June 05, 2014: Vol. 13, No. 23 Advancing HVAC&R to Serve Humanity
And Promote a Sustainable World  



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Industry News

Internet Companies Take Innovative Approaches to Data Center Cooling
THE DALLES, Ore.—Two Internet giants are using unconventional means to cool their data centers. Google's data centers are literally getting smarter about how they consume electricity. Google uses neural networks, a form of machine learning, to drive energy use in its data centers lower than the company's already impressive average power usage effectiveness (PUE) of 1.12. Google engineer Jim Gao built models to predict and improve data center performance. A computer analyzes the large amounts of data to recognize patterns and “learns” from them to come up with new ways to squeeze more efficiency out of Google's operations. eBay takes an approach that is not popular because of its seeming high cost. eBay recently reconfigured a high-density server room in its Phoenix data center, switching from in-row air cooling units to water-cooled rear door cooling units. The units cool server exhaust heat as it exits the rear of the rack. eBay's Phoenix data center has 16 rows of racks, each housing 30 kW to 35 kW of servers—well beyond the 4 kW to 8 kW in most enterprise data center racks. Cooling that equipment required six in-row air handlers in each row, meaning eBay had to sacrifice six rack positions for cooling equipment. Switching to the rear-door units allowed eBay to recapture those six racks and fill them with servers, increasing computing capacity in the same footprint, which compensates for the more expensive cooling equipment.

Click here to read more about Google's neural network approach.
Click here to read more about eBay's use of water-cooled rear doors.

Will Wind Turbines Work in New York City?
NEW YORK—In the past few weeks, two new wind turbine installations have been built on buildings in New York City, including one on a large luxury apartment building in Queens and another atop what is now Brooklyn’s tallest building, 388 Bridge Street. At least half a dozen more are planned. However, there are some potential hurdles before turbines become as popular as solar panels in New York. New York is a windy city, often too much so. Typical turbines require a steady breeze of 10 mph (4.5 m/s) or more, whereas winds in New York can range from 3 to 30 mph (1.3 to 13 m/s) and come from all directions. The city’s thicket of buildings further complicates things, dissipating winds. Also, many sustainability advocates are questioning the efficacy and efficiency of placing small turbines on large buildings. Said Russell Unger, executive director of the Urban Green Council: "As far as return on investment goes, it’s a waste compared to more insulation and efficient building systems.”

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EPA Takes Aim at Climate Change
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this week proposed mandating power plants cut U.S. carbon-dioxide emissions 30% by 2030 from 2005 levels. The Agency says the proposal is a key component in the agenda of President Barack Obama's administration to fight climate change. The announcement came shortly after EPA released the third edition of a report, Climate Change Indicators in the United States. The report includes observed data on key measures of the global environment, including temperature and precipitation, ocean heat and ocean acidity, sea level, length of growing seasons, etc. The third edition of the Indicators report, which was last published in 2012, finds that average temperatures have risen across the contiguous 48 states since 1901. Seven of the top 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 1998. Also, tropical storm activity in the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico has increased during the past 20 years. “These indicators make it clear that climate change is a serious problem and is happening now here in the U.S. and around the world,” said Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation.

Click here
to read more about EPA's proposal regarding power plant emissions.
Click here
to read more about EPA's report on climate change indicators.

'Green' Wall Moves to Filter Indoor Air

NEW YORK—Researchers from the School of Architecture at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have created a public-scale prototype of a mobile "green" wall designed to use plants to clean indoor air. Two panels of plants, each 6 ft × 7 ft (1.83 m × 2.12 m) and containing about 30 densely packed plants, hang on a wall in a building on the Rensselaer campus. The prototype green wall is designed to be mobile so research on its effects can be conducted in different settings. The two panels can be coupled or decoupled and moved into different environments within the building; they will initially be connected directly to the building's plumbing, but the system is also designed with a water tank so it can operate without being directly connected to plumbing.

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Americans More Worried About 'Global Warming' Than 'Climate Change'
NEW YORK—Many scientists have come to prefer the term “climate change” instead of “global warming.” Climate change is a broader term that encompasses not only the warming of the planet but also increases in severe storms, droughts and damaging winds. According to a recent report by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, the terms “are often not synonymous—they mean different things to different people, and activate different sets of beliefs, feelings, and behaviors.” While "climate change" makes many people think of general weather patterns and natural fluctuations in temperature and precipitation, "global warming" tends to produce connotations of extreme weather. When asked if climate change was a good or a bad thing, 63% of respondents said it was a bad thing, while 76% perceive global warming as a bad thing. "Global warming" also conjured stronger negative responses in an open-ended question.

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Knauf Insulation to Acquire Guardian Insulation
SHELBYVILLE, Ind.—Knauf Insulation and Guardian Industries have signed an agreement for Knauf Insulation to acquire Guardian Insulation. The transaction includes Guardian Fiberglass, a leading supplier of insulation products for the construction market, and Guardian Laminated Building Products.

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In other news...

General Tools & Instruments Acquired by Private Equity Firm
U.S. Residential Solar PV Installations Exceed Commercial Installations for First Time
R-32 Flammability Holds No Fear for Contractors, Says Daikin
NAMIC Urges Building Code Incentives to Reduce Economic Losses From Natural Disasters
Rolling Down Car Windows More Fuel Efficient Than Using Air Conditioning
A Case for Ice Storage to Cool Commercial Buildings


ASHRAE Supports 2030 Energy Productivity Goals, On the Road Campaign
ASHRAE has joined in support of the Alliance to Save Energy’s 2030 program with support of the Alliance’s On the Road campaign launch. The Alliance has a goal of doubling U.S. energy productivity by 2030. Energy productivity, which is defined as the ratio of output divided by energy consumption, is a useful indicator for understanding the energy efficiency of an industry or an economy. The Energy 2030 On the Road campaign has already made stops in Seattle; Los Angeles; Las Vegas; and Ann Arbor, Mich., and has garnered support and official endorsements of the goal at each event. Additional campaign stops will be made with a goal of securing endorsements and educating stakeholders in up to ten target cities by the end of this year. On the Road will hold a session on June 23 at ASHRAE headquarters in Atlanta.

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Feature of the Week

How Indoor Environment Affects Performance
By David P. Wyon, Ph.D., Member ASHRAE; Pawel Wargocki, Ph.D., Member ASHRAE
This article provides a summary of the personal opinions of the authors, who are researchers in the effects of thermal comfort and indoor air quality on performance. The article is presented in the form of answers to frequently asked questions. The answers are based on the results of several behavioral experiments conducted to date. The authors also list some questions that cannot currently be answered as topics for future research in this area.

This article originally was published in March 2013. Click here to download the article. It will be available here through June 19.

After June 19, 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 ashrae.org online store.

Product News

VRF Heat Pump From LG Electronics USA
ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J.—LG Electronics USA announces U.S. availability of the LG Multi V Water IV water source heat pump, a flexible variable refrigerant flow (VRF) HVAC system that comes in two configurations: heat pump and heat recovery. Both systems can accommodate up to 64 thermal zones with technology that allows the user to pipe farther, reaching distant areas of a building. The units have smaller space requirements and reduced piping needs compared with typical chilled water or water source heat pump systems, reducing the overall construction and material cost of the building and allowing more leasable space for the owner. The placement of system components and short pipe lengths result in lower installations and energy costs.

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Boiler Control From Bosch Thermotechnology
LONDONBERRY, N.H.—Bosch Thermotechnology introduces the Heatronic 4000 commercial boiler control for producing and maintaining a set target temperature in up to four boilers. The product controls and monitors both condensing and noncondensing commercial boilers that have modulating, single-stage, two-stage and dual fuel burners. The BACnet®- and Modbus-compatible burner controller allows for a more flexible, cost-effective mixed boiler plant solution, providing better system control, energy efficiency and overall boiler performance.

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Heat Wheel From SG America
WYOMISSING, Pa.—The HI-Panex ion heat wheel from SG America features an ion exchange resin as a desiccant for enthalpy (total) and sensible heat recovery applications. Sensible wheels transfer thermal energy only and do not adsorb moisture. Enthalpy wheels transfer heat and moisture from one airstream to another. Ion resin is permanently bonded to the aluminum and then coated with an antibacterial and mold-resistant treatment that lasts the lifetime of the heat exchanger. This feature enables the use of the wheel for pretreatment of outside air for ventilation of commercial buildings to improve indoor air quality.

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