New Engineering Center for Mitsubishi HVAC

MitsubishiMitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating (Mitsubishi Electric) has opened an industry-first Engineering Center in Duluth, GA. The Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating Engineering Center is the only dedicated facility in the U.S. geared toward developing split-ductless and variable-refrigerant-flow (VRF) technology solutions specifically for the North American market.
   “Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating’s parent corporation, Mitsubishi Electric, Tokyo, realizes there is enormous potential in the North American market for products based on split-ductless and VRF technology,” said Bill Rau, senior vice president and general manager, Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating.
   The Engineering Center houses Mitsubishi Electric application support, as well as the company industry and government relations departments. By housing these groups in a single building, Mitsubishi Electric can accelerate domestic product development.

Virginia HVAC/R Contractors Partner with Nonprofit to Deter Teen Refrigerant Huffing

SAFEA consortium of 12 Virginia HVAC/R contractors and two wholesalers have partnered with the nonprofit organization, Substance Abuse Free Environment (SAFE) to address the escalating national trend of teenage refrigerant huffing from occurring in Chesterfield County.

SAFE’s campaign encourages local HVAC/R contractors to install locking caps on accessible outdoor condenser refrigeration ports, the nation’s first community-wide program of its kind, according to Wayne Frith, SAFE’s executive director. The program kicked-off during last March’s National Inhalant and Poison Awareness Week and continued through May. The contractor consortium installed more than 2,500 refrigerant locking caps free of charge on residential air conditioning condensers.

The majority of locking cap installations were retrofits. Both the International Mechanical Code (IMC) and the International Residential Code (IRC) now mandate locking caps on new construction.

The exposure of huffing confirmed what some contractors had suspected all along because of a rise in low refrigerant service calls or huffing paraphernalia found near outdoor condensers, according to Tunnell. The locking caps and their special keys are only available to the trade at HVAC/R wholesalers. They not only deter refrigerant theft, but also include an internal O-ring gasket that prevents accidental refrigerant leakage through the Schraeder valve.

Now that it’s fully established, SAFE is expanding the program awareness to building inspectors, police department home safety inspectors, state-wide media and more HVAC/R contractors throughout the state. Frith believes other counties and states may establish their own awareness programs based on Chesterfield’s ground-breaking initiative.

Fire Alarm Training Series Offers CEUs

Silent KnightSilent Knight by Honeywell is sponsoring a nationwide series of basic and advanced fire alarm trainings throughout 2011. The Knight School will offer Fire Alarm Installers, as well as Facility Managers responsible for fire alarm maintenance, hands-on technical training on the latest IntelliKnight™ systems from Silent Knight. Successful course completion qualifies attendees for CEUs (continuing education credits).

The free Fire Drill course introduces the IntelliKnight line of fire alarm systems with an overview of basic fire alarm technology and applications. Experienced technicians seeking advanced instruction on IntelliKnight systems, including installation and programming, are encouraged to attend the two-day Tech Ed course.

Upcoming Knight School courses planned throughout the U.S. include:

Location Class Cost Date
Boise, ID Fire Drill FREE June 7
Boise, ID Tech Ed $200 June 8, 9
Des Moines, IA Fire Drill FREE June 7
Des Moines, IA Tech Ed $200 June 8, 9
Allentown, PA Fire Drill FREE Aug 2
Allentown, PA Tech Ed $200 Aug 3, 4
Chicago, IL Fire Drill FREE Aug 2
Chicago, IL Tech Ed $200 Aug 3, 4
Portland, OR FREE Fire Drill Aug 2
Portland, OR Tech Ed $200 Aug 3, 4
Sacramento, CA Tech Ed $200 Aug 16, 17
Manchester, NH Fire Drill FREE Aug 16
Manchester, NH Tech Ed $200 Aug 17, 18
Alexandria, VA Fire Drill FREE Aug 30
Alexandria, VA Tech Ed $200 Aug 31 & Sept 1
Tampa, FL Fire Drill FREE Aug 30
Tampa, FL Tech Ed $200 Aug 31 & Sept 1
Minneapolis, MN Fire Drill FREE Sept 13
Minneapolis, MN Tech Ed $200 Sept 14, 15
Seattle, WA Fire Drill FREE Sept 13
Seattle, WA Tech Ed $200 Sept 14, 15
Boston, MA Fire Drill FREE Sept 27
Boston, MA Tech Ed $200 Sept 28, 29
Oklahoma City, OK Fire Drill FREE Sept 27
Oklahoma City, OK Tech Ed $200 Sept 28, 29
Pittsburgh, PA Fire Drill FREE Sept 27
Pittsburgh, PA Tech Ed $200 Sept 28, 29

Knight School courses train on the IntelliKnight line of non-proprietary fire alarm systems sold over-the-counter through wholesale distributors nationwide. For groups with specific needs, custom on-site training is also available. Visit the Silent Knight website for more training program details and to register online.

Increased Spending on Wireless Sensors Fueled by Building Automation Systems

Wireless sensors are bringing greater control and energy efficiency to the Building Automation Systems (BAS) market with adoption growing during the second half of 2010 notes a recent market report from ABI Research. Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) is the largest market for wireless building automation sensors and controls, but the technology will push to replace wired systems across a range of applications including fire and safety, lighting, and access control.

A mature market already, Building Automation Systems grew only slightly during 2010 but spending on wireless-enabled sensors grew more than 80% year-on-year. While that growth came from a wireless penetration in the commercial building control device market of less than 2%, by 2016, wireless sensors will represent 8% of the commercial buildings controls market at a market value of more than $110 million.

Wireless controls will not only replace traditionally wired controls especially in retrofit deployments, they will also expand the reach and control of building automation systems through the ability to use wireless sensors to monitor and control a range of new building environment functions. These include room occupancy, or lighting levels that take account of the amount of natural light available at any given time.

Uponorengineering.com: A Resource for Sustainable, Cost-effective Design

Uponor, a supplier of plumbing, fire safety and radiant heating and cooling systems for the residential and commercial building markets, recently launched www.uponorengineering.com, an online resource that provides everything an engineer needs to create sustainable, cost-effective designs for radiant heating and cooling and plumbing applications. The site includes a wealth of information, including:

  • specifications,
  • submittals,
  • AutoCAD and Revit files,
  • instructional manuals,
  • videos,
  • design guidelines,
  • case studies
  • technical support, and
  • links to industry resources.

Brady Provides Scholarship for Forsyth County HS Senior

BradyBrady Energy Services, a company that provides energy systems and comprehensive building solutions for commercial and industrial facilities across North Carolina, announced today a $500 scholarship in honor of Don Martin PhD., superintendent of Winston-Salem/Forsyth Schools. The scholarship will be given to a Forsyth County high school senior who plans to enroll at Forsyth Tech.

Jim Brady, president of Brady, announced the scholarship at the Winston-Salem/Forsyth Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, November 23. The scholarship is in honor of Martin being named the 2011 A. Craig Phillips North Carolina Superintendent of the Year. The school system will decide how to select the student recipient.

CENTRIA Recognizes Dealers for Excellence

CENTRIA Architectural Systems recently announced the winners in its 2010 Dealer Awards Program. This year, there were 155 unique entries from 41 dealers.

This year, dealers were recognized in nine different categories, including: Higher Education, K-12 Education, Government, Healthcare, Industrial,
Office, Stadium/Arena, Transportation and Miscellaneous (e.g. retail, multi-residential, recreation, etc.). The applications were judged as to how well a CENTRIA product was used in a building project and the overall aesthetic and sustainable attributes of that project.

And the winners are….

  • Category: Higher Education
    Dealer: A.C. Dellovade, Inc. (Canonsburg, Pa.)
    Winning Project: Cal State University and Hashem Naraghi Hall of Science (Turlock, Calif.)
  • Category: K-12 Education
    Dealer: The Maddison Associates, Inc. (Revere, Mass.)
    Winning Project: Providence Schools New Career and Technical Academy (Providence, R.I.)
  • Category: Government
    Dealer: Kalkreuth Roofing and Sheet Metal, Inc. (Wheeling, W. Va.)
    Winning Project: National Biodefense Analysis and Counter Measure Center (Frederick, Md.)
  • Category: Healthcare
    Dealer: Hershocks, Inc. (Harrisburg, Pa.)
    Winning Project: Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute (Hershey, Pa.)
  • Category: Industrial
    Dealer: SPS Corporation (Aspex, N.C.)
    Winning Project: Network Appliance (Research Triangle Park, N.C.)
  • Category: Office
    Dealer: Construction Supply & Erection (Germantown, Wis.)
    Winning Project: Gehl Corporate Headquarters (West Bend, Wis.)
  • Category: Stadium/Arena
    Dealer: Crown Corr Inc. (Gary, Ind.)
    Winning Project: Dallas Cowboy Stadium (Arlington, TX)
  • Category: Transportation
    Dealer: Pacific Erectors, Inc. (Rocklin, Calif.)
    Winning Project: San Jose International Airport (San Jose, Calif.)
  • Category: Miscellaneous, Casino
    Dealer: A.C. Dellovade, Inc. (Canonsburg, Pa.)
    Winning Project: Rivers Casino (Pittsburgh, Pa.)

Green, green, and more green

CBP October IssueThe October issue is one of my favorites because we get to focus as much editorial as possible on green/sustainable construction and energy-saving designs/systems. This issue also signals the upcoming Greenbuild show (Nov. 16 to 19 in Chicago), one of the more interesting shows I attend each year.

Our lead article for October describes a fascinating building that is on my list for a visit the next time I venture to St. Louis. The Living Learning Center, part of the Washington Univ. St. Louis, Tyson Research Center, is a zero net energy and water structure. The way the building was designed and functions is impressive, but even more so is that it meets the criteria for the Living Building Challenge. I had not heard of the Challenge until I edited this article and now I want to know more. If you read nothing else in this issue, spend some time with “LLC Goes Beyond Green”.

Since I know you won’t be able to put the magazine down after reading just one green article, I’ll suggest that you learn that there’s a lot more to light-fixture reflectors than meets the eye. That “lots more” is the difference between getting average, at best, performance out of your light fixtures and realizing their full potential in terms of light delivery and energy savings.

Now that you’re hooked, you’re ready to learn what factors are involved in specifying/purchasing “green” flooring for educational facilities. Next, go to our Building Power feature, where you’ll learn how rapidly rooftop solar-energy technology is advancing and an interesting new solar-cell design that makes use of all of the light that hits and reflects from a roof. The article will make you think twice about how those vast roof surfaces are used.

We also have some short pieces that have a green theme:

If you like green, it should be clear that this issue has something for you. If you can, find your way to Chicago in November to attend Greenbuild and gain more green knowledge. But don’t leave town without stuffing yourself with some Chicago-style pizza.

Sarnafil is First Roofing Manufacturer to Get UL Recycled Content Certification

SarnafilSika Sarnafil is the first roofing company in the U.S. to receive certification from UL Environment regarding the recycled content of its roofing membrane products. Sika Sarnafil’s 10 foot wide Sarnafil and Sikaplan roofing membranes, PVC Protection Layer, and Sarnatred group of products contain an average of 10 percent recycled vinyl content from pre- and post-consumer sources.

UL Environment, Inc., an Underwriters Laboratory company, validated these claims in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s guidelines for the use of environmental marketing claims.

“We are proud to be the first U.S. single ply roofing manufacturer to receive this designation, and we are confident that building owners and specifiers who are looking for sustainable building solutions will welcome this news,” said Brian J. Whelan, Senior Vice President of Sika Sarnafil. “Sika Sarnafil’s Roof Recycling Program provides the building owner with the option to use a roofing membrane with recycled content that can also be recycled at the end of its useful life.”

Plant to Create Biodiesel From Grease

A demonstration plant that creates biodiesel fuel from restaurant trap grease (commonly called brown grease), located at the Oceanside Wastewater Treatment Plant in San Francisco, has begun operation. It is the first municipal wastewater program in the United States to create biodiesel from the waste feedstock. The demonstration treatment plant will process 10,000 gallons per day of trap waste, recovering 300-500 gallons a day of brown grease and converting it to biodiesel.

The program is an extension of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s (SFPUC) SFGreasecycle Program to prevent fats, oils and grease (FOG) from being released into city sewers, where they solidify and constrict wastewater flow, causing back-ups and damage to sewer lines. For the past three years, the SFPUC and URS Corporation have worked to develop a comprehensive FOG Control Program that considers the needs and characteristics of restaurant operators, city government, residents, environmental agencies and the commercial grease industry. The start-up of the brown-grease-to-biodiesel plant demonstrates the potential for urban areas to develop similar programs to collect and utilize FOG.

The demonstration plant will save about 1,200 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents a year with a commercial scale facility of more than 40,000 tonnes a year. A 12-month research and testing program will monitor the brown grease recovery and biodiesel production plant’s performance and establish a business case that will make it easier for other municipal agencies to set up their own programs.

The program was financed by federal funds and approximately $1 million from the California Energy Commission.