Geoff Weisenberger, Production/Web Editor


Codes and Standards December 1, 2004

NFPA Makes Push on Coasts, but IBC Maintains Strong Hold in Majority of U.S.

In the battle to reign supreme as the national model building code, at least on paper, the International Code Council's (ICC) International Building Code (IBC) appears to be winning by a wide margin. The IBC has been adopted in nearly all 50 states at the local level, approximately 30 states at the state level and by the U.

By Geoff Weisenberger, Production/Web Editor
Other Building Types October 1, 2004

All Wet

There is no life without water. And like life, water is something that many people take for granted. While some parts of the United States, particularly the Southwest, face very real shortages, it doesn't look as though we'll be reduced to wearing the water-capturing suits of Frank Herbert's desert-world Dune novels any time soon.

By Geoff Weisenberger, Production/Web Editor
Codes and Standards August 1, 2004

School HVAC Noise Levels a Case of Internal Affairs?

There are many reasons for poor performance in school, but one that isn't widely recognized is ventilation noise in classrooms. Ricardo Gamboa, manager of engineering and technical services for performance materials for Denver-based Johns Manville believes it's not an issue to be taken lightly. "It is a big problem.

By Geoff Weisenberger, Production/Web Editor
Building Automation and Controls July 1, 2004

VFDs In Tune with 90.1

The benefits of variable-frequency drives have long been apparent. When it comes to increasing, decreasing or maintaining electrical motor speed, VFDs can provide precise control and ensure that the motor uses only the energy required. "If you're not changing the speed of the motor in your fan, then you have to vary the airflow via mechanical or some other means, and it's just not economical to...

By Geoff Weisenberger, Production/Web Editor
Other Building Types July 1, 2004

Killing Kilowatt Hours

If you've taken a trip to the gas station lately, you've no doubt paid more money to fill your tank than you did a year ago—maybe even just a few months ago. That is, unless you've recently traded your vehicle in for a smaller one. While many people tend to groan about higher prices at the pump, cursing the oil companies as they fill their tanks, most of us forget how good we've got it.

By Geoff Weisenberger, Production/Web Editor
Energy, Power June 1, 2004

Controlling Condensation with the Right Insulation

Changes in one type of technology often make changes in related technologies necessary. For example, about a half-decade ago, facilities began running their chilled-water systems colder in an effort to reduce piping size and the required pumping power. While many engineers embraced this philosophy, it presented a new problem—condensation, especially in places like the southeastern United ...

By Geoff Weisenberger, Production/Web Editor
Healthcare Facilities June 1, 2004

A New Chapter in Health-Care Design

The standards have risen for pharmaceutical compounding areas. As of July 1 of this year, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) will begin surveying these areas—where intravenous and other sterile solutions are prepared—for compliance with a new chapter in the 2004 United States Pharmacopeia-National Formulary (USP-NF).

By Geoff Weisenberger, Production/Web Editor
Energy, Power May 1, 2004

Design-Build: Why not Engineers at the Helm?

Who should lead a construction project? For many centuries, the answer was a simple one: the Master Builder, i.e., the architect. Then, for much of the 20th century, the answer became "the general contractor." For the past decade or so, however, that question has become a bit more difficult to answer, as the master builder concept resurfaced in the form of multiple design-build schemes.

By Geoff Weisenberger, Production/Web Editor
Building Automation and Controls May 1, 2004

Factoring Smoke Dampers into the System

While sprinklers, fire-alarm systems and firestopping are at the forefront of current fire-safety discussion, one overlooked measure is the smoke damper. Yet this device is crucial in commercial/industrial fire safety. It's the traffic cop of the system, routing smoke out of the building while keeping it away from areas where it could do harm.

By Geoff Weisenberger, Production/Web Editor
Energy, Power April 1, 2004

Putting a Stop to Scalding and Thermal Shock

In an effort to educate plumbing manufacturers on the codes and standards that affect their industry, the Plumbing Manufacturers Institute, in February, held its second Codes and Standards Workshop. Approximately 60 PMI members and nonmembers from 25 plumbing manufacturers attended the workshop, which is part of a larger initiative to provide the industry with current information on issues and ...

By Geoff Weisenberger, Production/Web Editor
Healthcare Facilities March 1, 2004

NFPA Cooks Up Revisions to Commercial Kitchen Ventilation Standard

This May at NFPA's World Safety Conference and Exposition in Salt Lake City, members will vote on proposed changes to more than 30 technical documents, among them, NFPA 96, Standard for Ventilation Control and Fire Protection of Commercial Cooking Operations. The standard covers equipment for dampers, cooking, exhaust, fire-extinguishment and grease control/ removal.

By Geoff Weisenberger, Production/Web Editor
Building Automation and Controls October 1, 2003

Bad Power is No Power

Motors used in building systems—despite their degree of efficiency—are all subject to poor power quality, which can cause overheating and render a motor useless. But there are steps to follow to protect your motors from the problems—spikes, harmonics, single-phasing and tripping—incurred from poor power quality.

By Geoff Weisenberger, Production/Web Editor
Other Building Types October 1, 2003

Fields of Dreams?

Football is one of the most obvious signs of the coming of fall. Starting the day after the Super Bowl, diehard fans eagerly count the weeks until such milestones as the draft, training camp and the first Monday Night Football game. But recently, some fans have had something else to look forward to—the opening of brand new, high-tech stadiums.

By Geoff Weisenberger, Production/Web Editor
HVAC/R and Mechanical September 1, 2003

No Balance in Boilerplating HVAC Systems Testing

Logically, an HVAC system would be the core around which a building is constructed. In reality, the M/E engineer has to fit the system into the space he's given, with chillers, heaters, diffusers and ductwork limited to standard measurements. And since no system can be perfectly designed or installed for a given environment, testing, adjusting and balancing (TAB) are required to ensure that sys...

By Geoff Weisenberger, Production/Web Editor
Building Automation and Controls August 1, 2003

BAS Breeds Better Boilers

Building automation systems are the norm these days. In fact, integration of HVAC, lighting and security systems into a building's central nervous system is a common scenario, especially in new construction. Now, the brain is becoming more and more aware of its body's lower extremities—namely the boiler system.

By Geoff Weisenberger, Production/Web Editor
MNS, ECS August 1, 2003

Guidelines for Guiding Smoke

The National Fire Protection Assn's. Technical Committee on Smoke Management Systems will meet in September to discuss proposals to NFPA 92B, Guide for Smoke Management Systems in Malls, Atria and Large Areas. Among the topics of discussion is how to transform the guide, which provides design, operation and maintenance data for smoke management systems in large-volume spaces, into an actual st...

By Geoff Weisenberger, Production/Web Editor
Other Building Types July 1, 2003

There’s Something in the Water

When it comes to potable water for commercial facilities, for the most part, no additional treatment is required or provided between the local water utility and the facility. Unless you've got a filtered water cooler, what you get from the spigot is what you drink. One exception to this is in healthcare facilities.

By Geoff Weisenberger, Production/Web Editor
Codes and Standards July 1, 2003

Diesel Power

Codes and standards related to emergency generator fuel tank storage differ from one jurisdiction to the next, and accepted location of a tank is one of the major variables. In Chicago, for example, while the generator itself may be stored in a building's parking garage, the generator's diesel fuel tank may not.

By Geoff Weisenberger, Production/Web Editor
Other Building Types July 1, 2003

Rising to the Occasion

Since the late 19th century, when the first skyscrapers sprouted up in Chicago and New York, those two metropolises have been competing with each other for bragging rights to the world's tallest buildings. Both cities, with their familiar skylines, truly set the tone for what we think of as the epitome of the American central business district.

By Geoff Weisenberger, Production/Web Editor
Codes and Standards June 1, 2003

In the Wake of 9/11 can Building-Hardening Standards be Codified?

On Feb. 26, the 10-year anniversary of the first terrorist bombing of the World Trade Center, industry experts—designers, constructors and code officials—met in New York to discuss how the events of Sept. 11 are changing building design, construction and operation. The forum, coincidentally, took place the same day that officials overseeing the rebuilding of the WTC site announced D...

By Geoff Weisenberger, Production/Web Editor
Other Building Types May 1, 2003

NFPA 5000 Is Making Headway, Slowly

The need for a unified building code has long been desired, but until recently, had not been met. Fortunately, the advent of NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) 5000, Building Construction and Safety Code, as well as the International Building Code (IBC), filled this void (see "NYC Considers IBC on the Eve of 2003 Revision," CSE 02/03 p.

By Geoff Weisenberger, Production/Web Editor
MNS, ECS May 1, 2003


When it comes to the structure of a building, rigidity is an important trait. After all, a strong skeleton is the basis of a strong body. But as in the case of a willow, flexibility is a good thing, especially for one building system in particular—plumbing. Suppleness is becoming not only more prominent, but also more desired.

By Geoff Weisenberger, Production/Web Editor
Healthcare Facilities April 1, 2003

Standardizing Healthcare

Healthcare facilities require unique air-quality standards—that philosophy is expected to become "official" as soon as 2004, as ASHRAE SPC (Standards Project Committee) 170P continues work on its Ventilation of Health Care Facilities standard. SPC 170P was put together during the development of ASHRAE's Health Care Design Manual (SP-91), a guide for designing HVAC systems in healthcare...

By Geoff Weisenberger, Production/Web Editor
Lighting and Lighting Controls April 1, 2003

Automate and Save

In today's economy, energy-saving measures have become more important than ever as the price of electricity per kilowatt-hour has steadily increased. Lighting systems in commercial and institutional facilities can take up a much higher portion of a facility's total energy consumption than many people realize, explains Scott Jordan of Square D/Schneider Electric.

By Geoff Weisenberger, Production/Web Editor
Building Automation and Controls February 1, 2003

Don’t Forget About Firestopping

When most people hear the phrase "fire prevention," sprinklers, smoke detection and fire alarms spring readily to mind. While such active fire prevention measures are certainly necessary in any building—and have enjoyed a long history of success—many in the industry don't realize it's only half of the real fire-protection picture.

By Geoff Weisenberger, Production/Web Editor
Plumbing, Pumping and Pumps January 1, 2003

Water Softening Made Simple and Efficient

It's no secret that commercial, health and educational facilities all rely on boilers to provide hot water. What many occupants might not realize is that the water that comes out of their faucets is treated on-site to prevent mineral buildup in the boilers. The process of treating boiler water prior to heating has been around for decades.

By Geoff Weisenberger, Production/Web Editor