Barbara Horwitz-Bennett, Contributing Editor


MNS, ECS November 2, 2018

Tech Talk: Fire Suppression

In the world of fire suppression technology, the sophistication of fire detectors and control panels and the sustainability of fire extinguishing agents are currently topping the list of recent technological advancements. "If a detector senses a fire and creates an alarm, the panel can not only tell that a potential fire exists, it can also indicate when, where and how big, and it also tracks the history of the event," explains Joseph Behnke, manager of technical services engineered systems for Tyco Safety Product's fire suppression business, Marinette, Wis. Not only that, but the latest control panels are not only faster and smaller, but they offer increased monitoring ability with graphic displays and text messages, according to David N. Holst, department manager for plumbing and fire protection systems, Bala Consulting Engineers, Philadelphia. "These panels offer more programming and connectivity options so that the extinguishing systems for multiple rooms, buildings or even locations can all report to one central panel," explains Holst. With regards to clean agents, Jeff LaSalle, P.E., chief fire protection engineer for EwingCole, Philadelphia, explains that the phasing out of Halon 1301 has resulted in a significant increase in the number of viable alternatives. "As a number of these agents are considered to be quite sustainable, this gives the facility owner or manager the peace of mind that he or she will only have to purchase the system once, eliminating a costly retrofit due to future environmental restrictions," says Behnke. At the same time, LaSalle points out that the increased number of agents can sometimes be confusing, but it is a small price to pay for providing engineers, designers and owners with more options. Elsewhere on the fire suppression new technology front, special purpose sprinkler heads and heads that provide greater coverage are being developed, says Holst. And while it is pretty hard to improve on the technology of pipe, there is a continuing attempt to make it stronger, lighter and cheaper, he adds.

By Barbara Horwitz-Bennett, Contributing Editor
Codes and Standards December 1, 2007

Distributed Generation: The Global Outlook

Rising fuel prices have dealt a setback to the distributed generation movement and its advocacy of on-site power. But there are still a number geographic regions and types of facilities where the technology makes sense. “While the basic idea is still good, the cost of natural gas has increased to the point that, on a Btu basis, natural gas and electricity are very close in cost,” sa...

By Barbara Horwitz-Bennett, Contributing Editor
Building Automation and Controls September 1, 2007

Engineered systems for K-12 projects

Below is a sample of products and technology solutions that help engineers build schools that are more efficient with effective design options. American School & University magazine’s “32nd Annual Official Education Construction Report” says that school construction spending is estimated to be $80 billion next year, which presents many opportunities for engineers to apply ...

By Barbara Horwitz-Bennett, Contributing Editor
Building Automation and Controls September 1, 2007

Back to School with New Systems, Ideas

As the kids gather their backpacks, notebooks and pencils for the new school year, MEP engineers are working tirelessly through issues of IAQ, energy efficiency and maintenance in their ongoing quests to design high quality, energy-efficient and cost-effective learning environments. And considering the fact that K-12 enrollment is expected to grow by 3 million—or 5.

By Barbara Horwitz-Bennett, Contributing Editor
Other Building Types June 1, 2007

DNA of R&D Labs

Although the overall R&D facilities market is somewhat slowing down, a number of R&D markets remain hot and are driving a new generation of high-tech, energy-efficient, amenity-packed laboratories. Leading the R&D charge is biotech, nanotechnology, bio-fuels, bio-safety and alternative energy research.

By Barbara Horwitz-Bennett, Contributing Editor
Building Automation and Controls May 1, 2007

UPS Design, Specification Considerations

This month's panel of electrical experts offer advice on specifying the most suitable UPS system for a givenapplication. CSE: What is driving the demand for uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems these days? CARLINI: UPS systems are in more demand than ever—primarily in the data center. Even though the new servers are much faster and require less power to operate, the demand for comp...

By Barbara Horwitz-Bennett, Contributing Editor
Electrical and Power April 1, 2007

Highly Intelligent

A snapshot of some cutting-edge intelligent lighting applications and tips on how to successfully incorporate smart lighting into buildings. CSE: What are building owners' needs and expectations and how do you make sure that they're involved? YORGEY: The lighting design process must begin with the programming step.

By Barbara Horwitz-Bennett, Contributing Editor
Other Building Types March 1, 2007

A Sprinkling of Expertise

This month's panel of fire protection experts hash out the advantages and disadvantages of steel, copper and CPVC sprinkler systems. CSE: What are the main advantages and disadvantages of copper, steel and chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC) sprinkler piping materials? SCHULTZ: Steel is the oldest, most common pipe in use.

By Barbara Horwitz-Bennett, Contributing Editor
Codes and Standards March 1, 2007

Airport Cities

Domestic airline travel is on the rise, but that doesn't always translate into airport renovations and expansion. “The demand for air travel is fairly strong, but the problem is financing,” explains Dave Kipp, P.E., chief operating officer and senior vice president of technology and aviation, Ross & Baruzzini, St.

By Barbara Horwitz-Bennett, Contributing Editor
Lighting and Lighting Controls February 1, 2007

Best of BAS

This month's panel of controls experts takes a hard look at the state of intelligent buildings, how the industry has evolved and where it is heading. CSE: How far have intelligent buildings come in the past few years? HOFFMAN: Further than we expected, but less than we might have hoped. Building systems manufacturers have worked hard to provide communication features that facilitate integration...

By Barbara Horwitz-Bennett, Contributing Editor
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