The timing was perfect. First morning, first keynote, Dr. Jim Freihaut of the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster for Energy-Efficient Buildings, has been talking to our High-Performance Buildings conference about the great work going on at the renewed Philadelphia Navy Yard. But now he’s also lamenting the state of facility O&M staff. Training is generally inadequate, and so is the general level of value and respect attached to those staff.


The distracting hiss comes from the right side of the room. More specifically, from one of the large room’s two pneumatic thermostats, where a hotel employee is working with it to adjust the setting. It goes on for a minute, we ignore it, the employee disappears, and Dr. Freihaut continues making his point for about ten seconds.


Same guy, now adjusting the thermostat on the other side of the podium. A small chuckle ripples across the room, and even the speaker has to join and acknowledge as this hiss goes on longer than the first. However, the bigger chuckle comes when the employee has to call in backup because he has found that now a chunk of the unit that is supposed to be attached to the wall is in his hand instead. Not good.

That’s when the scenario’s full irony kicks in, so fitting that Freihaut assures the crowd that he didn’t set it up. But from the existing building that could benefit from a technology upgrade to the mishap during adjustment, it was a little microcosm of showing building professionals where the industry needs to go by reminding them where it is.


As advertised and on schedule, our website finished its biggest overhaul ever and went public last month. We’re still polishing up a spot here or there and getting used to the new content entry system that came along with it, but the debut went great and traffic is off to a good start, too.

Beyond the significant aesthetic retrofit, the most obvious improvement to mention is the new content. We’ll run more polls on the homepage, for one thing. I’ve also started a podcast series — ESRadio. That’s five minutes (tops) of quick industry news, other observations, and usually an update on what’s been playing on the ESjukebox during the workday. It’s a new endeavor for me, and there’ll be two or three up by the time you read this. So stream or download the mp3 and feel free to tell me what you’d like to hear.

But honestly, I’m just as excited about a different improvement in this new site: the ease with which you can now find the kind of content you’re looking for. Just with the new bar across the top, you can get results from our archive quickly by dropping down and selecting one of the sectors (commercial, health care, K-12, etc.). Same goes for the Equipment & Topics dropdown. And every individual article you pull up will be accompanied by links to other recommended articles based on that content. Basically, the content gets “better” just by saving you time when you work with it.

Yes, it’s still free. What we do ask for is 30 seconds of your time to register at the site. The current issue’s articles and the recent news is available to anyone, but the ever-increasing archive of features, columns, and news (plus all multimedia content) is only available to registered users. After you register, you shouldn’t need to sign in on subsequent visits on that machine. Which might be convenient if you need to type one-handed because you’re holding a piece of equipment that was supposed to be fixed to the wall in your other one. ES


All webinars are free.

Registration and archives at



“Econet - Where Renewable and

Recoverable Energy Unite”

Sponsored and presented by SEMCO.


october 20

“Unique Hydronic Applications of

Reinforced Polypropylene Tubing”

Presented by John Siegenthaler, P.E.,

Appropriate Designs

Sponsored by Aquatherm.



“Advances in Design Technology:

a Catalyst for Firetube Boiler Breakthrough”

Presented and sponsored by





Building Simulation 2011

International Building Performance Simulation Association Australia Institute of Refrigeration,

Air-conditioning & Heating

Sydney, Australia.

For info,visit



National BIM Conference

Washington. Concurrent with

Ecobuild. For info,


JANUARY 21-25, 2012

2012 ASHRAE Winter Conference

Chicago. For info,


JANUARY 23-25, 2012

AHR Expo

Chicago. For info,