September 12, 2013: Vol. 12, No. 36 Advancing HVAC&R to Serve Humanity
And Promote a Sustainable World  



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Industry News

U.S. Wastes More Than 60% of Its Energy, Says Study
LIVERMORE, Calif.—In 2012, the U.S. wasted 61% of all energy input into its economy, making it just 39% energy efficient, according to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Of the 95.1 quadrillion Btus (quads) of raw energy that entered the U.S. economy, only 37 quads were actually used. For the past ten years Livermore National Laboratory has calculated U.S. energy waste to be in the region of 50%–58%. However, in 2012 this figure jumped to one of the worst levels in decades. The laboratory explained that the jump was mostly due to a change in the ways it calculated the end use of the energy for vehicles and households. After separate studies into the efficiency of household energy use in areas such as heating, air conditioning and lighting, the resulting household appliance energy-efficiency figure was reduced from 80% to 65%. Likewise, the efficiency of the internal combustion engine was revised down to 21% from 25%. 

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Air Conditioner 'Evolves' in NIST Study
GAITHERSBURG, Md.—A "survival-of-the-fittest" programming method adapted by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) researchers has spawned a design for a more efficient rooftop air-conditioning system. The new NIST approach optimizes the connections among refrigerant-containing tubes so that maximum cooling occurs. This entails matching characteristics of incoming air, especially its temperature and velocity, with the temperature and other characteristics of the refrigerant. "The objective is to optimally pair air and refrigerant at every location in the heat exchanger," said NIST researcher David Yashar, Ph.D., Associate Member ASHRAE. That kind of matchmaking can be difficult, he says, largely because the flow of air over the winding circuitry often is very uneven. The subject of the study was a unit with a cooling capacity of 7.5 tons (26.4 kW). The computer-generated design changes over several "generations," or iterations, yielded a 3% gain in overall performance. NIST says the proof-of-concept experiment demonstrated the practical utility of its approach of combining principles of engineering with those of natural evolution.

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Hawaii Schools Under Heat For Lack of Air Conditioning
HONOLULU—Reports are surfacing that many Hawaii public schools lack air conditioners. Photos of thermostats in classrooms show temperatures at or above 90°F (32°C). Teachers and parents say that children have a hard time focusing and learning in such uncomfortable environments. Only 12 of the 255 public schools in the state are fully air conditioned, according to the Garden Island newspaper, and an estimate put the cost of air conditioning all schools at $1 billion. Teachers, parents and students are planning a Sept. 26 rally at the state capitol to protest.

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Safeway Must Pay Fine, Reduce Refrigerant Leaks After Clean Air Act Settlement
WASHINGTON—In a settlement agreement, Safeway, the second-largest grocery store chain in the U.S., has agreed to pay a $600,000 civil penalty and implement a corporate-wide plan to significantly reduce its emissions of ozone-depleting substances from refrigeration equipment at 659 of its stores nationwide. The settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Justice involves the largest number of facilities ever under the federal Clean Air Act’s (CAA) regulations governing refrigeration equipment. It resolves allegations that Safeway violated the CAA by failing to promptly repair leaks of HCFC-22, and failed to keep adequate service records of its refrigeration equipment. Safeway must now implement a corporate refrigerant compliance management system to comply with ozone regulations. In addition, Safeway must reduce its corporate-wide average leak rate from 25% in 2012 to 18% or below in 2015. The company is also required to reduce the aggregate refrigerant emissions at its highest-emission stores by 10% each year for three years.

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One World Trade Center Could Have Its Height Adjusted
CHICAGO—One World Trade Center, the skyscraper built on the site of the destroyed twin towers in Manhattan, was intended to be built to a symbolic height of 1,776 ft (541 m) and dethrone Chicago's Willis Tower as the tallest building in the U.S. However, there remains a possibility that the tallest building claim, and the symbolism of "1776," may be taken from the New York tower. The widely recognized arbiter of skyscraper height, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), will consider in November whether to take more than 400 ft (122 m) off One World Trade Center's official height, owing to a technical distinction between spires and antennas. According to CTBUH, spires can be counted in a tall building's height but broadcast antennas, like flagpoles, are superfluous add-ons. One World Trade Center's designed height of 1,776 ft is meant to reference the year the Declaration of Independence was adopted. However, another technicality could disrupt that, while maintaining the height ranking. CTBUH's rules state that a skyscraper's height is measured from the lowest significant, open-air pedestrian entrance to the building's top. Because One World Trade has a secondary, north-facing entrance that is 5 ft (1.5 m) lower than its main, south-facing entrance, the tower's height in feet could be 1,781.

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In other news...

FMI Index of Nonresidential Construction Makes Slight Improvement
Investments in Energy Efficiency Increasing, Says Schneider Electric Survey
Nortek Forms Products Group Focusing on Data Center Cooling Technologies
Wind, Solar Electricity Generation Could Become Cost-Competitive By 2025, Says Study
New Driver Technology Makes LED Bulbs Brighter and More Energy Efficient
Retailer Roundy's Supermarkets Installs CO2-Based Refrigeration System in New Store

Feature of the Week

Less Pumping Means Cooler Ground Loops
By Steve Kavanaugh, Ph.D., Fellow ASHRAE
Geothermal heat pump (GHP) ground loops can overheat and become ineffective in providing high-efficiency cooling and extended service life. Some experts contend this will almost always occur for buildings with imbalances in cooling and heating loads and that the assistance of a fluid cooler or auxiliary heat is necessary. According to the author, this is not universally true. This article provides case study evidence, measured field data and related calculations on measures to avoid heat pump overheating.

This article originally was published in July 2011. Click here to download the article. It will be available here through Sept. 26.

After Sept. 26, 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 online store.

Product News

Packaged AC From Coolerado
DENVER—The M50 modular packaged air-conditioning system from Coolerado features the company's indirect evaporation system, which provides significantly greater efficiency compared to conventional AC units and does not use chemical refrigerants. The system is designed to increase its cooling capacity and efficiency as temperature increases. Also, it adds no moisture to conditioned air.

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Pulse Data Logger From Onset Computer
BOURNE, Mass.—The HOBO UX120 four-channel thermocouple data logger from Onset Computer combines the functionality of four separate data loggers into a single compact unit. It enables energy management professionals to easily track building energy consumption, equipment runtimes, and water and gas flow rates. The device simultaneously measures and records pulse signals, events, state changes, and runtimes. It is capable of storing more than four million measurements.

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Rooftop Unit From Advantix Systems
SUNRISE, Fla.—The DuTreat rooftop unit from Advantix Systems is a packaged downdraft rooftop unit that uses liquid desiccant technology to deliver energy savings of up to 60% compared to other rooftop systems. It provides direct, independent control of humidity and temperature loads without requiring reheat.

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