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New Mexico's VRF Lab: Sustainability and Training for a Decarbonized Future

Discover the story behind New Mexico's VRF Lab, a state-of-the-art training facility created by Trane and SMART Local Union 49 to provide comprehensive VRF and BAS training.

Networking Sparks Innovation

Trane® Area Contracting Manager Larry Anderson was actively networking in the community, seeking to identify the needs and raise awareness of Trane by Trane Technologies, a leader in climate solutions products. His goal was to help increase knowledge and provide training that maximizes the impact of skilled professionals in the market. During one of these efforts, he engaged in a conversation with Sheet Metal, Air, Rail & Transportation (SMART) Local Union 49 Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (LU 49 JATC) President Chuck Lee about the evolving potential of Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) technology and Building Automation Systems (BAS) in the region.

“It’s an exciting high-efficiency technology, but also highly technical," said Anderson. "Special certification is required to install or maintain it, and previously, there was nowhere within a hundred miles to receive such training."



A Vision for VRF and BAS Training in Albuquerque

“SMART had its own training facility in Albuquerque,” Anderson recalled. “During a recent tour, I noticed some available space next to their existing training labs. It occurred to me: what if we established a VRF and Building Automation Systems training lab right there? Trainees could then acquire all necessary certifications in one convenient location.”

This realization marked the beginning of a significant development. Trane and SMART Local 49 initiated the creation of an apprenticeship program centered around a state-of-the-art training lab. This lab features the latest VRF technology and Trane control systems, designed to help maximize energy efficiency and building operability.

Celebrating the Lab's Launch

On April 16th, representatives from SMART LU 49 JATC, Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC US (METUS), and Trane convened in Albuquerque for the ribbon-cutting and a guided tour of the facility. The lab was equipped with the latest VRF technology, including Trane® / Mitsubishi Electric VRF and ductless systems, such as the Nv & P Series Mini-Splits, Trane® / SMART MULTI® Multi-Zoned Heat Pumps, Trane® / CITY MULTI® VRF, and HVRF Heat Recovery Systems.


Hands-On Training and Technical Development

The launch of this facility also commenced the apprenticeship program. The curriculum is comprehensive, designed to equip apprentices and industry professionals with the skills to design, install, and maintain VRF and BAS systems in a collaborative environment under the guidance of field experts. This initiative directly aligns with Trane’s commitment to sustainability, offering standardized, resource-efficient training to maximize the impact of advanced technology for a sustainable future.

Area General Manager Zully De La Pava Torrado remarked, “Offering standardized, resource-efficient training maximizes the impact of advanced technology, aligning with Trane Technologies’ vision for a sustainable future.”

A Hub for New Mexico's Brightest Talent

Today, the lab stands as a hub for HVAC systems and Building Automation Systems technical development in the region, attracting New Mexico's brightest talents in the field.

“With this lab, we are fostering a community of skilled professionals equipped to handle this crucial new technology,” Anderson explained. “This initiative perfectly aligns with Trane Technologies’ broader sustainability and decarbonization strategy. Serving as a developmental hub, the lab prepares New Mexico’s workforce to excel. It’s a remarkable outcome of a simple conversation between two committed individuals. We look forward to its continued success for many years to come!”

Learn More About VRF Technology and Training

For more information about potential training opportunities, contact the Albuquerque, NM Trane® office.