Canadian Consulting Engineer

Notes (March 01, 2002)

LIGHTING: Quality included in handbookThe quality of light in a space is as important as the quantity according to the latest edition of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA) L...

March 1, 2002  Canadian Consulting Engineer

LIGHTING: Quality included in handbook

The quality of light in a space is as important as the quantity according to the latest edition of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA) Lighting Handbook. Published in 2000, this 9th edition of the handbook contains for the first time a chapter devoted to “Quality of the Visual Environment.”

Canadian experts played a major role in formulating the recommendations, through the Institute for Research in Construction at the National Research Council in Ottawa. Dr. Jennifer Veitch of the IRC was a member of the task force that wrote the new chapter.

In an article in the IRC’s newsletter, Construction Innovation, Veitch notes that previously the emphasis was on calculating illuminance — the quantity of light falling on a surface — whereas the new chapter tackles vision issues related to human factors, task-specific lighting and system integration.

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The model takes into account three critical areas in designing lighting: (a) individual well-being (visibility, task performance, health and safety, mood and comfort and aesthetics); (b) economics (installation, maintenance, operation, energy and environment); (c) architecture (form, composition, style, codes and standards).

The article in Construction Innovation says that too much light in the wrong places is as bad as inadequate lighting, and breaks down excessive light into three categories: direct or reflected glare, disability glare and overhead glare. Visit www.iesna.org or www.nrc.ca/irc.

VENTILATION: Exhaust duct location etc.

New standards for air balancing, plenum mixing systems, the location of exhaust ducts and documentation have been issued by ASHRAE in an addendum to ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 62-2001, Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality. Five addenda to the standard were approved for publication in January.

Addendum 62v addresses issues of poor fresh air distribution in systems with air-conditioning units, heat pumps or fan-coil units mounted in a ceiling or floor plenum. When the units are far from the outdoor air supply, the plenum may not receive the intended levels of outdoor air, says an ASHRAE committee member, and the only way to assure distribution is by measuring actual airflow and adjusting dampers and orifices.

Addendum 62i provides guidance on when to use the indoor air quality procedure, using enforceable language.

Other addenda approved in January are: 62t to clarify requirements for condensate management, including drain pan design, carry-over from cooling coils and access for inspection and cleaning; 62u on the control of ventilation systems whenever buildings are occupied and under any thermal loads; and 62ab on equipment that generates contaminants and the need to duct such equipment with integrated exhaust ventilation to the outdoors.

Visit www.ashrae.org, tel. 404-636-8400.

REFRIGERANTS: Simplifying terms

ASHRAE has also published a new standard for the Designation and Classification of Refrigerants. ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 34-2001 provides a simple means of referring to common refrigerants in place of chemical names, formulas or trade names. It also establishes safety classifications based on toxicity and flammability. The standard incorporates the 1997 standard and 17 approved addenda. Cost is U.S. $36 to members.

Visit www.ashrae.org

BUILDING AUTOMATION: BACNet testing

A program to test and list qualifying BACnet products is under way, and the first group of approved products will be published in the spring. The testing is based on proposed ASHRAE Standard 135.1P, Method of Test for Conformance to BACNet. ASHRAE oversees the standards, but the testing, certification and listing are done independently by the Beechnut Testing Laboratory in Boston. Their work is overseen by a committee of technical exports from the BACnet Manufacturers Association.

Also, a new document consolidating addenda approved since 1995 to ASHRAE’s BACnet standard has been issued. The new standard includes all the features that have been added to BACnet since the standard was originally published. They include: increased capabilities to interconnect systems across wide area networks using Internet protocols; new objects and services to support fire detection and other life safety applications; capabilities to back up and restore devices; new tools to make specifying BACnet systems easier; and a mechanism for making interoperable extensions to the standard visible.

ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 135-2001, BACnet — a Data Communication Protocol for Building Automation and Control Networks — costs U.S. $99 for ASHRAE members.

Tel. 1-800-527-4723.

TELECOMMUNICATION SYSTEMS: Installing cable

According to BICSI News, the first standard to address the importance of the proper installation of telecommunication systems was published in November 2001. The ANSI/ NECA/BICSI-568-2001 standard covers support systems, pulling cable, firestopping, cable terminations and installation verification. Tables and figures include details like conduit bend radii, separation distances, suspended cable trays, fire-sealing gypsum board, wiring schemes, etc.

The standard was developed by a joint committee from the U.S. National Electrical Contractors Association and BICSI, beginning in 1998.

The standard costs U.S. $25. Visit www.bicsi.org, tel. 1-800-242-7405, or www.necanet.org

Waterproofing floor boxes

The Wiremold Company reports that beginning in June 2002 new UL standards will apply to underfloor cable and wire management systems. The standard UL514A will require that all concrete floor box covers and “poke-thru” devices meet a test that shows they will keep out water. A similar standard already exists for such devices used with floor tiles. The water exclusion tests are designed to simulate the kind of wetting that carpets have when being shampooed.

The test standard applies only to the electrical side of a poke-thru device or floor box, since water entering the communications cable compartment is not considered a danger of fire or electric shock. Still, Wiremold points out that excluding water from both portals has benefits since gaskets designed to deter water also keep out dust and debris. Consequently, the devices are being redesigned to make them suitable for both tile and carpet and to protect both electrical and communications compartments.

Two approaches are being taken to meet the requirements — designing new parts to fit together more closely, and incorporating gaskets in lids, covers and other openings. Existing poke-thru devices can be modified to meet the new standard by replacing the device head.

GREEN BUILDING RATINGS: Canadians adopt LEED

Three governments in British Columbia are collaborating to develop a system for assessing green buildings based on the U.S. LEED system.

Working on behalf of Victoria, Vancouver and the Greater Vancouver Regional District, an agency known as Green Buildings B.C. is currently adapting LEED to incorporate B.C. and Canadian standards. It will submit the Canadian version later this year for approval to the U.S. Green Buildings Council which developed and owns the LEED rating system.

Green Buildings B.C. is an initiative launched in 2000 by the B.C. government to encourage green building practices such as energy and water-use savings. The agency’s staff provide advice and facilitation services, but the projects are self- financing. Under the program four new education buildings are planned. Several retrofits already completed achieved energy savings of up to 58% compared to an equivalent building designed to conform to ASHRAE 90.1.

Consulting firms that wish to be added to the qualified bidders list can find the criteria on the B.C. Buildings web site. In January, a Vancouver workshop was held to help engineers and others prepare for a LEED Accredited Professional examination.

Visit www.greenbuildingsbc.com and www.usgbc.org/programs/leed

ENERGY EFFICIENCY: Government aid for energy planning

A new federal initiative has been launched that will help building owner
s pay for consulting services in energy management planning. The Energy Innovators Initiative, a program of NRCan’s Office of Energy Efficiency, was relaunched and given financial muscle last year. It also has a new component: the Energy Retrofit Planning Assistance program, which has five years of funding and applies to retrofitting buildings in eight sectors.

The details are currently being worked out, but the program is expected to provide up to half the cost of consulting services to do an energy audit and plan, up to a maximum of $25,000. The government will be asking for requests from firms interested in being on a list of possible companies to conduct audits this spring. A spokesperson says, however, that the list will not be exclusionary and it will be up to the building owners to make the final decision on which consultant they will hire.

To be eligible for the incentive, building owners have to sign on as Energy Innovators, which means making a written commitment to reducing greenhouse gases. They are then also able to apply to the Energy Retrofit Planning Assistance program for financial help to carry out the retrofit. The sectors covered range from schools and shopping centres to residential buildings. A building owner who has more than four buildings, for example, can qualify for up to 25% of the cost of a retrofit, depending on the projected energy savings. Those savings will be measured for all fuel types in Gigajoules. Formerly called the Pilot Retrofit Incentive, the Energy Retrofit Planning Assistance program has received funding for another three years.

The Canadian government offers financial help to companies in many other sectors to stimulate energy savings and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Most of these programs come under the umbrella of the Office of Energy Efficiency (a division of Natural Resources Canada). They include the Industrial Energy Efficiency Program, the Federal Buildings Initiative and the Commercial Buildings Incentive Program (CBIP), which is for new construction.

Visit www.oee.nrcan.gc.ca/eii

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