Building Environmental Impacts and Sustainability
ASHRAE Technical Committee 2.8

Meetings Information


Technical sessions sponsored/cosponsored by this TC are listed below. See you there!
Past technical sessions sponsored/cosponsored by this TC can be found here dating back to Long Beach 2017

Monday, June 27 8:00 AM – 9:30 AM EDT

Debate 1: College of Fellows Debate “Be Like Water:" Engineers Have a Duty to Address Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience

Moderator: Larry Spielvogel, P.E.

Co sponsored by: 1.7 Business, Management & General Legal Education, 7.1 Integrated Building Design, and 2.8 Building Environmental Impacts and Sustainability

While the COVID pandemic has certainly been the biggest red blob on the world’s radar screen, the impacts of out-of-the-norm weather events has been a strong second. Droughts, floods, wild fires and heat waves have whipsawed many around the globe. What’s an engineer to do? What is an engineer obligated to do? How much is too much? How much is not enough? The College has visited related subjects before, but the intensity and interest has grown, especially in the push for decarbonization and resiliency. The College goes live and engages these livewire topics in this lively debate.

Tuesday, June 28 9:45 AM – 10:45 AM EDT

Seminar 32: LIVESTREAM: Climate Change Issues for Decarbonization, IAQ and Sustainable Buildings

Chair: Elizabeth Tomlinson, P.E.

Co sponsored by: 2.5 Global Climate Change, 2.8 Building Environmental Impacts and Sustainability, and TC 2.10 Resilience and Security; TC 7.4 Exergy Analysis for Sustainable Buildings; TC 4.2 Climatic Information

Climate change is making a significant mark on many issues besides increased energy use. Air quality is one area where increased effort will be needed to assure health in buildings due to gradual chemical changes in the atmosphere alongside acute changes caused by climate driven extreme events. Of equal concern are competing and disparate efforts to decarbonize (mitigate climate change) and to increase resilience (increase adaptive capacity) of the built environment. These issues and their associated complexities are discussed in this seminar.

1. The Shocks and Stressor of Climate Change and the Impact upon IAQ and Occupant Health, Joss Hurford, P.E., AEI Engineering, Maddison, WI, USA
Climate change is having a direct impact upon the air we breathe, increasing the risk from exposure pathways and worsening health outcomes. Both the shock events (e.g. wildfires, heat waves, etc.) and stressors (gradual temperature increase) can raise the level of ground-level ozone, fine particulate matter and airborne allergens which are linked to respiratory symptoms, cardiovascular issues and premature deaths. This presentation explores how delivering high indoor air quality (IAQ) is becoming both more essential and more challenging. It also investigates the relationships between climate change and the built environment, and reviews how mitigation and adaptation strategies are evolving.
2. The Fraternal Twins of Decarbonization and Climate Resilience, Erin McConahey, P.E., Arup, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Borne from the same source, namely the need for climate action, the acts of transitioning towards decarbonization and building climate-related resilience are often framed within organizations and our own thought processes as two independent exercises. This session explores both potential synergies and the maladaptive risks associated with balancing the equally important (but occasionally competing) needs of carbon mitigation and climate adaptation during a building design or retrofit process.

Tuesday, June 28 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM EDT

Seminar 38: Fundamentals of Climate Science, Part 1: History and Physics

Chair: Daniel Villa, P.E.

Co sponsored by: 2.5 Global Climate Change, 4.2 Climatic Information, and 2.8 Building Environmental Impacts and Sustainability

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2021 reports show that anthropogenic effects on climate change are unequivocal. Human influence is a primary cause of the warming affect to our climate currently being observed. As a result, understanding climate science fundamentals is becoming increasingly important. Regardless, much of the engineering community has not been able to focus their attention on climate science. This seminar provides basic history, physics and modern developments in climate science. Materials are presented from several sources including a free course from Penn State University and ASHRAE's Fundamentals chapter 36 on climate change.

1. Climate Science History: Scott Sherwood, Eco Care Corporation, New York, NY, USA
The history of climate science began 200 years ago. Fourier calculated the earth’s surface temperature with no atmosphere and found the predicted surface temperature was lower than is true for the earth. He concluded that the atmosphere has some kind of insulating affect. This presentation outlines the discoverers (Foote, Tyndall, Arrhenius, Ekholm, and more), shows early results, and how they have been refined but still hold true today. Climate scientists made predictions of global warming problems more than 100 years ago when the effects were not measurable. This prediction and diversity of the originators shows the viability of climate science.
2. Physics of Earth’s Climate: Understanding Global Warming: Daniel Villa, P.E., Sandia National Laboratories, Alamo (virtual employee), TX, USA
This presentation gives an overview of the physics of the earth’s climate system and equips the audience with tools for further research to understand the underlying mechanism that make global warming an unequivocal conclusion of science. Brief overviews of the radiative context of the earth and sun, black body radiation, spectral absorption of radiation by gasses, climate feedback forcing influences with their associated complexities are provided. Several resources for further investigation are provided including the free Penn State “From Meteorology to Mitigation: Understanding Global Warming” course.
3. Recent Developments and Measurements: Xin Qiu, Ph.D., SLR / Novus Environmental Inc., Guelph, ON, Canada
This presentation briefly reviews the state-of-the art techniques and resources that have led to more thorough understanding of earth’s climate system leading to increased confidence in links between climate change and local phenomena such as increased frequency, duration and magnitude of severe weather. Openly available resources from NASA, NOA, and the National Climate Assessment are also discussed. The unequivocal conclusions of the International Panel on Climate Change 2021 reports are shown to come from multiple independent strands of evidence via observations, measurements, and climate models.

Wednesday, June 29 8:00 AM – 9:30 AM EDT

Seminar 43: Water Quality in Low Occupancy and Shutdown Buildings: Lessons Learned from COVID-19 Building Shutdowns

Chair: Tania Ullah, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Gaithersburg MD USA

Co sponsored by: 3.6 Water Treatment, 2.8 Building Environmental Impacts and Sustainability, TC 7.9 Building Commissioning

The COVID pandemic has had unprecedented and significant impacts on the global community. This session discusses the effects of building shutdowns during the last two years on plumbing systems and water quality. Speakers will address building operators, code officials, plumbing industry/manufacturers, and researchers on the valuable lessons learned during the pandemic. Specifically, speakers will share water quality data from during and after COVID building shutdowns, identify research gaps, and suggest ways in which current guidelines for building plumbing recommissioning can be improved.

1. Variable Legionella Response to Flushing after Moderate and Long-Term Plumbing Stagnation, William Rhoads, Ph.D., Eawag, Dübendorf, MD, Switzerland
Stagnation of water in building plumbing is a commonly reported risk-factor for Legionella contamination and growth, but scientific data does not always support this conclusion and remedial interventions are often conducted without in-depth assessment of their efficacy or potential drawbacks. This presentation evaluates the impact of moderate and long-term building plumbing stagnation, and subsequent flushing on Legionella growth in full-scale experiments conducted on the Eawag laboratory and office buildings. This work is the first to identify the unintended consequences of high volume and high flow rate flushing recommendations that were prevalent during and after COVID lockdown was lifted.
2. Can Flushing, Superheating and Shock Chlorination Control Legionella after Extended Stagnation?, Michele Provost, Ph.D., Polytechnique Montreal, Montreal, QC, Canada
This presentation provides evidence from field studies showing the short and long term impact of shock chlorination, superheating and flushing on Legionella in large buildings and health care facilities. The speaker also discusses the challenges of implementing recommissioning using shock treatment and flushing.
3. Plumbing Recommission Guidelines: Lessons from Water Testing during COVID Building Shutdowns, Andrew Whelton, Ph.D., Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA
During the pandemic it became clear that guidance on operating and restarting building water systems during and after low occupancy was lacking. With more than 5.6 million commercial buildings in the U.S. alone owners, health officials, and consultants urgently sought public information to head-off preventable disease outbreaks. In response, Purdue University and partners engaged plumbing, public health, and building manager associations to inform them about state of the knowledge information and then set out to conduct building water testing. Lessons learned from when COVID era guidelines were put together, research gaps, and data from COVID building shutdowns are discussed.

Attend a Committee Meeting

ALL ASHRAE committee meetings, including this TC’s meetings at the Winter and Annual Society conferences, are open to the public at no cost nor is conference registration required. Interested visitors, local chapter members, and potential new TC members are always welcome. However to attend technical program sessions sponsored by the TC will require registration and payment of any applicable fee.

Participation in an ASHRAE TC provides the opportunity to grow professionally and to contribute to the advancement of HVAC&R within an international organization recognized for shaping the future of the built environment through research, standards writing, publishing, and education.