Industry News & Announcements

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Analysis: Chemical Industry Coped With Growth, Demand Challenges in 2012 
Source: Chemical & Engineering News
By Business Deparment
The global chemical industry didn't see the expected return of strong growth last year, though many companies performed well, according to this analysis. In the U.S., chemical production increased by 0.1% and chemical shipments declined by 1.5%, as noted in these facts and figures of the chemical industry
Net Zero Homes Gain Momentum and Affordability 
By Emily Hois
As energy efficiency makes its way into the mainstream sector, net zero homes and commercial buildings are gaining momentum. In fact, net zero homes—houses produce more energy than they consume and average zero carbon emissions—have been integrated into standard building practices for both specialty builders and national companies like KB Home. The market for green building construction is on the rise, despite the struggling housing market. Energy efficient homes comprised 20 percent of all newly built homes in the U.S. last year with an overall price-tag of $25 billion, reports the research firm McGraw Hill Construction. By 2016, the firm predicts that the green residential construction market will continue to grow, accounting for anywhere between 29 and 38 percent of all new homes in the U.S. 

Enhanced Indoor Air Quality Encouraged Through Free Download of IAQ Guide 
To promote good indoor air quality (IAQ) in buildings, ASHRAE is making available for free a guide for achieving enhanced IAQ. The Indoor Air Quality Guide: Best Practices for Design, Construction and Commissioning provides strategies to achieve good IAQ using proven technologies and without significantly increasing costs.

First published in 2009, the guide is the result of collaboration between ASHRAE, the American Institute of Architects, the Building Owners and Managers Association International, the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association and the U.S. Green Building Council with funding provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The guide can be downloaded for free at

ASHRAE Launches Online Discussion Platform
Looking to exchange information with your peers about your latest project? Then visit the new online ASHRAExCHANGE℠ discussion platform.

Through ASHRAExCHANGE, the Society is providing both ASHRAE members and others in the industry with an online platform for real-time discussion and information exchange for design, construction, operation and support of the built environment.

"Many ASHRAE members felt there was a need for a place where both ASHRAE members and non-members alike can freely and openly exchange information focused on the built environment," Spencer Morasch, incoming chair of ASHRAE’s Electronic Communications Committee. "The information exchange is informal and takes place in real time. So if you have a question at 3 a.m. on a Tuesday night, you can post that on the ASHRAExCHANGE, and chances are, have a reply posted back to you within 24 hours!"

The platform provides a place for users to post and generate discussion on either a general or specific topic. With thousands of ASHRAE members and non-members checking the ASHRAExCHANGE 24/7, the hope is the online discussions will generate plenty of thoughts and comments from many knowledgeable people, according to Morasch.

Anyone with access to the Internet can view posts, comments and messages on the ASHRAExCHANGE at any time. No registration is necessary, and neither is the need for special software, as everything is web-based. Users who want to become active participants and be able to post both initial messages and responses to posts are required to register.

New Publication Provides Design, Construction, Operation of Underfloor Air Distribution Systems
With use of underfloor air distribution (UFAD) systems increasing in commercial and institutional buildings in North America, ASHRAE has published a new comprehensive guide on their design, construction and operation.
The newly published "UFAD Guide: Design, Construction and Operation of Underfloor Air Distribution (UFAD) Systems" incorporates updated results from laboratory and field experiments. Also included are simulation studies, manufacturers' literature, design experiences from practicing engineers, and other relevant guidelines from users of UFAD. For those in the construction, building commissioning and operations and maintenance industries, this design guide provides a wealth of information on an emerging technology, all while keeping in mind the typical flow of decision making.

"There are many advantages to UFAD that make it an attractive building system solution," James Megerson, lead author and a member of ASHRAE's technical resource group on underfloor air distribution. "It truly integrates the heating and air conditioning system with the entire building by utilizing common building materials as the air delivery means. The raised access floor allows accessibility to other building system infrastructure, such as power and data cabling, to facilitate easier space reconfiguration. Due to the lower system operating pressures and potential to expand economizer operation, the system has the potential to use much lower energy than ducted systems."

The use of UFAD is increasing in North America as a solution to space conditioning concerns. The design guide provides assistance in the planning, construction and operation of UFAD systems, while carefully detailing the major differences between UFAD and more traditional forms of space conditioning.
The cost of "UFAD Guide: Design, Construction and Operation of Underfloor Air Distribution (UFAD) Systems" is $99 ($89, ASHRAE members). To order, contact ASHRAE Customer Contact Center at 800-527-4723 (United States and Canada) or 404-636-8400 (worldwide) or visit

SPF Used in Construction of Hurricane-Resistant Domes
Source: Miami Herald
By Joseph A. Mann Jr.
If your business is looking for the ultimate protection against hurricane damage, a Miami-based company — American Business Continuity Domes — can build you a steel-reinforced concrete dome the company says can survive winds of more than 250 miles per hour, as well as seismic activity, water and fires. The construction of the multi-ply shell includes layers of steel, polyurethane foam and concrete ("shotcrete"). The shell or airform serves as the form for building the dome and as the roof membrane once it is completed.

ASHRAE Installs New Officers, Directors 
ASHRAE has installed new officers and directors for 2013-14. The new president is William P. "Bill" Bahnfleth, Ph.D., P.E., Fellow ASHRAE, ASME Fellow, a professor of Architectural Engineering and director of the Indoor Environment Center at The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pa.

Bahnfleth is the son of ASHRAE Presidential Member Donald R. Bahnfleth, Fellow ASHRAE, Life Member, who served as president in 1985-86. This marks the first father/son presidency in ASHRAE’s history.

Other officers installed for a one-year term are:

President-Elect: Thomas H. Phoenix, P.E., Fellow ASHRAE, ASHRAE-Certified Building Energy Assessment and Building Energy Modeling Professional, principal and vice president, Moser Mayer Phoenix Associates, Greensboro, N.C. 
Treasurer: T. David Underwood, P.Eng., Fellow ASHRAE, Life Member, ASHRAE-Certified Commissioning Process Management Professional, Oakville, Ontario, Canada 
Vice President: Daniel C. Pettway, senior project manager, Hobbs and Associates, Norfolk, Va. 
Vice President: Thomas E. Werkema, Knoxville, Tenn. 
Vice President: Darryl K. Boyce, P.Eng., Fellow ASHRAE, assistant vice president (Facilities Management and Planning), Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 
Vice President: Bjarne W. Olesen, Ph.D., Fellow ASHRAE, Life Member, professor, Technical University of Denmark, Kongens Lyngby, Denmark. He is head of the Centre for Indoor Environment and Energy at the Department of Civil Engineering. 
ASHRAE installed the following directors to serve a three-year term from 2013-2016:

Region IV Director and Regional Chair: M. Ginger Scoggins, P.E., president, Engineered Designs, Cary, N.C. 
Region V Director and Regional Chair: Richard A. Zbin, ASHRAE-Certified Healthcare Facility Design Professional, associate/senior designer, Tec Inc. Engineering and Design, Eastlake, Ohio. 
Region VI Director and Regional Chair: Mark F. Miller, business development engineer, Mestek Inc. – Airtherm Division, Oregon, Wis. 
Region XII Director and Regional Chair: Jennifer A. Isenbeck, P.E., ASHRAE-Certified Commissioning Process Management Professional, facility engineer/manager, University of Tampa, Tampa, Fla. 
Region XIII Director and Regional Chair: Edward K.C. Tsui, managing director, Intelligent Technologies Ltd., Hong Kong 
Director-at-Large:  K. William "Bill" Dean, P.E., facilities manager, National Research Council of Canada, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada 
Director-at-Large: Julia A. Keen, Ph.D., P.E., ASHRAE-Certified High Performance Building Design Professional, associate professor, Architectural Engineering and Construction Science, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kan. 
Director-at-Large: Ben A. Leppard, P.E., principal, Leppard Johnson and Associates, Tucker, Ga.