Those beautiful old ‘50s and ‘60s cars in Cuba stand out. They still look great because Cubans have no choice but to keep them running and in good condition. What would they be driving if new cars were an option?

An interesting way to answer that question is by examining the John Henry's Plumbing, Heating, Air, and Electrical’s 1954 Chevrolet panel truck that’s been restored to new condition. It looks great. People comment that it’s “so cool”, but there is more to the story.

That ’54 Chevy panel truck is not easy to drive. It has the original style of suspension and provides a “feel” of the road, as in the feel of every single bump. It tends to wander a little by basic nature. The 3-speed shift on the column and 6-cylinder engine make it painfully slow. The vacuum-driven windshield wipers are better than nothing.

That panel truck runs well, but the exhaust stinks. Environmentally it’s marginal. Gas mileage is low. Nostalgia brings back memories for many, but it’s nothing like vehicles today.

Back to the question regarding the choice to drive those cars in Cuba; it’s fairly obvious that if given a choice, those cars would probably be replaced. The Cuban snapshot in time is interesting, but the reality is technology has leaped ahead dramatically. In time, the streets in Cuba may be lined with sleek new cars that provide safety, efficiency, and comfort!

Technology has moved us forward and improved vehicles in so many ways. Most of the improvements are the result of computer technology. Computers changed the world around us.

Computers are utilized in almost every function in the automotive industry from building vehicles to operation and maintenance. Newer vehicles with touch screens on the dash have options from backup cameras to total temperature comfort. Driving information is available at a glance.

Just like in the automotive industry, the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, (HVAC) industry changed steadily as a result of computer technology. New HVAC equipment is safer, more efficient, healthier, and provides better comfort. We have incredible choices today, but those choices are not as obvious as those in the automotive industry that are readily visible. HVAC technology needs to be proudly shared.

For instance, it’s possible to get 350% efficiency from a heat pump! The 2015 L.E.S. Sustainable Energy Program and manufacturer rebates make heat pumps very affordable. The air from heat pumps today is very comfortable; gone are the cold blasts from the past.

Technology changed air filtration too. We can’t see our air, but it’s disgusting. Why not remove allergens, pet dander, dust, etc., before they are filtered in your lungs and end up in your organs or bloodstream?

Air filtration can remove up to 99.98% of impurities rather than the 40% a standard air filter removes. Do you need to take allergy medications or could responsible air filtration make a difference?

We cannot see harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in homes and businesses, but VOCs are there from all the chemicals. Fresh air can dilute VOCs, but it needs to go through a properly designed HVAC system to be filtered properly first. Opening a window lets in more pollutants that are not directly filtered.

Our health also depends on proper humidity levels. Technology today allows 30% to 50% levels to provide a healthier environment.

Truthful HVAC technology advertising is extremely important so the right decisions can be made. Beware of recent false advertising from out-of-state companies that fail to tell the whole story. There are no shortcuts to consistent heating, air filtration, and humidification other than a properly designed HVAC system. When in doubt it’s better to ask hometown experts that truly care about your health!

Computer technology allows total control of setting temperatures and humidity set points. They can be checked and adjusted from your smartphone. It’s comforting to know the temperature in your home is at a safe point during cold winters.

That John Henry's Plumbing, Heating, Air, and Electrical’s ‘54 Chevy panel truck is a nostalgic reminder of the past. It was a plumbing service truck in ’54 and has always been in a “plumbing” family. It’s retired and used only for car shows or parades. Technology has made it obsolete because there are much better options.

The same holds for HVAC systems. We are more “driven” than ever by comfort, health, and efficiency.

Will 2015 be the year that we concentrate more on our health? Technology is on our side. It’s up to us to make the necessary improvements!

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