News & Events

 

TAB JOURNAL: COOLING WATER PUMPS TESTING AND ANALYSIS

Winter 2019

Recently, we were asked to survey a building's cooling system, which serves a data center and the comfort conditioning for the building's offi ce space. System performance was determined to be less than anticipated in design. In particular, the piping loop water fl ow was not adequate to achieve the maximum required cooling for the server racks. The owner was basing their conclusions on data obtained from their building automation system (BAS) and the installed gauges at the pumps, heat exchanger and cooling towers.

The building has a 11,500 sq. ft. high-performance equipment fl oor with water-cooled equipment racks, which are served by the cooling water piping distribution system in its raised fl oor space. The building also has a 7,600 sq. ft. common area that has offi ce and conference rooms served by water cooling coil air handlers in the basement.

Cooling water is produced by the secondary side of a heat exchanger, which is served by cooling towers. Cooling water distribution is done by a piping system and pumps in the basement.

Both the cooling tower and conditioning system have two designated pumps that are designed for 4,375 GPM each. The design intent is for only one pump on each side of the heat exchanger to run at a time. The operators were actually running two pumps simultaneously, but at a lower RPM to handle the air handlers and server racks, because they assumed they didn't have adequate water flow.

We performed a dead-head test for each pump to verify the impeller size, then tested each individual pump at 60HZ to measure total GPM as plotted on the pump curve. We also tested at the triple-duty valve and with an ultrasonic meter located on the main supply pipe. Our calibrated instruments' readings indicated the installed gauges and the BAS were not indicating accurate values.

Our tests concluded that the BAS and the installed gauges were both out of calibration, which gave the owners false data. The cooling loop BAS was measuring 3,591 GPM and the actual fl ow was 4,300 GPM. The tower loop BAS was measuring 1,641 GPM, while the actual fl ow was 4,200 GPM. These readings were cross-checked between the pump curve, triple-duty valve and ultrasonic meter. All three measurements were within fi ve percent of each other. We recommended that the gauges on the pumps be changed to calibrated gauges for more reliable and accurate readings. We also assisted the owner in calibrating their BAS for future use.

At the time of the test, the condition of the floors was impacted due to the data floors being built out slightly more than the originally designed heat load, and unseasonably warm weather. The owner used our findings to conclude that added cooling would be needed for the existing heat load and any additional build out in the future, and also hired us to ensure that the added equipment is properly balanced and calibrated.

More information here.

Reminder: CPT Project Personnel - Requirements Mandate as of January 2020

September 1, 2019

The NEBB Board of Directors (BoD) approved the requirement that all NEBB CPT projects be staffed by a CPT Certified Professional (CPT CP) and/or at least one CPT Certified Technician (CPT CT). The policy was initially publicized in October 2017 to be fully implemented for enforcement on January 1, 2020.

In 2009, a related issue influenced the CPT mandate: NEBB approved a policy requiring a TAB Certified Professional (TAB CP) or TAB Certified Technician (TAB CT) to be on site for all TAB projects where NEBB was specified. This policy took effect on January 1, 2013. The latest NEBB TAB Procedural Standards 8th Edition 2015, section 2.4.3

COORDINATION/SUPERVISION requires the following:

The NEBB Certified Professional is responsible for ensuring either a NEBB CP or NEBB CT is continually present while TAB work is being performed on every NEBB certified project, and directing those technicians in performing the work. The NEBB CP is ultimately responsible for the accuracy of any field measurements and certified reports generated.

With this requirement in place for the NEBB TAB Program, the level of quality on NEBB projects increased dramatically.

The NEBB Board of Directors decided this same approach would be ideal for Cleanroom Performance Testing.

Conversations with major cleanroom operation managers indicated they were less than satisfied with firms utilizing untrained personnel to perform the required certification processes. Instances were mentioned where field staff did not know when the Certified Professional was on site. This a common complaint industry wide, across various certification organizations and firms but one that NEBB does not accept as a standard of operation. A major chip manufacturer indicated they will issue a new requirement for all personnel performing cleanroom performance testing to be either a Certified Professional (CP) or Certified Technician (CT).

By taking a proactive approach with the cleanroom performance testing mandate, NEBB provides a professional solution for the cleanroom industry's concerns about on-the-job work quality, while bringing NEBB to the forefront in the cleanroom certification field.

The mandate for Certified Technicians (CT's) on CPT projects provides cleanroom operators and managers with the level of expert CPT testing personnel they expect from NEBB Certified Individuals and NEBB Certified Firms.

NEBB's goal is to provide quality training and certification programs which leads to quality Certified Individuals, be it NEBB CPs or CTs, so clients are provided with competent and high-end work.

January 2020 is only months away and will arrive quickly; thus, for employers looking to get their employees CPT CTcertified, start now while there is ample time to complete the process. For information on becoming CPT CT certified,

email: certification@nebb.org.

ASHRAE Announces Call for Abstracts for 2020 Building Performance Analysis Conference and SimBuild

August 3, 2019

ASHRAE has announced a call for abstracts for the 2020 Building Performance Analysis Conference and SimBuild, to be held Aug. 12-14, 2020, at the Westin River North in Chicago.

Co-organized by ASHRAE and IBPSA-USA, the theme of the conference, "Integrated Building Design and Analysis to Achieve Zero Carbon," focuses on improving the decision-making process through the application of simulation and modeling over the entire building life cycle.

"This conference brings together the building energy analysis and performance simulation community for three days of discussions, seminars, and short courses to address the practices of energy modeling and building performance simulation using existing simulation tools, software development, and future simulation research and applications." said Carrie Brown, conference chair.

The conference steering committee is seeking abstracts on topics involving the use of innovative approaches for integration of modeling tools for better building design, performance, and operation to meet aggressive targets for compliance, energy reduction, decarbonization, and resiliency. 

Suggested paper topics include:

  • Early Design Modeling and Analysis;
  • Component and Systems Modeling and Load Analysis;
  • Codes, Standards, and Compliance Modeling;
  • Modeling Carbon;
  • Lighting and Daylighting;
  • Occupant Behavior, Comfort / Health, Wellbeing;
  • Urban Scale Modeling;
  • Data Exchange and Interoperability;
  • Big Data Applications for Large Scale Simulations;
  • Modeling Advances (New techniques, automation, scripting, etc.);
  • Grid-interactive Efficient Buildings and Resiliency;
  • Education; and
  • Intelligent Building Operations.

Abstracts (250 or less words in length) are due Sept. 6, 2019. If accepted, papers will be due mid-December. To submit abstracts, visit https://www.conftool.org/bpacs2020/.

 

The conference will also include informal seminar presentations, the 6th Annual LowDown Showdown, vendor workshops and invited speakers. For more information, visit www.ashrae.org/buildperform2020.

New TAB Procedural Standard available from NEBB

July 16, 2019

The NEBB Procedural Standard Ninth Edition-2019 for Testing Adjusting and Balancing (TAB) of Environmental Systems (Procedural Standard) is now available. This procedural standard establishes a uniform and systematic set of criteria for the performance of TAB services on environmental and HVAC systems by NEBB Certified Firms.

According to NEBB, this standard and these procedures are intended as the minimum NEBB requirements that a NEBB Certified Firm must follow when performing TAB procedures. When contract documents do not specify details for testing, adjusting and balancing, this procedural standard becomes the minimum standard to which a NEBB Certified TAB Report must meet. Conversely, contract documents may include more stringent requirements as necessary, in which NEBB Firms must meet this standard plus any additional, more stringent requirements as dictated by the contract documents. This Procedural Standard has been carefully compiled and reviewed by the NEBB TAB Committee.

NEBB Firms are required to own the latest version of a Procedural Standard to meet the requirements of firm recertification. This new standard (and all other standards) can be purchased online via the NEBB Bookstore. The NEBB price is $95, while the non-NEBB price is $125.

ASHRAE Releases New HVAC Applications Handbook -- Includes three new chapters, and updates

July 11, 2019

ASHRAE announced the release of its 2019 ASHRAE Handbook--HVAC Applications.

The newly published HVAC Applications volume comprised of 65 chapters covering a broad range of facilities and topics was written to help engineers design and use equipment and systems described in other handbook volumes. Main sections cover comfort, industrial, energy-related and general applications, as well as building operations and management.

The 2019 edition includes three new chapters:

  • Indoor Swimming Pools (Chapter 6)
  • Indoor Airflow Modeling (Chapter 59)
  • Occupant-Centric Sensing and Controls (Chapter 65)

Some other updates include:

  • Educational Facilities (Chapter 8) provides updated design criteria, and a new section on central plant optimization for higher education campuses and educational facilities for students with disabilities.
  • Health Care Facilities (Chapter 9) has been extensively rewritten to address current health care requirements.
  • Solar Energy (Chapter 36) has added updated guidance on solar thermal collectors and photovoltaic applications, with new information on design and performance of photovoltaic systems and on installation and operation guidelines for photovoltaic systems, with new practical examples.
  • Integrated Building Design (Chapter 60) has been completely rewritten to give more detail on Integrated Building Design (IBD) process.
  • Mold and Moisture (Chapter 64) revises the order of risk factors for mold to better reflect their relative importance and added information from ASHRAE RP-1712 to advise on components and configuration of dedicated outdoor air (DOAS) systems to help avoid mold growth in schools, universities, and military barracks during extended periods of unoccupied-mode HVAC operation.

ASHRAE has completed distribution of complimentary copies to members and is now offering this resource to the public.

The 2019 ASHRAE Handbook--HVAC Applications is available in two editions: I-P (inch-pound) or SI (International System) units of measurement. The cost of the print bound volume is $220 in I-P or SI.

Individual chapters may also be purchased as digital downloads in PDF format.

To purchase, visit ashrae.org/bookstore.

President Address

July 2, 2019

After reflecting upon the recent FEBB Annual conference in Orlando, FL, I can honestly say that I feel great about the future of our organization. It was everything a FEBB meeting should be: great educational presentations and technologies; discussions of upcoming initiatives, and a beautiful location to relax with your families and fellow members.

But most of all, FEBB/NEBB seems united with many great things on the horizon, and I feel very fortunate to serve as your president. I'd like to start by giving a very big thank you to Scott Coy for leading FEBB effectively the last two and half years, as well as the other board members who volunteer their time and continue to volunteer their time to FEBB.

FEBB/NEBB a few items of summary:

NEBB

Jeffery Schools provided a great update to the activities and initiatives that are happening with NEBB and its members. Its important for FEBB members to understand our chapter is one the leaders and that was clearly stated by Mr. Schools multiple times throughout the conference. This is due to the strong leadership this chapter has had for many years as well as the member firms that continue to be on the forefront of the TAB industry. A few noted items by Mr. Schools:

  • NEBB firms: please review the new Operational Procedures

  • NEBB is enhancing its strengths to its members and utilizing Certelligence, updating operating procedures as well as future reporting templates.

  • NEBB Chapter Affairs is reviewing/identifying member firms that are not complying with NEBB procedures/standards.

FEBB

  • As a board we continue to strive to enhance/support the Florida members. This has been done over the years through different initiatives. One of those being TAB report review. As many of you know we have discontinued that review request. However, we will continue to enhance the TAB Report Matrix which summarizes the NEBB requirements for TAB Reports. The Technical Committee will also continue peer review of a firms TAB report(s) by request only.

  • CT Continuing Education Opportunities: With the increase in attendance of Certified Technicians we will be discussing adding a breakout session for the CT's possibly during our general business meeting. The FEBB board has already reached out to John Kneiss with K & P Mechanical to lead our new education program for the certified Technicians.

Member Involvement: Finally, a reminder that FEBB thrives when members are actively involved. There will always be new opportunities to get involved such as technical committee, historical committee etc. If interested, please contact Terry Wichlenski - FEBB Chapter Coordinator.

In closing, thank you for being a FEBB member, and for the opportunity to serve as your president. Like you, I am committed to upholding the principles of NEBB/FEBB, quality work and integrity in the testing, adjusting and balancing profession. I look forward to the future success of our chapter.

Brian C Kaupp, NEBB CP, FEBB President

Southern Independent Testing Agency

New ASHRAE guideline addresses energy efficiency in historic buildings

April 19, 2019

ASHRAE published a new guideline for increasing energy efficiency in historic buildings while minimizing the disturbance of the building's historic character.

ASHRAE Guideline 34-2019, Energy Guideline for Historic Buildings, aims to provide comprehensive and detailed descriptions of the processes and procedures for the retrofitting of historic buildings to achieve greater measured efficiency. The guideline is particularly aimed at providing guidance for "listed" historic buildings; i.e., those formally designated or eligible to be designated as historically significant by a governing body.

Guideline 34 provides a step-by-step procedure for sensitive energy upgrading, beginning with forming the project team and gathering building and energy use histories, to instituting energy efficiency measures (EEM). Building envelope improvements, environmental control strategies, energy system analysis, HVAC selection, and lighting design considerations are all addressed in the guideline. All recommendations are made in consideration of preserving the integrity of the historically valuable building character, materials, and associated artifacts.

"The committee members writing this guideline are exceptionally knowledgeable about the special issues related to historic buildings and the care needed to preserve them," said 2018-2019 ASHRAE President Sheila J. Hayter, P.E., who also served as chair of the international guideline committee. "The committee's intent was to provide guidance for worldwide communities and specifically for entire project teams -- not just engineers."

According to ASHRAE, many historic buildings were constructed without insulation and designed without active air conditioning systems, especially for mechanical cooling. Retrofitting such buildings requires specialized techniques during construction and operation, as well as sensitivity to respecting and preserving historical significance.

Read the article at esmagazine.com

TAB JOURNAL: EMOs, EMPs & TAB

Summer 2018

Without going into a lot of detail, an energy management project normally begins with an appointment and a walk-through of a client's facilities. Things such as lighting, heating and cooling systems, production processes, and schedules are discussed and notes are taken for possible Energy Management Opportunities (EMOs). Later, if the owner is receptive to the idea of saving money (and who isn't?), more detailed studies and measurements are needed. That's where the TAB engineer and technicians become integral parts of the process.

Once there is agreement and permission for the more detailed studies, TAB technicians and their equipment are put into action with a list of readings to take as well as logged information to retrieve. If the owner's BAS does not have the logging capability, then the TAB company should have on hand or provide whatever instrumentation is needed. Temperature/humidity, power, runtime, and flow loggers are typical items needed for minimal studies. The EMP and TAB personnel must work together to develop a detailed scope of work for gathering the basic data.

Since some of the systems located in the facility being studied had neither been re-commissioned nor retro-commissioned in the operating life of the systems, TAB engineers were beginning at "0". Changes to the systems, operating modes, and parts failures without replacement of BAS generated the need for taking all basic measurements. Original start-up and TAB reports were virtually useless. The various measurements required for an accurate estimate of possible savings (EMOs) were taken and provided to the Energy Management Firm.

The Energy Management Firm used the information provided by the TAB firm in order to develop a proposal for an EMP (Energy Management Project) to the owner. Their findings indicated the potential for substantial savings by retro-fitting antiquated equipment and controls, as well as lighting upgrades. The owner accepted the proposal and from that came a TPO (TAB Project Opportunity) for the TAB firm.

Construction of this facility has spanned a period of 40 years with the most recent project having been completed five years ago. The original electro-pneumatic controls system had been mostly demolished in every building-- "mostly" because the pneumatic piping had been removed but the damper and valve operators were not. So, the outside air/return dampers and end point valves had been locked in position for about 15 years. The Electro/Pneumatic devices controlling the main CHW and HW valves had been changed to DDC. Although some of the EMCS had been modernized, they were lacking at least five upgrades to their program. From all practical aspects, this complicated system was being operated in "hand" position.

The chilled water cooling system utilized a central chiller plant with condenser pumps, primary and secondary pumps provided the cooling tower and main loop flows, and tertiary pumps provided flow for each building. Similarly, the heating loop initially utilized central boilers with primary/secondary/tertiary pumping schemes.

Modifications to the HVAC operating scheme in recent years involved the removal of the buildings from the central energy plant boiler and the installation of smaller boilers serving each of the buildings. The chilled water equalizing bridges in each building were removed, thereby changing the arrangement of all of the building pumps from tertiary to series installation. They were acting as boosters for the secondary pumps. Neither the heating nor cooling systems had been re-balanced following these changes.

Under the new design, chilled water tertiary pumps would be replaced with venturi flow devices which are controlled by differential pressure.

Secondary chilled water pumps were up-sized from the original design in order to overcome the loss of capacity from the removal of the tertiary pumps.

Adding to the concerns regarding removal of the tertiary pumps was the amount of diversity designed into the original system--75%. Changes to the initial occupancy schedules, summer weather, and periodic full-occupancy of buildings not included in the initial diversity calculations bring the initial design capacities into question.

At full load, there is a 200 GPM differential between the primary chiller flow (700 GPM) and the secondary loop flow (900 GPM) which introduces a mixing effect in the district supply at its connection to the hydraulic bridge.

The question then becomes at what delivery temperature the chiller should be set in order for the mixed system to provide 45°F design temperature to the secondary loop. The primary system is constant flow and the secondary system is variable. For the purposes of this article, we'll consider only full-load conditions. The formula for determining the final mixed water temperature of two streams is: Tm=(M1C1T1 +M2C2T2)/M1C1+M2C2. Assuming clear water with equal specific heat, then we will be mixing 700 gallons of water at "x" temperature with 200 gallons of water at 57°F to produce 900 gallons of water at 45°F(Tm). The formula then becomes: 45°F=(700xT1)+(200 x 57)/(700)+(200). Solving for the formula gives the result of 41.57°F being the new chiller delivery set point (Tm) for full load. The chillers are two-stage and will load/unload as controlled by their onboard sensors.
The secondary loop pumps are controlled by differential pressure. Chillers will be set at the 41.57 temperature until practical tests under full-load conditions can be conducted.

Differential pressure set point will be determined during TAB hydronic balancing procedures.

Since some of the buildings are two-pipe arrangements and others are four-pipe, the calculations for the chilled water system will be tested the following summer. Chiller and pump flows will be balanced and coil performance tests will take place under loaded conditions the following summer. The boiler systems will be balanced under load conditions in the following winter. The TAB contractor will work closely with the Energy Management Firm to log and trim the systems over the next several months in order to maximize efficiency and decrease energy use.

More information here.

CxEnergy 2018 Conference Program Released

March 26, 2018

The fifth annual CxEnergy Conference & Expo provides people on both the service provider and building owner sides of the commissioning, energy management and test & balance industry with information on the latest trends, technologies, and regulatory developments that impact them. CxEnergy 2018 is being held April 23-26 at the Rio All-Suite at Las Vegas, NV.

Attendees will earn AIA (LU/HSW) and USGBC LEED General Education, CxA and EMP continuing education credits for presentations that include case studies and topics in building envelope/enclosure commissioning, technology & innovation, energy management, commissioning specialty systems, policy & financial issues, lighting, water management, data centers, microgrids, energy storage and more.

The 30+ speakers are well-known industry experts across all building science disciplines. The speakers represent companies and organizations including ASHRAE, National Institute of Building Sciences, Lawrence National Berkeley Laboratory, Citi, Stanford University, Caesars Entertainment, United Technologies Corporation, Hanson Professional Services, Jensen Hughes, Lutron, Schneider Electric, TLC Engineering for Architecture and more.

The expo hall showcases commissioning and energy management software companies, metering and instrument suppliers, and manufacturers of HVAC products, lighting, and technology products. There are also a number of service provider companies that are looking to build partnerships or offer unique services.

CxEnergy offers pre-conference certification workshops and seminars for Certified Commissioning Authority (CxA) and Energy Management Professional (EMP), plus TAB Seminar for CxAs, Engineers, and TAB Professionals. The event also features several networking events that connect commissioning providers, energy managers, MEP engineers, lighting & control technologists, and HVAC testing professionals with manufacturers and energy services providers. CxEnergy is presented by the AABC Commissioning Group (ACG), Associated Air Balance Council (AABC), and Energy Management Association (EMA). Supporting Organizations include The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), The Society of American Military Engineers (SAME), The National Institute of Building Sciences, The USGBC Nevada Chapter, The  Continental Automated Buildings Association, The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP), and Navigant.

New Code in the Works: ASHRAE announces progress of IgCC powered by 189.1

January 22, 2018

Jan. 22, 2018, ASHRAE held its winter press conference, including a tasty breakfast of a veggie frittata, smoked sausage, and home fries at McCormick Place in Chicago. The conference was an opportunity for ASHRAE, along with partners the International Code Council (ICC), the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES), and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), to provide a brief history of the International Green Construction Code (IgCC) and ASHRAE Standard 189.1, also known as IgCC Powered by 189.1, its partnership, a peak into the new document, and what impact the code will have on the industry, particularly those manufacturers exhibiting at this year's AHR Expo.

"I just want to introduce this idea that we are bringing these standards together into one, unified document," said Wes Sullens, director, building codes technical development, USGBC. "I think it's a powerful moment. In 2014, organizations did a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to harmonize the two documents into one single thing. So, where we stand today, the 189.1 Standard was delivered to ICC, it's done, buttoned up, packaged, and given to them, and they are publishing the IgCC, making it one document available. It's pretty historical for the green code moment."

A panel of speakers spoke on the progress of this combined effort, particularly, IgCC Powered by 189.1's projected release date this spring. Speakers included: Dave Walls, executive director, sustainability programs, ICC; Wes Sullens, director, building codes technical development, UGBC; Joe Winters, principal, AIA, head of specifications at HOK; Mark Lien, industry relations manager, IES.

HARDI Official Statement on Tax Bill Passage

December 21, 2017

Heating, Air-conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) applauds the passage of the final version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in both the House and Senate this week. HARDI is particularly pleased with the inclusion of the HEAT Act provisions, improvement on the treatment of pass-through entities, preservation of LIFO, and progress towards repeal of the estate tax.

"This new tax structure is going to give a big boost to HARDI members," says HARDI CEO Talbot Gee. "Along with the tax cuts in this package, there are some great specific provisions for our industry, such as full, immediate expensing of qualified HVAC equipment."

"Plain and simple, this is a big win for HARDI members that has been a long time in the making," said HARDI vice president of government affairs, Palmer Schoening. "But at the same time, the fight goes on even with this win. We aim to keep up pressure towards full estate tax repeal and trying to achieve permanence with these new rates going forward."

"We look forward to leading the HARDI membership through this important upcoming midterm election year," Schoening continues. "Our next Congressional Fly-in this May will be a crucial one, and we encourage HARDI members to continue staying engaged with their representatives and making their voice heard in Washington."

Improved Sensors Could Reduce Energy Used for HVAC Systems

December 11, 2017

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Engineering researchers at The University of Alabama are part of a nationwide project to find ways of reducing energy used to heat, cool, and ventilate buildings.

Dr. Zheng O'Neill, UA assistant professor of mechanical engineering, is leading a team developing testing standards and control strategies for sensors used to control HVAC in commercial and residential buildings.

The goal is to provide a way for those who manage HVAC systems to know sensors work efficiently when detecting human movement and occupancy to control heating, cooling and ventilation.

"When we complete the work, we should be able to say that if we use this kind of sensor-driven control strategy, we can achieve HVAC energy savings of at least 30 percent," O'Neill said.

UA received nearly $1.5 million from the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, or ARPA-E, through its Saving Energy Nationwide in Structures with Occupancy Recognition, or SENSOR, program.

About 13 percent of all energy produced in the United States is used to heat, cool and ventilate buildings, with much of it wasted--used when buildings are unoccupied or not fully occupied. The SENSOR program supports innovative and highly accurate presence sensors and occupant counters that optimize HVAC of buildings while reducing cost and slashing energy use.

SENSOR project teams can take advantage of existing low-cost wireless and electronic communication technologies and could reduce HVAC energy usage by 30 percent, while simultaneously addressing user requirements for cost, privacy and usability.

The team will investigate various types of occupancy sensors, such as human-presence sensing, people counting, and carbon dioxide sensors for detecting failure rates and HVAC energy-saving potential in a wide range of real-world applications.

The proposed testing protocol and simulation suite, which can be used for any sensor-driven HVAC energy efficiency technology, will be tested and validated in side-by-side laboratory controlled environments at the Delos Well Living Lab and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's Lab Homes, and in field trial testing in four commercial buildings and four residential houses in two climate zones.