Friday, August 10, 2012

Bike Week!

I spent the last week up at the Sturgis Bike Week, where I again rode with a couple other HVAC industry guys. One was a mechanical equipment rep, the other a veteran design engineer, both from Omaha. Not surprisingly, we discussed our business. Here are some of my observations and take-aways.

1.) The economy has had a huge effect on the rally. On Monday afternoon, there were only a dozen bikes in the parking lot. Usually there are a hundred. Hewlet was as light as I have seen in 10 years and there was even available vendor space at the HD store in Rapid City. Most of the folks I met were from states surrounding South Dakota. I didn’t see a single bike going North on my way up the Thursday before, which was very unusual.

2.) We discussed specifications, which was the subject of my last blog. The rep said he sees nonsense “flawed” specs all the time. The engineer said that they don’t have time to clean up all the hundreds of pages of specifications. What ends up happening is that the rep just bids what they think the engineer actually wanted. Needless to say, a close relationship between the rep and engineer is ever so important.

3.) Ventilation air is the load. Minimums, tied to incredibly low space loads, are often too much air at 55°F. Strategies to raise the discharge in some zones needs to be considered, especially when the perimeter may well need 55°F air. The DOAS “chilled” box I discussed earlier is a great solution to this quandary. The equipment rep who sells the DOAS rooftop supply units got a bit excited and will be calling our rep to look to a partnership!

4.) Adjusting diffusers and placing them properly continues to be last on the list of concerns of most engineers and contractors. Balancing nightmares are real. Occupants who experience non-uniform environments are often very unhappy; productivity will suffer. None of the three of us could see a solution besides increasing awareness of the need for proper air distribution design. WE know how to, but most don’t.

5.) Acoustics will continue to be a big deal. I just got some info on ‘infrasound’, very low frequency noise. It has interesting effects on the inner ear. I’ll talk about that next week!

Authored by: Dan Int-Hout, Chief Engineer Krueger