August 2020 Print

President's Report

I’d like to take a moment to introduce myself as your President for the ASHRAE 2020-2021 year.  Like many of our members when they began their careers, they were looking for ways to connect with fellow engineers to continue to educate themselves on new standards, industry trends and share innovative ideas.  I was no different and the warm welcome at my first meeting convinced me that ASHRAE would become an important part of professional life.  The relationships I have developed are remarkable and I look forward to attending meetings partly to reconnect with people on a regular basis that I consider friends now.  I have been an active member with Detroit ASHRAE for over 14 years and have held several positions including Chapter Technology Transfer Committee (CTTC) Chair, Refrigeration Chair and Treasurer. 

It goes without saying that COVID-19 has hit Michigan hard and we have all been challenged to change the way we behave every day.  Many of the face to face activities that we enjoy, whether for business or pleasure, have been shelved for the time being.  Seeing our Chapter members together at meetings has always been a highlight for me and I find a lot of value in the networking.  Unfortunately at this time with the restrictions across the State on group gatherings and in respect for our sponsors, the Board has decided that we will host the fall meetings virtually.  We will continue to evaluate the situation on regular basis and discuss any changes as a Board. We look forward to hosting meetings in person when it is safe for our members!

With that being said, we are working on some website enhancements to provide additional COVID-19 resources to our members and the general public.  Furthermore, we would typically take the summers off from meeting but have decided that we should continue educating the membership and community this summer with a series of presentations relative to COVID-19.  Our industry counts on our members being the experts on building systems and looks to us for expertise and advice on how to safely open their buildings, hence why we felt it imperative to keep the sessions going through the summer.

I would like to give a special acknowledgment to the Detroit Chapter COVID Task Force for their hard work and dedication to the cause.  Led by Sonya Pouncy, we met on a weekly basis for an hour or two at the end of the day on Fridays, to discuss what we can do locally to help support the community better.  We wanted to make sure that the State and local governments, health officials, news outlets, etc. knew that Detroit ASHRAE was here to help guide them through the pandemic and the challenges they are facing with reopening.  Please take a moment to read Sonya’s article in the COVID section to get more details on the task force and the accomplishments achieved in such a short time!  Well done and thank you to the members for your commitment!

This year may look a little different than in the past, but I look forward to serving you as President and will do my best to still find ways to make ASHRAE a valuable part of your lives.  If you have any questions or would like to talk to me, please don’t hesitate to reach out!  Take care and be safe!


Brad Herbeck
[email protected]



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Next Meeting Update

Summer “Virtual” Sessions (COVID 19 Related Topics)

  • August 11 – 12-1pm: IAQ & COVID-19 by Jim Newman
  • August 25 – 12-1pm: Advanced Room Air Distribution Strategies by Chandra Sekhar


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Chapter Technology Transfer

We are pleased to announce the results of the Region V ASHRAE 2020 Technology Awards competition. These awards recognize outstanding design innovations and successful achievements by members and their companies in Region V.

The ASHRAE Technology Award Judging Criteria includes energy efficiency, indoor air quality and thermal comfort, innovation, operation and maintenance, cost effectiveness, environmental impact, and quality of presentation. Award recipients have demonstrated the best overall compliance with the judging criteria.

The first-place Regional winners are qualified to compete at the Society level – the highest level of competition for the technology awards. The deadline to submit the Society Entry in Long Form format to the incoming RVC CTTC, Arunabha Sau, is Friday August 21, 2020. 


2020 ASHRAE Region V Technology Award Results

Educational Facilities – New

First Place: University of Michigan Stephen M. Ross Athletic Campus

By: David A. Conrad, ASHRAE Member

Detroit Chapter

Construction was completed this winter on the new $168-million, 280,000 sf University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross Athletic Campus Athletics South Competition and Performance Project (ASCP).  The sports complex is the new home for regional and national competitions for men's and women's track and field, cross country, lacrosse and women's rowing.  Peter Basso Associates provided mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) design engineering services and solutions for the new sports complex, which started construction in 2015.  Despite the large amount of high-tech exercise equipment, the University wanted to create an energy-efficient complex that was in line with the University's sustainability initiatives.


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Honors and Awards

Distinguished Service Award
The Distinguished Service Award salutes members of any grade who have served the Society faithfully and with distinction and who have given freely of their time and talent in chapter, regional and Society activities. There were a total of 43 members recognized but we would like to give special shout out to:

  • Derek A. Crowe, P.E., Senior Associate/Mechanical Team Leader, Stantec, Berkley, Michigan.


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Joseph B. Olivieri Scholarship

  • Scholarship information and application can be found on website today

Shashikant F. Dani Scholarship (NEW!)

  • Moreinformation and application will be posted on our website shortly


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Society News

Regional News & Update

By Wei Sun, P.E. FASHRAE, Region V Nominating Committee Member and Filza H. Walters, MBA, FESD, Region V Nominating Committee Alternate

WHAT? As many of you already know, each ASHRAE chapter is located within a “Region”. Our Detroit Chapter is located in Region 5.  Each Region has some autonomy, and more specifically a duty, to develop, educate, and promote the next generation of leaders.  The most critical annual meeting we hold at the regional level is referred to as the Region V CRC or Chapters Regional Conference.  It is traditionally organized by a chapter and located within their city. The chapters play host by following a pre-determined rotation.

WHEN? This meeting has generally occurred during the first couple of weeks of August.  Planning for the CRC takes almost an entire year since it is a mini-ASHRAE conference, held at the grass-roots level of ASHRAE and attended by chapter members.  This year has been anything but “normal”.  So, we thought it would be wise to take an opportunity to step back and tell the whole chapter about what the plans for this year’s CRC.  We hope our grassroots members can be even more aware, attend, and continue the strong tradition within Region V to support our local, regional, and society leaders. Caucus Session 1 & 2 (only attended by chapter presidents/delegates & alternates) is scheduled for August 13 and August 14 (Friday) from 1:30pm-5pm.  The General Session and training sessions will follow later in August and the dates and times will be announced by our Director and Regional Chair (DRC), Mr. Douglas Zentz.

WHO? This year’s Region V CRC, similar to CRC’s in other Regions of the US and overseas, will be conducted through a series of virtual meetings. In the past, the host chapter/city has invited attendees to their city for a fun yet rigorous agenda.   If you are a chapter’s delegate or alternate, you are generally expected to attend the CRC for three days.  As an incoming (or aspiring, or past) committee chairs or chapter officer, you would attend either one or two days’ worth of workshops.  This year the CRC’s Caucus sessions will be held earlier than the CRC Business sessions.  The CRC includes multiple condensed “how-to” training sessions conducted by regional and Society officers.  This year as in previous years, they will share their experiences through pre-prepared presentations and interactive sessions that are designed to teach our chapter leaders the knowledge to be successful, and to have a productive year.

WHY? Additionally, each chapter’s in-coming and outgoing presidents (or another member of the Board) must participate in two, “highly confidential” Caucus meetings.  The first day of the caucus helps to identify and put forth names from each chapter as potential nominees for future leaders.  The second day allows each chapter the opportunity to discuss the qualifications of their candidate and to cast their votes to fill the positions.  The available positions and committees range from the regional to the society levels.  Often these same nominees will continue to be nominated for additional positions within the region and society such that they may someday serve as a Society President!  That has happened several times within Region V, and the last Detroit Chapter leader to serve as our Society President is Mr. Gordon Holness!

Nominees are members within each of our chapter who by their service, aptitude, interest, enthusiasm, and spirit of service, make them a good candidate. Their talents are needed and wanted within the ASHRAE organization.  If you are interested in knowing more about the breadth of positions available, please contact your chapter president prior to the CRC.  They will be happy to put your name forward for a position you are interested in holding.  Presiding over the caucus are the Regional Nominating Committee Member and Alternate.  Only these two members and the delegates and alternates can participate in these caucus meetings. All discussions held within are confidential.

WHICH? The offices, for which candidates are selected at the upcoming CRC, will take their offices for the 2021-2022 ASHRAE year.  ASHRAE’s year runs from July 1 to end of June of the following year.  The Delegates from each chapter within each of ASHRAE’s Region are tasked with proposing candidates for many positions including Society’s Vice Presidents (VP), Director-At-Large (DAL), Director and Regional Chair (DRC), Region Members Council Representative (RMCR), Nominating Committee Member and Alternate and a Reserve Alternate, in addition to multiple Regional Vice Chair (RVC) positions.  To find out more about the specific offices that are available this year at the regional level, chapter members are encouraged to contact their current or past chapter president. They will have more information about these positions and about what the office involves. Thanks for your spirit of volunteerism. Wishing everyone a safe, healthy and productive rest of the summer!

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COVID-19 Related


Michigan’s Two ASHRAE Chapters Form COVID-19 Task Force

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

It has been said that to engineer is human, meaning that it is in our very nature to address life’s challenges with solutions that continually improve the quality of our existence. So it should come as no surprise that when confronted with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Detroit Chapter of ASHRAE sprang into action. Past President Sonya M. Pouncy (09-10) reached out to then President, Kelly Sugg (19-20) and then President-Elect, Bradley S. Herbeck with ideas of convening a local task force to augment the work being done by Society. It was a call to action that Sugg and Herbeck knew the Chapter had to answer.

The three discussed ways to help Michigan’s building owners and managers who would be looking for local technical support and guidance for both essential workplaces that had to remain open and for buildings that would reopen after the pandemic began to recede. They agreed that a Michigan-based task force could support local building owners and managers with more specific, “boots-on-the-ground” guidance and assistance for restarting, operating, and maintaining their HVAC systems in ways that help reduce risks of COVID-19 transmission. 

Once the call for participants was broadcast, members responded from both the Detroit and Western Michigan Chapters, often bringing with them like-minded professionals from HVAC-affiliated industries and societies. Currently, the task force consists of:

Sonya M. Pouncy, Chair

Simon J. Ren, 1st Vice Chair

Bradley S. Herbeck, 2nd Vice Chair

Oscar Cobb, Jr.

Steve DeVault

Tracy Ennes

Ron George

Wayne Growth

Joshua Hileman

John Line

Sari Mira

Andrew Ward




John Nametz

Jim Newman

Brian Noonan

Paul Prentice

Glenn Remington

John Rumohr (Western, MI Chapter)

Mark Saba

Scott Smith

Kelly Sugg

We are indebted to this ad hoc committee for its work in the following activities:

  • Development of the Recommendations for HVAC and Domestic Water Systems when Re-Opening Facilities after Periods of COVID-19 Dormancy. This guidance document lists recommended actions for 20 building system components. If you would like to share the document with one of your clients, feel free to download a copy from the COVID-19 page of the Detroit Chapter’s website,
  • Press releases sent to network affiliates for ABC, CBS, CW, FOX and NBC in Detroit, Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo; and to Crain’s Detroit Business, Detroit Free Press, Detroit News, Grand Rapids Business Journal, and Michigan Chronicle newspapers
  • Distribution of the Recommendations to:
    • Michigan’s Governor
    • Michigan’s Directors of Health & Humans Services, COVID-19 Workplace Safety, Bureau of Construction Codes, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration
    • Health Officers of all 83 Michigan counties and the City of Detroit
    • and a host of local organizations including Detroit Chapters of AIA, BOMA, IFMA, and ULI; Detroit 2030; Engineering Society of Detroit; Michigan Interfaith Power & Light (MiIPL); Michigan Mechanical Inspectors’ Association; City of Detroit Department of Buildings, Safety and Environmental Engineering; and others

Our local task force has accomplished quite a lot in its 3 months of existence. But it’s not finished yet. The task force members are working with our Technology Transfer and Program Committees to deliver a series of timely and educational seminars for members in the 20-21 ASHRAE year. They have reached out to a number of ASHRAE Distinguished Lecturers and others to present on topics ranging from re-starting building water systems to advanced room air distribution strategies for airborne infection control. The group is also helping to provide speakers to other organizations that are hosting educational seminars and panel discussion on how to operate and maintain building HVAC and water systems to reduce certain risks associated with COVID-19.

Kudos to all of the members of the Michigan ASHRAE Chapters COVID-19 Task Force!! If you would like to work with this task force or if you just have an idea to share with them, feel free to contact the chair at [email protected].


Using Retro-Commissioning to Reopen Buildings for Safety and Energy Efficiency

By ASHRAE member John Nametz, CEM, QCxP

As states work on phased reentry procedures, many building owners, facility managers and engineers are looking for guidance on how to open their buildings as effectively and efficiently as possible.

The best approach is to conduct retro-commissioning (RCx) before fully re-opening, which provides a full diagnostic of your building operations, focusing on maximizing your occupants’ health while being mindful of the building’s energy efficiency. Retro-commissioning employs best practices and industry standards for optimal operation and can promote energy savings up to 15%.

Enlisting the assistance of a (retro) commissioning professional or a testing and balancing (TAB) firm will ensure all modifications are adapted appropriately to the existing HVAC system’s design. These professionals will properly update systems based on their ability to handle additional outside air and will ensure efficient operation while the building is occupied as well as unoccupied. Additionally, your utility provider may have programs available to help offset the cost of retro-commissioning your facility.

ASHRAE’s trusted and experienced team has pulled together a thorough list of guidelines for the reopening of buildings. The list below highlights some of their recommendations. 

  1. Follow CDC advice for PPE and OSHA guidelines.
  2. Test all systems before reopening, especially plumbing systems. Bacteria can grow in plumbing systems when they are not being used.
  3. If the outside air temperature and humidity are moderate, open all operable windows for a minimum of two hours before reoccupation.
  4. Consider increasing the level of filtration in the air handling units (AHUs) for one or two replacement cycles upon opening the building. Make sure the air handling systems and fans can overcome the additional pressure drop of the new filters and still maintain air flow at acceptable levels. (Refer to the Filtration Guidance
  5. Review programming to provide flushing two hours before and post occupancies. This includes operating the exhaust fans as well as opening the outside air dampers.
  6. Run the system on minimum outside air when unoccupied.
  7. Garage exhaust, if any, should run two hours before occupancy.
  8. Install signage to encourage tenants to use a revolving door, if any, rather than opening swing doors in lobby area.
  9. Review all procedures to consider the addition of “touchless” interactions, where applicable. As an example, auto-flush valves are considered “touchless.”

Additional resources can be found on ASHRAE’s COVID FAQ page.

Both Consumers Energy and DTE offer retro-commissioning programs to their commercial and industrial customers. Visit the websites listed for additional information and to apply.

Consumers Energy – find more at

(Building Automation Systems are recommended.)

  1. Building Tune-Up – Identify low/no cost operational improvements for midsized customers.
  2. Defined Actions – Incentivize operational improvements for any size customer aware of problem areas.
  3. Facility IQ – Discover low/no cost operational improvements for large customers.

For a limited time, Consumers Energy is offering bonuses for RCx participation, including a $1,000 customer referral bonus to its Trade Allies (for projects completed in the 2020 program year).  

If you have any questions about eligibility for the Consumers Energy Retro-commissioning programs or bonus incentives, please contact them directly at [email protected].

DTE Energy – Learn more visiting here.

  1. Standard Track – Traditional RCx program offering a fully funded study.
  2. Express Track – Find and fix program for smaller buildings (BMS is required).

These programs are in place to assist business owners with saving energy, creating a healthy building for occupants, increasing occupant comfort, improving equipment life spans and familiarizing staff with the building’s systems.



Why Good IAQ Matters in the Age of COVID-19


Some estimates place the cost of poor indoor air quality (IAQ) to the United States' economy at $200 Billion in today’s dollars. In the age of COVID-19, good IAQ as we have known it is no longer enough.  

Let’s break it down:

  • The Coronavirus, the virus that causes the disease COVID-19 is a pathogen.
  • A pathogen is a bacterium, virus, or other microbe that can cause
  • We often think of them collectively as “germs.”
  • We are surrounded by pathogens (bacterial, fungal or viral) inside our bodies, on our bodies, inside our buildings and on the surfaces around us - every second of every day.
  • For every human cell in your body there are 10 bacterial cells on you and in you.

Our bodies and our environment will never be free of bacteria and microbes, nor should they be. The idea is both insane and impossible. A normal human immune response easily handles the vast majority of this continual contact.

IAQ in the COVID Era

Then there’s COVID-19, the disease (COronaVIrus Disease, 2019) caused by the Coronavirus, also known as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome COronaVirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Yes, it’s related to the SARS virus that affected China in 2003, and the MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) that spread in 2012 and 2015.

What makes this virus so difficult to manage?

  • Spreads through tiny aerosols (not just coughing and sneezing, but breathing, speaking and singing as well).
  • Spreads through indirect contact (lives longer on surfaces like doorknobs, railings, etc.).
  • Transfers from infected people with no symptoms.

While we don’t yet know how to stop it, like with a vaccine, we do know how to significantly decrease our risk. In addition to wearing masks, frequent hand washing and staying a minimum of six feet apart, we can help our clients adjust their building operation and maintenance to improve air quality in a way that will further minimize risk.

Nothing about building maintenance will be normal – perhaps for quite a while.  In addition to CDC, OSHA and WHO guidelines, we have information from industry experts at ASHRAE, BOMA and others. See for a list of Covid-19-related resources. Other respected organizations, such as facility management firms JLL, CBRE and many others have issued their own guides for preparing your building before returning to “business as usual.”

It is in every HVAC professional’s best interest to become familiar with all these materials, including the articles in this newsletter. Your clients and customers are probably using these guides, and if they are not, you can help make them aware. What we know today is less than what we will know tomorrow, so keep checking for new information.

Modern Technology to Clean and Disinfect

Because the virus is transmitted through droplets in the air, ensuring better IAQ to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 is critical. For this we look to various systems that our clients can use throughout their HVAC systems.

Air handling units (AHUs) are the nexus of power, performance and bio-load in our buildings today. When we properly disinfect, remove and control the growth and spread of biofilms we can greatly reduce the microbial load. To keep AHUs and the buildings they service clean we look to the various air filtration and cleaning and disinfecting systems. The most common ones include HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) Media Filtration, UV (Ultra-Violet Light) Purification and Bi-Polar Ionization. Each has pros and cons.

Do your research. Stay current with what is available. There are many ways to combine various methodologies to make the total system more effective (see chart).

Remember that “Perception Is Reality.” When an employee or tenant has a concern, a bit of compassion and prompt attention to the issue go a long way toward showing that someone cares. Educate the employees and tenants on the new safety procedures and expectations. Swift, proper implementation of effective strategies will help people feel safer and more secure as we venture into the new, or “now” normal.


Curious George - A Star Among Us

by Filza H. Walters, FESD, Detroit Chapter Past-President

In the spirit of John Krasinski’s YouTube series called “Some Good News”, George Karidis, a long time Detroit Chapter ASHRAE member, is many things, including inventor, vice president, mentor, professional engineer, design director, advisor, and now famous musician.

When asked about who inspired and helped to shape her future, Cindy A. Cogil, Principal at SmithGroup and recipient of the 2019 “20 to Watch: Women in HVAC” said this about George, “…was the first person I met from SmithGroup and who got me interested in the firm. I relish every opportunity to collaborate with him. He is truly one of the giants in our industry whose playful curiosity drives innovation. George inspires me to keep asking questions.”

To learn more about what George is curious about today, check out this article in PE Magazine (May 2020) about the journey and story behind the song “Take Time to Thank Engineers” by the dynamic duo “Karidia”:

As to technical authorship, George cowrote a timely SmithGroup whitepaper—reprinted by Building Design and Construction, Consulting-Specifying Engineer, and Engineered Systems—on fighting COVID-19 with climate-informed humidification:

In his spare time, George Karidis serves as a vice president and corporate design director at SmithGroup. 

On behalf of all who know you, and the Detroit Chapter members…thank YOU George and Lynn Karidis!  Put your hands together for this dynamic duo!

(P.S. Rumor has it that the stars may make a cameo appearance on a computer near you, if we are able to persuaded them to consider making an impromptu “virtual tour/concert” at an upcoming chapter or Regional CRC! Get your dancing shoes ready…more on this later…)


Behind the Music: Take Time to Thank Engineers


-- May/June 2020, PE Magazine printed the following: “NSPE member George Karidis, P.E., passionate about engineering and what an integrated design team can deliver. He’s also passionate about music, and sometimes those two passions mix. When he’s not working as a vice president and a corporate design director in the Detroit office of SmithGroup, he’s half of the singer-songwriter duo Karidia, along with his wife. George recently told the story behind a new song: “Take Time to Thank Engineers.”

My wife Lynn freely admits she “didn’t get the math chip.” And I know she got chips that I didn’t. Once, after I explained something using physics—an activity she entertains to a point—she said, “The world would be a more dangerous place if I were an engineer.”

Now, as singer-songwriters, we immediately heard that as a “hook.” But we wanted to avoid stereotypes, so the song incubated for a few years—until we hit the idea of thanking engineers for what they do. That gave the song a much broader purpose—advocacy for all PEs, in the true folk tradition.

Lynn’s hook found its place in a refrain. Refrains go with verses, so we needed at least two of those. And verses need rhymes, so we explored three for each verse, with the first verse on qualifications and usefulness, the second on breadth and safety. An intro/outro brought repetition and the eventual title, and some folky “seventh” guitar chords supported the lyric’s feel.

We recorded my vocal together with a nylon-string parlor guitar, for a natural feel (using two small-condenser mics, one each side of the 12th fret, with a large condenser mic above for the vocal). It ended up being a single take—about the eighth take. By diving straight into words, we kept the recording under a minute and a half, not to bore. Then Andy Wilson remotely added brilliant harmonica commentary, and I mixed and mastered the tracks.

My workmates were the first to hear it live, at an “all hands” meeting. They seemed to like it, so I posted it on NSPE’s site. Lynn and I are looking forward to playing it live—when we find our new normal—with Lynn on banjo.”


Take Time to Thank Engineers

Take time, take time, take a little time
take time to thank engineers

Take time to thank engineers
for studying hard for years
seeing clear through physics for you™
for making things work a career

Take time to thank engineers
for being certified by their peers
The world would be a far more dangerous place
without trusted engineers

Take time to thank engineers
They’re experts in many spheres
Buildings stand high, airplanes fly
they’ll fix infrastructure—when the funds appear

Take time to thank engineers
our technology pioneers
The world would be a far more dangerous place
without trusted engineers—so

Take time, take time, take a little
time take time to thank engineers
Take time to thank engineers


Words and music by George and Lynn Karidis, 2020,


To listen, go to:


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