February 27, 2014: Vol. 13, No. 9 Advancing HVAC&R to Serve Humanity
And Promote a Sustainable World  



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Industry News

World Warmed While U.S. Chilled in January
WASHINGTON—While the United States suffered through a bitterly cold January, much of the rest of the world was warmer than average. Globally, January 2014 was the fourth-warmest January since record keeping began in 1880, according to a climate report released recently by scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The month was warmer in 2002, 2003 and 2007. January's global average temperature was 54.8°F (12.7°C), which was 1.17°F (0.65°C) warmer than the 20th-century average of 53.6°F (12°C). All of the 10 warmest Januarys have occurred since 1998. Land areas in the Southern Hemisphere had their warmest January on record, while both France and China had their second warmest January, according to the NOAA report. Despite the extreme cold in the eastern U.S., warmth in the West counterbalanced it such that January ended up only 0.1°F (0.06°C) colder than normal across the Lower 48. In striking contrast, Alaska was nearly 15°F (8.3°C) warmer than normal, its third warmest January in the 96 years it has recorded such data.

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China Takes Steps to Combat Extreme Smog in Beijing
BEIJING—China has banned outdoor school sports and cookouts as it is grappling with a fifth straight day of thick, choking smog. The pollution problem is so acute that a recent report says it makes Beijing "barely suitable" for living. Beijing has maintained an "orange" pollution alert, the second-highest level of an official warning system introduced nationwide last October. The city has been spraying streets with water to reduce dust in a severe smog attack that has made the Chinese capital's pollution 10 times the level considered safe by the World Health Organization. Many residents are trying to tackle the matter themselves. Air filters are ubiquitous in people's homes, and face masks are nearly mandatory for Beijingers to wear outdoors on heavily polluted days. The International School of Beijing has taken an extreme step to shield its pre-k to 12th-grade students from the city's air. At a cost of $5 million, the school has constructed two domes that enclose the entirety of its outdoor areas.

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Illinois Tops List of States With Most LEED-Certified Space
WASHINGTON—Illinois jumped from fifth to first in this year’s "Top 10 States for LEED" ranking by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The per-capita list is based on a per-capita basis of 2010 U.S. Census data combined with commercial and institutional green building projects that received LEED certification in 2013. Combined, the ten states accounted for 1,777 projects and 226.8 million ft2 (21 million m2) of certified space. USGBC annually ranks the states based on LEED-certified buildings per capita. Illinois' 171 projects represent 2.29 ft2 (0.2 m2) of LEED space per resident. Maryland, Virginia and Massachusetts followed Illinois. California and New York tied for fifth place. The District of Columbia has a much higher per capita amount of LEED-certified space, at more than 32 ft2 (3 m2) per resident. However, the ranking only includes states.

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Dim Future for Large-Scale Solar Thermal Projects?
NIPTON, Calif.—The Ivanpah solar power plant covers more than five square miles (13 km2) of the Mojave Desert. Almost 350,000 mirrors the size of garage doors have the capacity to power 140,000 homes. The plant, which officially opened earlier this month, is the first electric generator of its kind. According to an article in The New York Times, it could also be the last. Since the project began four years ago, the price of rival technologies has plummeted, incentives have been reduced and the appetite among investors for large solar farms has waned. Although several large, new projects have been coming online in recent months, experts say fewer are beginning construction and not all of those under development will be completed. “I don’t think that we’re going to see large-scale solar thermal plants popping up, five at a time, every year in the U.S. in the long-term,” said Matthew Feinstein, a senior analyst at Lux Research. “Companies that are supplying these systems have questionable futures. There’s other prospects for renewables and for solar that look a lot better than this particular solution,” he said. Such alternatives include rooftop solar systems that are installed one by one for specific projects.

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Revolutionary Vaccine Breaks Refrigeration Barrier in Africa
DAKAR, Senegal—Distribution of vaccines in Africa and other hot regions has been hampered by the need to keep the vaccines refrigerated—a major challenge in remote areas without electric power. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) says a new vaccine aimed at preventing meningitis A can withstand temperatures up to 40°C (104°F), and was found to be 100% effective during a trial study in Benin, in west Africa. Researchers said that health workers in Benin have successfully immunized more than 155,000 people against meningitis A using MenAfriVac, the first vaccine to be approved for use without constant refrigeration. WHO says MenAfriVac can be stored at its maximum temperature for up to four days. Reportedly, the introduction of MenAfriVac to the large swath of Africa known as the “meningitis belt” could prevent more than 150,000 deaths by 2015.

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U.S., China Solar Panel Dispute Escalating
BEIJING—China has urged the United States to "objectively and fairly" handle an ongoing trade dispute between the two countries after the U.S. government indicated earlier this month that it could extend import duties on Chinese solar panels to a wider range of products. The U.S. International Trade Commission recently ruled that Chinese solar panels made with cells manufactured in Taiwan may harm the American solar industry. The U.S. arm of German solar manufacturer SolarWorld AG had complained that Chinese manufacturers are sidestepping the duties by shifting production of the cells used to make their panels to Taiwan and continuing to flood the U.S. market with cheap products. The U.S. investigations are aimed at "broadly restricting Chinese exports of silicon photovoltaic products," said Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency, citing an unnamed official from the commerce ministry. The value of Chinese solar product imports in the United States fell by almost one-third from 2012 to 2013, while imports from Taiwan rose more than 40%.

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In other news...

U.N. Climate Body Confirms GWP of R-1234yf Is 'Lower Than CO2'
DOE Announces Student Teams for Solar Decathlon 2015
Big Increases in U.S. Heating, Cooling Equipment Shipments in Latest Monthly AHRI Data
14 MW Ammonia Heat Pump District Heating System Opens in Norway
240-Panel Solar Thermal System Installed at Syracuse University
Daikin Says It Could Market Low-GWP Refrigerant R-32 in the UK by 2015


Standard 90.1-2013 Achieves 30% Savings Over 2004 Version
The requirements of the 2013 revision of ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1-2013, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, will result in buildings that could achieve 30% more energy savings compared to the 2004 version, as well as 6% to 8% more efficiency than buildings built to the 2010 standard. According to a recent analysis by Pacific Northwest National Laboratories (PNNL), the site and energy cost savings are 37.7% and 37.8%, respectively, using the 2004 standard as baseline for the regulated loads only. For whole building energy consumption, national aggregated site energy savings are 29.5% and energy cost savings are 29%. On a nationally aggregated level, building-type energy savings range from 19.3% to 51.9% and energy-cost savings from 18.6% to 50.6%. These figures include energy use and cost from the whole building energy consumptions including plug and process loads.

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Program Finalized for ASHRAE High Performance Buildings Conference
ASHRAE’s third High Performance Buildings Conference will feature sessions and speakers highlighting innovation; proven methods for improving building operation resulting in deep energy efficiency and indoor environmental quality; measured performance; and case studies demonstrating new technologies. New subject areas in the conference program include water efficiency, building occupant behavior, new building technologies, indoor environmental quality and an increased emphasis on lighting/daylighting and the building envelope. The High Performance Buildings Conference will be held April 7–8, 2014, at the Hyatt Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.

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Feature of the Week

Methods for Effective Room Air Distribution
By Dan Int-Hout, Fellow ASHRAE
Architects and owners desiring LEED certification for their buildings are challenging engineers to design HVAC systems that are at least 30% better than the base system in Standard 90.1. The bar could even be raised to 40% or even 50%. Some architects are considering alternate means of air delivery as they assume one cannot meet the requirements with a variable air volume (VAV) system. These alternates include underfloor air distribution, displacement ventilation and chilled beams (low inlet pressure ceiling induction devices). However, the energy calculation programs used to predict the energy use of these systems are largely unverified, at least in the form of available published data.

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Product News

Chillers From Carrier
SYRACUSE, N.Y.—Carrier introduces the AquaSnap model 30RB chillers. The units feature Greenspeed intelligence, which enables higher efficiency and optimized performance. Additional features include enhanced scroll compressors that are designed for better full-load efficiency at the operating point of an air-cooled chiller. Also, the product features high-efficiency variable-speed condenser fans, providing ideal fan operating sequence for optimal airflow across the condenser, which supports higher efficiency when operating at part-load conditions.

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Weather Parameter Sensing Stations From Gill Instruments
LYMINGTON, UK—Gill Instruments' MetPak range of multiple-sensor weather stations is now offered with a new MODBUS output for building control and automation applications. With on-board processing electronics, the base stations have the ability to supply building control and automation applications with several weather monitoring parameters, including wind speed and direction, barometric pressure, air temperature, humidity, dew point and precipitation. In addition, the stations are can support a number of independent sensors, and combine their outputs to produce an integrated data message.

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Furnace From Armstrong Air
WEST COLUMBIA, S.C.—Armstrong Air introduces the A952E two-stage gas furnace. The furnace features a constant-torque motor, which makes the product easier to troubleshoot than furnaces with standard PSC motors. It also features proprietary EHX technology, a patented design that eliminates hot spots that can shorten furnace life. EHX technology is designed to make heat exchangers more durable, and with its advanced airflow system, more air contacts the heat exchanger surface area for greater heat exchange.

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