Artificial intelligence (AI) policy: ASHRAE prohibits the entry of content from any ASHRAE publication or related ASHRAE intellectual property (IP) into any AI tool, including but not limited to ChatGPT. Additionally, creating derivative works of ASHRAE IP using AI is also prohibited without express written permission from ASHRAE.

logoShaping Tomorrow's Built Environment Today

Top 10 ASHRAE Journal Newsletter Articles from 2018

Sand 3D Printing, Curling Ice Surfaces, Seismic and Wind Restraints and More

Counting Down the Top 10 ASHRAE Journal Newsletter Articles from 2018

From ASHRAE Journal Newsletter, Dec. 26, 2018

One year and 24 editions of the ASHRAE Journal Newsletter later, 2018 is almost done.

In preparation for the new year, revisiting the 10 most-clicked ASHRAE Journal Newsletter articles offers an eclectic mix of HVAC&R industry technology trends from seismic and wind restraint to making the perfect ice playing surface to a gel made from beer that could provide window insulation.

Here are the top 10 articles from ASHRAE Journal Newsletter in 2018, as decided by ASHRAE Journal Newsletter readers:

10. Experimental Geothermal Power Plant Might Allow More Areas to Harness Geothermal Energy

From the July 10 ASHRAE Journal Newsletter

The U.S. government is planning to spend up to $140 million toward plans at the University of Utah to research and develop a new method for extracting geothermal energy. The plan involves drilling two 8,000-foot wells into the ground beneath the site. Existing geothermal technology can be utilized in only a select few areas because it requires hot groundwater that can be extracted at the surface. The FORGE plan could create its own hot groundwater, making the technology usable nearly anywhere. American geothermal production is limited currently to conventional geothermal resources in Western states, and the new design could expand geothermal energy to other areas.

ASHRAE Journal articles from 2013 and 2016 discuss how geothermal systems conditioned different applications such as a museum that houses five ecosystems and a mixed-use skyscraper, respectively. 

9. Data Centers Channel the Sea's Power  

From the October 23 ASHRAE Journal Newsletter

Offshore, underwater data centers could be powered using wave motion. A marine hydrokinetic wave generator build is almost completed, and that 1.25 Megawatt power-production capacity vessel could be ready to be deployed in 2019. The 125-feet-long wave converter could provide enough electricity for a subsea data center platform. This equipment uses technology called the oscillating water column where wave motion forces air up and pulls air down building a vacuum of air that turns a turbine. Advantages of water-based, off-shore data center-locating include reduced carbon dioxide emissions, and underwater data centers are provided with free cooling and copious computing power. Microsoft recently deployed an unrelated, underwater data center.

An ASHRAE Journal article from April 2016 addresses another energy application of seawater: sourcing heat pump units. A two-part series from the July 2018 and the September 2018 issues of the ASHRAE Journal address power trends in data centers.

8. Best of Engineer's Notebook: What They Learned Along the Way

From the January 23 ASHRAE Journal Newsletter

Written by ASHRAE Fellows who are senior consulting engineers with more than 100 years of collective practical experience, the recurring Engineer's Notebook column in ASHRAE Journal shares what the authors have learned during their careers as well as design tips and tools.

At the 2018 ASHRAE Winter Conference, the authors—Stephen W. Duda, P.E., BEAP, HBDP and HFDP, Fellow ASHRAE; Daniel H. Nall, P.E., BEMP, CPMP and HBDP, Fellow/Life Member ASHRAE; Kent W. Peterson, P.E., BEAP, Presidential Member/Fellow ASHRAE; and Steven T. Taylor, P.E., Fellow ASHRAE—participated in “The Best of ‘Engineer’s Notebook’ 2nd Edition” seminar. Prior to the conference, each of the authors discussed the significance of their chosen topics and why they chose the subject.

Read the favorite columns the group selected to share. 

7. University Uses Sand 3D Printing to Build Concrete Smart Slab for Three-Story House

From the August 14 ASHRAE Journal Newsletter

Researchers at ETH Zurich have realized an 80 m² (861.1 ft²) lightweight concrete slab at the DFAB House, making it the world’s first full-scale architectural project to use 3D sand printing for its formwork. Just 20 mm (0.8 in) thick at its thinnest point, the slab combines the structural strength of concrete with the design freedom of 3D printing. The three-story house project will be the first house in the world to be designed, planned and built using predominantly digital processes.

For a more traditional approach, a Building Sciences column from the April 2012 ASHRAE Journal discusses the challenges that accompany slabs such as dirt support and insulation.

6. Gel Made from Beer Could Provide Window Insulation

From the August 28 ASHRAE Journal Newsletter

Scientists at the University of Colorado at Boulder developed an insulating gel that they say could coat the windows of habitats in space, allowing the settlers inside to trap and store energy from the sun—much like a greenhouse stays warm during the winter. The gel harvests sunlight through that thermally insulating material and stores the energy inside, protecting from those big oscillations in temperature in places, including Mars or the moon. Another possible application is for the gel to be used in skyscrapers. The gel is made from recycled beer waste.

A Building Sciences column from the May 2018 ASHRAE Journal explores how to insulate mass buildings on the interior, and a building sciences column from February 2014 discusses how the stack effect affects tall buildings. An ASHRAE Journal article from April 2016 discusses how a skyscraper in Montreal used another strategy to achieve higher energy efficiency.

5. NREL Develops New Joining Technology for AC

From the June 26 ASHRAE Journal Newsletter

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has developed a new technology that initially focused on replacing less efficient window air conditioners in residential buildings. Since that invention, the joining and connections concept modeled in the new version of the technology has the potential for broader impact, even for commercial applications. Two NREL senior engineers in the Building Energy Sciences research group, Chuck Booten, Ph.D., Associate Member ASHRAE, and Jon Winkler, Ph.D., Associate Member ASHRAE, have been refining a joining technology to create a system that is easier and cheaper to install. The EcoSnap-AC can be applied to mini-split heat pumps, or other split-systems, to reduce installed costs.

An ASHRAE Journal article from February 2018, which was co-written by Winkler, explores how research by NREL and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory examined how ductless mini-split heat pumps performed in different climate zones and in different configurations.

4. Taking It to the Ice: 2018 Winter Olympics Demands Quality Ice for Playing Surfaces

From the February 13 ASHRAE Journal Newsletter

Ice is more than frozen water at the Gangneung Curling Centre in PyeongChang, South Korea, for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Hans Wuthrich, the “ice-meister,” and the ice itself play crucial roles in each curling match. Wuthrich creates the ideal playing surface, keeping in mind water quality, air temperature, dew point and humidity considerations. The Games made sustainability a priority. After the Olympics, the citizens of Gangneung have used the Gangneung Curling Centre as a sports complex and ice rink, according to the game’s sustainability report. To promote sustainability in Olympic Games, PyeongChang had resources documenting the game’s sustainability efforts, including a tool that allowed you to track the indoor air quality at event venues.

In an ASHRAE Journal article from 2006, Marco Filippi, Ph.D., Member ASHRAE, discusses sustainability aspects of the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Torino, Italy. Just like the Olympics demand high quality playing surfaces for its athletes, the NHL also adheres to strict standards. An ASHRAE Journal article from December 2017 explores how the NHL creates its outdoor playing surfaces, including the NHL Winter Classic.

3. Quest for the Perfect Ice: Strategic Ice Making for Curling

From the February 27 ASHRAE Journal Newsletter

Every four years during the Winter Olympic Games, one sport hits its peak popularity—curling. For those faithful to the sport, their love of curling does not wane during non–Olympics years. When the U.S. men’s curling team took home the gold medal for the first time during the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, many fans stayed up to watch the game, which was scheduled to start at 3 a.m. EST. Like other sports on ice such as hockey and speed skating, curling calls for different parameters for a quality playing surface, said Daniel Dettmers, Member ASHRAE, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. From ice temperature to heat recovery strategies, Dettmers describes the art of ice making.

In an ASHRAE Journal article from February 2016, Dettmers goes into further detail about the quest for perfect ice for curling.

2. Analyzing Energy Conservation Measures in Different Buildings, Climate Zones

From the January 9 ASHRAE Journal Newsletter

Zheng O’Neill, Ph.D., P.E., Member ASHRAE, and three of her graduate research assistants ran 15,840 building simulations to collect data on 19 different energy conservation measures (ECMs) in hopes of finding more ways to improve commercial building energy performance. The data spans 16 climate zones for 11 different commercial building types in the U.S. Read more about the findings.

In an ASHRAE Journal article in January 2017, Marvin Kirshenbaum, Member ASHRAE, explores how heat recovery can improve energy efficiency for a wide spectrum of buildings and how tapping into waste heat systems can help save energy in cold climates.

1. Preparing for the Worst: Seismic and Wind Restraint of HVAC Equipment 

From the March 13 ASHRAE Journal Newsletter

About every three years, an earthquake that is strong enough to be damaging hits Nevada and eastern California, according to the Nevada Seismological Laboratory. But when Scott Campbell, Ph.D., P.E., Member ASHRAE, visited Las Vegas a few years ago, he noticed a new building did not have any seismic restraints on its HVAC equipment. In the event of an earthquake event, the lack of restraint on the equipment could be deadly. While not every region deals with seismic concerns, most areas have to keep wind considerations in mind, he said. Campbell said the industry’s best practices are found in the published standards on seismic and wind restraints, and it boils down to having someone qualified doing the calculations on each project to determine the anchorage required for the equipment based on the equipment’s loads and other factors. Read about those considerations.

Written after earthquakes hit Haiti, Japan and New Zealand, James A. Carlson, P.E., Fellow ASHRAE, and Robert E. Simmons, P.E., Member ASHRAE, analyze if U.S. buildings are prepared to withstand significant earthquakes in an ASHRAE Journal article from April 2011.The following month's ASHRAE Journal included an article on seismic restraint and how to prevent damage to HVAC equipment and systems, written by James R. Tauby, P.E., Member ASHRAE.