Friday, November 30, 2012

Roll Call: ASHRAE Responds ‘Present’ in STEM Education Efforts

Roll Call: ASHRAE Responds ‘Present’ in STEM Education Efforts

ATLANTA—The United States produces approximately 74,000 engineers a year, a number that has remained essentially flat for the past two decades. With the impending retirement of the Baby Boomer generation, an anticipated shortage of engineers will affect virtually every aspect of our environment, society and lifestyle. ASHRAE is increasing its efforts in expressing the importance of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education – most notably, in the area of public policy.

To accomplish this, ASHRAE has joined the STEM Education Coalition.  The Coalition works to inform federal, state and local policymakers on the critical role that STEM education plays in keeping the U.S. competitive in the global marketplace, as well as in guaranteeing future economic prosperity. The Coalition advocates for policies that will improve STEM education and provide greater access to STEM programs. As members of the Coalition’s Leadership Council, ASHRAE will work with other member organizations to advance the Coalition’s policy aims through direct advocacy and grassroots education efforts.

“I took an interest in engineering when I was very young, and my science and math classes in school only fueled that curiosity.” Tom Watson, ASHRAE president, said. “Working with the STEM Education Coalition demonstrates ASHRAE’s commitment to education, and we are eager to be a part of high-level discussions and collaboration to promote such important educational topics.”

ASHRAE hopes to unite its grassroots efforts with other organizations of the coalition that have similar goals at the state and local level. For example, ASHRAE encourages policymakers to implement the following recommendations:
•       Increase federally funded research to improve teaching and learning of STEM concepts and critical thinking skills.
•       Recruit, train and retain qualified STEM teachers through the development of programs recognizing educators who excel in STEM education, and incentives that encourage the best and brightest scientists and engineers to teach.
•       Foster partnerships among educational institutions, industry, and non-profit organizations and their members.
•       Encourage the adoption of curriculum standards that cultivate high student performance; the development of curricula that foster creativity, experiential problem solving and critical thinking; and the development of assessments aligned with these standards and curricula.
•       Create opportunities and incentives for women and minorities to pursue STEM coursework and careers.

ASHRAE also provides resources for its members to reach out to schools and students to promote STEM education. An online resource guide for kindergarten through 12th grade is available at The site includes suggested classroom projects, career videos from the Society and materials for teacher use.

ASHRAE, founded in 1894, is a building technology society with more than 50,000 members worldwide. The Society and its members focus on building systems, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, refrigeration and sustainability within the industry. Through research, standards writing, publishing and continuing education, ASHRAE shapes tomorrow’s built environment today.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Job Posting - Notkin Engineers

HVAC Project Engineers and Mechanical Designers

Notkin Mechanical Engineers is an award-winning consulting mechanical design firm located in Seattle. Quality, systems reliability, and innovation are the trademarks of Notkin's leadership in mechanical design for over 60 years. Known for successful mechanical design of complex projects with challenging requirements, the firm is increasing staff to support federal, healthcare, and higher education work.

We are looking for engineers and designers who enjoy working on interesting and technically challenging projects to join our team.

We offer a competitive salary, an excellent benefit package, collaborative and supportive work environment, and the opportunity to work with people who celebrate the art and science of engineering, and are committed to their client’s success.


  • PE License
  • BSME or BSAE
  • 6 or more years of recent hands-on experience in the design and selection of mechanical equipment
  • Good communication skills
  • Proficient computer skills, experience with Revit a plus


  • 6 or more years of recent hands-on experience in the design and selection of mechanical equipment
  • Good communication skills
  • Proficient computer skills, experience with Revit a plus


  • Design HVAC systems, including building controls
  • Perform load calculations, equipment selection and sizing
  • Conduct energy analyses
  • Perform fieldwork
  • Prepare specifications and reports
  • Consult with owners, architects, other disciplines, manufacturers and contractors from schematic design through construction
  • Respond to RFIs and submittals
  • Attend client meetings


Notkin is an Equal Opportunity Employer and considers all applicants and employees without regard to race, color, religion, gender, age, ethnic or national origin, marital status, physical or mental disability, veteran status, or any other protected class in accordance with federal, state, and local laws.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

With IAQ 2013 taking place in Vancouver, ASHRAE is strongly encouraging members in your geographic region to submit abstracts. The conference will examine IAQ, thermal comfort, source control, air cleaning, ventilation, exposure and related environmental health concerns associated with low energy building design, construction, retrofit and operation.

IAQ 2013 will review the state of knowledge of the balance of environmental health and energy efficiency in buildings and help define future education, policy and research directions. With an increasing emphasis on energy conservation, there is a tendency to ignore the purpose of the use of much of that energy, the maintenance of good indoor environmental quality. The roles of building, HVAC and passive system design and operation for achieving good environmental health in low energy buildings are the core themes of this conference.

The conference program will include internationally acclaimed keynote speakers, original peer reviewed conference papers and extended abstract presentations. Abstracts are invited in the following subject areas:
·     Environmental Health in Low Energy Buildings
·     Moisture and Health
·     Sources and Chemistry
·     IEQ Factor Interactions
·     Residential Buildings
·     Commercial and Institutional Buildings
·     Air Cleaning and Filtration
·     Microorganisms and Infection
·     Tools (models, measurements and more)

For more detailed descriptions of each of the topic areas, visit

The deadline for abstracts is Dec. 15, 2012.

Abstracts, containing titles and 300 word or less summaries, should be submitted via the submission system on the conference website at

The conference is co-organized by ISIAQ and is the 17th in the ASHRAE IAQ conference series.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Project Delivery Forum: Changing Your Practice

Changing options for project delivery transform how we manage our clients, our staff, our liabilities. The available tools and technology to deliver successful projects are developing at an exponential pace. Managing multiple delivery methods in the same office becomes increasingly complex, raising not only logistical and managerial issues, but also critical legal and insurance concerns. Join a series of industry expert panels and presenters to examine the present and the future of project delivery, see the latest technologies at work, and learn how to best incentivize collaboration and share accountability while raising the bar on performance.
The 2011 AIA IPD conference drew 200 passionate and interested professionals for a day of insights, education and lively dialog. Join this year’s interdisciplinary discussion about trends in project delivery and how they affect the way we will design and build in the next decade.
Keynote Speaker:
Erleen Hatfield AIA, PE LEED BSAS, MSCE
Principal, Buro Happold, New York
Erleen joined Buro Happold in 2009 as principal in the New York office. She has over 18 years of experience in the structural design of a range of complex projects including sports facilities, commercial, residential, and academic buildings. She frequently lectures on innovation and new technologies in engineering and architecture, including Building Information Modeling and new collaboration processes.
She sits on numerous national industry committees including the American Institute of Steel Construction Building Information Modeling Committee, the American Concrete Institute Committee on BIM and the Applied Technology Council-Committee 81. Locally in New York, she is the co-chair of the American Institute of Architects New York Technology Committee and a past director of the Structural Engineers Association of New York. In addition, she teaches graduate architecture classes at Yale University and gives regular lectures at Pratt University, New York. She is a registered professional engineer.
For more information on the program, please go to:
Thank you to our steering committee: Ted Sive, Lindsey Pflugrath, Troy Thrun, Dace Campbell, David Walsh.
Many Thanks to our Forum Sponsors:
Wiss Janney Elstner Associates Inc.
In-Kind Contributor: ZGF Architects LLP

ASHRAE Technology Awards Highlight Outstanding Building Projects

ATLANTA – Engineers play a vital role in their communities, working to provide safe, comfortable and energy efficient buildings for everyone from students to firefighters. The winners of the 2013 ASHRAE Technology Awards have proven the value of engineering in their communities with the design of a fire station, hospital, university recreation center, nature museum, offices and even a national energy laboratory.

The ASHRAE Technology Awards recognize outstanding achievements by members who have successfully applied innovative building design.  Their designs incorporate ASHRAE standards for effective energy management and indoor air quality. The awards communicate innovative systems design to other ASHRAE members and highlight technological achievements of ASHRAE to others around the world. Winning projects are selected from entries earning regional awards.

Following are summaries of the winning projects.

Research Support Facility, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) C-K Joseph Tai, P.E., Stantec Consulting, Inc., San Francisco, Calif., receives first place in the new commercial buildings category for the Research Support Facility, NREL, Golden, Colo. The building is owned by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Tai and his team also receive the Award of Engineering Excellence for the project.

The Research Support Facility (RSF) is a new 219,105 ft² office building on NREL’s campus in Golden, Colo. It includes everything from open and private offices to a fitness center and library. The criteria for designing the building included an absolute energy use intensity (EUI) goal of 35kBtu/sf/year, net-zero energy and the ability to use the building as a living lab to demonstration energy efficiencies strategies.

The key to the RSF’s success are its integrated systems. Lighting in the building is an integrated system of architectural and interior design details, daylight control systems, occupancy controls and high efficiency lighting. Ninety-two percent of all typical work spaces are designed to receive adequate daylight using a narrow floor plate and advanced light bouncing device.  Thermal comfort is addressed using an integrated system of thermal mass, radiant slabs, night purging and natural ventilation. The total annual energy consumption of the building is 36 percent better than a baseline ASHRAE 90.1-2004 building; the measured EUI is 33kBtu/sf/year, while on-site photovoltaic system is sized at 35kBtu/sf/year.

The RSF offsets the vast majority of its energy footprint by using electrical energy produced by solar panels. The new data center is one of the most efficient in the world due to free cooling and IT efficiency measurements.  It consumes 81 percent less energy than its predecessor, and thus reduces carbon emission by nearly five million pounds per year. In fact, the building is carbon neutral.

Rice Fergus Miller Office and Studio
Shawn Oram, Ecotope, Inc. Seattle, Wash. receives first place in the existing commercial buildings category for Rice Fergus Miller Office and Studio, Bremerton, Wash. The building is owned by Fifth Street Hilltop Partners, LLC.

The Rice Fergus Miller (RFM) Office and Studio is helping to revitalize historic downtown Bremerton, Wash., by turning an abandoned warehouse into a state of the art office building. After one year, the project has an EUI of 21.8 kBtu/sf/year, 76 percent better than the national average for office buildings, which is 93 kBtu/sf/yr. Notably, the building performance is coming within 10 percent of the modeled performance without calibration.

The RFM Office and Studio relies on occupants to play an active role in the operation and tuning of the building using an innovative “passive/active” hybrid mechanical system. The HVAC systems are designed to turn off when the outdoor temperatures are within the “passive mode” range. Red and green lights are used to signal the building mode to the occupants; green indicates passive mode when operable windows can be used for ventilation and cooling.

A high efficiency variable refrigerant volume/flow heat pump (VRV/F) system provides space heating and cooling for 23 independent zones. The VRV/F system is switched from heating to cooling on either side of the passive operation mode; however, the super-insulated naturally ventilated building allows the heat pumps to be off for 70 percent of the year. Ventilation is provided by two energy recovery ventilators (ERV) controlled in stages based on CO2 levels. A large de-stratification fan is positioned over a central opening between the upper and lower floors. The fan mixes the space, acting as a replacement for a traditional ducted distribution system and at higher speeds provides cooling. Waste heat from the server room is recovered and used to heat the building.

The project makes use of the plentiful rainfall for irrigation and toilet flushing from a 6,000 gallon rainwater storage, filtration and pumping system in the garage. The design offsets over 60,000 gallons of potable water use annually.

Portland State University Academic and Student Recreation Center (PSU ASRC) Mark Koller, P.E., Interface Engineering, Portland, Ore, receives first place in the new educational facilities category for the design of the Portland State University Academic and Student Recreation Center, Ore. The building is owned by the University.

This new building on PSU’s downtown campus is home to the School of Social Work, the Oregon University System Chancellor’s Office, the recreation center—including a gymnasium and natatorium—bike hub and the City of Portland Archives.

The natatorium is served by a dedicated indoor dehumidification unit, which has air-to-air plate heat recovery, variable speed fans with dew-point control and heat recovery. The building’s gym, which consists of three courts and an elevated running track, is served by a dedicated air handler with a well water cooling coil, heating coil, variable speed fan and economizer with stack relief. The exercise equipment contains small generators which feed electricity to the building. This is used to teach building occupants how much effort is involved in generating a single kilowatt.

Radiant loss through the high percentage glazing in the lobby of the building is offset by the use of hydronic floor heating, as well as hydronic perimeter convectors. Fan-powered terminal units were utilized in most exterior zones in order to help offset envelope losses. Also, the street level retail spaces are served by a water source heat pump system that uses water from the on-site well. In the cooling season the building rejects heat to this water which is then pumped back to the ground via an injection well. In the heating season those spaces that need heat will be able to extract heat from this 56 F water.

Eastside Fire and Rescue Station 72
Jonathan Heller, P.E., Ecotope, Inc., Seattle, Wash., receives first place in the new other institutional facilities category for the design of the Eastside Fire and Rescue Station 72, Issaquah, Wash. The building is owned by the City of Issaquah.

The new fire station includes offices, living quarters, three truck bays and support spaces. The building uses 70 percent less energy and 50 percent less water compared to other typical fire stations in the region. The building was able to achieve these reductions through the use of super-insulation, heat recovery ventilation, radiant heat distribution, ground source heat pumps, solar water preheat, high efficiency appliances, advanced lighting designs and controls, and real-time energy use feedback to the occupants.

The station is held at relatively constant temperature with radiant heating and cooling in the slab. However, due to the stressful and physically demanding work required of the firefighters, the sleeping rooms are equipped with 4-pipe fan coils with individual temperature control in each private room. This allows firefighters access to cooling on demand when needed to relax after an emergency call. Also, since firefighters often have to leave the station quickly, there is not time to turn off equipment and lights. Therefore, every room has occupancy sensors for shutting off lights and unnecessary equipment. The plug receptacles that are switched from the occupancy sensors are color coded so that all non-critical equipment can be turned off with occupancy.

One innovative aspect of the fire station is the interconnection between the solar thermal and ground source heat pump systems. A large solar thermal array was included due to the high level of hot water use in the fire station. If the solar preheat water tanks are satisfied, the excess heat collected by the solar thermal system is discharged to the geothermal loop field to recharge the ground temperature.

Swedish Issaquah Hospital
Jeremy McClanathan, ASHRAE-Certified Building Energy Modeling and Healthcare Facility Design Professional, CDi Engineers, Lynnwood, Wash., receives first place in the new health care facilities category for the Swedish Issaquah Hospital, Issaquah, Wash. The owner is Swedish Health System.

The new hospital includes an emergency department, operating rooms, imaging, cardiology and in-patient rooms. Through innovative design, the building was able to achieve a 54 percent energy savings compared to a baseline EUI 250 kBtu/sf/year for a typical hospital. Efficiency measures include a central plant heat recovery system (HRS); the use of variable air volume (VAV) air systems; recirculating air handling units (AHU) with select units 100 percent outside air capable for pandemic mode; low velocity ductwork, high efficiency AHUs and chillers; and efficient envelope and lighting.

The most innovative efficiency measure employed in the project was the central plant HRS that is estimated to provide approximately 80 percent of the building’s heating and domestic hot water with energy recovered from internal loads. It utilizes a centralized heat pump, advanced controls, heat recovery coils and a series of heat exchangers to move heat from the chilled water system to the hot water systems. In order to maintain the required pressure relationships mandated in hospitals for infection control, the building utilizes return and exhaust air tracking terminal units and venture valves in its ventilation system. This allows central AHUs to vary supply airflow rates based on demand.

Carbon emissions for the building are 47 percent lower than a baseline building, reducing 6,513 tons of carbon emissions each year. Additionally, the plumbing fixtures, selected to provide both water and energy savings, save 30 percent and 50 percent of the water used by standard fixtures.

Montréal Biodôme
André-Benoit Allard, Eng., Ecosystem, Québec City, Québec, Canada, receives first place in the existing public assembly category for the Montréal Biodôme, Quebec, Canada. The building is owned by Montréal Space for Life.

The Montréal Biodôme, a Space for Life, is filled with flora and fauna from five different replicated ecosystems from the Americas that are under one roof but vary greatly in terms of temperature, humidity and light requirements. An energy saving retrofit was performed on the building from 2008 to 2010. Overall, the building has experienced 55 percent energy savings since the retrofit and an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Central to the retrofit is an energy recovery and energy transfer system between the various ecosystems that is used to cool and heat other parts of the building The heat recovery system includes four heat pumps with a total rated capacity of 1,450 tons. This design allows completely secure operation, even if one of the heat pumps suffers a technical problem. The chillers—or heat pumps—of the new power plant run on R-134a. The plant has three 450-ton heat pumps used for cooling and a fourth 250-ton heat pump is dedicated to the sub-polar region of the building where colder water/glycol solution is needed. This configuration allows the three heat pumps to work in a better efficiency range.

Additionally, 42 fan and pump motors have been replaced by high efficiency motors. A number of motors were resized depending on the load they carried. They are powered by variable frequency drives and fan speed is adjusted according to each ecosystem’s unique schedule and temperature setpoint. The fresh air supply in certain sectors, such as the tropical rainforest, is controlled by CO2 sensors.

The Biodôme employs one of the biggest open-loop ground-source heat pump systems in Canada, with water drawn from the underground water some 30 meters below the building at a rate of 720,000 gallons/day. Depending on the time of year, the system meets heating and cooling needs that the heat recovery system cannot meet alone. During the summer, it is thus possible to transfer the heat from the heat pumps to the underground water and store the heat for the heating season.

ASHRAE, founded in 1894, is a building technology society with more than 50,000 members worldwide. The Society and its members focus on building systems, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, refrigeration and sustainability within the industry. Through research, standards writing, publishing and continuing education, ASHRAE shapes tomorrow’s built environment today.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Next Tacoma LEED Users Group Meeting

Next TOLUG meeting: November 6th from 12:00-1:30.
Please join us for the November Tacoma/Olympia LEED Users Group (TOLUG) meeting at McGranahan Architects 2111 Pacific Avenue #100, Tacoma, WA 98402.  Our presenter this month is Bill Smith from the City of Tacoma Solid Waste Management.  His presentation will be on Climate Change and Materials Management.
Bill will begin with an update on how the City of Tacoma utilities compare to the rest of the country.  Bill will then shift gears and discuss how managing materials can effect climate change.

Attendees will learn why Tacoma’s utilities are so green and how this can be leveraged into an economic development tool for the City and businesses located in the City.  Attendees will also learn about the work of the West Coast Climate Forum, a consortium of state and local governments organized and led by EPA Regions 9 and 10.  The work of the forum is groundbreaking and involves sustainable consumption and research on the relationship between materials and climate change and the actions that governments and the private sector can take to reduce the environmental, social and economic impacts of what we do.