May 22, 2014: Vol. 13, No. 21 Advancing HVAC&R to Serve Humanity
And Promote a Sustainable World  



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Industry News

Warm Hands Lead to a Warm Heart, Says Study
BIRMINGHAM, UK—Scientists have found that people asked to hold hot objects in their hands were more likely to cooperate with other people than those holding something cold. The researchers say it could be the reason why giving customers hot drinks in supermarkets and other stores works to the benefit of retailers. The tactic makes people more likely to buy because they feel warm towards the seller, whereas a cold drink would not have the same effect. It is thought an evolutionary quirk of the brain is responsible, due to the same brain area used for processing interpersonal "warmth"—friendliness to others—also deals with physical warmth, with one influencing the other. Therefore, when we say we have "warmed to someone" it’s literally true, say researchers from the University of South Wales. Their study involved 30 pairs of volunteers was carried out using a game which measure people’s willingness to cooperate. Before performing the task, 15 pairs of volunteers were asked to do it while holding gel hand warmers heated to a pleasant temperature and the remainder were asked to do it while holding them at a much cooler temperature, and again vice versa. The research was presented earlier this month at the British Psychological Society’s annual conference.

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Pages From 'Drinkable Book' Purify Contaminated Drinking Water
EDMOND, Okla.—The charitable organization Water is Life is developing a "Drinkable Book" that not only teaches water safety but can actually be used to treat drinking water. Each page, coated in bacteria-killing silver nanoparticles, can be torn out and used as a filter. The pages are coated with microscopic particles of silver, which kill bacteria that cause cholera, E.coli, typhoid and other diseases, and last up to a month each.  The text, printed in food-quality ink, provides basic safety information, such as reminders to keep trash and feces away from water supplies. A single book can provide a person with drinkable water for up to four years.

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Chinese Air Pollution Leads to ‘Do It-Yourself’ Air Filter Market
BEIJING—The air pollution in Beijing is so bad that its negative impacts can be felt inside buildings as well as on the street. This has fueled a growing market for expensive indoor air filters in China. A typical unit can cost as much as $800. Therefore, a burgeoning "do-it-yourself" market for air filters is being created. Thomas Talhelm, an American scholar spending a year in China, began to research how air filters worked. Talhelm realized that the essential components—a HEPA filter, a fan, and a velcro strap to hold them together—could be purchased on Taobao, China’s leading e-commerce site, for less than $35. He rigged up his own air filter and invested in a scientific particle monitor to see how well it worked. His homemade device reduced indoor levels of PM 0.5 by as much as 97% and indoor levels of PM 2.5 by as much as 96%. "PM (particulate matter)" is an international metric of the size of particles, with PM 2.5 representing particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers. Talhelm began giving workshops on how to build simple air filters, and set up an online shop for his kits, priced at the equivalent of $33. Dozens of other entrepreneurs in China have copied the idea. Most use similar fans and HEPA filters.

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New Skyscraper Attraction Gives Visitors Sensation of Falling

CHICAGO—The John Hancock Tower in Chicago recently unveiled a new observation deck that lets visitors lean forward to a 30° angle, with just a pane of glass between them and ground, around 1,000 ft (300 m) below. Located on the 94th floor, the enclosed rectangular box can hold up to eight people at a time. Once in place, three hydraulic lifts slowly tilt it from the building. At 20° from vertical "your body tells you it should be falling," Chicago Tribune reporter Steve Johnson said of his experience. Engineer John Peronto, who created the platform, says that TILT is very safe, so those wary of the experience should feel at ease. The attraction took one year to develop and includes three layers of fully tempered glass. TILT comes five years after Willis Tower unveiled its glass "Ledge," which gives visitors the illusion of standing on air. The Willis Tower's "Ledge" boxes, which extend about 4 ft (1.2 m) from the tower, have attracted approximately 1.3 million visitors each year since the attraction opened in the summer of 2009.

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Startup Company Aims to Make Legacy AC Systems 'Smart'
MUNICH— German startup company Tado is using crowdfunding platform Kickstarter to launch Tado Cooling, an Internet-connected device the company says makes almost any remote-controlled air-conditioning system smart. The company said the device is compatible with 82% of the legacy remote-controlled air-conditioning units in the world. The device is wall-mounted and serves as a replacement for the AC system's infrared remote control. It connects to the Internet via Wi-Fi. Together with the accompanying mobile app, Tado Cooling will automatically turn off the AC when no one is at home and detects the time the last person left the house. Also, using geolocation via the user's smartphone, the device will know if its owner is about to reach the house, and so it will automatically start precooling. The device is expected to eventually go on general sale for $149, but the first 500 Kickstarter backers of the project can receive the device for only $69. Tado is hoping to raise at least $150,000 through Kickstarter.

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In other news...

President Obama Unveils Federal Energy-Efficiency Measures
Ohio Senate Votes to Halt State Energy Efficiency Rules, Renewable Energy Development
U.S. Army Developing Helmet With Built-In Air Conditioning
World's Largest Solar Photovoltaic Facility Comes Online in Arizona
Shaheen-Portman Energy Efficiency Bill Fails in U.S. Senate
TSA Agents Walk Off Job at LaGuardia Airport After Air Conditioning Breaks
French Court Overturns Ban on Sales of Mercedes Cars Over Refrigerant
Thermostats Recalled Over Fire Risk
Las Vegas AC Repair Service Uses Google Glass to Help Customers
Researchers Compare Tuna to Whale to Develop Energy-Efficiency Metric


Standard 90.1-2013 Could Become National Reference Standard for Commercial Buildings
Preliminary analysis from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) shows that theANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1-2013, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, contains energy savings greater than the 2010 standard of 8.5% source energy and 7.6% site energy. This finding is the first step by the DOE in issuing a ruling that could establish the 2013 standard as the commercial building reference standard for state building energy codes. In an announcement in the May 13 edition of the Federal Register, DOE attributes the greater energy savings to improvements in the standard related to lighting, fans, commercial refrigeration, boilers and controls. The DOE is now receiving comments on the preliminary determination. If the preliminary determination is finalized, then states would be required to update their codes to meet or exceed the 2013 standard. Currently, states must meet or exceed the 2010 standard, which serves as the commercial building reference standard for state building energy codes under the federal Energy Conservation and Production Act.

Click here
to read ASHRAE's news release.
Click here
to read about DOE's Commercial Determination regarding Standard 90.1-2013.

Feature of the Week

HVAC Selection for Envelope-Dominated Buildings
By Ian Shapiro, P.E., Member ASHRAE; and Umit Sirt, P.E., Member ASHRAE
Envelope-dominated buildings are those that do not have core zones. As such, envelope-dominated buildings are weather-sensitive, and heating plays a critical role, even in most cooling climates, for typical internal and solar gains and ventilation loads. This article provides guidance on HVAC system selection for such buildings. Technologies such as geothermal heat pumps, high-efficiency variable speed air source heat pumps, and boiler/chiller systems are discussed in terms of their impact on factors such as carbon emissions and EUI.

This article originally was published in October 2011. Click here to download the article. It will be available here through June 5.

After June 5, access to the article from this eNewsletter will no longer be available. It will remain available for free download by members here and for purchase by nonmembers in the online store.

Product News

Commercial Programmable Thermostat From Venstar
CHATSWORTH, Calif.—Venstar’s ColorTouch programmable commercial thermostat is a multifunctional, simple-to-use, touch screen thermostat designed for commercial installations. Its color touch screen can be programmed to display company logos, advertisements or promotions as well as a picture gallery of up to 100 files to be used as a slideshow. The device is compatible with most types of commercial heating and air-conditioning systems. It also is compatible with Venstar’s Skyport™ Cloud services, which allows commercial users to use the company’s free mobile app on Android, BlackBerry and Apple iOS mobile devices, as well as directly from the Web to access and control up to 100 commercial locations.

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Light Commercial Gas Water Heater From HTP
EAST FREETOWN, Mass.—HTP offers the Phoenix Light Duty condensing gas water heater in 50, 60, and 80 gallon sizes (189, 227, and 303 L) for light-commercial applications. The unit is constructed with with 316L stainless steel, which is corrosion resistant and eliminates the need for anode rods. It operates at a 97% thermal efficiency and modulates at a 3:1 turndown ratio.

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Building Automation System From Distech Controls
BROSSARD, Quebec—The EC-NetAX building automation system (BAS) from Distech Controls is designed to provide seamless and intelligent integration of HVAC, lighting, access control, CCTV, energy management, and other building systems. Users can program, manage, and monitor multisite locations or campuses using a Web browser. The system features functions such as network control, monitoring, alarming, database and log management, and audit trails for all building functions.

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