Energy Recovery

I appreciated your summary of the seminar on ASHRAE Standards and IAQ (July 15, 2002, “Did Standards 90.1, 62 Make IAQ Worse?”). The article covered the key points for all of the speakers quite well.

However, I would like to clarify one point on energy recovery. The article paraphrases my discussion of energy recovery, indicating the message was: “Don’t use a constant-volume system with total energy recovery.” That’s not entirely accurate. Total energy recovery with a constant-volume system offers excellent energy recovery potential.

However, if improved indirect control of relative humidity at part load is the design goal, the designer shouldn’t expect to achieve it by simply using total energy recovery with a basic constant-volume system. Total energy recovery reduces both installed tons and operating tons, but it has little impact on space relative humidity at part load. A more accurate paraphrasing would be: “Don’t expect to control relative humidity at part load by simply adding total energy recovery to a basic constant-volume system.”

Dennis Stanke, P.E., Staff Applications Engineer, The Trane Co., La Crosse, WI

History Lesson

I certainly don’t mean to disparage the significant contributions that Dr. Willis H. Carrier has made relative to commercializing air conditioning. However, he certainly didn’t invent it.

You can read in the December 1998 issue of the ASHRAE Journal [“John Gorrie, The Visionary”] about another distinguished doctor by the name of Dr. John Gorrie (a medical doctor) who was issued patent No. 8080 on May 6, 1851 for the “first machine ever to be used for mechanical refrigeration and air conditioning.” Dr. Gorrie was working to treat patients of malaria and yellow fever in Florida and thus created the nation’s first air conditioned hospital ward. This patent was issued 25 years before Willis Carrier (1876-1950) was born. However, according to that article, “Northern newspapers aligned with the ice trade” to prevent Dr. Gorrie from commercializing his invention. Paul Harvey did a “rest of the story” piece on Dr. Gorrie once.

On July 17, 2002, I read an AP [Associated Press] story that was titled “Air Conditioning Turns 100.” It had an interesting comment about Willis Carrier: “A hundred years ago today, this young man — just a year out of Cornell University, paid $10 a week by Buffalo Forge Co. — invented air conditioning.”

Well, he may not have “invented” air conditioning, but he certainly furthered the long-standing tradition of underpaid craftsmen in the HVAC field: $10 per week to $10 per day to $10 per hour for a helper. We’ve certainly come a long way in 100 years! What might the future hold for us? Twenty to 25 SEER air conditioning systems selling for $5,000 a ton — they’ll be commonplace before you know it!

Chris Pamplin, Sales Manager, American GeoThermal, Murfreesboro, TN

[Editor’s note: To find out more about Dr. Gorrie, as well as other 19th century progress in comfort cooling and refrigeration, read The News’ “75 Years of Cooling” issue (April 30, 2001).]

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Publication date: 07/29/2002