NEW YORK CITY — With almost 600 skyscrapers providing a dramatic backdrop, it seems appropriate that ASHRAE’s 2014 Winter Conference will focus on the design, development, and operation of tall buildings.

Indeed, the technical program, featuring more than 200 sessions, will dedicate an entire learning track to Tall Buildings: Performance Meets Policy, which will look at opportunities in the design, development, and operation of tall and super tall buildings. The track will also present the measured and measurable use of utilities, envelope (infiltration and exfiltration), building pressure, waste handling, elevators, and carbon and adaptive reuse.

As ASHRAE president, William P. Bahnfleth, professor of architectural engineering and director of the Indoor Environment Center, Pennsylvania State University, noted, “What better place to showcase tall building design than in New York? Of course, lessons learned in the design, construction, and operation of tall buildings can be applied to buildings of all sizes and stories.”

The winter conference will take place Jan. 18-22 at the New York Hilton. For complete conference information, including abstracts on all technical program sessions, or to register, visit

Networking, Learning

A member of ASHRAE since 1981, Bahnfleth views the organization as family, which is why he looks forward to attending the conference every year. “I very much enjoy visiting with old friends and making new ones. One of the greatest attributes of the conference is the networking opportunities, which provide both friendships and business contacts.”

ASHRAE also understands the importance of networking, noted Bahnfleth, and continuously works to improve the conference experience in order to incorporate additional networking opportunities. “At the 2012 annual conference, a networking and coffee session was added to the schedule after the first set of seminars on Sunday morning to help form connections at the beginning of the conference. This will continue at this year’s conference as well, subsequent to the highlighted workshop sessions.”

Of course, learning is a vital part of the conference, and Bahnfleth said attendees will appreciate that it is a veritable “one-stop shop that provides attendees access to gathering and sharing technical knowledge and experiences, through the technical program, ASHRAE Learning Institute courses, the bookstore, and committee members.”

HVACR contractors in town for the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration (AHR) Expo should also consider attending the conference, said Bahnfleth, as they will benefit from the networking opportunities, as well as several sessions in the technical program, including:

• “Integration for Successful Operations: Avoid a Recipe for Disaster — Get the Right Cooks in the Kitchen,” which will cover the best ways to express operational expectations for facility management and control systems, and incorporate them into construction documents.

• “Real Co$t of Filtration,” which will answer the question: Does upgrading the filter help homeowners breathe better? The session will describe the energy consumption consequences for residential filters with different pressure drops, along with the impact of the different filters on indoor concentration of airborne particles.

• “Advanced RTU Campaign: Accelerating Efficiency” will help commercial building owners and operators evaluate their stock of rooftop air conditioning units (RTUs); explore replacing older units with high-efficiency units; and learn about retrofitting other RTUs with advanced controls in order to save money and energy, make the building more comfortable, and help the environment.

• “App, App and Away: Enabling Meaningful Work for the Building Professional with the Development of Quality Apps for Smartphones and Tablet Computers” will help identify useful apps for the professional building practitioner.

Contractors and other attendees will also want to check out ASHRAE’s free AHR Expo Session, “Trends in Building Energy Disclosure: Increasing Energy Efficiency without Retrofits,” which will take place 3-4 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21, in the south concourse, second level. No badge or ticket is required.

This seminar will highlight the implications of the growing trend in energy disclosure policies and present a new energy benchmarking model to support comparative energy performance evaluation across commercial buildings. Energy efficiency has traditionally been achieved through physical retrofits, but an alternative approach will be presented that harnesses data from smart meters in an eco-informatic system and provides feedback to building occupants on their energy consumption. In building energy use, energy use reporting and open data have been shown to impact market behavior and drive energy efficiency.

The speakers will tackle the issue of building energy use on a large scale and what major cities are doing about it. A cost-effective solution is not major construction and new efficient equipment, but tuning up existing HVACR systems and verifying they are operating correctly. Occupant behavior also has a major impact, and attendees will learn the energy penalties associated with these issues.

More Learning Opportunities

As a standards writing organization, ASHRAE members are always interested in keeping up with building codes, said Bahnfleth, and they will have the opportunity to do just that at the New York event. “ASHRAE is partnering with the International Code Council to offer an ASHRAE Learning Institute course on significant changes to the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) in regard to Standard 90.1, ‘Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings.’”

Bahnfleth added that this course exemplifies how ASHRAE works with the code community to help create awareness of its energy standard. Topics covered during this session will include changes from previous editions, as well as revisions to the envelope, lighting, and mechanical sections.

Another topic that will be discussed is the need to benchmark energy use, which will be the focus of the session titled, “Implementing Benchmarking and Energy Use Disclosure Policy.”

“Energy use disclosure is the hottest public policy issue relative to energy efficiency,” said Bahnfleth. “Many communities have adopted disclosure statutes and ordinances for buildings that abide by benchmarking and disclosure guidelines. ASHRAE currently does not have a position on energy use disclosure.”

That may change with the launch of ASHRAE’s rating and disclosure tool, Building Energy Quotient (bEQ). “Speakers will discuss if it is in ASHRAE’s interest to engage with policymakers to ensure that full consideration is given to the implementation of bEQ as a method of compliance with benchmarking and disclosure policies,” said Bahnfleth. “This session will also include a panel discussion to debate the options for benchmarking and disclosure guidelines.”

With so many opportunities to network, as well as learn about the latest and greatest technologies in the industry, HVACR professionals should make it a priority to attend the winter conference.

SIDEBAR: Technical Tours

ASHRAE Conference technical tours provide attendees with a first-hand look at technology developed by members to further the industry. All technical tours depart from the New York Hilton via subway or on foot, and this year’s tours include:

• Rockefeller Center’s District Cooling Plant, which features a cutting-edge central refrigeration plant, building management system, and ice storage facility. The central refrigeration plant has 14,500 tons of cooling capacity, and the overall system is capable of pumping 22,000 gpm of chilled water, which cools over 6 million square feet of commercial and retail space. All systems are continually monitored through a state-of-the-art building management system that supervises every control point and alarm condition. The ice storage facility reduces overall electric peak demand at the property complex, operating during off-peak hours in order to create approximately 750,000 pounds of ice, which provides over 8,000 ton-hours of ice storage. The tour will take place 3:30-5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 20.

• One Penn Plaza’s 6.2-MW cogeneration plant, which is one of the largest cogeneration plants at an existing commercial office building in New York City. The state-of-the-art combined heat and power (CHP) system consists of three 2.055-MW reciprocating engines and three heat recovery steam generators (HRSGs), all housed in a sound-attenuated enclosure. Waste heat from the engines is processed through the HRSGs to produce high-pressure steam, which is then used to offset the building’s steam load. In the summer months, it is used to cool the building using steam turbine chillers and, in the winter months, it preheats domestic water and conditions the temperature of secondary water. The tour will take place 2:15-5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 20, and 12:15-3 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21.

• The New School University Center is a 370,000-square-foot mixed-use building in construction near Union Square. Several architectural, structural, façade, and mechanical innovations, and unique conditions are featured, including ice storage, black-water treatment, and a commercial building CHP system. The building is achieving 32 percent reductions below 90.1-2007 (in design). The tour will take place 12:15-2:45 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21. For more information on these tours, visit

Publication date: 1/6/2014 

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