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Looking ahead: modelling a sustainable world

Letter from Lynn G Bellenger, PE, ASHRAE Fellow, 2010-11 ASHRAE President

| | Feb 20, 2011 | 4:34 am
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On behalf of its 55,000 members worldwide, ASHRAE offers congratulations to Climate Control Middle East magazine on the occasion of its fifth anniversary.

Lynn G BellengerASHRAE’s long history is renowned for its focus on energy efficiency in heating and cooling. Our mission, “promoting HVAC&R to serve humanity and promote a sustainable world”, clearly sets a path for us in providing guidance for sustainable design, construction and operation of buildings, systems and equipment. Our members in the Middle East play a vital role in helping us carry out our mission.

ASHRAE has a strong presence in the Middle East, with almost 1,500 members spread across Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. The society has seven chapters in the Middle East – Bahrain, Cairo, Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar (Oryx), Saudi Arabia and the UAE (ASHRAE Falcon).

AHSRAE has seen strong growth and participation of these chapters in the region. I am pleased to recognise the tremendous impact dedicated ASHRAE volunteers and chapter leaders are having in the region.

These 1,500 members help us develop our technical guidance in a variety of ways – in standards, publications, research, education and conferences. Of note are new projects, which include ANSI/ASHRAE/USGBC/IES Standard 189.1, Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Building, the first standard in the United States, developed for high-performing buildings, a new building labelling programme known as Building Energy Quotient, a new research strategic plan that sets out research goals for the next five years and continued development of our series, providing advanced energy design guidance.

Two projects of special interest to your readers are design guides that deal with district heating and cooling. With funding from Empower, ASHRAE is developing a design manual for district cooling systems. ASHRAE also is funding a research project to develop a district heating and cooling guide. Our goal in the two endeavours is to provide guidance to properly design and operate integrated systems.

Earlier this year, ASHRAE assisted in the adoption of a residential energy standard in Kuwait. Known as ASHRAE Standard 90.2-Kuwait, Energy-Efficient Design of Low-Rise Residential Buildings in Kuwait, it was developed by a committee consisting of representatives from the Society and Kuwait University, and supported by the Ministry of Electricity and Water (MEW) in Kuwait. In late March, ASHRAE members from the United States travelled to Kuwait to present a course on the application of the standard over a five-day period.  Twenty-seven engineers from MEW were trained on the new standard.

“The project was very successful; it was heard by many people in the region and I was approached to see if the same experience could be repeated in other Gulf countries,” Walid Chakroun, a professor of Mechanical Engineering from Kuwait University and ASHRAE Director and Regional Chair of Region-at-Large, said.

Last year, ASHRAE published a new book that contains expanded and revised guidance on keeping heat and humidity out of buildings in hot and humid climates. The second edition of The ASHRAE Guide for Buildings in Hot and Humid Climates, is based on years of compiling questions, comments and suggestions from practising architects, engineers and building managers, who work in hot and humid climates.

The book includes four new chapters to guide architectural design towards reduced energy consumption, reduced mould risk and lower-cost mechanical systems. The HVAC&R design section has also been expanded. Six new chapters help system designers quantify and reduce cooling and dehumidification loads, design more economical ventilation systems and save more than 25% of annual HVAC&R energy through low-cost sealing of air distribution components.

This year, I am focusing on Modelling a Sustainable World, calling on use of modelling and integrated design to guide the industry in optimising system and building performance. Our challenge is to approach every project with innovation, not repetition, and to challenge ourselves to find elegant solutions that will minimise energy use and provide exceptional indoor environmental quality.

With energy simulation, daylight analysis, CFD and BIM software, we have powerful modelling tools that enable us to create and refine our vision of a building – its appearance, systems, operation and performance. Those resources, used effectively in an integrated design process for new buildings and in analysing retrofit opportunities in existing buildings, will help us model a sustainable world.

Our biggest challenge is implementing integrated design in daily practice. The traditional approach, where the architect designs the building shape, orientation and envelope, and then transmits the drawings to the mechanical and electrical engineers for their design, is a silo approach that misses the rich opportunities for optimising building performance through a collaborative approach from the beginning. It is going to require a real cultural shift in our industry to transform the design process, and it’s a shift that has to occur if we are going to reach our goal of net-zero-energy buildings.

In closing, I again offer my congratulations to Climate Control Middle East on the occasion of its fifth anniversary. And I again offer a sincere thank you to our members in the region for their hard work and dedication. Today, we are called to become the giants of our industry, to set the example of innovation and dedication that future generations will remember when they look back on the time when buildings ceased to be net consumers of energy and became net-zero-energy, and even producers of energy.

I invite you to join with ASHRAE in setting the example in energy efficiency, in elegant, innovative solutions to meeting the energy needs of today and the future, to model a sustainable world.

Personal regards,

Lynn G Bellenger
PE, ASHRAE Fellow, 2010-11 ASHRAE President

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