Friday, February 6, 2015

Top Ten HVAC Predictions Scores for 2014

Now that a certain event has past (weekend before last) I can finally score myself on my predictions for last year.

1. LEED V4, released last fall, includes a reference to either AHRI 885 or the ASHRAE Handbooks to prove compliance to acoustical requirements. The handbooks are missing a critical path table for the sound transmitted from a plenum noise source into a space. The incoming chair of TC 2.1 has indicated he will get the missing ceiling table included in the Handbooks. I predict he will fail in this effort for at least three years and that the 885 handbooks will be the only easy path to compliance. (One can hire an acoustician, of course, and TC 2.6 is populated with them). Yup. Nothing happening - 10 points.

2. Installed linear diffusers will still fail to have pattern controllers set prior to balancing. If adjusted after balancing, rebalancing is required. It is the design engineer’s responsibility to provide the adjustment information. The installing contractor should be designated as the one responsible for setting the pattern deflectors. I saw close to 1000 Engineers last year. Only a couple admitted it was their responsibility to specify who was to adjust them and to provide instructions. The NEBB says in their basic instructions it is their responsibility. No balancer I spoke to knew this or did it - 10 points .

3. ASHRAE Thermal Comfort Standard (55-2013) has been modified to include Normative (mandatory) and Informative sections so that it can be referenced directly in codes. ADPI will be included by reference to the ASHRAE Handbooks, which will be updated to show the relationship between air distribution and thermal comfort. Well, this didn’t happen. The ball got dropped somewhere. My bad - 0 points.

4. There will still be no new published, peer reviewed, energy savings data for any of the “energy saving” systems (VRF, displacement, underfloor, or chilled beams), but engineers will continue to claim energy savings compared to overhead systems, to get LEED or Energy Star ratings. Yup. No data - 10 points.

5. The AHRI / ASHRAE study on whole system energy use of fan powered boxes will begin to be integrated into the Energy Plus and possibly Trane Trace and Carrier HAP energy models under an AHRI research program. Underway. An excellent paper will be presented in June - 10 points.

6. The number 1 reason for not renewing the lease in high rise buildings will continue to be “occupant dissatisfaction with the building environment” (ie: comfort). It has been so for the past 20 years and is frankly a ‘gimmee’. One can hope that I miss this one. The BOMA public relations person now refuses to answer this question. I guess they are a bit embarrassed by the data. I’ll give myself 5 points.

7. The market for HVAC components will again be up about 5% with pent-up demand slowly coming back. Slowly but surely it is - 10 points.

8. VAV overhead air distribution will continue to be (by far) the most used system in new buildings. As loads decrease, it will become more apparent that the ventilation load in the interior is the predominant building load. ASHRAE RP 1515 will open a lot of eyes. The report from the ASHRAE MTG on Advanced Air Distribution will be circulated showing paths to optimize system design. The MTG says it has completed its work and has been dissolved. About 20% of the engineers I spoke to have lowered their interior design from 1.0 to 0.65cfm/sf. - 8 points

9. While many VAV box schedules will continue to show design discharge temperatures in excess of 90°F, a number of Engineers will finally get it. (ps: Hot air rises!) I still get push back on this issue, but some are getting it. It’s getting better, but we’re still not there yet - 8 points.

10. Sadly, I predict that the Cowboys will continue to wallow in the mud of disappointment. Ok. I blew this one. Of course, the Cowboys blew the last one! But, I’m still giving myself 0 points.

So I get 71 out 100. That’s just a barely passing grade… but seems familiar some how. I’ll try to do better this year.

Authored by: Dan Int-Hout, Chief Engineer Krueger