Spring 2021 Newsletter Print

President's Report

The sunshine and warm weather early this spring has been a welcome treat.  After being hidden inside and isolated for most of the winter, it’s a relief to get outside and get some fresh air.  I enjoy seeing the trees and flowers bloom, uncovering the grill and going for walks around the neighborhood with the family.  The past year has helped me to keep things in perspective and realign some of my priorities.  I am thankful for the support around me and for the extra time I have been able to spend with my growing family.

This spring we have had some great presentations – I would like to thank ASPE, Trane and Michigan Air Products again for setting those up for us.  We have a couple more meetings lined up before we kick back and relax; keep an eye on your inbox for the invites.

As we round the corner and try to safely make our way out of the pandemic, I invite you all to join us at Indianwood for the golf outing on June 22nd.  Barring any setbacks, we will finally be able to get everyone back together in person and share some sunshine and laughter.  Please check out the Golf Outing section of the newsletter for more details and a link to register.

I would also like to highlight a couple of key dates coming up.  Chapter Technology Award submissions are due May 30th and the Scholarship applications are due April 23rd.  The short form application for the Technology Award is simple and straight forward; take the time to showcase your innovative project!  We have 3 Chapter scholarships available this year, I would think across our 600+ Chapter members we know some deserving students that could apply.  Please get the word out and share the information so we can present them all this year!

April is Past Presidents and History month.  As an organization comprised of volunteers, I think it is important to take a moment to recognize the individuals that have dedicated so much of their own time to our Chapter and Society at large.  Many of these Past Presidents have continued on to the Region or Society level and have continued to contribute.  Others have reinserted themselves into Chapter initiatives and led various committees.  Thank you for representing Detroit - ASHRAE and the Detroit Chapter specifically wouldn’t be where we are today without your leadership. 

This past year has been a whirlwind in many ways.  I am proud of what our members have been able to accomplish in their own careers and also how we have come together for the greater good.  I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe.  Feel free to reach out to me with any questions or feedback.


Brad Herbeck
[email protected]


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Next Meeting Update


Please keep an eye out for future meeting invites!

If you missed one of our meetings, you’re in luck!  We have uploaded most of the recordings and slide decks to our website so you can catch up!  Find the meeting you missed or want to re-watch on the Chapter calendar and click on the link to download.

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Golf Outing


Get your clubs cleaned up and pull together your foursomes, we could all use a day out with good company!  The outing committee has been hard at work planning the details for another fun day.  We are grateful for our generous sponsors and have some exciting opportunities available so check it out!


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April 27, 2021
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM

Virtual, via Microsoft Teams

“Like a book club, but for engineering”. Join your local peers for discussions about articles in the monthly ASHRAE Journal that have caught your eye. No worries if you've not finished reading! 

We’ll be focusing on the January / February / March 2021 editions of the Journal (available online for ASHRAE members at technologyportal.ashrae.org/Journal).

On the day of the event: Click here to join the meeting

Please e-mail [email protected] if there are any articles you’d particularly like to discuss.


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Women in ASHRAE

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Honors and Awards

Detroit Chapter of ASHRAE Awards the 2021 Distinguished Service Award to Sonya Pouncy

By Paul Prentice – Honors and Awards Committee Chairman


The Detroit Chapter of ASHRAE has awarded Sonya M. Pouncy, CEM, CMVP, LEED-AP the 2021 Distinguished Service Award.  Sonya has gone above and beyond all expectations in her guidance and leadership of the ASHRAE Detroit/West Michigan Covid-19 Task Force.

In 2020, with the approval of the Chapter Board of Governors, Sonya established the ad hoc Joint MI Chapters of ASHRAE COVID-19 Task Force. As Chair of this task force, Sonya currently leads a committee of more than 25 members from both the Detroit and West Michigan Chapters. Their goal is to raise awareness of the role HVAC equipment can play in reducing risks of infectious transmissions within buildings. The committee has forged relationships with various state departments, including the Department of Education, the Department of the Environment, Great Lakes & Energy, the Department of Labor & Economic Opportunity and the Department of Health & Human Services, which now rely on the task force as a key resource as they develop building related strategies and programs to respond to and mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Sonya served as president of the Detroit Chapter in 2008 and has been a valuable contributing member for many years. Sonya was recognized for her award at the virtual Engineering Society of Detroit Gold Awards Ceremony last week.

On behalf of the Detroit Chapter of ASHRAE, we thank Sonya for her many contributions.



Engineering Society of Detroit Awards the 2021 Gold Award to Janice K. Means, PE

By Paul Prentice – Honors and Awards Committee Chairman


We are proud to share the news that Janice K. Means, PE, LEED AP, FESD was awarded the 2021 ESD Gold Award at the March 17th, 2021 virtual Engineering Society of Detroit Gold Awards Ceremony. ESD promotes and celebrates excellence, innovation, cooperation, professional growth and fellowship in the engineering, scientific and allied professions throughout metro Detroit.

I have known Janice as an active member of our chapter since I joined in 1986. Janice joined ASHRAE in 1985. Her commitment to ASHRAE Society, high school and college students and our Detroit ASHRAE Chapter has been consistent and reliable for all these years.  Janice does not boast of her accomplishments, she just does it! I have not seen devotion like Janice’s to this society by any other member, including society presidents. And, after 35 years as a member, she is still going strong in her volunteerism.

Even before becoming an ASHRAE member, Janice Means was involved in the Michigan Solar Energy Association when solar energy was not widely promoted. Energy efficiency and sustainability has always been a hot topic for Janice and her involvement as: an author or co-author; presenter; and coordinator of ten sustainability conferences has helped to improve the sustainability literacy of students, professionals and the general public.  It also has kept the Detroit Chapter professionals keenly involved in designing new construction projects with energy efficiency in mind. The chapter meetings are often beneficiaries of Janice’s thoughts and ideas on efficient designs. The students she has worked with in our area, and particularly at Lawrence Technological University, are now contributing to the designs at several area and national consulting firms.

Janice also just received the prestigious ASHRAE E.K. Campbell award which is an International ASHRAE Society award for her contributions to HVAC education. This award includes a $10,000 dollar honorarium and a beautiful plaque to commemorate her accomplishments.

Janice has contributed to significant ASHRAE publications which extend and promote industry knowledge related to sustainability.  She was a co-author and co-editor of the 4th and 5th editions of the ASHRAE Green Guide and a strong contributor to the writing of the new 2021 ASHRAE Fundamentals Handbook Climate Change Chapter and ASHRAE Guideline 34—Energy Guideline for Historic Buildings.  She also contributed to the editing of Chapter 36, Solar Energy Equipment, in the 2008 ASHRAE HVAC Systems & Equipment Handbook.  This is in addition to her numerous publications and presentations at local, national and international conferences and seminars.

Congratulations Janice for being recognized for your many contributions!


Both Janice and Sonya were recognized at the Engineering Society of Detroit virtual Gold Awards Ceremony for their accomplishments. The ceremony was recorded and is available at this link:


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Our Chapter theme for the month of April is Past Presidents and History, so I thought it only made sense to take a moment to reflect back on some key moments in the Detroit Chapter’s history and honor the Presidents that served.  As everyone knows, our Chapters are built on volunteers.  I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge and thank our past Presidents in particular for their dedication and time invested!  Thank you all!



A Brief History of the Detroit ASHRAE Chapter and an Invitation

Janice K. Means, PE, LEED AP


Every year at our April meeting, we embrace our Chapter’s history and honor our past presidents.  In keeping with this tradition, following is a brief history of our Chapter with a request. 

The ASHRAE Michigan Chapter was formed in 1959.  This corresponded with the merging of the American Society of Heating and Ventilating Engineers (ASHVE) and the American Society of Refrigerating Engineers (ASRE) into what we now know as the American Society of Heating Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).   During its first two years of operation, the President’s office of the Michigan Chapter was shared by two persons—the former ‘President-Elects’ of the Detroit section of ASRE and the Michigan Chapter of ASHAE.  Raymond Lee (ASRE) and Joseph Olivieri (ASHAE) shared the President’s role for the 1959-1960 year and Mark Wehmeyer (ASRE) and Charles Henstock (ASHAE) followed in 1960-1961 as co-presidents.   Thereafter, the role of Chapter President was held by a single person. 

The ASHRAE Michigan Chapter was originally assigned to ASHRAE Region VI with Chapters in Grand Rapids and Battle Creek in Michigan, and outstate city chapters in Chicago, Moline, Milwaukee, Des Moines, and Minneapolis.  Joe Olivieri, whom many of you knew well, was elected to Society as a Director At Large and Region VI Chair in 1970.  Joseph Loveley also served on the Society level Board of Directors simultaneously when he replaced Joe Olivieri in his vacated position as a Director At Large.  In 1975-1976, Joe Olivieri became Society Treasurer.  Therefore, you can see that our early Chapter leadership was very active also at the Regional and Society levels. 

Later, due to growth in the Society, the Michigan Chapter was reassigned to our present regional home, Region V.

In 1982, the Michigan Chapter‘s name was changed to the ASHRAE Detroit Chapter.  Other ASHRAE Chapters active at that time included Western Michigan, Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan.  Joseph Loveley served as the first Detroit Chapter President after the Chapter name change.  In the archives, I found it recorded that, “Joe [Loveley] was in line to be president 3 different times in three different chapters only to be transferred before reaching the office of president.  I think he still has the record for being an officer in the most chapters, Dayton, Detroit, Cleveland and finally again Detroit…”  I want to give credit for this quote, but could not determine the author.


Additional Milestones in our chapter’s history are highlighted below:


  • June 6-10, 1922: The Michigan Chapter of ASHAE co-hosted the Society meeting with the Buffalo Chapter.  Attendees started the meeting in Buffalo, rode an overnight cruise to Detroit, and concluded the meeting in Detroit.  [Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?]


  • Summer of 1933: ASHAE Society’s Annual Meeting was hosted by the Detroit Chapter and held in Detroit.


  • Summer of 1939: ASHAE Society’s Annual Meeting was held on Mackinaw Island and was hosted by the Michigan and Western Michigan Chapters.


  • Winter of 1967: ASHRAE’s Winter Meeting and Expo were hosted by the Detroit Chapter at Cobo Hall when Chicago’s McCormick Place was out of commission due to a fire. 


  • Summer of 1979: ASHRAE’s Annual Meeting was hosted by the Detroit Chapter at the Renaissance Center.


  • through 2001: The Detroit Chapter participated in and more times than not, ran the  3-Chapter Seminars


  • late 1980’s, the Region V CRC (Chapters Regional Conference) where attendees were treated to a Detroit River Cruise complete with dinner and dancing.


and more recently….


  • 2005-2008: Filza H. Walters, Detroit Chapter’s became the Chapter’s first woman president, followed a year later by the second woman to serve as Chapter President, Janice K. Means.


  • 2007-2008: The Chapter was recognized by being awarded the first Sustainability Presidential Award of Excellence (PAOE) plaque and certificate for its continuous efforts in educating others on sustainability throughout the year.   This was the first such award made to a chapter within Region V. 


  • 2008-2009: Sonya Pouncy took the helm as the Chapter’s first Afro-American Chapter President and third woman president.


  • 2005-2011, the Chapter sponsored what has become the annual Seminars on Sustainability-SOS for the Environment, a regional conference with speakers on topics of sustainability, tours and a mini-green expo. In 2010 and 2011, the Chapter took a background position, sponsoring the event primarily through partial financial funding and assisting with publicity.


  • 2016: the Chapter celebrated its 100 year anniversary in style with a fantastic evening at the Detroit Yacht Club.


  • 2019: a second Chapter scholarship was established thanks to Shashikant F. Dani



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Chapter Technology Transfer

ASHRAE Technology Awards 2021

It’s time to start thinking about a project to submit for the ASHRAE Technology Awards this upcoming spring!  For the past several years the Detroit Chapter has received multiple Regional and Society level awards for entries in the Technology Award competition.  This year we hope the legacy will continue.  You can be a part of this legacy by submitting a project.  All you have to do is be an ASHRAE member, have an innovative or energy efficient design, and fill out the application. 

The purpose of the ASHRAE Technology Awards is threefold:

  1. To recognize ASHRAE members who design and/or conceive innovative technological concepts that are proven through actual operating data.
  2. To communicate innovative systems design to other ASHRAE members.
  3. To highlight technological achievements of ASHRAE to others, including associated professionals and societies worldwide, as well as building and facility owners.

ASHRAE Technology Award applications are accepted in each of the following categories:

  1. Commercial Buildings (New and Existing)
  2. Institutional Buildings (New and Existing)
    • Educational Facilities
    • Other Institutional
  3. Health Care Facilities (New and Existing)
  4. Industrial Facilities or Processes (New and Existing)
  5. Public Assembly Facilities (New and Existing)
  6. Residential (New and Existing)

This year we want the Detroit Chapter in the winner’s circle again. Of course this competition also serves as a means for passing on of new technology to future engineers.  If you have a design that you think is worth sharing…go ahead and submit it!  Chapter level submission deadline: May 30th.

The National winner for this past year came from our Region 5 (Indiana, Michigan & Ohio):

First Place ASHRAE Technology Award in the Educational Facilities - Existing Category for the Historic Mercy High School Renovation / CPS Gamble Montessori project in Cincinnati, OH. The ASHRAE Technology Awards program recognizes outstanding achievement in the design and operation of energy efficient buildings. The form of the award is a plaque for winning entrants and building owners.

This project will be featured in the March 2021 issue of the ASHRAE Journal.

Interesting fact: Our Chapter entry from PBA (University of Michigan Stephen M. Ross Athletic Campus) was only 6 points short to qualify nationally.

If you want more information, the “Technology Award Program Overview, Requirements, Judging Criteria and Helpful Hints” are available on ASHRAE’s website at the following link: https://www.ashrae.org/membership/honors-and-awards/technology-awards-program-overview

or you can email Aru Sau at [email protected] with any questions you may have.


Involvement in Technical Committee

Technical Activities Committee (TAC) coordinates HVAC&R technical activities, including appointment, development and oversight of technical committees, task groups and technical resource groups.

Pick a category based on your interest and get involved in the TAC. YEA are most welcome in any of the TCs. ASHRAE runs by the spirit of volunteers. Any ideas are welcome; may it be program related, research, handbook, standard and/or student mentoring.

You can search for your favorite TC and apply for membership for a TC from here -



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This spring we have three scholarships that we would like to award to a few deserving students.  The Chapter website is up to date with the information and applications for both.  We have been reaching out to local colleges, it’s posted to our LinkedIn page and I would encourage all of you to spread the word as well – I’m sure there are plenty of students pursuing a career in the HVAC industry that could use a little financial support.

Both scholarship applications are due April 23rd, 2021


Joseph B. Olivieri Scholarship (2 available this year!)

Shashikant F. Dani Scholarship (NEW!)



If you have any questions, please reach out to your Student Activities Chair, Max Sitek ([email protected]) or Brad Herbeck ([email protected]).          

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Research Promotion


ASHRAE Detroit Chapter

Resource Guide – 2021 Edition


We invite you to participate in the first annual ASHRAE Detroit Chapter Resource Guide. Funds raised will benefit ASHRAE Research Promotion. This is a chance for you to get your company recognized in a publication that will be widely circulated across the market and posted on the Detroit Chapter website.  This guide is not limited to suppliers; we strongly encourage consulting firms to participate and showcase the breadth of projects that you can tackle.  After all, this is ASHRAE – the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning ENGINEERS.  Since this is the inaugural edition, it will take us some time to compile once we receive everyone’s commitments and submissions.  If you would like to participate, we are requesting that you commit by 05/01/2021 to be included in the first targeted publication on 07/01/2021.  For the inaugural year, the Resource Guide will be updated quarterly to include additional participants.


Deadline: May 1st 2021

Price Per Page (max 2 pages): $100

Payable through ASHRAE Detroit PayPal

Please input $100 or $200 for the amount and enter “Resource Guide” in the description.

After you have made your payment, please send your company’s marketing page(s) in 8.5x11” format and your completed product list (suppliers) or service list (consultants) to Alec Cramer at [email protected].


Download Product List - Suppliers

Download Service List - Consultants

To view a sample guide, click here


Thank you for your support of ASHRAE Detroit


ASHRAE Detroit Chapter: Resource Guide Committee:

Alec Cramer ([email protected])

Brittany Fiema ([email protected])

Brad Herbeck ([email protected])

Sonya Pouncy ([email protected])

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Membership Promotion

As a member of the engineering community here in Detroit, I am proud of ASHRAE’s continued commitment to providing value to our members while advancing the HVAC sciences for a healthier built environment, especially amid a global pandemic. Despite the challenges we have all faced in 2020, ASHRAE Detroit has continued to provide valuable learning opportunities to our membership. Our chapter saw the addition of over 20 new members in 2020 (Students and Professionals). We want to welcome all new members to our community and encourage you all to participate often and network with our 500+ member community!

ASHRAE is the largest international organization focused on shaping the built environment, with over 57,000 members in 132 countries. Membership in ASHRAE has many benefits, including access to the latest and best technical information in the HVAC&R industry, professional development, and networking with peers.

We can also report that as of 12/31/2020, over 50 members have missed their renewal for the year of 2020. Please take a moment today to review your membership status and consider automatic renewal (a new feature this year!).

To renew: https://www.ashrae.org/membership/my-ashrae/renew-my-membership

I want to encourage each of you to reach out and promote ASHRAE to other potential members with the goal in mind to sign up a member.

If you have been a continued member of ASHRAE for over 30 years, and are age 65+, you may be able to be upgraded to Life Member status and are not required to pay dues. If you feel that you are eligible, please reach out to Kurt Cunningham ([email protected]) to review your membership profile.

If you are already a Life Member, you have chosen to devote your time to a wonderful organization!  As I’m sure you may be aware, membership in ASHRAE has many benefits. As a lifelong member, I encourage you to reach out and share your ASHRAE story!

If you are currently an Affiliate or Associate member of ASHRAE, have a 4-year college degree, and a PE license, you are likely eligible for an upgrade to Member level. Membership upgrades are very easy to do and really help out the chapter. If you feel you are eligible, please log in to ASHRAE.org and update your membership profile, then send an email to Kurt Cunningham ([email protected]) for quick and easy upgrade!


For additional information:



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Society News



Gold Award Ceremony Celebrates Two Detroit ASHRAE Women Members


The Engineering Society of Detroit (ESD) Affiliate Council held its 50th year Gold Awards Ceremony virtually on March 17, 2021*.  Two of the Detroit ASHRAE women members—Janice Means and Sonya Pouncy—were honored, which is fitting since March is National Women’s History Month.  Janice K. Means, PE, LEED AP, FESD was honored as this year’s Gold Awardee.  The Gold Award honors an outstanding engineer or scientist.  Janice was nominated by the Detroit Chapter to receive this recognition.  She presented to the attendees on gratitude and life lessons and lifted up her mentors.  Janice joins Detroit ASHRAE historic Gold Awardees, Gordon Holness, PE, FASHRAE, who is a past President at both the ASHRAE Society and Detroit Chapter levels, and Dr. Joe Olivieri, PE, FASHRAE, FESD, who shared the Detroit ASHRAE’s first Presidency when ASHVE and ASRE merged in 1959.  The Michigan ASHRAE Chapter was the forerunner of the Detroit Chapter.

The Gold Award Ceremony also gives each of its member societies the opportunity to recognize its members who have received awards during the past year. Paul Prentice, Detroit Chapter Honors and Awards Chair, recognized Sonya Pouncy, CEM, CMVP, LEED-AP as the 2021 Detroit ASHRAE Chapter Distinguished Service Award and Janice was lifted up during her Gold Awardee introduction for receiving ASHRAE’s 2020 E.K. Campbell award at the ASHRAE Society level.


ESD Annual Golf Outing: A Fun Day of Golf in Support of Engineering

For more information:  https://www.esd.org/programs/golf-outing/

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Government Affairs Committee

UPDATE from the MI Joint Chapters of ASHRAE COVID-19 Task Force

By Sonya M. Pouncy, CEM, CMVP, LEED-AP


KUDOS to the JMAC-CTF!!!

The JMAC-CTF received several accolades from members of the Society’s Government Affairs Committee following an overview presentation of our activities. Some of the highlighted activities were:

  • The collaboration between our chapters to blanket the entire state
  • Our summer webinar series
  • The technical articles we’ve had in the chapter newsletter
  • The working relationships we’ve achieved with various State of Michigan Departments
  • Our partnership with EGLE and MDE in the Michigan K-12 HVAC Assistance Program
  • The 10+ and growing number of presentations we have provided to various community groups and partners
  • Our Recommendations for HVAC & Domestic Water Systems When Re-Opening Facilities after Periods of COVID-19 Dormancy, which are available on our websites
  • Use of coordinated articles in both Detroit and Western MI Chapter newsletters
  • Our collaboration with 4 other chapters, 3 of which are outside the U.S., to submit a proposed panel session for the 2021 Annual Meeting to share lessons learned and best practices for chapter GACs to raise their profiles in their communities
  • The press conference we’re currently planning to showcase facilities in which some of the primary system recommendations to enhance ventilation, filtration & air-cleaning, and humidification have been implemented. See below for additional details.
  • Our collaboration with the Chapter Research Committee and the ad hoc Resource Guide Committee to develop a guide that will serve as a “Yellow Pages” of sorts. This guide will highlight the services offered by participating members and can be used by building owners and managers looking for resources to help implement HVAC related projects. See the Chapter President’s article for complete details.

Many thanks to each and every member of the JMAC-CTF! You are awesome!! We have done, and are continuing to do, some really great work to make ASHRAE a recognized source for building related information, not just in the building arts industry, but in the larger community as well.  


The Michigan K-12 Public School HVAC Assistance Program Is Still Open

If you are a traditional contractor, design-build contractor, facility/energy consultant or engineering firm that provides facility assessments as part of your service offering and you work with schools, you are encouraged to consider participating in this program that provides funding for school building assessments. The original program had a goal of 100 assessments and was scheduled to end in Dec 2020. In Jan 2021, it was expanded with a new goal of 200 assessments and will be open until funds are exhausted. A link to the Program website with complete details is available on the Detroit Chapter’s COVID-19 Task Force page

Please note that, while the EGLE website says that funding is provided to Michigan licensed HVAC contractors, other service providers are encouraged to participate in this program as well. All service providers must be licensed in MI. In lieu of an HVAC contractor’s license, consulting engineering firms can provide the license of their chief mechanical engineer or they can partner with a licensed contractor.


Request for Case Studies

Do you have a project in which any of the basic recommendations of increased ventilation, enhanced filtration and air-cleaning, or humidification has recently been added to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmissions? If so, we’d love to hear about it.

The JMAC-CTF, in partnership with many industry colleagues, including local chapters of AIA and BOMA, is planning a press event that will, hopefully, take place in the 2nd quarter of this year. The goal of the event is to highlight a few local successful use cases of buildings in which HVAC system modifications have been made to reduce the probability of COVID-19 transmissions inside facilities of any type.  

Upgrades may be completed and in operation or scheduled for completion sometime in the 2nd quarter. Our goal is simply to demonstrate that (1) building owners are making the upgrades, (2) some of the recommended modifications can be made easily and quickly, and (3) upgrades can be made at reasonable costs with acceptable payback periods. We can feature a use case you’ve already written or we can help you develop one based on your project. And, if desired, you and your project owner’s representative can participate in the press event, too.

If you have a project that you’d like highlighted, send an email to me at [email protected].


Upcoming Presentations

Mark your calendars for these upcoming presentations:

  • Building Re-opening: I will be sharing the JMAC-CTFs recommendations with the Hellenic Chapter on March 30th at 10:30 AM EDT. Visit the Hellenic Chapter website, https://www.ashrae.gr/ for complete details.
  • The JMAC-CTF Chair will be one of two speakers at the March 30th meeting of the Sustainable Detroit Forum sponsored by the USGBC-Detroit Region. The presentation begins at 12:00 PM EDT. Visit the SDF website, https://www.sustainabledetroitforum.com/, for complete details.



Yes, You CAN Hit a Moving Target

By Jeffrey L. Wooten, LEED AP


The pandemic has catapulted the importance of indoor air quality (IAQ) to global & cultural significance.  One of the many questions about moving forward during the pandemic and preparing for a possible future pandemic or outbreak is: What should we be doing today to protect ourselves now and later? The short answer is to do “something” to make the indoor air we breathe substantially germ and pathogen free, thereby avoiding the ingestion of potentially harmful organisms. Compared to increased ventilation, UV-C and oxidizer technologies (PCO, BPI, etc.) are relatively inexpensive ways to reduce airborne pathogens.  They work best when combined with humidification, adequate ventilation, and filtration.

Ultraviolet light energy or UV, primarily the UV- C band, produces radiant energy of approximately 254.7 nanometer wavelength.  This wavelength destroys the section of DNA responsible for virus replication, thus rendering the pathogen no longer able to infect or spread.  This occurs when the virus enters the UV-C lamping zone or Lethal-Barrier of the air-handler, duct, or terminal equipment. Scientifically speaking, the UVC light energy is absorbed by the pathogens RNA and/or DNA bases, causing the RNA and/or DNA bases to be unable to pair together, resulting in an inactive virus.  UV-C airstream disinfection has been employed for centuries and is a proven method.  Of the three, it is the only technology whose efficacy is supported by a substantial body of independent third-party test data.  For additional information on this technology, please see the ASHRAE 2020 Handbook, HVAC Systems and Equipment, Chapter 17: UV Lamps Systems and ASHRAE 2019 Handbook HVAC Applications, Chapter 62: Ultraviolet Air and Surface Treatment.

Photocatalytic oxidation or PCO, is an oxidation technology that utilizes the moisture (H2O) in the air and a light-activated catalyst which reacts with organic compounds to oxidize them. The pathogens undergo a chemical reaction which transforms them into non-toxic substances.  This is achieved by combining UV rays with a titanium-oxide (TiO2)-coated surface within the PCO device. This process creates hydroxyl radicals and super-oxide ions, which have highly reactive electrons.  Once bound together, a chemical reaction occurs between the super-charged ion and the organic compound, effectively oxidizing, or burning, the pathogen. This breaks the organic compound down into harmless carbon dioxide and water molecules, making the air more purified. 

Bipolar ionization or BPI, is another oxidation technology that produces positive and negative ions (hence the name bipolar), through an ion generator.  The ion generator produces highly ionized air with millions of ions (O2+ and O2), these ions are delivered in each cubic foot of air of the entire building air volume.  Because of their charge, the ions proactively attack the organic compounds in the air, while simultaneously being re-attracted to each other as they seek balance and neutrality.  This ion “flight-path” of re-attraction vastly improves indoor air quality as the ions collide with organic compounds during their movement toward one another.  During the process, ions oxidize the cell walls of the bacteria, mold and viruses.  When the cell walls of these microorganisms are oxidized and destroyed, they become sterile and are no longer able to multiply. They then simply die off or are rendered inactive, and eventually either drop out of suspension or are caught by the AHU filter.

Each technology is unique; however, the goal and result are the same—that being a substantially germ- and pathogen-free breathing zone in your home or commercial, industrial, healthcare, restaurant, or lodging facility. They can be installed in central equipment like RTUs and AHUs, in ductwork, or in terminal equipment in the occupied space. Though some technologies are more established than others, all three have credible, proven and anecdotal evidence demonstrating that airstream disinfection & sterilization can be achieved through scientifically proven application and engineering.  For more information or system design assistance, reach out to your local IAQ equipment specialist.



The Importance of Inspecting and Cleaning Air-Conveyance Systems in COVID-19 Times

By John H. Line, III, ASCS, CVI


The past year has been challenging for us all, and COVID-19 has been life-changing, for sure. Over the last several months and from various organizations and media outlets, there have been many articles, webinars, safety protocols, etc. regarding COVID-19. Many relevant HVAC system concerns have been addressed, including higher filtration efficiency, increased air changes per hour, the use of air-cleaners like ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI), and whether or not to simply open windows. But, there’s one concern that is too often overlooked—inspections.

As a first step to determining what type or whether any upgrades are needed, air handling units, connecting ductwork, supply diffusers and return air grills should be inspected for possible cleaning and/or disinfecting needs. After all, the air conveyance system is what distributes the conditioned air throughout the building. If the air handling unit acts as the lungs, then the connecting ductwork serves as the arteries and veins. Just as human arteries can get clogged with gunk that inhibits oxygenated blood from getting to organs and muscles, the building air distribution system can be so filled with contaminants that even 100% outside air is polluted between the time it leaves the air-handler and the time it actually gets to the occupied space.

Until we look, we don’t know what’s in our ductwork or other equipment. So, don’t overlook this very important first step. Before you start changing or upgrading your air distribution system, inspect to see whether a good cleaning by a NADCA Certified Ventilation Inspector (CVI) or other qualified professionals is necessary.


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