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Viega seminars educate and motivate industry professionals in NYC


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October 21, 2015

On October 13 and 14, Viega sponsored two full-day seminars in New York City at the Residence Inn Marriot hotel.  The sessions explored two themes entitled Energy and Comfort Performance of Radiant Slab Systems and Pathogen Risk Reduction by Design, regarding water quality.

While learning alongside nearly 50 industry professionals from across the U.S. and under the guidance of Fred Bauman P.E. of the Center for the Built Environment, University of California, Berkeley, and Tim Keane, consulting engineer at Legionella Risk Management LLC, the unifying message of the seminars became clear; that often, unseen, yet integral components of a building’s structure, require ongoing research so that building codes can be reassessed and altered to create safer and more energy efficient environments.

Bauman’s seminar discussed one of three main types of radiant systems called Thermally Activated Building Systems (TABS). Bauman said that TABS have the ability to pre-cool buildings to reduce peak cooling loads and are widely accepted in Europe. “There is still a lack of familiarity of TABS in the building industry, which is why it’s so important to get the word out,” explained Bauman. North Americans also perceive a higher upfront cost, which Bauman explained, “is typically not the case.”

Bauman discussed Infosys, one of India’s top three software companies. In 2011, the company sought to find the best way to cool their buildings while using less energy. They created a symmetrical building that is a side-by-side comparison of radiant and VAV systems. Bauman’s research shows that the radiant system used 34 per cent less energy than the VAV system. In terms of thermal comfort, the radiant side also satisfied a higher percentage of employees.

On the second day of the seminars, Keane opened with a discussion about three recent Legionnaires’ Disease (LD) outbreaks in New York. “These outbreaks were all close together, and all in the same area,” he said, adding that LD is not an old or rare disease, in fact there has been a “huge increase in the past 10 years.”

Keane said that LD outbreaks occur most frequently in hotels, apartment buildings and medical care facilities and have been sourced to aerosols including cooling towers, showers, decorative fountains, ice machines and more. Interestingly, he said it is often newer facilities that host LD outbreaks, which Keane believes is a direct result of a roughly four sinks to one patient ratio in the case of hospitals. Keane said that if water is not run through all lines, water remains stagnant in the pipes, and bacteria can breed.

“I love series systems, and I hate parallel systems,” said Keane regarding water systems in buildings. “We all know, no one uses the showers in hospitals, so with a series set up, when water in the sink is turned on, it also runs to the showers, and flushes them out.”

Keane explained that in order to meet scalding codes, hand-washing stations are kept between 85F and 110F, which according to Keane, is an ideal temperature for Legionella bacteria growth. He said in order to prevent Legionella, the hot water temperature must be 125F or above at point of use, however Keane thinks 130F would be more acceptable.

Viega will sponsor another educational seminar by Bauman on Energy and Comfort Performance of Radiant Slab Systems in San Francisco on November 3, 2015. There are plans for more seminars in 2016 but the dates have not been selected. To learn more about outbreaks associated with potable water systems, look for Tim Keane’s article in HPAC October at hpacmag.com.


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