What’s wrong with the unit in this picture?



I recently visited a townhouse on the Upper East Side of NYC to conduct an EDR calculation for a steam heating replacement.  When I visited the basement to look at the unit needing to be replaced I noticed a couple of interesting existing issues.

Would love to start a discussion on steam units people observe in NYC.




Association Solutions: 14 Tips for Reducing Wasted HVAC Fan System Energy | IAQ & Ventilation content from HPAC Engineering

Sure, selecting an energy efficient fan is great but won’t do you much good if it is oversized. Also if the ductwork design is improper or system pressure is too high an energy efficient fan will not save energy.

A recent article in HPAC provides 14 tips on “design and specification for reducing wasted energy in air systems and for substantially reducing total cost of ownership.”

Three tips that are mentioned that are commonly skipped or not enough attention is paid, is 1) right size the fan, 2) Use duct static-pressure set-point reset on VAV systems 3) VFD specifications

Read more.

White vs Green Roof- LBNL Study

“The work comes from a team at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California that’s dedicated to studying how to keep cities cooler. Although team members knew both white and green roofs are better than traditional roofing, they wanted to get some hard numbers comparing the two. White roofs came out ahead in both improving global temperatures and cost, but both are good choices, the team wrote in a paper published in the journal Energy and Buildings.”

Most importantly don’t forget to ensure that your roof is adequately airsealed, insulated and flashing is installed properly to reduce conductive, convective heat gain/loss as well as prevent moisture infiltration.  If the building lacks insulation (especially if it has a vented roof cavity) and has unsealed top plates, pipe penetrations, fan roof curb penetrations, etc this should be upgraded first before working on the roof membrane.  You may find you have an oversized heating or cooling system after buttoning up the building’s envelope.

Read more: Cooler Ciites


“Build tight”…but don’t forget “Ventilate Right”

“Build tight”…but don’t forget “Ventilate Right”

“Traditionally, buildings have been designed to be what most people characterize as ‘acceptable to 80 percent of the occupants of the building,'” he said. “It’s historically based on perceptions of people in buildings rather than the reality.”

The article asks, “Should tougher regulations apply?”  but I think what should be asked is why doesn’t Canada encourage building science education for architects and engineers, promotion of standards such as those published by ASHRAE and create certifications for hvac and architects to increase awareness of the holistic approach to optimizing building’s performance



Energy Data Accelerator program for Multi-tenant buildings

“Multi-tenant buildings present an obstacle to energy benchmarking that a new DOE program seeks to overcome….The Energy Department kicked-off an Energy Data Accelerator program last week that consists of sixteen regional partnerships between cities and utilities, including Minneapolis and Xcel Energy. The goal is to come up with a set of tools and best practices for sharing energy use data with landlords, while still protecting the privacy of renters.”  Dan Haugen



Outside Air Economizers and Proper operation in Data Centers

“Correctly designed outside air economizer systems can result in significant energy and economic savings for data centers. Without proper attention to the above items, the introduction of outside air can pose additional risks to data center operation and uptime. However, if one takes into consideration these issues, a properly designed HVAC system will yield positive results.  Three issues to pay attention to: 1) Proper Mixing of Outside and Return Air, 2)Temperature and Humidity Changes 3) Building Pressurization”–Robert F. StyWhat about using liquid to cool servers instead of air? http://www.midasgreentech.com/

3 New Ways to Learn Building Enclosure Commissioning

“We are making significant progress, and demand for qualified BECx professionals is likely to continue to grow, but perhaps the best advice at this point is:

  • Get as much building science education as you can find.
  • Study the “mother” BECx resource—NIBS Guideline 3—from cover to cover.
  • Get out in the field to gain experience in how building science applies to the design, specification, and construction of high performance buildings.   “—-Peter Yost

Green Energy Solutions For HVAC & Refrigeration Can Significantly Reduce Electrical Consumption.

“Some of the options include LED LightingEvaporator Fan ControllersECM Fan MotorsEconomizersHigh Efficiency Emerson K5 Scroll Compressors & High Efficiency Emerson XJ Condensing Units. Some options can be used together to achieve even greater energy savings.”– Mitch Byrne

AIA to Help Architects Become Sustainability Leaders

“The Sustainable Leadership Opportunity Scan, written by Mary Ann Lazarus, FAIA, outlines steps for the American Institute of Architects (AIA) to unlock opportunities for architects in the areas of energy, material selection, human health, and resilience…..To address emerging issues, the report suggests hosting resilience trainings and expanding the Building Research Information Knowledgebase (BRIK), an archive of peer-reviewed papers and case studies on building design and performance.” BuildingGreen