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How the Spanish Translation of Thermal Comfort Standard Will Affect HVAC System Design

How the Spanish Translation of Thermal Comfort Standard Will Affect HVAC System Design

From eSociety, February 2019

The newly translated ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 55, Thermal Environmental Conditions for Human Occupancy, is expected to help Spanish-speaking engineers design and commission HVAC systems to enable them to deliver the right thermal environmental conditions for human occupants in buildings.

Several members of the ASHRAE Spain Chapter have translated Standard 55 into Spanish. One translator—Andrés Sepúlveda, Member ASHRAE, vice president and Chapter Technology Transfer Chair for the ASHRAE Spain Chapter—said the translated standard will lead to better HVAC systems design and more effective and optimized commissioning, operation and maintenance.

Sepúlveda discussed the significance of the translated standard and how it will help the built industry.

1. What is the significance of this standard being translated into Spanish?

First of all, the English language is still a challenge for experienced Spanish engineers of a certain age. Even for the young generations of Spanish engineers coming into the HVAC industry, having the standard translated into Spanish helps eliminate some language challenges.

For both groups ASHRAE Standard 55—and particularly the latest 2017 edition—is essential to well-design and commission HVAC systems to enable them to deliver the right thermal environmental conditions for human occupants in buildings.

Do not forget that buildings are essentially designed for people.

The standard provides procedures, tools, graphics and tables showing values collected from many examples to let design engineers better analyze the building design comfort conditions required in their respective building projects.

Additionally the standard provides extremely useful and accurate information such as metabolic rates, clothing insulation and other data quite unknown for most of Spanish engineers, until now.

2. Why is it important to translate this topic now?

Sustainability and American certifications such as LEED and the WELL Building Standard require the application of Standard 55 among other ASHRAE standards. These certifications are nowadays widely demanded in Spanish new and existing buildings by owners, promoters and end-users through their project operational or current facility requirements (OPR, CFR).

Design teams have to consider this standard in their basis of design/project specifications and commissioning service providers need to address it when verifying the OPR/CFR fulfillment.

On top of this, Spanish engineering firms are working more in international projects (Middle East, South America, India, etc). Clearly, in those markets ASHRAE standards need to be considered and applied.

3. What lessons, facts and/or guidance can an engineer working in the field take away from this translated standard?

Apart from the above mentioned, occupant comfort satisfaction evaluations and surveys in occupied spaces is a subject that has not been so well addressed in our local regulation as in Standard 55.

For energy-saving reasons it is also very important to know the temperature limits to apply in every case, depending on the type of building, use and occupants.

4. How can this translation further the industry’s knowledge on this topic?

I am convinced that the ASHRAE Standard 55-2017 Spanish translation will increase the knowledge for better HVAC systems design and also for more effective and optimized commissioning, operation and maintenance.

It also provides effective procedures for owners and end-users to verify the occupant’s comfort satisfaction in existing buildings and spaces.

Standard 55 is also very useful for our local HVAC equipment manufacturers to let them consider temperatures and air speeds limits as well as the right areas in the psychrometric diagram to design their equipment and provide the right thermal comfort.

5. Were there any surprises or unforeseen challenges for you when preparing this translated standard?

I must admit that the exercise of translating an ASHRAE publication is really time consuming but very exciting and rewarding. You have first to understand the technical principles and then address them in a way that increase the knowledge or bring new approaches to potential readers, without introducing any change.

In particular, Standard 55 is far from being a theoretical publication and is a down-to-earth, applicable and practical standard for most HVAC disciplines in a building project.