September 26, 2013: Vol. 12, No. 38 Advancing HVAC&R to Serve Humanity
And Promote a Sustainable World  



 

 

 
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Industry News

Facebook Data Centers: Outside Air Provides Cooling
LONDON—Data centers operators can be operated without mechanical air conditioning to dramatically reduce energy costs and the facilities' impact on the environment, according to Facebook. Facebook said that it uses 100% outside air to cool all of its data centers, and that other data center operators typically over-cool their facilities. Frank Frankovsky, Facebook's vice president of hardware design and supply chain operations, said modern server hardware is much more robust than is typically thought, and that Facebook has found it can operate successfully without cooling even at temperatures as high as 35°C (95°F). The company is sharing its trade practices as part of its Open Compute Project initiative.

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Facebook Data Centers: Potatoes as Cooling Element
LONDON—While Facebook's use of natural cooling in its data centers has been successful, one novel idea the company tried failed in a humorous way. The company had tried to use potato material to help cool equipment, a company executive recently revealed. The company, in an effort to dispose of items that aren't useful or sustainable, once tried removing the top lids from its servers, but that resulted in a lack of airflow over the CPUs, causing them to overheat. Therefore, Facebook installed lids made of an environment-friendly material made of 80% starch and 20% soy oil—essentially potatoes. "We created a thermal lid out of that starchy material but we found out pretty quickly that when you heat that up it smells a lot like french fries," said Facebook vice president Frank Frankovsky. Besides making workers hungry, the material also "went floppy and gloopy" in the heat.

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Solar Panels Worry Firefighters
DELANCO, N.J.—Firefighters are wary of buildings with rooftop solar panels, as the equipment hampers their work and is potentially dangerous. “During daylight, there can be enough voltage and current to injure or even kill a firefighter who comes in contact with the energized conductors,” says a San Jose, Calif., fire engineer. Also, rooftop solar panels also can prevent firefighters from creating "vertical ventilation" by cutting holes in ceilings to improve visibility and airflow. "We recognize that we need to do a better job educating... firefighters, about solar panels," says Ken Johnson of the Solar Energy Industries Association. He added that new technology will make it easier to isolate and disable solar panels in the event of emergency.

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More Turning to Ductless Cooling Systems
BOULDER, Colo.—Annual revenue from ductless cooling systems will grow from $3.9 billion in 2013 to more than $9 billion by 2020, according to Navigant Research. This will represent nearly 30% of total energy-efficient HVAC systems revenue in that year. In North America, where they have typically been much less popular than unitary systems, ductless systems are forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 14% until 2020. "Ductless systems have several advantages over ducted systems," says Bob Gohn, senior research director with Navigant Research.

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Misuse of 'Engineer' Debated
LONDON—The use of made-up terms such as "hair engineer" for hairdressers is offending some genuine engineers, says an article in the Guardian newspaper. One indignant engineer has started an "e-petition" that calls for the title to be "legally protected [here] as it is in many other countries around the world, including Germany, France, USA and Canada" with legal repercussions for those using it without authorization. The Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) disagrees. In a recent address, IMechE president Patrick Kniveton argued that informal use of "engineer" was far too ingrained to change, and enforcing its non-use could even be demoralizing to many of those tradespeople who currently use it.

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In other news...

Hydrocarbons Increase in Popularity for European Commercial Refrigeration Applications
ICU Ventilation Linked to Mental Dysfunction
UK's Labour Party Pledges to Scrap 'Green Deal' Sustainability Program
IMC Code Change Recognizes Dry Coil Use in Chilled Beam Design
Vote on Energy-Efficiency Bill Blocked by Opponents
UK Supermarket Chain Testing CO2-Refrigerated Trailer


ASHRAE News

ASHRAE Scholarships Benefit Students, Industry and Society
ASHRAE has awarded $106,000 in scholarship money for the 2013–2014 academic year. The scholarships, as much as $10,000 for one year, are meant to encourage students to pursue HVAC&R disciplines and to use that knowledge to benefit society as a whole. Over the course of 24 years ASHRAE has awarded over $1.3 million to approximately 275 undergraduate and graduate students. Applications are now being accepted for 2014–15 undergraduate, regional/chapter and university-specific scholarships. The deadline is Dec. 1, 2013.

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Feature of the Week

Electronic Expansion Valves vs. Thermal Expansion Valves
By Renato Lazzarin, Daniele Nardotto, and Marco Noro, Ph.D.
Thermostatic expansion valves (TEVs) are the most widespread expansion devices, but they have some characteristics that can limit their versatility and performance. For example, TEVs require a minimum pressure drop between condensation and evaporation. To evaluate the possibilities of using electronic expansion valves (EEVs) versus TEVs, a large supermarket in Italy was retrofitted with the EEVs installed in parallel with TEVs to operate the plant alternately with the two technologies.

This article originally was published in February 2009. Click here to download the article. It will be available here through Oct. 10.

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Product News

Integrated Pump/Drive Package From Taco
CRANSTON, R.I.—The Taco SelfSensing Series pumps with ProBalance integrate Taco KV or KS pumps with a variable frequency drive. The pumps allow the installer to accomplish easy do-it-yourself system balancing for constant flow central plant applications and variable flow building distribution applications. Pump performance curves are embedded in the memory of the speed controller. During operation, pump power and speed are monitored, enabling the controller to establish the hydraulic performance and position in the pump’s head-flow characteristic. This enables the pump to continuously identify required head and flow at any point, providing accurate pressure control without the need for external sensor feedback.

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Thermal Imaging Cameras From General Tools and Instruments
NEW YORK—General Tools & Instruments has expanded the PREDATOR series of thermal imaging cameras with nine extended temperature range models that measure up to 1500°C (2732°F). The thermal imaging cameras detect very small temperature differences from a distance and convert an object’s invisible infrared radiation to a visible color image. These visual thermal images (called thermograms) with multiple temperature points enable the diagnosis of equipment malfunctions and poor performance far more effectively than single-spot conventional temperature measurement devices.

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HVLS Fan From MacroAir
SAN BERNADINO, Calif.—MacroAir offers the AirElite high-performance HVLS fan for commercial applications. It is an all-in-one package with on-board electronics featuring a high carrier frequency for quiet operation and ease of installation. A rigid mount eliminates the need for support wires.

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