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Thread: ASHRAE and the Residential Market

  1. #1
    ASHRAExCHANGE℠ Ad Hoc Committee Chair / Electronic Communications Chair Spencer Morasch's Avatar
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    ASHRAE and the Residential Market

    In ASHRAE's mission & vision statements (posted below), there is NOTHING that mentions ANYTHING about focusing on the Commerical, Industrial or Residential markets,
    yet ASHRAE's impact on the Residential Market has been minimal at best.
    Standards 90.2 and 62.2 barely get any attention.
    Rules of thumb and very inconsistant design & construction practices seem to be the norm.
    For the most part, the public is uneducated, and views HVAC as a commodity and just accepts what the builder gives them as standard with no questions asked, while at the same time spending more time researching (ie. Googling) & questioning upgraded carpet and countertops!

    Let's get some discussion going - What does ASHRAE need to be doing to be more of a player in the residential market?
    Should ASHRAE even make the effort, or just let business as usual continue in this area?
    Should ASHRAE be partnering with other related organizations, such as ACCA (Air Conditioning Contractors of America) and the various builders groups out there?


    ASHRAE Mission:
    To advance the arts and sciences of heating, ventilating, air conditioning and refrigerating to serve humanity and promote a sustainable world.

    ASHRAE Vision
    ASHRAE will be the global leader, the foremost source of technical and educational information, and the primary provider of opportunity for professional growth in the arts and sciences of heating, ventilating, air conditioning and refrigerating.
    Spencer Morasch
    ASHRAE Electronics Communication Committee Chair
    Member, New Jersey Chapter
    Jersey Central Power & Light
    Advanced Engineer

  2. #2
    Occasional User Bill Bahnfleth's Avatar
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    Spencer,

    Thanks for starting this off. As you know, I have emphasized the need for ASHRAE to be effective in the residential arena in this year's theme. As you've noted, there has never been anything in ASHRAE's governing statements that says we are not to serve the residential market and, from the perspective of technology, there is no reason we cannot or should not be a major contributor. Many, including me, feel that it is the way the market is divided up - different people do residential and light commercial than do large commercial, institutional, and industrial for the most part, and they do it by different processes. So, becoming more effective means engaging with stakeholders who to a large extent are outside of current ASHRAE membership and working with the organizations that represent them.

    I have appointed an ad hoc committee on Residential Markets this year to evaluate ASHRAE's current position and market conditions and to make recommendations for how we can more forward. Although some, maybe many, might disagree with me, I do not think deciding to opt out of residential is consistent with ASHRAE's scope and mission, despite our past ineffectiveness to which you have alluded.

    Here is a portion of the appointment letter to the ad hoc that gives an idea of what I am asking them to do:

    "ASHRAE has for many years been engaged in various ways with the residential construction market, for example, through residential standards for energy conservation (90.2) and ventilation (62.2). However the impact of ASHRAE on this market has been limited. I am forming this committee for the purpose of defining a path forward that will provide direction to the Society on how it can contribute most effectively to the improvement of the performance of residential buildings.

    The charge to the ad hoc committee is as follows:

    1. Review the current structure of the residential construction market as it relates to ASHRAE participation, focusing primarily on the US and Canada, but not excluding some consideration for other global markets.

    2. Review ASHRAE’s current activities specifically directed toward residential construction and analyze their effectiveness.

    3. Review ASHRAE’s ability to support the residential market in a broad sense – standards, research, professional development, publications, design guidance and tools, etc. The committee should consult with all ASHRAE Councils and others as needed.

    4. Identify key stakeholder organizations within the industry to develop and engage them in discussions to identify ways in which ASHRAE can productively support and enhance the quality and performance of residential construction. The committee is authorized to conduct a stakeholder workshop at an appropriate point in its deliberations.

    5. Formulate recommendations for ASHRAE’s future involvement in residential markets with an indication of necessary collaborations and with proposed timing of such actions. Recommendations may focus externally (e.g., work with some stakeholder organization or group of organizations) as well as internally (e.g., form a Multidisciplinary Task Group or Technical Committee).

    6. Formulate recommendations for the future work of this committee, i.e., should it terminate at the end of the 2013-14 year, continue with ongoing work in 2014-15, or continue with a modified agenda such as consideration of markets outside US/Canada."


    As you can see, the focus is not only on standards, where we have put most of our effort in the past, but more broadly on the things ASHRAE can do to develop technology and educate. There is also a strong emphasis on understanding, communication, and collaboration with industry organizations.

    The ad hoc has a very strong and diverse membership. It is chaired by Max Sherman and includes two Society vice-presidents, Tom Werkema representing technology and Dan Pettway representing publishing and education as well as staff members Steve Comstock (publications and education) and Mark Weber (technology), and representatives of several key external organizations.

    I hope our members will strongly support and contribute to this effort. I think it is strategically important for ASHRAE, it is important to the industry, and it is not really a new initiative, but rather, a push to accomplish more effectively what we have been trying to do for decades, which is to bring the resources of ASHRAE to bear on the problems of this market sector so that we can more completely realize our goal of supporting the public good.
    Last edited by Bill Bahnfleth; September 23rd, 2013 at 12:57 PM. Reason: Just making a good post better... :-)
    Bill Bahnfleth
    Penn State
    Dept. of Architectural Engineering
    ASHRAE President 2013-14
    eMail: ashraepresident@ashrae.org
    Web: www.facebook.com/ASHRAEPresident

  3. #3
    ASHRAExCHANGE℠ Ad Hoc Committee Chair / Electronic Communications Chair Spencer Morasch's Avatar
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    WOW!
    Post a new thread and get a response from the ASHRAE President on the SAME day!!!
    What a great new communications tool this new ASHRAExCHANGE is!

    Forming a high level Ad Hoc Committee to address ASHRAE and the Residential Market is a great idea!
    Let's keep this discussion (from both ASHRAE members & non-members) going to help provide input and ideas that the new Ad Hoc can use in their work.

    Much appreciated, Bill!
    Spencer
    Spencer Morasch
    ASHRAE Electronics Communication Committee Chair
    Member, New Jersey Chapter
    Jersey Central Power & Light
    Advanced Engineer

  4. #4
    All,
    I am an architect who often works in the residential arena and who just happened along on your conversation while I was looking for an answer to another question. The reason our clients come to us knowing the carpet and countertops they want, and yet have no interest in hearing about the efficiency of their HVAC or the value of insulation or air barrier is because the magazines they are reading do not advertise these items as important. I believe education through savvy marketing would create a clientele with an interest in a high efficiency HVAC system. Why is it that the same consumer who cares enough about the environment and their health enough to buy local organic produce does not care about the efficiency of their HVAC? Education and Word of Mouth don't say it's important. By the time they get to me, their architect, their dreams are all spinning around their countertops and my foray into what is important about their home is lost because my message was not substantiated during the time they spent flipping through shelter magazines and talking to their friends.

    I'm not an ASHRAE member, but I am an architect on your side and willing to help.

    Pam Hutter, AIA, CSI
    Hutter Architects, Ltd.
    Chicago, Illinois

  5. #5
    Occasional User Bill Bahnfleth's Avatar
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    Pam-

    Thanks for checking in on this subject. I think you are right about the priorities of the typical owner.

    ASHRAE needs the contributions of architects, so I hope you will stay engaged.

    Best regards,
    Last edited by Bill Bahnfleth; September 24th, 2013 at 06:45 AM.
    Bill Bahnfleth
    Penn State
    Dept. of Architectural Engineering
    ASHRAE President 2013-14
    eMail: ashraepresident@ashrae.org
    Web: www.facebook.com/ASHRAEPresident

  6. #6
    I'd note that my standard is pretty high since we just built a new residential home that uses 42% of the energy of the Tennessee average - for the first 15 months so far. We started with a basic floor plan but rapidly added the energy efficiency component. As a retiree, the ongoing bills must match your income. Long term that's a greater concern than the additional capital cost - as long as one can afford the mortgage.

    I discovered that there is no template on how to construct from the ground up, what the pitfalls are and how to address those concerns. We're working on ways to publish our results, although there have been some roadblocks to that. And I think this is a great role for ASHRAE - make the public aware of what it takes and what the options are.

    I'd note that after our initial foray, we enlisted both an architect and general contractor. Both had a steep learning curve on how to build energy efficiency. And the biggest probably was a building inspector who had worked in the industry for 30 years; he actually blocked some energy efficiency components because "that's not how we do it!!" Yes, education is a significant challenge.

    Tom Werkema
    ASHRAE VP
    Chair, Technology Council
    Retiree

  7. #7
    ASHRAExCHANGE℠ Ad Hoc Committee Chair / Electronic Communications Chair Spencer Morasch's Avatar
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    Hi Tom - GREAT post which I can relate to when I designed and built my house 21 years ago. Fortunately I had a good architect and builder who were flexible and willing to work with my ideas regarding energy efficient construction, so that was not an issue in my case.

    But your comment regarding educating local code officials is spot on!
    In my situation, I wanted to use a ridge vent, vs. the standard gable end vents for attic ventilation.
    The local inspector / code official had never seen this (in 1992), and questioned the builder as to the effectiveness of the ridge
    vent vs. gable end vents. The builder of course referred that question to me.

    I actually had to show my math work that confirmed the ridge vent actually had more square inches of ventilation,
    vs. the gable end vents. Once the inspector saw that, his concerns over the *new* ridge vent system went away!
    Spencer Morasch
    ASHRAE Electronics Communication Committee Chair
    Member, New Jersey Chapter
    Jersey Central Power & Light
    Advanced Engineer

  8. #8
    Has anybody designed to the 2009 IRC, Section M1401.3 which requires that Load Calcs be summitted per SMACNA Manual J?

    How did THAT happen??

    I suppose that SMACNA has a better Lobby than ASHRAE... is that the case??

    It annoyed the heck out of me when ASHRAE didn't take the lead in LEED (and it was left to the Architects, tree-huggers and politicians... now we have Contractors telling us how to do Load Calcs!!

    I'm glad to be retiring.. cause I'm sure not happy with where our profession is going.
    Peter Kunka, P.E.
    President
    Kunka Engineering, inc.
    4250 E. Camelback Road, Suite 485K
    Phoenix, AZ 95018
    602-840-1701
    pete@kunka.com
    Leave messages.. I'm trying to retire..

    ASHRAE Life Member

  9. #9
    I believe that there is great potential interest in by home owners for both remodels and new builds. Unfortunately many builders and contractors listen exclusively to their distributors and manufacture Reps to get information. Maybe a residential focused area on www.ashrae.org would be helpful.

    Michelle Erickson
    Channel Manger
    www.ashraejobs.com/BirdDog

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