Recession-proof Topics

Since 1996, when B2B started, we have had two significant changes to the format but with each, the focus has always been on new construction, renovations, and equipment /system replacement. In light of the turndown economy and the slowdown in these types of project activities, it is time to refocus our B2B educational program on to a somewhat recession-proof topic: energy retro-commissioning activities. The reason energy projects are recession-proof is because when there is an economy turndown, building owners go back to finding ways to save money, and saving money is part of what energy retro-commissioning is all about.

An added reason why energy retro-commissioning is alive and well is because our environment is not doing so well. Global warming is a problem that is not going way in most of our lifetimes. While some folks will challenge global warming issues and concerns, we don’t want to find out too late that maybe global warming is for real, so we are focusing our B2B educational series on improving HVAC systems while striving to reduce carbon footprint.

When it comes to energy conservation, I can say I was around for the first energy crisis and we didn’t do a really good job reducing energy consumption, but we did create some really sick buildings. An uptick economy made us all to forget about those long lines at gas stations back in the 1970s.

In the 1980s, we were back to high-horsepower, low-mileage vehicles, and energy-efficient HVAC systems were getting value-engineered out of projects. Only in America would our automakers come out with the idea that Hummer vehicles and mega-SUV’s would be great competition against those energy-efficient foreign cars because life was good and we love our “manly” vehicles over more responsible means of travel. What didn’t we learn when just a few years earlier, architects and engineers were busy filling out those self-serving energy award applications based on energy conservation mandates?

Retrofitting b2b and Designer Tips

Now I’m not an environmentalist and don’t claim to know anywhere near as much as I should know about protecting the environment, but I do have a lot of years troubleshooting problematic jobs and providing energy retrofit project solutions. Based on those years of experience and working with the magazine and my daughter Amanda Parolsie, we want to share this experience, rejuvenate the B2B and “Designer Tips” series, and maybe help others do a better job overcoming some of the issues associated with reducing energy consumption and its associated carbon footprint while improving space comfort and operating costs.

The B2B series will continue to be coordinated with Amanda’s monthly column. Her “HVACR Designer Tips” column title has been changed to “The Facility Files” to reflect the new curriculum. Month one of the B2B series will focus on existing operating conditions along with some helpful hints on how to perform energy conservation assessments and documenting existing automatic control sequence of operation (ATC/FPT system flow diagram) conditions by retro-commissioning the HVAC system as it currently operates. “The Facility Files” will provide the associated basis of design document that an engineer or facility person could use to do an energy audit.

In month two, the B2B will continue following the data collection process by showing how important documenting existing air and water operating conditions following the Testing, Adjusting, Balancing Bureau (TABB) organization’s TAB procedures and more helpful hints with some “what to look for-existing conditions” discussions and a TAB system design-to-actual system flow diagram. “The Facility Files” will provide a useful equipment assessment checklist, an important tool to ensure equipment sustainability.

Month three will focus on the energy retro-commissioning implementing. In this issue, we will provide an energy retro-commissioning example using an ATC/FPT system flow diagram and its pass-fail format similar to the past B2B monthly tests. We will also provide helpful hints directed toward ongoing commissioning suggestions. “The Facility Files” will provide a sample PM workorder for facility personnel to consider when striving to maintain peak system performance.

The B2B series has always strived to be a practitioner’s educational program to help those entry-level designers as well as more experienced engineers become better at their jobs. It is also directed to the facility personnel who can continue their education on a monthly basis and apply the helpful hints and checklists this series provides. We are excited and hope that this new format will make a difference in the global quest to reduce energy while reducing the carbon footprint, one HVAC system at a time. ES