ATLANTA - Seeking to provide a cooler and more comfortable working environment for kitchen workers, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) is funding research to study thermal comfort in commercial kitchens.

A 2005 report by the Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York and the New York City Restaurant Industry Coalition found that “nearly half of the 530 workers surveyed reported that it gets unsafely hot in the kitchen where they work.”

“Understanding thermal comfort in commercial kitchens is paramount to understanding and providing a controlled and comfortable environment for kitchen workers,” said Greg Duchane, a member of ASHRAE’s technical committee 5.10 on kitchen ventilation that is overseeing the project and manager of retail market sales, Trane Commercial Systems. “This research can be used by engineers and kitchen consultants in designing HVAC systems and in the operation of restaurants. It will give us more accurate understanding of employee comfort and how employees are impacted by heat loads.”

The research will include walk-in surveys and on-site data collections of operational commercial kitchens in selected cities across the United States.

ASHRAE is accepting proposals on this and 16 other proposed research projects. Submissions are due May 18, 2009. The projects are scheduled to begin Sept. 1, 2009.

The projects are:

• 1339-RFP, Selection of Desiccant Equipment at Altitude, sponsoring technical committee: TC 8.12, Desiccant Dehumidification Equipment and Components

• 1369-TRP, Design Guidelines to Prevent Snow Causing Shutdown of HVAC Systems, TC 5.2, Duct Design

• 1385-TRP, Development of Design Tools for Surface Water Heat Pump Systems (SWHP), TC 6.8, Geothermal Energy Utilization

• 1404-TRP, Measurement, Modeling, Analysis and Reporting Protocols for Short-term M&V of Whole Building Energy Performance, TC 4.7, Energy Calculations

• 1409-TRP, Stability of Candidate Lubricants for CO2 Refrigeration, TC 3.2, System Chemistry

• 1413-TRP, Developing Standard Procedures for Filling Climatic Data Gaps for Use in Building Performance Monitoring and Analysis, TC 4.2, Climatic Information

• 1415-TRP, Thermal and Lighting Performance Metrics of Tubular Daylighting Devices, TC 4.5, Fenestration

• 1420-TRP, Inlet and Discharge Installation Effects on Airfoil (AF) Centrifugal Plenum/Plug Fans for Air and Sound Performance, TC 5.1, Fans

• 1448-TRP, Ventilation Requirements for Refrigerating Machinery Rooms, TC 4.3 - Ventilation Requirements & Infiltration

• 1467-TRP, Balancing Latent Heat Load Between Display Cases and Store Comfort Cooling, TC 10.7, Commercial Food Display and Storage Equipment

• 1469-TRP, Thermal Comfort in Commercial Kitchens, TC 5.10, Kitchen Ventilation

• 1478-TRP, Measuring Air-tightness of Mid- and High-Rise Non-residential Buildings, TC 4.3, Ventilation Requirements and Infiltration

• 1507-TRP, Binary Refrigerant Flame Boundary Concentrations, TC 3.1, Refrigerants and Secondary Coolants

• 1512-TRP, CFD Resource Decisions in Particle Transport Modeling, TC 4.10, Indoor Environmental Modeling

• 1515-TRP, Thermal and Air Quality Acceptability in Buildings that Reduce Energy by Reducing Minimum Airflow from Overhead Diffusers, TC 2.1, Physiology and Human Comfort

• 1522-TRP, Establishment of Design Procedures to Predict Room Airflow Requirements in Partially Mixed Room Air Distribution Systems, TC 5.3, Room Air Distribution

• 1544-TRP, Establishing Benchmark Levels and Patterns of Commercial Building Hot Water Use, TC 6.6, Service Water Systems

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Publication date:05/11/2009