunities (waste) to streamline these, speed them up, to eliminate time and multiple touches. MRP systems and CRM systems offer solutions in automated workflows to eliminate time spent on these activities. LEAN and it’s application to the sales cycle is self-evident. Seeing waste in the process is certainly the hardest part of the journey. I am hopeful that this breakdown of the process might trigger thoughts for continuous improvement. I would love to hear about steps that you’ve taken in your own sales process to eliminate waste. Thank you for any insights you can share on your own journey that have helped you LEAN out you selling cycle.

Recently, in my first blog post, I asked the questions, “Why do financial executives so frequently find themselves following, rather than leading, during a LEAN initiative? Has your company implemented LEAN in the finance/accounting area? If not, why not?” It is my experience that the single biggest obstacle to a creating a truly LEAN culture in an organization is the character of the leaders tasked with implementation. And, among the character traits that we will discuss in these series of blog posts, I truly believe that HUMILITY is at the heart of, and foundational to, any successful effort at LEAN leadership.

If you are like me, a leader who has reached a senior level in their career path, you know that personal ego is no small thing when it comes to your leadership. Properly managed, it can be an effective force in leadership. However, more commonly, it is a destructive force. And, even worse, one that most of us, as leaders, fail to acknowledge or even recognize, LEAN is about acknowledging that our work, no matter how good we feel it is, is NEVER finished. It is a mentality of constant, never-ending improvement. Ego is our natural state. In other words, we constantly seek to reinforce what we already think we know. LEAN leadership is embracing the knowledge that we must constantly work to break out of our natural state. It is changing the assumption that I will be considered talented and intelligent if I can simply come up with unique ideas and then protect them jealously. C.S. Lewis said that, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” LEAN leaders know that their talent is to be deployed not for their own individual good, but for the good of others before themselves. LEAN thinkers know that they are in a battle against waste, and they look out for the fellow warriors on their right and on their left, no matter what position they hold in the organization. They say, “Look, I had a great idea! Now, how fast can someone else improve on it?” And, most importantly, they CELEBRATE that next improvement. This is particularly important for financial leaders, as we are the “gatekeepers” of an organization. We can, very quickly, bring things to a screeching halt. While the “gatekeeper” analogy is appropriate for much of what we do, I would rather we focus on being fellow warriors in the battle against waste. Only a HUMBLE expression of our leadership will allow us to do so.

Lately I’ve been reading a lot about, and practicing, lean principles especially since our organization has started using the principles outlined in a book called the 2-Second Lean by Paul Akers. Although this is not the start of Cambridge’s lean journey, it has been a significant simplification to the process and has made a huge impact. It talks about how to recognize and eliminate waste in an effort to provide more value for our customers. The book talks specifically about 8 deadly wastes; over production, transportation, inventory, defects, over processing, motion, waiting, and unused employee genius.

We are learning that when we eliminate waste we improve quality, productivity, and profitability. Now some might think, and they could be correct in their logic, that asking your people to be more productive could mean you are asking people to do more in the same 8 hours a day than what they did in the past. Well your right, we do want to be more productive but we want to use that productivity to help our organization grow more effectively and growth benefits all of us. And we’re learning that these sometimes simple improvements just make it easier to accomplish our day to day endeavors. Our 3 pillars…see waste / eliminate waste / make videos…gives us the chance to video all the simple, and even sometimes complex, improvements that we are empowered to make each and every day. To date our organization, mostly the manufacturing team, has created over 650 videos documenting their elimination of waste. What’s happening, and it has been amazing, is the engagement that is taken place in our organization. People are truly working together to accomplish a common goal...eliminating waste. Helping each other. Coming up with ways to make their job easier, and in most cases faster, not because they were told to do so but because they were empowered to use their knowledge about what they do on a daily basis and make it easier and better. So we no longer have to ask if we can make a change... we have the authority to make the changes. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that kind of environment, an environment where we value everyone’s input on how to be more productive. I read somewhere that people who are happy at work take that positive attitude home with them and share that positivism with their family. Think about that…we’re creating an environment where people enjoy what they do during the day and then take that positive attitude home with them at night…incredible. (I need to come up with another way to describe the 8 hours a day I spend with the Cambridge family because it is not work…work to me seems tedious, laborious, and just not fun and that’s not our environment) I would encourage all businesses large and small to think about what a lean endeavor could mean for your organization. As with us, we didn’t embark on this journey with some enhanced financial goal in mind. We started this journey in an effort to create an organization where we have empowered people, and oh by the way a whole lot happier, who enjoy spending 40 hours a week with their daytime family members. Knowing that they have the right to affect change without asking for permission. After all, who knows better about how to improve what each of us do every day than ourselves?

I was recently visiting with a large major multi-national, multi-site corporation and discussing their progress in capturing energy reduction results across their enterprise’s more than 80 distribution centers. They shared with me the significant progress that they have made across their organization in lighting initiatives to drastically reduce their operating expenses utilizing best in class distribution center lighting technologies. They likewise had made progress inside their facilities in material handling equipment, shelving layouts, work flow designs and time saving technologies to expedite the touches inside the distribution center. As our conversation turned to HVAC system improvements, there was a noticeable pause. “Office HVAC system improvements and specifically cooling energy improvements inside the office have been a major focus area for years,” they shared.

The industry in total has made progress there, working on upgrades from low efficiency, older equipment to higher efficiency systems for offices. Big commercial HVAC manufacturers have continued to improve systems. “What about HVAC improvements in the distribution center?,” I asked. “Do you have a plan to address heating and ventilation opportunities in the DC?,” I inquired. Another pause. As I have travelled the U.S. and Canada, I have been witness to this same type of pause more than 80% of the time. The good news is that there still remains a fantastic opportunity for facilities leaders to make a massive impact on energy reduction savings for their organizations in their big box distribution centers and industrial manufacturing facilities. The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), located in Richland, Washington, is one among ten U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories managed by DOE's Office of Science. Their research strengthens the U.S. foundation for innovation. They develop solutions for U.S. DOE, for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the National Nuclear Security Administration, as well as other government agencies, universities and industries. In January of 2015, the following information was provided by PNNL, detailing the progress across the various functional building system sets and the energy savings accomplishments. I shared this graph during my meeting with the large multi-national and relayed to the facility and energy leader that they were not alone. Many of their peers are in the same boat. Not a lot of progress in heating systems is documented. You can see from the PNNL chart that progress in lighting, building materials, roofing, insulation has been successful across the U.S.. The heating system line, however, is stalled and warrants attention. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has embraced this challenge and has developed of forum to inspire continuing improvement in energy use reduction. “The Better Buildings Challenge supports commercial and industrial building owners by providing technical assistance and proven solutions to energy efficiency. The program also provides a forum for matching Partners and Allies to enhance collaboration and problem solving in energy efficiency. Both Partners and Allies are publically recognized for their leadership and innovation in energy efficiency.” (Source – U.S. DOE) https://www4.eere.energy.gov/challenge/about Significant improvements to heating systems as I’ve identified have been stalled for some time. There are reasons for the slow pace of change in this area. Some of them are detailed below.
  • Low baseline equipment cost
  • Misaligned incentives for building owners and tenants
  • Reactionary equipment replacement: Like for Like (using same low efficient technology)
  • Limited objective field data on best in class technology
  • Lack of central control & influence (heightened when you lease vs. own real estate)
  • Lack of standardization of systems and/or controls for meaningful measurement/progress
ACCELERATE Your Distribution Center Energy Efficient Retrofits I want to share with you here the five key habits from energy efficiency leaders in the Better Buildings Challenge. https://www4.eere.energy.gov/challenge/habits-of-leaders
  1. Know the goal (set quantifiable and ambitious goals at the highest level in the organization)
  2. Data matters (must be able to measure)
  3. Look beyond technology (combine technology advances with organizational commitments)
  4. It takes an energy champion – and a team aligned
  5. Learn, teach and evolve (seek out help from others – learn from successful projects)
Thank you for spending some time reviewing my thoughts on energy reduction acceleration plans in this final frontier of building energy efficiency. I hope that you are able to see a picture of your own success story as you digest some of the thoughts from the DOE, the PNNL and the Better Building Alliance. Let me know how we might assist you on your path towards progress. Visit our website and click on OWNER tab for more information regarding our support for building owners and managers. May God bless you with inspiration, insight and all the support you will require on your journey!

As a leader, I have been on a LEAN journey for a number of years. But it was only within the last 12 months that I have been exposed to the concept of LEAN accounting. As my interaction with other LEAN leaders has intensified, I have started to ask the question, “Are you doing anything with LEAN in your accounting area?” And, almost without exception, the answer is “no,” or “not yet.” However, this isn’t surprising, as had you asked me the same question just 6 months ago, the answer would have been identical.

My role at Cambridge is unique in that, as COO and CFO, I have a leadership role in both operations and finance. In the world of LEAN, the operations folks are generally the most rapid implementers. This has been true in our case, and most of my LEAN learning has been on the operations side of the business. However, once I was exposed to LEAN accounting, it became clear to me that, absent considerable leadership changes on my part, I was going to quickly become a liability, vs. an asset, in our LEAN efforts. The reality is that any LEAN journey that does not include the accounting and finance areas of an organization is bound to be severely limited in its ability to deliver on all of the wonderful promises of LEAN. The experts in this area like Brian Maskell, Jean Cunningham and Orry Fiume are all passionate in their pointing out that traditional accounting does a poor job of accurately reflecting a company’s financial performance. And that when a company decides to truly embrace LEAN principles, the financial executives are frequently not prepared for how these principles will impact their areas of responsibility. However, this lack of awareness is not the worst part. They point out that the lack of preparedness in the accounting and finance roles will actually HINDER the pace and effectiveness of any LEAN initiative within an organization. So, the obvious question is “Why?” Why do financial executives so frequently find themselves following, rather than leading, during a LEAN initiative? Has your company implemented LEAN in the finance/accounting area? If not, why not? This is intended as the first of a series of blog posts that consider the leadership characteristics that, I believe, are required for a financial executive to move from following to leading a LEAN transformation. Or, at a minimum, if not leading, then acting as a key participant in a LEAN leadership team. First up in the next post…HUMILITY.

Our organization has embarked on an employee engagement path that has literally caught fire throughout the company. Several Cambridge Engineering, Inc. production managers embraced the LEAN philosophy espoused by Paul Akers in his book, 2 Second Lean: How to grow people and build a lean culture. Our production team’s focus from the beginning has been on training people how to think differently. Many sophisticated books have been written on the LEAN topic. Paul’s book is not one of them. Paul details a path towards employee engagement that everyone can understand. As leader of the sales team, I have watched the trans-formative power of a LEAN mindset with our Ops team and have been inspired to apply this thinking to my life.

While our operations team has a head start in embracing these teachings and this thinking, there is a powerful message at the very beginning of the book that applies to all leaders that are considering the necessary strategies and tactics to grow their business, grow their market share, increase pipelines, improve closing ratios or improve processes and flow in their organizations. Growing our businesses success starts with growing people. Growing our business success starts with you and I growing. 1.) Humble Myself - Despite what we might think sometimes, we don’t know everything. There are literally thousands of people that are smarter, faster, stronger, more creative and more eloquent than we are. Don’t let my success lull me to sleep. Know that everything can be improved upon, each and every day. The first step towards growing is accepting the reality that things can be better, that you directly influence growth and that in order to grow, we must change how we think and how we act. We must humble ourselves in order to grow. 2.) Focus on Me First – if 90% of what we do every day is waste, then start to break down our own daily, weekly, monthly activities and work on those things that will help us to be more efficient, productive and positive. Kill the time wasters, use the time wasted on impact activities. Living a LEAN philosophy personally is the greatest outward example to demonstrate our commitment to it. 3.) Focus on Momentum and Activity - Quality activity drives quality results. As we reported during our AHRI year-end breakfast meeting with our Representative partners in Orlando this month, there is a direct correlation between quoting activity levels and 2015 sales performance levels. Our top quartile performers quoted our equipment 2x as often as the 2nd quartile performers and delivered four times as much revenue to their organizations. Proactive selling and proactive education activities put our sales force in more of the the project conversations. 4.) Tap into the Resources that are available to you. Are you plugged in? Are you deeply engaged with those people that could most influence your positive outcome. Are you meeting more inside your office, or outside of your office? Cancel your inside meetings and double your outside meetings and watch what happens with your network of connections, customers and influencers. Our Regional Managers travel into our Representative markets and we expect them to deliver value to our sales partners through proactive selling, educating and modeling. Our technical sales advisors and engineering applications support teams get granular with our Representative partners to create customer solutions. We welcome our partners to tap into our human genius to help them grow their business. 5.) Find a peer group that will share best practices and challenge you to be your best. This is a repeat of number 1. An admission that improvement is possible requires one to be humble. Others may have insights that could assist you on your growth path. Give and receive experiential input for improvement opportunities in your business. If you cannot find a peer group, start one. Find those successful business leaders that you respect and trust and extend a hand to get your group started. At Cambridge Engineering, Inc. we count on our Representative Advisory Board to provide candid feedback on industry, organizational and tactical direction. This eleven member board is comprised of bright people that we learn from at every engagement. What worked for us as leaders in the past, may not necessarily work for us in the future. Many things change in our industry every day. Join me and take that first step of admission that it is possible to improve what we are doing as individuals. This step will free our minds to look for great improvements that are right in front of our eyes every day. Our modeling of this continuous improvement commitment mindset will motivate additional believers. The first step in humility is best step we can take to grow ourselves, our people and our businesses.

Manufacturers of direct gas-fired heating equipment make different, and seemingly conflicting, claims about the efficiency of their equipment. Some claim 92%, others claim 100%; so which is accurate? Actually both numbers are accurate, if you understand the context for the claims. There are two terms used when referencing the efficiency of gas-fired equipment: combustion efficiency and thermal efficiency. Understanding the basis for those terms will help you to better understand how to apply this equipment. Combustion efficiency is a measure of how effectively the heat content of the fuel is transferred into usable heat. With direct gas-fired equipment, since there is no flue, all of the energy generated from the combustion process is transferred into the space being heated. In that sense, the direct gas-fired equipment can be considered 100% combustion efficient. However, not all of the energy from combustion produces sensible heat, or heat that can be felt as a temperature difference and is applicable for offsetting the heat losses in the building. Another byproduct of the combustion process is water. The heat required to vaporize this water is referred to as latent heat. Approximately 8% of the energy from the combustion process is used in the vaporization of water. In that sense, the direct gas-fired equipment can be considered to have a 92% thermal efficiency. While the latent heat is not considered usable for convective heating, it can be considered beneficial. The heating equipment is operating during periods when the outside air is colder. The colder outdoor air has less capacity to hold moisture, which results in lower specific humidity conditions (i.e. drier air) both outdoors and indoors. This is why many people use humidifiers indoors during the winter. The water vapor from the combustion process increases the specific humidity of the air delivered to the building through the heater. Since most buildings without other sources of moisture indoors have lower humidity levels during the winter, the additional water vapor from the combustion process can be beneficial to the indoor air quality conditions. There are currently no standards for testing nor agencies certifying the efficiency of direct gas-fired heaters. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) specifies in standards ANSI Z83.4 and ANSI Z83.18 that the conversion from sensible to total heat for direct gas-fired heaters is 0.92 (92%). This is based solely on the chemistry of the combustion process, since there are no other losses. So is direct gas-fired equipment 92% or 100% efficient? The answer is…Yes! It just depends on how you define it. If you have any questions or need to provide documentation on the efficiency of direct gas-fired heaters please feel free to contact the Applications Engineering department here at Cambridge and we will be happy to help.