Education chairman Joe Coppola of the Hydronics Institute (HI), Division of the Gas Appliance Manufacturers Association (GAMA) announced January at the AHR Expo in Chicago that this is the year the I=B=R training seminars will return to the industry.

The schools, which began more than 50 years ago and have presented over 1,500 training seminars to 60,000 students, had been put on hold in 1995 when attendance dropped significantly. Around the same time, HI joined with GAMA and a commitment was made to change I=B=R's curriculum. With the addition of "Guide 2000," a heating installation and design textbook created with the help of the current 65 manufacturing members of the group, the training is ready to hit the road again.

HI plans to run 30-40 schools a year in cities around the country. A two-day course on installation and design of residential systems is first. A course on commercial and special installation applications is intended, but not this year.

At the show, it was announced that classes would be held late April, early May, but as of this writing no specific dates were available. HI hopes to offer more classes in late spring and fall of this year. Cost for attending the school is $395 and includes the textbook "Guide 2000."

"I=B=R's content will be controlled carefully by GAMA and HI," said Coppola. "And in conjunction with RSES it will be managed and taught by industry experts."

The first instructor introduced was Jim Roche of Burnham Corp., who gave an overview of the contents of "Guide 2000" at the show.

"How do you sell hydronic heat to customers?" Roche asked the audience. "A manufacturer's primary concern is to bring you a better product, to try and be competitive and get a bigger market share. But that necessarily doesn't expand the market. Training is definitely a good way to expand the market."

Details about dates and locations will be posted as they become available. For further information about I=B=R, HI, GAMA or "Guide 2000," visit the GAMA Web site at