CHICAGO — Attendees at the 2012 ASHRAE Winter Conference will have the chance to discuss and examine the latest topics in the building industry, participate in technical tours, attend ASHRAE Learning Institute courses, earn professional credits, and obtain ASHRAE certifications. And, new for this year, nearly the entire technical program is approved for LEED® AP credits.

The Winter Conference will take place Jan. 21 to 25 at the Palmer House Hilton, and the technical program will feature more than 90 programs and 300 speakers. Like the conferences in recent years, this one will be focused on providing attendees with the information they need to stay competitive and educated in today’s market, said Ronald “Ron” Jarnagin, 2011-12 ASHRAE president and staff scientist, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Wash.

“Our technical program is focused on hot topics in the industry, including energy modeling, high performance buildings, integrated design, systems and equipment, and fundamentals and applications. There will be plenty of case study and current-practice sessions across a wide range of applications and systems that provide insight into how to do a job better or more efficiently,” he said. “Chicago is ASHRAE’s ‘home away from home,’ given how many times we’ve held our conference there in conjunction with the AHR Expo. It’s historically one of our best attended events, so I’m excited to return.”

For those engineers and/or contractors who believe it’s too expensive or time-consuming to attend the conference, Jarnagin noted, “You can’t afford to miss it. When you look at all the information and people you have access to — it’s a one-stop shop to help you better educate yourself about what’s going on now and in the future. It’s a true bargain.”

For complete conference information, including abstracts on all technical program sessions, or to register, visit

Interesting To Contractors

ASHRAE has worked to make its existing technical information more user friendly for HVAC contractors, so those attending the AHR Expo may want to consider attending a few conference sessions as well. “Together, the conference and the AHR Expo combine to create the ideal atmosphere for those interested in advancing the building industry, to network, inspect the latest technology, and learn about the newest practices for the built environment,” said Jarnagin.

Of particular interest to contractors this year, noted Jarnagin, will be the new mini-conference on the installation, operation, and maintenance (O&M) of HVAC systems, which will take place on Jan. 22 and 23. The mini-conference is built into the technical program and will feature numerous sessions that apply to the work of professionals responsible for commissioning buildings and maintaining the energy savings as specified in the building’s design.

Another program that contractors may enjoy is the one sponsored by Technical Committee 7.2, HVACR Contractors and Design Build Firms, which is focused on advancing the “I” in BIM. “It is aimed at learning how some leading owners, contractors, and academic institutions are overcoming early challenges to develop the ‘I’ in BIM, leading to better cost efficiencies and maintenance practices,” said Jarnagin.

ASHRAE will also present a free public session at the AHR Expo. This year’s session is titled “Selection, Operation, and Maintenance and Water Treatment for Multi-Metal Boilers” and will take place Monday, Jan. 23, from 3 to 4:30 p.m., in Room S106A at McCormick Place. The session will explore aluminum condensing boilers as a way to increase hydronic system efficiency and will cover how to address multimetal systems from a water treatment approach. The session will also provide assistance to contractors and engineers with specifying these system components.

No badge or ticket is required.

Technical Tours

This year’s technical tours will give attendees a firsthand look at how technology developed by members is being used in the industry. Tours will include the North Central College Residential and Recreation Center, which is a 200,000-square-foot building designed to achieve LEED® Silver status. The four-story structure not only houses a 265-bed dormitory but also an indoor recreation facility with a 200-meter indoor track, raised walking track, multiuse courts, and other athletic training facilities. The new structure is heated and cooled by a geothermal system that pumps water through a series of 60 underground wells and then through almost 17 miles of tubing within the building’s concrete floors. The tour costs $25 and will take place Sunday, Jan. 22, from 1 to 4 p.m.

Conference attendees may also be interested in the tour of Loyola University’s new Richard J. Klarchek Information Commons Buildings, which was constructed in 2009 and totals 60,000 square feet of new digital library. The state-of-the-art LEED Silver building was built to be energy efficient and, due to its large glass exposures on the east and west sides, many innovative designs were required to achieve that goal.

Some of the applied design concepts include radiant ceilings for both heating and cooling, a double ventilated façade, digitally integrated operable blinds and windows for natural ventilation, a green roof, and daylight harvesting and heat recovery — all of which are meant to comfortably handle the heating and cooling fluctuations in the most energy-efficient way possible. The energy model for the building predicted 52 percent lower energy consumption than ASHRAE/IES 90.1-2001 and was modeled for 24/7 occupancy. The tour costs $25 and will take place Monday, Jan. 23, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.

The University of Chicago’s Mansueto Library is a one-of-a-kind structure, with a rare book archival vault that is 55 feet underground, 45 feet below Chicago’s water table. The rare books vault is managed by programmed robotics, with book retrieval delivering the books to the upstairs reading or preservation area via automated cranes and special elevator bins.

Visitors to this futuristic library experience will have plenty of natural light to enjoy their reading thanks to a unique glass dome, yet the area is critically controlled to preserve rare and historic books. The facility officially opened in October 2011, and those on this tour will learn about the strategically situated mechanical rooms, two of which are within the rare book vault. The library features strategically located air distribution kiosks, perimeter air handlers that control the ground floor radiant and conductive perimeter loads, a desiccant system with high-pressure steam that serves the vault to maintain critical parameters, and multiple stages of filtration that maintain clean air conditions within critical spaces. The tour costs $25 and will take place Tuesday, Jan. 24, from 1 to 3 p.m.

The last tour involves the Rush University Medical Center, which is one of Chicago’s premier teaching hospitals. In a multiphased project, both new hospitals and supporting infrastructure are being developed to support the hospital’s mission. The chilled water plant is designed for 5,600-ton initial capacity, and an ultimate capacity of 12,600 tons, in an N+1 configuration. The main chilled water distribution piping is being installed to handle ultimate design capacity, with 24-inch chilled water distribution mains leaving the plant in two directions. Plate-and-frame heat exchangers incorporate free-cooling application in swing seasons, utilizing condenser water from roof mounted cooling towers. Power supply to the chillers is arranged with two legs, so that only half of the chillers are subject to a power failure from separate utility sources.

The boiler plant is designed for an ultimate capacity of 5,000 BHP, with an initial capacity of 2,500 BHP installed, in an N+1 configuration. Boilers are dual fuel (gas – #2 fuel oil), and furnish 140 psig steam to the campus. Steam is distributed via redundant and cross-connected high-pressure steam mains, and redundant pumped condensate return mains. The tour costs $25 and will take place Tuesday, Jan. 24, from 3:15 to 5 p.m.

Publication date: 01/09/2012