Canadian Consulting Engineer

Climatic conditions and noise from air-conditioning equipment comes under study

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers is beefing up the climatic informatio...

April 29, 2003   Canadian Consulting Engineer

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers is beefing up the climatic information included in the ASHRAE Handbook “Fundamentals,” and it has commissioned an employee at Levelton Engineering in Richmond, British Columbia to do the research.
Climatic conditions are critical factors to consider when engineers design and specify the size of heating, cooling and other energy equipment for buildings as well as industrial and agricultural facilities.
In recent years Ashrae has added climatic data for several hundred new locations to its Handbook, as well as information such as percentiles of dew point and windspeed. The Handbook currently contains conditions for over 1,400 locations worldwide.
Robert Humphries, Ph.D. of Levelton will be doing the research over the next 15 months. Ashrae has set aside $1,36,000 for the project which will be completed in time for inclusion in the 2005 edition of the handbook.
Another research project that Ashrae has decided to fund relates to how much noise people are prepared to tolerate from air-conditioning equipment. Only too often speakers in hotel conference rooms, for example, are drowned out by the din from overactive mechanical systems. However, until now manufacturers of systems have had no scientific basis for deciding what was the trade-off between temperature and noise in terms of environmental comfort.
Now, three researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in Omaha will spend 18 months to study more precisely what people will choose when they must compromise between noise and temperature. Amy Musser, Ph.D., one of the researchers, says “It is important for design engineers to know the effect of different factors of the indoor environment on people.” Optimizing the indoor environment is also an important factor in determining construction and operating costs and energy usage in buildings, she says.


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