March 2020 Print

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Life happens and I found myself swamped with work, family, and other obligations that eventually consumed my February. I’m seeing a very small light at the end of the tunnel (I hope its not a freight train). I did not send out a Presidential Message in February, however I want to thank John Ferencak, P.E. for stepping up to the plate and not only presenting, but running the February meeting. I have heard excellent feedback from people in attendance…so great job.

In early February I attended to ASHRAE Expo in Orlando. There were some really great products that I am exited to learn more about. I was especially excited to see a big turnout from our UTSA Student Chapter. The Alamo Chapter was fortunate enough to sponsor a group from the UTSA Student Chapter to attend this year. I met up with the student chapter to discuss what they learned and what they wanted to learn more about. I was amazed at how much they absorbed from attending. I was most encouraged by their renewed and recalibrated focus on “what they want to be when they grow up”. Exposure to design engineers, sales professionals, contractors, and educators from around the globe helped with their career compass at such an exciting time in their lives. I hope the Alamo Chapter can continue this tradition of sponsoring the student chapter to attend the national events.

I also want to thank Trane Commercial for donating “ductalators” to the UTSA student chapter. Every good engineer needs to have a trusty ductalator on hand, next to the pipe sizing wheel, and physcrometric chart. I gave a presentation to the UTSA Student Chapter on how to use them, which was very well attended.

So…In March I’m very excited to have Mr. Tom Hartman, P.E. present on Central Plant Optimization. As a design engineer, in my previous life, squeezing those last percentage points out of the analysis to achieve our energy targets was a stressful experience. Many times, I resorted to the, so-called, “black box” plant optimization approach offered by many controls providers that promised amazing energy improvements over our baseline model (my problems are solved…the “easy button”). Some lessons that I learned from this “easy button” approach is that I never really understood what these “optimization” systems were actually doing. Back when I was in the Commissioning field, my Function Performance Scripts were custom made to fit the controls sequence of operation. I use to complain about designs that used these “optimization” routines…now here I am using the same design elements with by seal on it…irony.

Our presenter this month, Mr. Hartman, is an innovator in the logic used in the development of Central Plant Optimization. I’m certain that he can shed some light on the “nuts and bolts” of these systems and enlighten us on the benefits of incorporating into our design and construction projects.

I look forward to seeing all of you there.    


Frank L Painter, P.E.

March 2020 Newsletter

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