The life & times of an HVAC Engineer











I’m Chloe Agg (nee Richards), and I’m a Building Services Engineer for the Process Engineering company WSP CEL.

I design air conditioning & piped services like steam, hot & cold water and compressed air for the pharmaceutical factories where medication such as flu vaccinations that help keep vulnerable young and elderly people alive through winter is made. It’s my job to make sure the environment is clean enough for the vaccine to be made safely, and that the vaccine is sufficiently contained not to give everyone outside the flu!

I also work in food & consumer, chemicals and energy. A few highlights of my career so far have been; working on the pilot plant where the official Queen’s chocolate is made, flying to France to see chewing-gum being made, and designing the ventilation in whiskey distilleries to make sure the place doesn’t explode!

Last but not least I’m one of the women on the “Ingenious Women” project being run by the UKRC and funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering so I’m doing everything I can to promote women in engineering in order to inspire more young people to choose a career in engineering…from school visits to twitter, and blogging to radio interviews. Get in touch if you’d like to know more.

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Pete says:

Great Blog, like the graphics and content. Keep up the good work.



geekchloe says:

Thank-you!

I can’t take credit for the graphics, they’re one of the standard wordpress themes. I was lucky enough to find one with a woman who actually looks fairly like me though.

Glad you like the content. Keep reading, and if you meet anyone on your travels with an interest in engineering or whose kids/students should be considering a career in engineering then please spread the word about my blog!



Marie says:

Hi there-
I just recently got a job in the HVAC as a owning experience manager and sales rep.. I am wonderful with people but dumb when it comes to HVAC systems. Where do I start? They are putting me through training but I doubt it will make sense unless I read up on it by myself. Do you have any book ideas? Thanks.



geekchloe says:

Hi Marie,
I would recommend the CIBSE journal website & the MBS website as both of these have articles and CPD (continued professional development) topics which I believe you can access for free. If you prefer books I would recommend Fred Hall’s HVAC handbooks. Good luck!



Nirav Mehta says:

HI I m Nirav here, have done mechanical engineering from bombay university, and M.Sc in eng manufacturing management with merit from coventry university.
currently working as a sales manager in energy sector but i want to get back to my own field and i found building services is very intresting.
what i need to do to start a career at building services from scratch, pls guide me,it will help me a lot.(please reply me on my email, if possible)
Regards
Nirav



Nirav Mehta says:

oh i m sorry, i forget to tell you that your blog is simply superb,very informative and intersting. like to read it,keep going…:)



Hello Chloe,

I find it is very inspiring and refreshing to see another woman in STEM. Keep up the wonderful writing and work to encourage women and youngsters into such a challenging yet rewarding field!

-TechGirl09-



geekchloe says:

Hi TechGirl09,

Thanks for reading, I’m glad you enjoyed it! I certainly find it easy to keep on doing the engagement & ambassadorial work knowing that there are other inspiring tech women out there doing the same thing, so it’s lovely to have found you. Keep up the good work!

Chloe



Chris says:

Hi Chloe – good to find a blog with a personal touch from an engineer’s viewpoint. I am an HVAC engineer in Canada working in the commercial building consulting industry. Check out my blog for another take on the world of engineering. http://logicalengineer.blogspot.ca/

Take care,
Chris



Victor says:

Hi Chloe,

I am planning to move-up my career in HVAC design. My engineering background is mechanical, my work experience is cad design of custom fridges (cabinets of various length, width and depth). So far that is the closest thing I am in refrigeration, and miles away in my HVAC know-how. If I will come to work with you on Monday next week, what things should I know to be of “useful” in the work place? I know experience is a great teacher, but somehow I should be learning the basic, so I can start running when I hit the ground. I hope you can give me the reality of what you expect. I plan to apply for work in an HVAC firm. I’m digging the internet for useful knowledge, in that way I have the chance to be employed.

Thanks,
Victor from New Zealand



geekchloe says:

Hi Victor,

It’s a great idea to grow your HVAC knowledge before joining the industry, that should really help demonstrate your interest and committment to potential future employers. HVAC really is a massive area, so it’s very hard to give you a shortlist of useful things to know. It partly depends on what sort of buildings you’d like to be involved with and in which country (as local climate, and energy legislation, plays a big part).

I would suggest learning about any energy/carbon/emissions legislation in New Zeland (or wherever you would like to work), and I would suggest reading the CPD (continuous professional development) modules, and any other articles interest to you, in Building Services journals. Try http://www.cibsejournal.com and http://www.modbs.co.uk/. I would also suggest trying to learn how to use a psychrometric chart.

Good luck!

Chloe



Victor says:

Thanks heaps. Great blog. Will visit again.



Hi Chloe, I’m currently in my last year in college, taking a 5 year engineering tech degree and my technical electives are HVAC design, energy management and computer aided design (including machine design I & II). I’ve taken all the required thermal fluid science courses that serve as prerequisites for the HVAC design course. My question is this, what position am I likely to be considered for in a company such as yours? I’m asking this because my degree is a tech degree and even though it’s more inclined to HVAC engineering than lets say a pure engineering degree, I may still be regarded as a technician even though I’m capable enough to be involved in the engineering part of the process and also to be regarded as one.
I thought I should ask since you are an engineer that’s currently out there working in the field.



geekchloe says:

Hi Tobi,

In my experience it is less the specific subjects covered by your degree (so long as it is an engineering degree!) that influence your potential position in a company, and more the quality of your degree, but more importantly to distinguish between an engineering role vs a technician’s role is your ability to communicate clearly, make decisions and write reports/specifications clearly. My degree was in Mechanical Engineering, and was quite general, with very little HVAC covered but I was still recruited as a Graduate HVAC Engineer so there is no reason your degree’s elective subjects should stop you. Good luck!



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