Catch the National Environmental Balancing Bureau conference’s presentations

Topics such as data center design and commissioning, engaging a younger engineering workforce, hydronic systems control valves, energy benchmarking, air-leakage testing, and labratory airflow control were presented and discussed in early April at NEBB's annual conference in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

By Jessica DuBois-Maahs, CFE Media April 18, 2014

Day one presentations included:

"DOE/NIBS Better Buildings Workforce Guidelines"
Speaker: Deke Smith, Commercial Workforce Credentialing Council (CWCC)

  • Improving the operational performance of the nation’s offices, schools, hospitals, and other commercial buildings offers significant energy savings. It also requires highly skilled and qualified workers, particularly as building technologies become more advanced.

"Air Leakage Testing of Commercial Buildings to Comply with Codes and Improve Building Performance"
Speaker: Colin Genge, CEO of Retrotec

  • Once completed, almost all high rise buildings are sentenced to a life of high energy costs, indoor air pollution, smoke risk and potential structural (or moisture) problems. Faced with this dismal proposition, the buildings industry has searched for a more effective solution.

"Understanding VAV Laboratory Airflow Control Solutions – Venturi Valve vs. Single-Blade Damper"
Speaker: Jarvis Penner, mechanical engineer, Price Industries

  • Laboratory VAV airflow design has been a challenge for designers to create a solution that would provide energy savings while still being able to provide safety to the occupants.  Deciding what airflow control device to use requires consideration of many factors including new changes to ANSI Z9.5 which allow for lower minimum airflows in higher hood density installations.

"Fifteen Things All Successful Contractors Have In Common"
Speaker: Bill Kinnard

  • Did you ever wonder why some contractors seem to grow and prosper while others work just as hard but seem not to be going anywhere? During this session, review 15 things that most successful companies have in common. We will go through a "checklist" to see how you are doing and will come away with all kinds of ideas to improve the profitability of your company. 

"Proctor’s Update & Orientation – 2014 TAB Practical Exam Guidelines"
Speaker: Tom Hanlon, NEBB

  • The 2014 TAB Practical Exam Proctors session will offer a review of current requirements and a technical session on grading for the candidate. There has been much discussion on the grading criteria across the country and the need for consistency. NEBB’s TAB Committee members will discuss the process and define the currently recognized grading criteria.

"NEBB’s Building Systems Technical Commissioning Certified Technician Program"
Speaker: Jim Bochat, President of Commissioning Concepts

  • For Commissioning projects to be successful, a trained technician proficient at testing HVAC systems, controls systems and other systems for commissioning is imperative. It is also evident that having qualified technicians who can perform effective commissioning testing increase the profit and the quality of the commissioning program, and also allows the Commissioning Certified Professional to run more projects with a higher quality deliverable.

Day two presentations included:

"Understanding Today’s Workforce and Recovering the Lost Generation for Industry’s Future"
Speaker: Shirley T. Ramos, FMI

  • The recession is supposed to be officially over, but given the size of the 18- to-34-year-old cohort and the shortage of "real" jobs out there, it may just be the beginning for the lost generation. Without some creative new ideas, the long-term outlook is bleak; but this generation will only be "lost" if it does not find its way to a new approach.

"Application of the Hydronic System Curve: Simple but Powerful Tool for Achieving System Performance"
Speaker: Mark Hegberg, Chair of ASHRAE Technical Committee

  • Learn how using some basic math (+,‐,•/•), a spreadsheet and an old calculation technique can help you model and simulate what will happen in a hydronic system and how it can be applied to the field to help understand simple and complex balancing problems. Review of some of the core hydronic system fundamentals to drive home the techniques. When you’re trying to deliver performance, it doesn’t hurt to have a few extra mathematical tools and techniques in the toolbox to prove your point!

"Data Center Design and Commissioning"
Speakers: Raja Natarajan, Commtech Asial; John Peterson, engineering consultant

  • Data Centers exist to provide the environment for IT assets to support the current and future needs of business. To meet this need, planning and follow through are essential, starting from the conceptual design phase through to commissioning. This panel features data center design & planning and commissioning expertise on a range of data center sizes, efficiencies and types.

"The Commissioning Process: What Does It Mean for Refrigerated Facilities?"
Speaker: Dan Dettmers, ASHRAE

  • ASHRAE Guideline 0 claims 1982 as the birth of the formal commissioning process. Over 30 years later, commissioning of HVAC systems for commercial buildings is a common and accepted practice with well understood benefits.

"Understanding the Selection and Application of Hydronic Systems Control Valves"
Speaker: Mark Hegberg, ASHRAE

  • For whatever reason, application of control valves for heating and cooling hydronic systems can mystify and confuse HVAC system designers, but the valves proper selection is the difference between economical and comfortable system operation and uncomfortable inefficient systems.

"Energy Benchmarking & Controls Data Mining in the Retro- commissioning Environment"
Speakers: Tom Hanlon, NEBB; Frank Mayfield, M2M integration

  • Expedient and user friendly energy benchmarking, the first step in a successful Retro-commissioning (RCx) project is elusive. Establishing the baselines, developing the reporting, automating the utility inputs adds to accuracy, adds to the project quality and helps define results during the retro-commissioning process. Building Automation System (BAS) data mining is the key to thorough, accurate and expedient control system evaluation.

"Proposing a New Tracer Gas for Fume Hood Testing"
Speaker: Don Fedyk, NEBB

  • The quest for finding a suitable, eco-friendly replacement gas for Sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) as a tracer gas has been a top priority for NEBB and ASHRAE. This lecture will discuss a number of options; the good and bad points of each, and overall effect on the global environment.

"Advances in Filter Integrity Testing of PTFE Media"
Speaker: Dan Milholland, NEBB

  • Glass media for HEPA filters has remained nearly unchanged since it’s origin in the 1940’s. Gore-Tex HEPA media was introduced in the mid- 1990’s. Initial cost and high resistance were issues. 

"Measurements to Achieve Building Performance Objectives"
Speaker: Jim Schumacher, TSI Ventilation and IAQ instrumentation

  • How do you quantify building performance to meet the design criteria? Air balancing has evolved with advances in HVAC system design, equipment selection, control integration, balancing techniques, and instrumentation.

"Active Chilled Beams: Rising Contender or Passing Fad?"
Speaker: Stan Mumma, Penn State University

  • Concern for a sustainable future has motivated change in the building industry. Consequently the industry’s mechanical system staple, the variable air volume (VAV) system, is giving ground due to ventilation and humidity control performance deficiencies. In this presentation, a case will be made that a dedicated outdoor air system (DOAS) currently offers the best solution to VAV deficiencies. 

This list was compiled from NEBB’s conference Website.

Edited by Jessica DuBois-Maahs, associate content manager, CFE Media,