Students set to study HVACR security and indoor air quality.

ATLANTA - Twenty-six grants, totaling approximately $100,000, have been awarded by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers to colleges and universities worldwide in order to promote the study and teaching of HVACR issues.

ASHRAE's Student Activities Committee received 41 applications for its 2005 senior undergraduate program, a 20 percent increase over last year, officials said. Grants ranging from $1,725 to $5,000 are awarded.

Pennsylvania State University is one school that will benefit from a grant. The Penn State HVACR program will receive a new lab, which will include an air-handling unit, two window air-conditioning units, a small heat pump, low-differential pressure instruments and manometers, carbon dioxide meters and volatile organic compound meters.

According to representatives from the university, juniors majoring in architectural engineering are exposed to HVACR equipment primarily through lectures, a few site visits and weekly classes where problems are solved on paper. Because of the lack of hands-on experience, the field loses students to other careers.

Several other universities are benefiting from the grant. The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga will use its new funds for an energy-recovery demonstration module, while Trinity University in San Antonio will purchase a refrigeration-testing laboratory unit.