Shaping Tomorrow's Built Environment Today

2018 ASHRAE Annual Conference Tours

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  • General Tours

    Chinatown Culinary Tour
    Sunday, June 24
    9:45 a.m. – 2:45 p.m.

    Chinatown-Culinary-Tour-1-358x248.jpgThe Asian Culinary Tour and Taste Testing is an incredible experience. Guests will enjoy shopping at local Asian supermarkets and selecting the freshest ingredients for their meal.

    A guide will provide historical information on the tour to the supermarket about the area, Asian culture in Houston, etc. Guests will be taken to a local kitchen where a certified Chef will demonstrate and instruct meal preparations. After the delicious meal is prepared, guests will enjoy and taste test the ingredients they selected and prepared.

    A tasting at three difference cuisine locations is included.

    Houston Museum of Natural Science
    Sunday, June 24
    1:00 – 6:00 p.m.

    Houston-Museum-of-Natural-Science-Tour-1.jpgEnjoy a guided tour at of one of Houston’s most popular destinations and the fourth most visited museum in the country – The Museum of Natural Science.   The Museum's exhibit halls are host to a rich and diverse array of natural treasures and technological marvels. The world's finest collection of display-quality gems and minerals and an awesome array of dinosaur skeletons are only a few of the many first-class exhibitions at HMNS.

    While at the museum, experience one of the special traveling exhibits that frequent the museum.  The museum houses amazing permanent exhibitions, such as the Hall of Ancient Egypt, Cullen Hall of Gems and Minerals, Farish Hall of Texas Wildlife and many other interesting and fascinating exhibits.  The museum is also home to some other unique attractions including the IMAX Theater, Planetarium show and Cockrell Butterfly Center

    Museum of Fine Arts
    Monday, June 25
    2:15 – 6:15 p.m.

    The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) is one of the largest museums in the United States.  The permanent collection of the museum spans more than 6,000 years of history from six continents.  The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, houses an encyclopedic collection of more than 65,000 works of art created throughout the world, from antiquity to the present.

    The museum houses marvelous permeant collections, such as American painting and sculpture, Antiquities, Arts of Asia, European Art, Modern and Contemporary Art and many others. A guided tour of the traveling exhibit will also be available. The traveling exhibit will be determined closer to the conference dates.

    Space Center Houston Tour and Lunch
    Tuesday, June 26
    9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

    Space-Center-Tour-3-cropped.pngDo you know what the first word spoken on the moon was?  Do you know where the astronauts train? What is the future of space travel and exploration? 

    These   facts – as well as many great stories – will entertain you on the trip to Space Center Houston in Clear Lake.  Upon arrival, you will take group tour, view actual spacecraft, spacesuits, moon rocks and other artifacts.

    After exploring the Space Center Houston, you will take a private, guided tram tour of NASA’s Johnson Space Center which will take a look behind the scenes at Mission Control and where astronauts train for their next mission.

    The private open air tram will take you on a behind-the-scenes journey through NASA's Johnson Space Center, you may visit the Historic Mission Control Center, the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility or the current Mission Control Center. Before returning to Space Center Houston, you can visit the "all new" Saturn V Complex at Rocket Park. Occasionally, the tour may visit other facilities, such as the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory. You may even get to see astronauts training for upcoming missions.

    Lunch is included in the tour as well as a meet and greet with an astronaut and a souvenir mission patch. More information included below regarding the galleries that tour attendees will have access to while on the tour.

    Starship Gallery
    The journey into space begins with the film "On Human Destiny" at the Destiny Theater. Artifacts and hardware on display in the Starship Gallery trace the progression of America's Manned Space Flight. This incredible collection includes: an original model of the Goddard Rocket; the actual Mercury Atlas 9 "Faith 7" capsule flown by Gordon Cooper; the Gemini V Spacecraft piloted by Pete Conrad and Gordon Cooper; a Lunar Roving Vehicle Trainer, the Apollo 17 Command Module, the giant Skylab Trainer and the Apollo-Soyuz Trainer.

    Astronaut Gallery
    The Astronaut Gallery is an unparalleled exhibit outside Northrop Grumman Theater featuring the world's best collection of spacesuits. Astronaut John Young's ejection suit and Judy Resnik's T-38 flight suit are two of the many spacesuits on display.  The walls of the Astronaut Gallery also contain portraits and crew photos of every U.S. astronaut who has flown in space.

    The Feel of Space
    The Living in Space module simulates what life could be like for astronauts aboard the space station. A Mission Briefing Officer gives a live presentation on how astronauts live in a space environment. The presentation uses humor to show how the smallest tasks like showering and eating are complicated by a microgravity environment. A volunteer from the audience helps to prove the point.  Beyond the Living in Space Module are 24 part task trainers that use sophisticated computer technology to provide visitors with the experience of landing the orbiter, retrieving a satellite or exploring the shuttle systems.

    Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens Tour
    Tuesday, June 26
    1:00 – 5:00 p.m.

    Bayou-Bend-Tour-1-420x239.jpgOne of the Museum of Fine Arts' rarest treasures is the late Miss Ima Hogg's home, also known as Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens. Bayou Bend is a showcase for American antique furniture, decorative arts and elaborate gardens. Walking across the bayou on the suspended footbridge to view this 14-acre estate is like entering an impressionist landscape painting.

    The backyard of Ms. Hogg's home provides a lush, green entrance of sloping lawn — this is the territory of the rich and privileged. In addition to the display of wealth, there are no telephone or cable wires visible at Bayou Bend and no cityscape to spoil the views.

  • Technical Tours

    Enwave District Cooling Plant and Esperson Building (1929) Water Wall 1 Tour
    Sunday, June 24
    3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

    The EnwaveUSA District Energy Plant currently provides chilled water to twenty four buildings (approximately 6 million square feet of space) in downtown Houston. Join us and learn about the economies of scale and operational benefits of connecting to a large, diverse portfolio of users, as well as the potential to reduce the capital cost of developing an office building. The Union Station Plant began with service to Minute Maid Park in 1999 and has a capacity, at full build out, of 35,000 tons, a distribution system capacity of 80,000 tons and 5.45 miles of chilled water distribution piping in service. The plant utilizes multiple centrifugal and screw chillers, plus 2000 tons of ice building capacity. System reliability has been 100% since operation began. Tour host will include both the owner/ operator and the design engineer.

    On this same tour, we will also visit the Esperson Building, an example of Italian Renaissance architecture built in 1927 and one of Houston’s earliest buildings to receive air conditioning. Its unique architecture has served as backdrop for both Hollywood and Bollywood productions. If you’ve never seen an open-spray water-washer type cooling system- this is your chance. In fact, you will not only see it, but stand next to the open spray. From an HVACR perspective, Esperson is a particularly interesting building and its very-knowledgeable Owner’s representative will discuss the planned connection to the district cooling system, as well as the building’s relationship to the extensive downtown retail tunnel system and the challenges of moving an older building into state of- the-art systems. Just keep an eye out for the ghost of Mellie Esperson- said to appear occasionally in the building.

    Thermal Energy Corporation - Houston Medical Center Central Plant 
    Monday, June 25
    2:30 - 6:30pm

    Houston-based Thermal Energy Corporation (TECO) provides reliable, cost-effective and energy-efficient cooling and heating to institutions in the Texas Medical Center. Formed in 1969, TECO uses district energy and combined heat and power (CHP) technology to produce chilled water and steam, which is piped underground to more than 19 million square feet of customer buildings at 18 institutions. In 2015 TECO was a US EPA Energy Star Award recipient. We will tour the plant accompanied by design engineers and operators and learn about these systems:

    • 48 MW of electricity from its CHP system (plus 16 MW of standby generation)
    • 890,000 lb/hr of steam capacity (including the HRSG of the CHP system)
    • 120,170 tons of CHW capacity (including its 8.8 Mgal, 70,000 ton-hr CHW TES tank)
    • 7.5 trench miles of steam piping (2 to 16" diameter)
    • 7.5 trench miles of CHW piping (6 to 60" diameter)

    NRG Park (home of the NFL Texans) Stadium and Central Plant Tour

    Tuesday, June 26
    1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

    NRG Park is Houston's premier sports, convention, tradeshow, and consumer show and entertainment complex. It encompasses four major facilities – NRG Stadium, NRG Center, NRG Arena and NRG Astrodome. It covers 350 acres. We will tour the central plant and mechanical areas of the Stadium. You will also learn about the current re-purposing of the 50 year old Astrodome- the world's first air-conditioned stadium- now being re-invented for its next 50 years.

    It is home to the NFL’s Houston Texans, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Super Bowl XXXVIII & LI, WrestleMania X-Seven and 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania, NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship South Regional 2008, 2010 & 2015, NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship Final Four in 2011 & 2016, Toyota SWAC Football Championship 2013, 2014 2015, 2016 & 2017, Offshore Technology Conference, Disney on Ice, Monster Jam, Monster Energy AMA Supercross, Marvel Universe Live!, Disney Junior Live On Tour! and Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, the Houston Ballet’s Nutcracker Market, International Gem & Jewelry Show, Sesame Street Live, Houston World Series of Dog Shows, International Boat, Sport and Travel Show, Houston Auto Show, and Cheer America.

    Greater Houston Transportation and Emergency Management Center
    Tuesday, June 26
    2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.


    Houston TranStar is a unique partnership of representatives from the City of Houston, Harris County, METRO and TxDOT who share resources and exchange information under one roof to keep motorists informed, roadways clear and lives safe in the fourth most populated city in the United States.

    Established in 1993, TranStar manages the region's transportation system, issuing traffic and accident information to the public. Over 32 million gallons of gas and 17 million travel hours, totaling $457 million in savings have been directly attributed to TranStar programs.

    Houston TranStar is also home to the Harris County Emergency Operations Center.  “Whether it is a fire, a flood, or a hurricane, we have this state-of-the-art facility where emergency responders coordinate efforts,” says Harris County’s Judge Ed Emmett.  The EOC has 98 workstations equipped with wall-to-wall LED displays that allow emergency officials to monitor news, hurricane tracking maps, and satellite feeds.  During an activation, the EOC allows the county to coordinate efforts with regional, state, and national operations centers through a host of various communications systems.

    The building is built to withstand 150 miles per hour winds, has three backup generators, and can completely support emergency personnel and operations for days at a time with no outside assistance.  The HVAC system is configured to protect occupants from external airborne threats as well as UVGI to control mold and bacterial growth in the air handling units.