To stay relevant, industries and businesses alike must constantly reinvent themselves. For the sheet metal industry, this reinvention comes in the form of expanding its services to include phenolic board.

Used to make duct work more energy-efficient, phenolic board is pre-insulated, so there is no particulate matter, is lighter to transport and decreases energy consumption over the life of the building.

Phenolic board is thermally efficient and fabricated, using non-fibrous modified resin rigid thermoset insulation panels. It not only cuts energy costs but provides a reduction in air leakage. Replacing traditional glass fiber-insulated sheet metal ductwork with phenolic board decreases air leakage by up to 80%, and up to 30% less embodied energy is required for operation. “The guys in the field really like the product because it’s light and easy to install,” said Ralph Carver of McDonald Air and Sheet Metal, Inc. in Orlando. “It’s the next generation of product.”

To stay ahead of this emerging market, the International Training Institute (ITI) for the sheet metal and air conditioning industry is offering members of the Sheet Metal Workers International Association (SMWIA) the ability to update their skills – and thereby increase their career opportunities – with two three-day courses from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 21-23 and March 24-26 at Local #33 JATC in Cleveland, OH. The course is open to members in good standing from all over the country. The course is free, and funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and members need only pay for their transportation and room and board.

Recent innovations and developments, like phenolic board, have changed the way the HVAC market specifies ductwork systems. Energy use is under constant scrutiny, and building and energy codes are more stringent while costs remain under pressure. The demand for energy-reducing solutions has increased in recent years, and the gap between design and actual performance is closing. As a result, building products are dramatically improving to satisfy the changing demands of the HVAC industry and individual business. “Phenolic board doesn’t just let me sell to more customers,” said Fran Lanciaux of Commercial Comfort Systems, Inc., Toledo, OH. “It lets me sell more to the customers I have.”

Phenolic board also allows contractors another option for their clients. As many contractors bid on new and renovation projects that demand higher energy efficiency, competent workers are needed who understand new materials and emerging technology.

“It provides life cycle savings to the client while offering my company the opportunity to be more diverse and more profitable,” said Lance Herlong of National Sheet Metal Company in Jacksonville, FL.

To register for the courses in phenolic board, visit sheetmetal-iti.org or call 703-739-7200.