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BS* + Beer

The BS* + Beer Show: A Look at Refrigerants

Rethinking our HVAC systems and the compounds that make them run

AC refrigerant level check

This episode of the BS* + Beer show is a discussion around refrigerants with Jon Harrod, owner of Snug Planet, and Bryan Orr, founder of the HVAC School. Jon shares an information-rich 10-minute presentation that includes a brief history of refrigerant transitions. Topics of conversation include: how refrigerants work in a closed system; specifics of R-410A, HFCs, and “short-lived climate pollutants;” the mission to make HVAC equipment self-contained and leak proof; storing refrigerants; latent heat evaporization and condensation; the idea of using ammonia and propane to replace current and yet-to-come refrigerants; CO2 as a refrigerant; and a bevy of ideas that challenge how we think about refrigerants today.

Enjoy the show!


NOTE: In lieu of Thanksgiving, the next episode won’t be until December 2 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. ET. The topic is “High-Performance Business Models.” Join us for a session about building successful triple-bottom-line construction, architecture, and design/build businesses with guests Mel Baiser and Kate Stephenson from HELM Construction Solutions, and John Abrams and Deirdre Bohan from South Mountain Company. In addition to their experience with their own companies, Kate and John are both facilitators with NESEA’s Building Energy Bottom Lines program, which supports 60 companies throughout New England. The four of them will share some of the lessons they’ve learned.

Use this link to register for The BS* + Beer Show


Mel Baiser is partner and strategic director at HELM Construction Solutions. Mel has extensive experience in the construction industry, both in the field as a carpenter and weatherization installer and in the office as a project manager and estimator. Mel came into the trades after working as a community organizer and social justice activist. A 7th generation Vermonter from a family of builders and farmers, Mel has also lived on the West Coast and in Central America. Motivated by working for climate justice, sustainable community development, healthy, efficient and affordable homes, Mel returned to their roots in Vermont in 2010 and lives in Brattleboro with their wife and son. Mel is a founding member of Lost River Racial Justice and an active participant in the Southern-VT based Sustainable Energy Outreach Network (SEON). In addition to a BA in Sociology from Linfield College, Mel holds a certificate in Construction Management from California State University, East Bay. They have been a BPI Certified Professional, a Passive House U.S. Certified Builder and are currently enrolled in the iPEC professional coaching certification. Mel is a bilingual Spanish speaker and enjoys martial arts, music, running and hiking.

Kate Stephenson is partner and CFO/COO at HELM Construction Solutions. Kate is an experienced leader in the fields of green building, professional education, sustainability, and business management. She’s worked with established and emerging businesses and non-profits to achieve triple bottom line metrics, develop business systems, and plan for a dynamic and resilient future. She has deep experience in post-secondary education, and led the Yestermorrow Design/Build School for over thirteen years. Kate helped to develop and is a facilitator for NESEA’s BuildingEnergy Bottom Lines program. Kate is a Senior Fellow of the Environmental Leadership Program, the Chair of the Montpelier Energy Advisory Committee, and serves on the Boards of the Vermont Council on Rural Development, NESEA and the Studio for High Performance Design and Construction. She is a Passive House U.S. Certified Builder and a QuickBooks Certified ProAdvisor. She holds a MS in Management from Antioch University New England and a BA in Anthropology and Environmental Science from Haverford College.

John Abrams is CEO and co-founder of South Mountain Company. For 45 years, John has devoted himself to creating, nurturing, and growing SMCo and a variety of public initiatives. These days, he concentrates on building capacity for the 2022 transition and sharing his expertise with others. John’s book Companies We Keep: Employee Ownership and the Business of Community and Place, was published by Chelsea Green Publishing in 2008. That faraway look in his eye means he’s either at a higher elevation, gliding through deep powder, or thinking about his beloved family (or Kim), or imagining what comes next for South Mountain.

Deirdre Bohan is COO and co-owner of South Mountain Company. Deirdre was born and raised in Europe and spent childhood summers in Vineyard Haven on Cape Cod. After graduating from Brown University, with a degree in Computer Science, she returned to the island to work a variety of jobs before settling at South Mountain. Since joining the team in 1995, she has inhabited a variety of roles, including but not limited to: bookkeeper, founder of our interiors department, chair of our management committee, and COO.


Kiley Jacques is senior editor at Green Building Advisor. She can be reached at [email protected]. Image credit: Phyxter Home Services,


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