The Thermal Environmental Comfort Association is a BC-registered, not-for-profit society started in 2006. It is the successor organization to HVCI (The Heating Ventilating and Cooling Industry Association of BC) and RHWHA (The Residential Hot Water Heating Association of BC). TECA represents forced air and hot water (hydronic) contractors in the residential heating, ventilating and cooling industry. The association's volunteer board and technical committees have a 20-year history of training, participation in provincial policy issues, and commitment to standards and certification through their involvement as former HVCI and RHWHA members.
The two associations began a dialogue with the provincial Industry Training Authority (ITA) and the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources (MEMPR) regarding the need for training in the residential heating trade. The establishment of a provincial certification, training program and apprenticeship (Certified Heating Technician) was proposed for trade members who install heating and ventilation systems in BC. Moving this goal forward was one of the primary reasons for the amalgamation of the two associations into one organization representing both the forced air and hydronic sides of the industry.
The Heating Ventilating and Cooling Industry Association of BC (HVCI) came into being in 1993 as a result of the BC Chapter of the national HRAI organization developing and administering a province-wide training course on the unique BC Building Code, Section 9.32 Ventilation requirements. In 1992, the national HRAI association announced its intention to replace ventilation training in the province of BC with its own program based on the National Building Code (NBC). The executive of the BC Chapter vigorously resisted, as the ventilation requirements of the warm coastal climate in BC are not addressed in the NBC. When negotiations fell apart in the fall of 1993, all but two members of the executive elected to form the provincial organization HVCI and continue to offer the made-in-BC course.
Over time, HVCI developed not only the the Quality First™ Ventilation Guidelines but also the Forced Air Guidelines training courses and companion software for residential and light commercial use. Both ventilation and forced air training courses were delivered province-wide. Additionally, HVCI participated in British Columbia Utility Commission (BCUC) Hearings and Rulings as a registered "interested party", maintained an active dialogue with the BC Building Policy Branch with respect to BC Building Code wording of code requirements, participated in BOABC (Building Officials Association of BC) training, education and conferences, and assisted many BC municipalities regarding enforcement issues and certification databases for our training courses. The association also published the HEAT BC newsletter.
In 1987, a meeting between industry members and City of Richmond inspectors resulted in the formation of the Hydronics Advisory Committee, whose task was to develop a formal set of guidelines on the correct installation of radiant (hot water) heating systems, and a process whereby inspectors could easily check that installations complied with the Advisory Committee's recommendations.
The first issue of the Guidelines for the Design and Installation of Hot Water Heating Systems was published in June of 1988. At that time the City of Richmond adopted the Guidelines for inspection purposes so they could provide homeowners with some level of assurance that their system was installed properly. The need to update, add to and revise the Guidelines over time was recognized from the beginning. Following the publication of the 3rd edition in December of 1993, the Hydronics Advisory Committee decided to form a fully recognized not-for-profit trade society to carry on their work. The industry had a recognized voice in the development of future guidelines, codes and training for the industry. The Residential Hot Water Heating Association of BC (RHWHA) was registered in February of 1994, and the Hydronics Advisory Committee became the Technical Committee of the newly-formed association.
RHWHA continued the work of the Hydronics Advisory Committee's original mandate, developing the Hydronic System Design Manual in 1995, and the Hydronic Technician certificate program with the BCIT Piping Department, to train on the installation of residential hydronic heating systems. RHWHA created and maintained the Hydronic Systems Designers database, which had grown to 320 registered individuals by the time RHWHA and HVCI amalgamated in May of 2006.