History of the National Capital Chapter (NCC)

of the

American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and

Air-Conditioning Engineers, Inc. (ASHRAE)

 Updated: January 3, 2005


Founding of the Chapter

The Washington, DC Chapter of the American Society of Heating and Ventilating Engineers (ASHVE) was charted on September 24, 1935.  The Baltimore - Washington Section of the American Society of Refrigerating Engineers (ASRE) was charted on May 23, 1939.  These two organizations existed side-by-side for the next twenty years, until they merged in 1959.  In 1955, the name ASHVE was changed to American Society of Heating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHAE).  The beginning of merged activities was April of 1959 with the consolidation of the Washington, DC Chapter of ASHAE and the National Capital (Baltimore - Washington) Section of ASRE.

The name “National Capital Chapter” was first used in 1960.  The first use of the title “Capitalaire” for the Chapter newsletter was in 1957.

Thanks to the Chapter’s location at the seat of the U.S. Government and to the hard work of its membership committees, the Chapter has grown to become one of the largest chapters in the Society with nearly 1000 members.

The National Capital Chapter is located in Region III of ASHRAE and has geographical boundaries that include Washington, DC, seven counties of Maryland, fifteen counties in Virginia, and seven counties of West Virginia.

Recipients of Society Honors and Awards

The National Capital Chapter has had many distinguished members, including Society Past Presidents Clint Phillips, James Hill, and James Wolf.

There are a number of Chapter members who have been honored with the Distinguished Service Award and designated as Fellows of Society

The Chapter as Host

In 1955, the Washington Chapter of ASHVE celebrated its Twentieth Anniversary throughout the year.  Society President John D. Haines spoke to the Chapter at its November 1955 meeting on the subject of “The Next Ten Years”.  The Chapter also hosted a joint meeting in February 1956 with the Baltimore - Washington Section of ASRE and the Baltimore Chapter of ASHVE, which was considered the Chapter’s twentieth birthday.  To climax the year, the Society held its Semi-Annual (Summer) meeting in Washington from June 18-20, 1956 at the Shoreham Hotel.

The National Capital Chapter hosted successful Society meetings in August 1971 and June 1983.  The former was held a week prior to an international meeting of the International Institute of Refrigeration.  At the time, many Chapter members were kept busy handling events for both meetings.

In the Fall of 1985, the Chapter celebrated its 50th Anniversary and hosted the Region III Chapters Regional Conference (CRC) in Alexandria, VA on September 26, 27 and 28.


The ASHRAE NCC archives reside at two locations.  The first archive is located at Metropolitan Equipment Group, 8625 Grovemont Circle Gaithersburg, MD 20877 where 1998-1999 Chapter President, Scott Raines, is employed. The second archive can be found at  Pierce Associates, Inc., 4216 Wheeler Avenue, Alexandria, VA  22304 where 1994-1995 Chapter President, Mike Hayes, was employed.  Kept in the archives is the framed ASRE Baltimore - Washington Section Charter dated May 23, 1939.  The Chapter banner with badges representing awards the Chapter has earned over the years is kept in the archives.

The Historian is currently recompiling and reconstituting the Chapter archives due to the recent loss of a series of historical records that previously resided at this site.

Chapter Tradition

Since the 1970s, the Chapter has met monthly on the second Wednesday of each month (except for a summer break) with both an early technical session and a second dinner speaker presentation.  Every year since 1990, a Trade Show event has taken place where services and products are exhibited.

The Chapter organizes an annual golf outing and once a year, a Past President’s Night is held.

The Chapter traditionally gets involved in National Engineers Week activities, and regularly conducts single topic seminars, special programs, and instructional classes.

Until the mid-1990s, a spring dinner dance which serves as the Presidential Inaugural Ball was held each year.  Since the 1970s, the Chapter has scheduled joint meetings with other associations such as the National Capital Hospital Engineering Society and the Baltimore Chapter of ASHRAE.

Chapter Activities and Achievements

Activities have expanded over the years to serve the needs identified in the Society’s plans.  The first student chapter charted from this area was the University of the District of Columbia Student Branch which had its first full year in 1985-1986.  Work has continued to establish other student branches.  Currently University of Maryland College Park (UMCP) and Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) continue their operation as active student chapters.

A scholarship fund was started in the early 1980’s which has grown to include a memorial fund feature.  Scholarships are awarded annually by the Chapter.

An active Government Affairs Committee has been involved both in local and national matters since its formation in 1985-1986.

The Chapter for fifteen years has been active in conducting energy conservation competition awards programs both locally and nationally with the Society.

Chapter Publications

The Chapter newsletter, “Capitalaire” has been issued regularly on a monthly basis since 1957.  For the past ten years, the Chapter had published in advance a schedule of its program and technical session meeting topics for the full year.  In 2004, the online version of the newsletter took place of a printed version of “Capitalaire”.

Since the 1960s, a membership roster and a manufacturers roster has been published annually.  In recent years, an annual two-volume document is published that includes the Chapter membership roster, some general Chapter information, a listing of manufacturers representatives with a product index and a manufacturers index, and a list of local engineering firms and code and utility offices.

Concluding Remarks

The single most outstanding characteristic of the Chapter is the willingness of so many of its members to support and work for the goals of the Chapter throughout its long history.