HPAC Magazine

The Magic Kingdom of HVAC/R: ASHRAE Orlando 2016

March 1, 2016   Adam

I was in Orlando for the seven day ASHRAE Winter Conference held in parallel with the three day AHR Expo. It was neither sunny nor warm and lived up to its winter billing. For readers who have not been, the AHR event is generally focused on HVAC/R goods and services with education programs primarily targeted towards the technical trades and distribution network.
It is a strategic fit with the ASHRAE meetings, which are generally about research and Standards; with education programs targeted towards the architectural/engineering professions.  Between the two great events there is a lot for the 60000+ visitors to take in. Regrettably the tradeshow floor had my attention for only a few minutes with the balance of my time in these following meetings: ASHRAE Standing Standard Project Committee 62.2 (SSPC 62.2), is responsible for, “Ventilation and Acceptable Indoor Air Quality in Low-Rise Residential Buildings.” Which means they have great debates over such things as unvented fireplaces. Yes, believe it or not, such products are permitted south of the border. Rather than give you the gory details of what happened I will direct you to Allison A. Bailes III, Ph.D., who did great coverage in his Energy Vanguard blog, “Unvented Gas Appliance Industry Falls Flat at ASHRAE Meeting.”i Since these are so controversial there is a call for further research to examine their health, safety and performance. Personally, no professional I know would recommend an unvented fireplace in a home regardless of what the industry reports or what research reveals.
Kitchen range hoods were also on the agenda. From side bar discussions, LBNL researchers Singer and Stratton point out in 2014 that, “…only 5 of the 3694 range hoods listed in the HVI ventilation products directory (HVI 2013) have rated airflows for 62.5 Pa of static pressure.”ii   Meaning many sales people likely do not know what their hoods do under load and by extension do not know how they are actually performing in the field. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) is testing hoods and working on developing an ANSI range hood effectiveness Standard to which manufacturers can use to evaluate their products. Unfortunately the test method will not account for all installed variables.
SSPC 62.2 has a lot of very smart people in it and I like to spend my Fridays with them mainly because the really good ones get the importance of dedicated ventilation systems which radiant heating and cooling systems enable. A lot more took place but you will have to wait for the movie.
My second home at ASHRAE is SSPC 55, “Thermal Environmental Conditions for Human Occupancy.” We work on refining one of the most important Standards that ASHRAE publishes (IMHO). Highlights include the addition of a first ever window solar gain comfort calculation which users will see in the near future. Also, I am happy to report my three year role as chair of the Project Monitoring Sub Committee (PMSC) overseeing the development of the first ever Standard 55 User Manual is almost over. This manual should be available in the fall of this year.
The other big thing happening in SSPC 55 is the engagement of the residential sector. Many people still hold fast that Standard 55 is not applicable to residential buildings when in fact ASHRAE has officially ruled that it is; it is referenced by the residential IAQ Standard 62.2 and is listed as a residential resource in the ASHRAE website. So there you go, a left, right and under the chin for you naysayers! The best part is principles from Standard 55 were used in a first real public example from the U.S. National Association of Home Builders in the design of the coveted, “New American Home.”
As recently published; “The new direction also involved using a standard of indoor comfort rarely if ever seen in residential construction…In designing for maximum comfort, human metabolic rates for sitting, sleeping, and being active–while wearing either long sleeves or short sleeves–were closely examined. (D)esigning on the basis of comfort was a big philosophical change,…says Achilles Karagiozis, global director of building science at Owens Corning, supplier of the wall assembly…gigajoules don’t make people happy (C)omfort, sustainability, and lasting construction do…”iii  
Did you hear that? That was a big Calgary Yahoo! My motto, “design for people-good buildings will follow” scores another touch down.
If I have an ASHRAE Alma Mater it is T.C. 6.5 “Radiant Heating and Cooling.” The legacy of greats runs deep in that group with some of the world’s best radiant engineers, academics and system manufacturers. We had a sneak preview at the latest radiant modelling tool research project RP-1176. This is an extension to RP-1383.iv Put those together and what you have is $300,000 invested in useful design tools. Of epic-grand scale interest is T.C. 6.5’s participation with colleagues from Denmark, Netherlands, Korea, India, U.S. and Canada as we discussed the Center for the Built Environments’ $3.2 million dollar radiant cooling and heating research project. It is a multi-year project that will include laboratory work at the new LBNL Flex Labs plus a review and study of fifty installed commercial radiant cooling and heating systems.
As an ASHRAE Learning Institute liaison, I am working with T.C. 7.4 “Exergy Analysis for Sustainable Buildings” to develop an Exergy 101 Short Course, in the meantime the program chair is looking for case studies of high eXergy efficient buildings such as Manitoba Hydro Place or the Dageforde Residence.V Both are radiant conditioned award winning projects featured in ASHRAE publications. If you have a high eXergy efficient project that you want to publicize let me know.
One of the best parts of my job is to mentor to some of the best young minds in industry. Here I got to see one of my students, Uponor’s Aaron Stotko, talk fluid fundamentals with the best of them at the T.C.6.1 “Hydronic and Steam Equipment and Systems” meeting. T.C. 6.1 is responsible for many chapters in the ASHRAE Handbooks and over the years has done excellent research work. As an aside, Stotko is a new recipient of the Radiant Professional Alliance – Hydronics Industry’s Future Leaders’ Award given out to the under 30 crowd.
I do not always make the T.C. 2.1 “Physiology and Human Environment” meetings but I am glad I did. The two discussions that had my attention addressed sleeping rooms and whether ASHRAE should be involved in this subject matter; and whether temperature and humidity should be set aside when defining IAQ. The former is important because sleeping spaces provide for rest and rejuvenation, which affects the next day’s work productivity and academic learning. The latter (which was a side bar), has some merit in retrospect…it has kept me thinking for the past several days.   
It is always great to meet with the ASHRAE Cold Climate Design Guide group populated by several fellow Canadians. This new ASHRAE Bookstore publication came out of the Seventh International Cold Climate HVAC Conference held in Calgary back in 2012. The group is now pulling together an ASHRAE lecture series and content for its web site.
Current ASHRAE President and fellow Canadian T. David Underwood, P.Eng., invited me to participate in the new ASHRAE Residential Building Committee where I will be lending my skills and talents to fulfil its Scope and Purpose, while ensuring hybrid radiant based HVAC systems along with thermal comfort principles establish a place within ASHRAE’s residential initiatives. On a macro scale it is very important to see the 55000+ members of ASHRAE as residential assets and partners with existing industry Institute’s and Associations. The organization carries influence and gathers respect throughout the HVAC world and is opening up its resources to one of the most important market segments. Let me know if you have an interest in this development and I will direct you to the appropriate persons.
The above is just a very small snap shot from one man’s perspective. It is when you join up with those of like mind that the real stuff happens and right now really good stuff is happening at ASHRAE.
 
Robert Bean, who is president of Indoor Climate Consultants Inc., is a Registered Engineering Technologist in building construction through the Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta and a Professional Licensee in mechanical engineering through the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta. He has served two terms as an ASHRAE distinguished lecturer, serves on ASHRAE committees TC 6.1 (Hydronics), TC 6.5 (Radiant), TC 7.4 (Exergy) and SSPC 55 (Thermal Comfort) and is a recipient of ASHRAE’s Lou Flagg Award.
References
    i    http://www.energyvanguard.com/blog-building-science-hers-bpi/unvented-gas-appliance-industry-falls-flat-at-ashrae-meeting
    ii    Singer, B.C., Stratton, J.C. 2014. Addressing Kitchen Contaminants for Healthy Low-Energy Homes. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. 2014 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings
<http://aceee.org/files/proceedings/2014/data/papers/1-802.pdf>
    iii    Albert, A. 2016. The New American Home 2016. Professional Builder.
<http://www.probuilder.com/new-american-home-2016-0>
    iv    ASHRAE Research Project 1383: Develop a Radiant System Module for the Simulation and Analysis of Spaces and Systems <http://www.healthyheating.com/ASHRAE_1383.htm
    v    Dageforde, D. 2014. Residential Energy Efficiency. ASHRAE Journal, vol. 56, no. 8, August 2014.
Author’s note: Views are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of ASHRAE.

What wowed me at AHR/ASHRAE
 
“AHR 2016 stood out for attendance numbers and number of registrants/attendees from Canada. I had discussions with visitors related to hydronics–we all observed that there seemed to be less interest and exhibits related to hydronics than in the past. The level of sophistication and technological innovation seemed much higher than at past shows and this seemed more ubiquitous, meaning we have truly begun to embrace it in a meaningful way. ”
      Mark Evans
HPAC columnist, Viega Director of Sales – Canada

“Lots of visitors from all over the Americas and several new manufacturers of PP-R pipes entering NA. My favourite part was the RPA social event in honour of Dan Holohan, with so many hydronic legends in attendance.”
Lance MacNevin, P.Eng.
Director of engineering – Building & Construction Division|Conduit Division
The Plastics Pipe Institute

Siggy’s top three product picks:
1. The KelitPEX115R from Urecon is a pre-insulated PEX tubing for underground heat distribution with a kevlar jacketing around the PEX allowing operating temperatures up to 115C (239F) at pressures up to 230 psi.
2. International Waste Water Systems, Inc.’s Piranha Wastewater recovery system is a device that holds about 300 gallons of waste water directly from six inch building sewerage line.  It uses a refrigeration system to extract heat from the waste water and uses that heat for providing domestic hot water up to 160F.  R-134a refrigerant, 160000 Btuh heating capacity.
3. The Ray Magic Panel from Messana Radiant Cooling is a four foot by eight foot sheet of 1/2″ drywall with PEX tubing and 1.5″ foam backside insulation all assembled into a single panel that can be screwed to ceiling framing, finished in the same manner as conventional drywall and quickly connected to the piping in adjacent panels. It can be used for radiant heating or cooling. Based in Italy, the company offers complete controls for the system. The product is distributed in North America from a stocking location in California.
John Siegenthaler, P.E.
HPAC columnist
Principal, Appropriate Designs

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