ATLANTA - If you're so disposed, perhaps the most valuable ASHRAE Winter Session meeting of all may be the last one: "The ASHRAE Member's Survival Guide: How to Avoid Being Sued and What to Do If It Happens."

According to ASHRAE, this program focuses on the kinds of legal claims that may be brought against ASHRAE members; the professional and legal steps that practitioners can take to avoid potential pitfalls; tips on what to do if threatened with a lawsuit; and a discussion of what to expect in a lawsuit.

It is chaired by Lawrence G. Spielvogel, P.E., Fellow, King of Prussia, Pa.

All of those somewhat unnerving but real-world topics will be covered by various experts. It's a necessary, albeit unfortunate, branch of knowledge most of us would benefit by on the last day of the meeting.

Another session asks a timely intriguing question: "Mandating CO Alarms: Is it in the Public's Interest?"

Sponsored by TC 06.10 Fuels and Combustion, chaired by Neil P. Leslie, P.E., Member, Energy International, Inc., Park Ridge, Ill., it has the following description: "Products of combustion from fossil fuel-fired residential appliances include carbon monoxide (CO), a poisonous gas. If these combustion products enter the living space, the potential exists for dangerous levels of CO to accumulate. CO alarms have been promoted as a way to warn occupants when dangerous levels of CO are detected. The history of CO exposure and incidents is provided, along with information on field experience with CO alarms. The technical and societal efficacy of CO alarms is discussed."

CO alarm reliability, efficacy of mandating CO alarms as a public health policy, and CO alarms and standards are all fair game for discussion and/or debate.

ASHRAE Winter Meeting

Dates: January 27-31

Georgia World Congress Center, Omni and Westin Hotels

Contact: ASHRAE Meetings Sections:

404-636-8400; fax 404-321-5478;

e-mail: jyoung@ashrae.org; www.ashrae.org

Cleverest title for a session may be: "Are We Robbing 'Peter Transformer' to Pay 'Paul Motor'?"

The premise: Are efficiency improvements of motors being "eaten up" by additional transformer losses? What are the proper transformer and distribution sizings? Do we need to re-think how we size transformers and electrical distribution systems?

Ever-popular indoor air quality returns as grist for several thoughtful sessions, including:

"Gaseous Contaminants and Removal Equipment - Improving IAQ in Buildings."

Improving IAQ in buildings is associated with an initial cost of equipment upgrade or purchase. To a lesser degree costs of maintenance are also included. A complete cost assessment for IAQ is rarely done. How can information be developed and provided to building supervisors/designers on the "complete" costs for a system to provide "acceptable" IAQ? What information should be included? Can IAQ even be provided in a cost-saving manner? This forum addresses these questions and provides direction toward quantifying the cost in "cost-effective IAQ."

Test and balance

Also asking a poignant question and perhaps of special interest to many Snips readers is "Test and Balance and Design Integrity: Does Removing Specified Testing Compromise the Engineer's Seal on the Project?"

The premise: The design of most hvac systems includes the testing, adjusting and balancing of the systems to assure proper operation.

This testing function is sometimes removed from the project due to cost reductions or is ignored. Does the removal of this validation and adjustment process affect the engineering seal and engineer's responsibility on the project?

Another timely subject on a growing product area has to do with: Energy Recovery Ventilation: Why or Why Not?

With ventilation requirements being mandatory in most new buildings there are ample opportunities for energy recovery.

Although some engineers make frequent use of energy recovery technology, many others do not. This forum explores the rationale for using or not using energy recovery ventilation.

Not only seminars and symposia herald our attention. Equally intriguing is a technical paper presentation, "Predicting the Frequency of Hot and Cold Complaints in Buildings (HVAC&R Research Journal October 2000)":

On this topic Clifford Federspiel, Ph.D., Associate Member, University of California, Berkeley, Calif. writes: "When building occupants become hot or cold and exhaust all coping behaviors available to alleviate discomfort, they often complain to the facility manager. This paper focuses on predicting the frequency of complaints so that control policies and decisions that affect both energy use and comfort-related service calls can be formulated. A mathematical model of the mean frequency of hot and cold complaint events in buildings is developed that is based on the level-crossing theory of stochastic processes."

Temperature control

Temperature control, a perennial topic and problem, is the subject of several technical papers, as one might expect, such as:

"Temperature Efficiency of Rooms With Displacement Ventilation."

Temperature efficiency is a generally recognized index for estimating ventilation effectiveness, but there is no way of determining its value except test. In this paper, based on analysis of typical temperature patterns of an upward ventilated room with different heat source conditions, the temperature efficiency is proven to closely correlate with the thermal stratification height Z, the room radiation transfer factor R, the room volume V as well as the ratio of source to floor area f/F.

The mathematical representation of temperature efficiency for a ventilated room with a plate heat source is obtained.

In that same vein is "Vote Method of Deciding Supply-Air Temperature Setpoint for VAV Air-Conditioning System."

This paper introduces the "vote method" used to decide the supply-air temperature setpoint of variable-air-volume (VAV) system of air conditioning. Conventional VAV control resets the supply-air temperature setpoint by a set of constant variation-rations. These systems have problems, including how to decide the initial value of the supply-air temperature and lower supply-air temperature are simultaneously offered; and how to link supply-air temperature control with supply-air volume control. The vote method uses control logic to either minimize the system deviation of room air-temperature control or minimize supply-air volume according to its control objective. The vote method may also link supply-air temperature control with other control strategies.

Some of the sessions focus on specialized topics and situations, such as health care facilities. Symposium AT-01-10, for instance, "What Is Needed in a Healthcare Ventilation Standard."

Historically there have been three basic sources for ventilation rates for North American healthcare facilities. They are ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 62.1, chapter 7 in the 1999 ASHRAE Handbook Applications and AIA Guidelines for design and construction of hospital and healthcare facilities. The AIA Guidelines and chapter 7 of Applications have not been exposed to stringent consensus process and peer review. Proposed ASHRAE Standard 170P - Ventilation of Healthcare Facilities - will consider the current guidance and provide design guidance.

Continuous maintenance

Sometimes ASHRAE takes a necessary introspective look with a new concept in standards it has been grappling with of late: "The Revision of Standard 62-1999: How Does ASHRAE Like Continuous Maintenance?" Instead of working on a standard for many long months, even years, and then pronouncing it "complete" until the next revision, this is a novel way of regularly updating certain standards as soon as new knowledge comes into play. But is the concept working?

ASHRAE Standard 62 was converted to continuous maintenance in 1997. Since then a small number of changes have been approved, and many more are in the process. The forum provides input on how the revision process is working and brings a variety of issues to the attention of the committee responsible for that revision.

Of interest to Snips readers may be this technical paper on duct leakage:

"The Nulling Test: A New Measurement Technique for Estimating Duct Leakage in Residential Homes."

This paper by Paul W. Francisco and Larry Palmiter presents a new method, the nulling test, for estimating duct leakage in residential homes. The test does not require assumptions of the leakage characteristics of the house or ducts. It measures the leakage to the outside at operating conditions, and provides the leakage parameter necessary for estimating thermal distribution system efficiency. This paper describes the nulling test theory and how to perform the test. The advantages and disadvantages of the test is compared to other tests, and field test results also are presented and compared.

Controversy may accompany the following session: "Determining the Efficacy of Antimicrobial Treatments of Fibrous Air Filters," which has to do with an ongoing debate on the appropriateness of incorporating antimicrobial agents into fibrous air filter media. ASHRAE funded research project RP-909, "Determine the Efficacy of Antimicrobial Treatments of Fibrous Air Filters." The objective was to generate data to help decide the value of adding antimicrobial treatments to their filter media. The study showed that the appropriate use of antimicrobial treatments on filters is a complex issue. Two of the three antimicrobials inhibited growth of the test organisms on new filters. The third did not.

On January 30, another relatively new area is explored regarding indoor air quality: "Modeling and Measurement of VOC Emissions from Building Materials."

Emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOC) from building materials can have a strong impact on IAQ. However, at present there is little hard data available, and few methods for predicting emission rates in buildings and assessing their effects. This symposium addresses all of these issues. A laboratory method for determining emission rates from basic properties of materials is described and validated. The potential of CFD to predict room concentrations of VOC is explored, based on laboratory-generated data. In addition, results of experiments in which people assess the acceptability of air containing building material emissions are presented.

Sometimes special situations are addressed in an attempt at specific problem-solving. "Don't Sweat It. Residential and Light Commercial Cooling and Dehumidification in Hot and Humid Climates" asks what the challenges and issues are facing designers, installers, manufacturers and practitioners. What research is needed? What programs are of interest? What handbook data is needed?

Some of the discussions are meant to be much broader, such as Seminar 17: Current Issues Update; Sponsor: Technical, Energy and Government Activities Committee.

This seminar gives an update on recent issues of critical importance to ASHRAE members. Climate change meetings continue with emphasis on technical details of importance to energy users or multinational companies.

Equally broad is: Climate Change Issues - Are They Affecting You?

Federal, state and local governments have initiated policies and regulations that will restrict the use and application of certain types of greenhouse gases and hvacr equipment. Are these programs impacting the hvacr profession? What other regional/national policies and impacts are coming? Is the industry prepared to respond?

'01 Expo will be 2nd largest ever

This year's AHR Expo 2001 announced as early as November 1 that 95% of the available exhibit space was already sold-out. Show Management expected the remaining space to be completely sold by the time the show opens January 29.

According to Clay Stevens, president of International Exposition Company (IEC), more than 379,000 sq. ft. of the available 395,000 sq. ft. has been reserved by more than 1,250 leading hvacr manufacturers from around the world, making it the second largest AHR Expo ever - since the 1999 Chicago Show

As in the past, the AHR Expo 2001 will be co-sponsored by ASHRAE and ARI and will be held concurrently with ASHRAE's Winter Meeting. HRAI is an honorary sponsor and 15 other leading trade associations also endorse the show.

There's plenty to see and do in Atlanta. The city is popular with conventions and tourists, to the tune of $3 billion in annual revenues. Centennial Olympic Park comprises some 21 acres in downtown Atlanta, built at a cost of $57 million and taking the place of 26 buildings when it was privately funded for the 1996 Olympic Games. It's located between the Georgia World Congress Center and the hotel district. Adjacent to the Center is the Georgia Dome, built in 1992 for the Atlanta Falcons football team. It holds 71,500.

Underground Atlanta is the most popular single tourist destination, with its eclectic mix of restaurants and shops. You can't miss The Westin Peachtree Plaza, at 73 stories, 723 feet tall.

Several times Atlanta has been ranked No. 1 or among the top five in best places to do business. It has one of the busiest airports in the world and ranks 12th in the U.S. among population centers. Cause for confusion: there are 32 streets with the name Peachtree in them.

All the latest products and technologies driving the software and building automation marketplace will be showcased to hvacr professionals worldwide in two special pavilions at AHR Expo in Atlanta.

The Software Center, which highlights the latest software applications for all aspects of the industry, and the Building Automation and Control Showcase, featuring the newest products and technologies to make buildings smarter, more efficient and more comfortable, will offer hvacr professionals a convenient opportunity to compare the latest offerings from a variety of industry-leading companies.

Set among the more than 1,100 companies exhibiting at AHR Expo, these special interest areas offer attendees the opportunity to test drive hundreds of new products and discuss their applications with the companies marketing and engineering teams. The clearly designated Special Interest Areas will feature 153 companies.

The highlights of each pavilion include:

Building Automation and Control Showcase - One-hundred sixteen companies will showcase facility management systems, building automation systems, integrated climate control systems or network integration products.

Software Center - Thirty-seven companies will showcase software for HVAC&R accounting business management, CAD/CAM, contracts, energy analysis, equipment selection, estimating, inventory control, pipe and duct sizing, planned maintenance, pricing, project management, refrigerant management, service management and software enhancement.

For a complete description of AHR Expo 2001, along with show highlights and an exhibitor list, go to www.ahrexpo.com.

Expo news notes

The following companies submitted news of their plans to exhibit at the AHR Expo.

The new Silicon Temperature Control (STC) from Therm-O-Disc, Inc., Mansfield, Ohio, offers a solid-state approach to precise temperature control.

Therm-O-Disc engineers explored alternative technologies for those applications where tight temperature control is required. The result is a cost-efficient electronic thermostat designed for integrated temperature sensing and switching with greater reliability and better accuracy. The company's expertise is based upon more than 50 years of bimetal temperature controls and thermistors,

While bimetal technology allows for only limited adjustability, the STC allows the open and close temperature to be adjusted independently by changing the value of a single resistor. Accuracies of ± 1°xC are achieved without the additional cost of sorting sensors.

The compact size of the sensor itself - about the size of a surface mount resistor - means there are no complications involved in complex design changes, And while the STS is fully compatible with microprocessors, it is not dependent on one to operate.

See them at Booth #1848

Cooper Instrument Corporation, a manufacturer of temperature, time, and humidity products, will be exhibiting new and exciting items specific to the hvacr market. Stop at booth # 2131 to see what Cooper has to offer, and get a "hands-on" demonstration as to how these products work.

Mayville Engineering Co., Beaver Dam, Wis., will show the first of three new boom lifts: a vertical mast unit with a 34-foot working height, 101/2 foot outreach, and 39-inch width for easy movement in tight spaces. The new model 28EVM, with 550 lbs. lift capacity and room in the basket for one or two men and their tools, features a turret that rotates 350° and allows multiple overhead tasks without changing location. The unit is powered by a 24-volt battery. See it at Booth #4421.

CertainTeed Corp. will have a live demonstration of the water-repellent properties of its "ToughGard" duct liner with Enhanced Surface at Booth #4550. The booth has been designed to offer visitors a hands-on experience with insulation products, as well as an opportunity to compare the company's products with those of its competitors.

Regin HVAC Products Inc., Shelton, Conn., is introducing a complete line of orange colored smoke emitters for leak detection in all high, medium, and low pressure ductwork systems and also for pipelines, heat-exchangers, tanks, etc. See them at Booth #5833.

Inovonics Corporation, Boulder, Colo., will exhibit its line of wireless temperature measurement products at Booth #6320. Based on 900 MHz spread-spectrum technology, Inovonics temperature products are most frequently used in hvacr, building controls, and food safety applications.

Visit Snips at booth #4632!