November 28, 2013: Vol. 12, No. 48 Advancing HVAC&R to Serve Humanity
And Promote a Sustainable World  



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Industry News

Solar Energy Was U.S.'s Sole New Electricity Source in October
ARLINGTON, Va.—In October, new power plants generating 530 MW of electricity came online in the United States. All of the power added to the grid came from solar, according to a report released Nov. 26. The numbers don’t include installations of rooftop photovoltaic panels on homes and businesses. In California alone, for instance, 19.5 MW of rooftop solar PV was installed in the territories of the state’s three largest utilities in October. The October figures likely are not an aberration. Planned PV capacity in the U.S. has grown 7%, to 43,000 MW, over the past year.

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Energy-Efficient Homes May Get Rewards From a Major Mortgage Insurer
WASHINGTON—A major U.S. private mortgage-insurance company plans to become one of the first to enter into "green lending." Genworth Mortgage Insurance plans to offer a version of what it already provides to buyers in Canada—cost savings to energy-efficient homes. Adam Johnston, chief appraiser for Genworth, says his company is determined to incorporate energy savings and green valuations into its underwriting. In Canada, Genworth offers buyers a 10% “energy-efficient refund” off their mortgage insurance premiums, a break on debt-to-income ratio calculations in underwriting, and online access to discounts on a variety of commonly purchased household items. Homes that are more efficient than certain national or municipal efficiency guidelines qualify for refunds. Or, mortgage seekers may be approved for larger mortgage amounts.

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Toy Company Seeks to Inspire Girls to Become Engineers
OAKLAND, Calif.—Could changing the way society thinks about toys for young girls be the key to inspiring more women to pursue engineering jobs? That’s the idea behind GoldieBlox, a toy company intended “to get girls building.” The company’s founder and CEO, Debbie Sterling, is a Stanford graduate who grew frustrated with how few women were in her Mechanical Engineering/Product Design program. Last year, Sterling launched a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised more than $285,000 for GoldieBlox. In a video introducing the campaign, Sterling summed up her mission by saying "I’m starting a toy company called GoldieBlox to get little girls to love engineering as much as I do." The company's inventory includes books, puzzles and LEGO-like building toys.

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Construction Costs Rise for 22nd Consecutive Month
EL SEGUNDO, Calif.—Construction costs in North America rose for the 22nd consecutive month in November as labor costs continued to increase amid growing industry concern over the tight availability of skilled workers. The Engineering and Construction Cost Index (ECCI) registered 53.2% in November, up from 52.6% in October, according to business data and consulting company IHS. The ECCI indicates that construction costs in North America have been on the rise since January 2012. The index divides construction costs into two major categories: materials/equipment and subcontractor labor. A score of 50 means costs have remained steady. A higher score means costs have increased. The materials/equipment portion of the index has hovered near 50 since April. However, the labor segment has driven overall cost increases.

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Manager of AHR Expo Receives AHRI Public Service Award
WESTPORT, Conn.—International Exposition Company (IEC), the organization that produces and manages the annual AHR Expo, was recently honored by the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) with its 2013 Public Service Award. The AHRI Public Service Award recognizes individuals and organizations outside of AHRI that have made significant contributions to the HVAC&R industry. During the presentation of the award at AHRI’s Annual Meeting, AHRI chairman Harry Holmes said, "Your company’s many years of service to our industry in running the AHR Expo and AHR Expo-Mexico have strengthened our industry and helped our member companies showcase their technology and innovation to customers from around the world. You have built a legacy of trust that is recognized and celebrated with this award."

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In other news...

Most HVAC&R Product Categories Increase in Latest AHRI Shipment Data
Emerson Launches Decorated Thermostats Social Media Photo Contest
Company Unveils Fluid Coating for Aluminum AC Piping as Copper Alternative
India's Largest AC Compressor Plant Goes Online
Construction, Software Professionals Team Up for Built Environment 'Hackathon'
Is China's Shanghai Tower the World's Greenest Skyscraper?


Proposed ASHRAE Data Center Standard Open for Advisory Review
A proposed standard from ASHRAE that addresses the energy requirements of data centers is open for advisory public review (APR). Standard 90.4P, Energy Standard for Data Centers and Telecommunications Buildings, is being developed in response to requests to recognize the energy performance profiles unique to data centers. Previously, data centers were covered in ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1-2013, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings. Standard 90.4P is intended to follow a performance-based approach that is more flexible and accommodating of innovative changes that rapidly occur in the data center design, construction and operations. Standard 90.4P is open for APR until Dec. 30. The purpose of an APR is to seek suggestions for new, unusual, or potentially controversial elements of a proposed standard that the project committee believes would benefit from increased public scrutiny prior to finalizing the draft for its first formal public review.

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Call for Papers

Papers Sought for International Conference on Efficient Building Design
Papers are being sought for a conference focused on research in building design and system technologies for energy efficiency. Organized by ASHRAE, the American University of Beirut and the ASHRAE Lebanon Chapter, the International Conference on Efficient Building Design: Materials and HVAC Equipment Technologies, will be held Oct. 2–3, 2014, in Beirut, Lebanon. Abstracts (400 words in length) are due Jan. 6, 2014. If accepted, papers are due April 14, 2014.

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Feature of the Week

Data Center Environments: ASHRAE’s Evolving Thermal Guidelines
By Robin A. Steinbrecher, Member ASHRAE; and Roger Schmidt, Ph.D., Member ASHRAE
Manufacturers of information technology equipment (ITE) continually increase computing capability while at the same time having to improve computer efficiency. The thermal design of ITE involves a delicate balance of ITE computing performance, reliability, cost, and power consumption. In addition, the facility design must optimize overall power consumption between ITE and HVAC in the data center. Understanding the trade-offs between these objectives is critical to making energy savings decisions. With increased emphasis on data center energy optimization, TC 9.9 responded by creating expanded ITE air-cooling environmental classes and defining liquid-cooling environmental classes. In light of the ongoing advisory public review of ASHRAE's proposed data center standard, 90.4P, this article is offered to give readers some fundamental background to the issues addressed.

This article originally was published in December 2011. Click here to download the article. It will be available here through Dec. 12.

After Dec. 12, 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

Chiller Plant Automation System From Armstrong Fluid Technology
TORONTO—Designed to interface seamlessly with an existing building or chiller plant automation system, the OPTI-VISOR relational control solution from Armstrong Fluid Technology controls the key components of an all-variable-speed chiller plant. The control system provides the optimal operating settings for equipment such as water-cooled variable speed chillers, variable flow cooling towers and variable speed pumps on chilled water and tower water circuits.

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Refrigerant Compressor From TORAD Engineering
ALPHARETTA, Ga.—TORAD Engineering offers the Spool Compressor refrigerant compressor, which uses the company’s patented Spool Machine technology. It features the "Eccentric Cam," which controls the rotating gate’s position and maintains a near-zero constant distance between the distal end of the rotating gate and the stator bore, which allows the compressor to scale across large capacity and speed ranges.

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Commercial Water Heater From Lochinvar
LEBANON, Tenn.—Lochinvar offers eight models of the SHIELD commercial water heater. All of its water, gas, air and vent connections are located at the top of the unit for installation ease and flexibility. In order to reduce leak potential, there are only 11 connection points in the water recirculation piping, such as solder joints, ProPress connections and threaded connections.

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