Category Archives: Article

Hywel Davis advises on Grenfel Tower Report

Hywel Davis, Technical Director, CIBSE UK, and a member of the UK Government Committee preparing the Grenfel Tower Report.

The business end of the visit involved a special briefing by Hywel to senior Government officials in relation to the probe being conducted into Grenfell fire disaster, and the report being prepared. The probe is led by Dame Judith Hackitt with the interim report already released. See: (www.gov.uk/government/publications/initial-report-from-the-independent-recovery-taskforc). Hywel also had a separate briefing meeting with the RIAI.

On the social side Nial Bourke and David Doherty of T Bourke hosted Hywel, a proud Welsh man, as their guest to the rugby international in the Aviva stadium. Even with the result Hywel was in great form and has promised to return to Ireland to update everyone on the Grenfell final report, and to join us for CIBSE Ireland’s 50th anniversary dinner in the Autumn.

Schools visit to promote building services engineering                                                                  On the broader front, and to coincide with Engineering Week, Paul Martin and Mervin Doyle toured a number of schools in the Waterford region to try and get primary and secondary school children to consider building services engineering as a career. Mervin is a lecturer in the Waterford Institute of Technology in the degree in Building Services Engineering, and the Masters in Sustainable Engineering.

Their tour started in St Declan’s Primary school where Paul was a student over 30 years ago. They met Paul’s old teacher, Gerald Fitzgerald — still teaching despite having taught Paul for over three years — and Paul spoke to the children about sustainability and the environment. He concluded his presentation by showing them the latest Nisan Leaf electric vehicle kindly provided by John Flood of Nissan Dungarvan dungarvan.nissan.ie/

From there Mervin and Paul ventured into their old secondary school, De La Salle. Here they spoke with 4th and 5th year students about the WIT courses in building services engineering, and the related employment and career prospects. Much to Mervin and Paul’s disappointment, neither Derek McGrath (Waterford hurling Manager), nor Kevin Moran (Waterford senior hurling captain) were teaching that day … they were relaxing after hammering Cork in the league.

From here they went to St Paul’s School where again they spoke to over 50 students. Mind you, here the students were more proactive and there was some lively debate when they asked of Paul and Mervin: “who earned the most money”; “who drove the newest car”; and “who had the handiest job”. As CIBSE Ireland Chair Paul claimed the right to answer and said Mervin to all.

For more information about the Degree and Master (Part and full time) courses in WIT visit:—www.wit.ie/schools/engineering/building_services          www.wit.ie/courses/school/engineering/PostgraduateEngineeringDepartment%20of%20Built%20EnvironmentFull%20TimePart%20Time/msc_in_sustainable_energy_engineering

 

 

SEAI Calling All Energy Engineers

Programme Manager – SME Support Programme                                                                                          This role will be required to create a new unit to work with SMEs on energy efficiency. Priority in 2018 will be to develop a strategy, design and roll out an expanded programme of support specifically targeted at the small and medium sized enterprise to leverage the opportunity presented by energy efficiency for this sector.

Programme Executive – Public Sector Energy Management                                                                        The role within the Public Sector and Business Department is to manage and co-ordinate the energy management support services that SEAI provide to the public sector to promote and accelerate energy management.

Programme Executive – Large Business                                                                                                        The role within the Business and Public Sector Department is to design and develop programmes, events and initiatives supporting those responsible for energy in client organisations with high energy use to adopt good energy management practices.

Programme Manager – EXEED Certified                                                                                                            This role will lead both the ongoing development of EXEED Certified and its supporting EXEED Grant programme. You will have ownership across the full EXEED value-chain.

Programme Executive – Market Surveillance Authority                                                                                This is a technical engineering role to support the operation and on-going development of market surveillance activities by SEAI. The role will principally focus on energy related products relating to eco-design, energy labelling and tyre labelling.

Programme Executive – Energy Efficiency Obligation Scheme                                                                  This role will support the on-going Energy Efficiency Obligation Scheme programme development and technical oversight activities.

Programme Assistant – Energy Policy Statistical Support Unit                                                                  This role will provide assistance in relation to statistical data management and analysis within SEAI’s Energy Policy Statistical Support Unit (EPSSU).

See   www.seai.ie/careers/ for full details

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Designing future-proofed buildings for next 50 years

Paul Martin, Chairman, CIBSE Ireland

In the intervening years the industry has learned from the many mistakes made back in the late 1960s and early 1970s in particular. Building stock constructed since then has shown marked improvement but, as we look to design buildings that will be here for the next 50, we should not be complacent.

Buildings that are performing well now, and those currently being designed and built for the today’s climatic conditions, may become intolerable for occupants by 2068 (50 years time) unless we factor in concepts such as active cooling and associated high-energy usage. There is compelling scientific evidence that our climate is changing, and it is probable that average temperatures will increase by several degrees over the coming century.

These increases in temperature are expected to have a major impact on the indoor environment of buildings. It is essential that buildings being designed and built today are future-proofed so they can adapt to changes in external temperatures and humidity, light levels, energy usage and so on.

To be fair, the construction industry has already made significant steps towards tackling climate change through limiting the amount of carbon emitted – both in the materials used (embodied energy) and predicted energy usage – by using simulation programmes such as IES, along with BREEAM and LEED.

The energy message emphasis on heat-saving in winter using highly-insulated and airtight buildings also means there is a danger of overheating in the summer months. This presents a different challenge. CIBSE has produced quite a number of guidance documents in this respect, such as TM52 (The limits of thermal comfort: avoiding overheating in European buildings: Developed for “free-running” commercial buildings) and TM59 (Design methodology for the assessment of overheating risk in homes).

The health and wellbeing impacts of overheating (see Mona Holtkoetter’s article in October 2017 edition of Building Services News) can be significant for residents, resulting in stress, anxiety, sleep deprivation and even early deaths in heatwaves, especially in cases of vulnerable occupants.

Among the concepts now being embraced to combat these issues are highly-insulated pipework; insulated heat interface units; ventilated utility cupboards; LED lighting; and installing mechanical ventilation heat recovery units, with summer bypass and boost mode, to increase the ventilation rate when required.

Climate change is affecting how buildings will perform for occupants, both now and in the future. While overheating has emerged as a major concern, climate effects extend beyond the treatment of overheating. They also include flooding, drainage, water conservation and material durability. The CIBSE TM36: Climate Change & the Indoor Environment: Impacts & Adaptation (CIBSE, 2005) document again offers guidance and advice on these matters.

In considering the design of both commercial and residential buildings today we must address the known and anticipated challenges that lie ahead and consider, among other things, the following:

• To what extent will climate change increase the occurrence of summertime thermal discomfort and overheating in different types of buildings?

• To what extent will passive measures be able to improve summertime thermal comfort and ameliorate the increased tendency for overheating?

• How effective will different approaches to comfort cooling be?

• What are the energy-use implications of the various strategies?

While no one has all the answers, there is still a wealth of guidance freely available to all concerned in building services.

See www.cibseireland.org/membership/ for details, or contact CIBSE Ireland directly at contact@cibseireland.org

LAI CE Regulation Course kicks off 2018 programme

Gabriel Byrne, LAI Chairman, addressing the attendance at the recent CE course in the RDS before handing over to Andy Guest, the course presenter from LIA.

This course was specifically devised by LIA for its members in the UK but LAI has also adopted accreditation to it it as part of its membership criteria.

The nature of the course is more like a workshop with inter-action and discussion a key part of the proceedings. The capacity attendance in the RDS fully embraced the concept and participated with enthusiasm, sharing views and opinions on the various points raised. All agreed that it was extremely educational and beneficial.

Apart from an important information source, accreditation as having completed this course is also critical in that it is now part of the requirements of LAI membership. The recent AGM passed a motion approving a measure whereby at least one person from member companies must have accreditation as having successfully completed this course.

This, and other initiatives planned for 2018, demonstrate LAI’s determination to provide guidance and leadership to the lighting sector in Ireland, and to promote professional and responsibility. It will continue to promote best practice across all industry segments, and to engage with Government agencies and regulatory authorities, especially the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), with whom it has a number of working committees.

Gay Byrne, LAI Chairman, addressing the attendance at the recent CE course in the RDS before handing over to Andy Guest, the course presenter from LIA.

Hevac Looks to the Future with Garrett White as MD

Garrett White, Managing Director, Hevac

Garrett has been with Hevac for 20 years and his career path has very much mirrored the development and evolution of the company over that time. So, it is appropriate that he should now assume the role of Managing Director as Hevac embarks on the next next stage of its development.

“Our industry is changing and it is important that we move with it”, says Garrett. “The challenge is to focus on getting that right, based on an offer of value-for-money with quality, reliable products and unrivalled customer service. This includes everything from on-time, in-full deliveries to in-house technical design capabilities and after sales service support. We have recently streamlined pre-order and collection systems in an effort to make engagement with our trade counter staff more efficient, while also focusing on continual improvement of our comprehensive local and nationwide delivery service from our two Dublin-based branches and one in Cork.

“We have a dynamic team here at Hevac, and one that represents a wealth of experience within the business. In addition, we carry over 6,500 unique products in stock with thousands more available to order. Moreover, this figure rises to 11,000 given the ready access we have to the ex-stock product holdings of our sister companies Tubeco, Origen and Polytherm. We truly are a one-stop-shop for the heating, plumbing and mechanical services industry.

“An added strength of the close working relationship we enjoy with our sister companies is that we can supply the most comprehensive and efficient district heating system combination that includes boilers, CHP and HIUs, through to underfloor heating and distribution pipework.

In recent years we have built on this capability to include full ‘design and build’ packaged plant room and flue installation services, along with a full AHU and ventilation product portfolio. “This is delivered by Hevac’s dedicated specification design team of fully qualified and experienced building services and mechanical engineers which is led by Paul Devereux. Paul and the team ensure that design assistance, guidance and technical support are provided to our customers.

 “As we look to the future, we are squarely focused on customer service. We truly appreciate every order we receive and we operate on the principle that customer satisfaction equals repeat business and we welcome every opportunity to prove ourselves in this regard”. 

Sirus Building Engineering Scholarship at DIT

Frank Caul, Managing Director of Sirus with scholarship winner Zoe Elliott.

Ciara Ahern, the Head of Building Engineering in DIT says: “The buildings in which we spend 90% of our time are responsible for about half of global energy use. Society urgently needs building engineers to help realise our ambitious climate change targets for our built environment.”

DIT and Sirus have joined forces to introduce the inaugural Sirus Scholarship in Building Engineering 2017. The scholarship was established with James Byrne, a DIT graduate and his colleague Frank Caul, who joined forces in 1989 to form the very successful Sirus Group. It employs approximately 100 people, many of them building engineering student graduates from DIT, and operates across Ireland and mainland Europe.

The Sirus team specialises in the control and management of building systems across a diverse range of sectors including industry, education, retail, hospitality, healthcare, life sciences, data centres and airports. “Sirus is always looking for good people”, says Frank Caul, “and we prefer to employ the graduates from Building Engineering in DIT as they are able to hit the ground running and contribute to the company quickly. These graduates invariably climb the career ladder very quickly.”

The two talented students awarded this year’s Sirus Scholarship are Zoe Elliott, from Newtownmountkenndy, Co Wicklow and Pauric O’Connell, from Virginia in Cavan. Both are third-year students of Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) in Building Engineering (Course code: DT026) at DIT. DIT has an open access policy to education and allows students access the system at apprenticeship level, and without honours maths. “If you want in, there is a way in”, says Ciara Ahern. “Some of our best students are those who access the system at apprenticeship level and ordinary degree level”.

“Stick-with-it” attitude                                                                                                                                     James Byrne is an excellent example of this, starting off his career as an apprentice plumber in DIT. “This is why we set up the scholarship based on the attributes of grit and perseverance, rather than academic merit”, says James. “At the end of the day it is a ‘stick-with-it’ attitude that gets you through tough times in education, business and in life in general.”

To support the initiative Sirus also donated a state-of-the-art recirculating air conditioning teaching system to the college which DIT is excited to put into use.

Aircon delivers perfect data centre solution

Some of the Panasonic GHP units installed on the roof of the Concentrix building by
Aircon Sales and Service of Belfast.

Given this emphasis on quality, Aircon only partners with brand-leading product suppliers. Panasonic is a prime example of this and over the years Ian and Vincent Mahony from Panasonic have worked closely on securing and executing a broad cross-section of commercial projects.

One of the most recent is the Concentrix Call Centre in Belfast. This was a very challenging project but, by working closely together, consultants Beattie Flannigan, mechanical contractors Harvey Group and Aircon Contracts’ Manager Stevie McGarry devised and delivered the perfect solution.

The design brief was to provide cooling to a new call centre located on the old Maysfield Leisure Centre site in Belfast. Cooling was required because of the shortage of electrical power to the site. The electrical power requirement in the building was at a premium because of the nature of Concentrix’s business with an enormous power load needed for lighting, computers, servers etc. This requirement was further compounded by the high sensible heat gains generated by the large volumes of computers and lighting, not to mention a staff complement approaching 1500 people.

The solution the team devised was based on larger numbers of indoor units of a lower capacity being used due to the low ceiling heights, while just under 1.2MW of Panasonic DX gas fired cooling was provided, using somewhere between 20kW and 25kW of electrical input. Full details of the equipment specifi ed were:

• 155 Panasonic VRF cassette indoor units to serve all call centre and meeting room areas;

• 13 Panasonic gas heat pump 3-pipe VRF outdoor units serving the indoors;

• Five Panasonic gas heat pump 2-pipe VRF outdoor units to server AHU DX;

• Panasonic centralised and full Modbus BMS control;

• 19 Panasonic split Hi Wall systems to serve various small UPS and comms rooms;

• Panasonic Air Off Control employed to provide a very high sensible heat ratio, 90%+;

• All indoor units were sized to meet duty at medium speed.

The Concentrix was a very complex and challenging project requiring a sophisticated solution that was high-performing, cost-effective, energy-efficient and 100% reliable. Between them the collective supplier, design and contracting team came up with the perfect answer and saw to its seamless installation and subsequent commissioning.

Daikin Home Energy Innovators Forum proves huge success

Shane McCarthy, Daikin Ireland with Graham Wright, Daikin UK and John O’Shaughnessy, Daikin Ireland

Formal presentations were brief and focussed, the content and delivery style designed to educate, and to stimulate thought, ideas and discussion. They were also quite diverse and covered everything from nZEB through to innovative product development, new refrigerant gases and related legislation, and heat pump and boiler evolution.

The common theme throughout the day was Design Thinking, and Daikin had engaged a team of professionals in this field to coordinate the proceedings. While Design Thinking is now a very sophisticated concept that is being applied more and more across all business sectors, this was a first for a building services-related event in Ireland. Rather than dwell on the academic explanation of what Design Thinking entails, suffice to say that the embodiment of what it means is in the name … it literally does do – and did at this event – what it says on the tin.

From when delegates arrived they were encouraged to engage in a simple but very effective process that involved putting thoughts and ideas on post-its. These were then collected and collated and used to further stimulate and engage the delegates over the coffee breaks, the lunch, and finally for the final workshop session.

Here delegates divided into teams of five and “brain-stormed’ to come up with ideas, concepts and initiatives that could be rolled out to the public at large to explain the social, health, energy and lifestyle benefits of the products and systems now being introduced by the industry. On completion of this exercise a representative from each team had to present their idea to everyone present. Delegates then voted to select the best idea with the winning team securing a stay at Cliff at Lyons.

The whole concept worked extremely well with delegates seamlessly engaging and participating in the process, and with some excellent results. Even more beneficial is that, while the day itself came to a conclusion, Daikin regards it merely as the start of a process. The findings and suggestions from the day are currently being collated and evaluated, and they will shortly be shared online and through similar functions that will see the Daikin-led Home Energy Innovators Forum concept develop and grow.

Building Regulations Part B and Fire Rated Downlights (Updated 31.08.17

Mark Walshe, Technical and Quality
Manager, LED Group and Lighting Association
Ireland Technical Committee member.

When you consider the regular pattern of recessed luminaires that is likely to greet you when you cast your eyes up to the ceiling in many new homes, the concept of a fire barrier may lose much of its integrity. How many perforations does it take for a ceiling to lose its fire rating? Facetiousness aside, non-fire-rated downlights will not provide the same level of fire protection as the ceiling in the event of a fire.

Fire-stopping of any openings in a fire barrier is a serious health and safety concern, as outlined in the Building Regulations 2017 Technical Guidance Document B – Fire Safety Volume 2 Dwelling Houses, updated earlier this year. Section 3.7 and particularly Section 3.7.5 in Volume 2 deals directly with the requirements of fires in dwelling houses.

Although you won’t find downlights mentioned explicitly in the document, it is clearly spelt out that any openings in a fire barrier element must be fire-stopped to ensure that fire resistance is not impaired. This would imply that there is a requirement for recessed lighting to have integral fire protection, or for non-fire-rated recessed lighting to be installed in conjunction with a suitable fire-hood.

Technical Guidance Document B – Fire Safety Volume 1 Non-Dwelling Houses is currently under review and expected for release in 2018 so, for now, the 2006 version of Technical Guidance Document B remains applicable. This document again sets out the requirement for all openings in a fire barrier to be fire-stopped.

However, there is a caveat in the case of timber-frame apartment blocks. These may use a compartment floor where the ceiling is effectively a sacrificial layer and does not constitute a fire barrier. There was a time when LED fittings with integral fire protection were simply not conducive to this application due to high cost, low performance and poor reliability linked to over-heating, but that day is well and truly over. A good quality LED FRD (fire rated downlight) such  as the ROBUS Triumph would be an ideal choice in this instance as it, and similar high-quality products, tick all the relevant boxes. Features of the ROBUS Triumph include:

— Rated for 30/60/90 minute fire rated ceiling/floor constructions=> fire safe;

— It is eligible for the SEAI Triple E ACA Scheme => energy and cost incentives;

— It meets the acoustic testing requirements of the Building Regulations => insulates noise;

— It meets the air tightness test requirements of the Building Regulations => minimises air leaks;

— It has a quick-fix connector and insulation spacer guard => ease of install;

— It has a 5-year warranty => reliability and peace of mind.

Fire testing of LED FRDs to the relevant standard (BS476 Part 21) is an expensive business as it involves constructing suitable ceiling box samples (complete with fittings) to be tested in a furnace at up to 1000°C for 30/60/90 minutes duration. Then there is the specialist work of analysing the test results with consideration of load bearing in order to make a judgement on the overall fire rating of the fitting.

Proof of meeting these requirements should be requested as part of any fire safety certification or risk assessment. Generally, for new builds and refurbishments with material changes, the only situations where FRDs need not be considered as essential in the case of recessed lighting installations are in bungalows or in the roof ceiling of multi-storey dwellings.

It is the responsibility of the Assigned Certifier to ensure that a building meets the requirements of the Building Control Regulations as set out in the Building Control Act, 1990 by means of the signed Certification of Compliance on Completion. The most straightforward means to achieve this is to follow the appropriate Technical Guidance Documents, as otherwise, alternative evidence must be provided to prove that the regulations are met.

In addition, for non-dwellings the Building Control Authority must issue a Fire Safety Certificate. All stakeholders in the installation of recessed light fittings, from installers through to building control authorities, would do well to take note of the requirements as set out in Part B in relation to installation of recessed lighting.

If your home had a hole in the roof, you wouldn’t think twice about plugging it to prevent a leak. Shouldn’t the same consideration be paid to the holes in our ceilings in the event of fire?

New focus on health and ‘WELL Being’ in building design

Mona Holtkoetter, Arup

Most people can correlate to scenarios where buildings or surroundings have a negative impact on our health. Why are you feeling more stressed after sitting in a meeting room with bad  acoustics for several hours? Have you experienced the post-lunch coma and tried to fight against it with a large amount of coffee in the afternoon? Have you left the full-day conference in a room without access to daylight and then been blinded by the sun when leaving the building? Have you experienced back pain from sitting at your desk all day?

Then there are the not so obvious effects of the indoor environment to your health? What is the indoor air quality that we breath for 90% of the day? What is the drinking water quality from the kitchen tap? A large amount of research has been published to analyse these questions. This research has been transformed into a new building certification system, the WELL Building Standard, bringing the key items together.

So, what does the WELL Building Standard include and how can we, as professionals in the built environment, play a key role in enhancing the health and wellbeing of occupants? How can we contribute to tackle main lifestyle-related  health epidemics, such as stress, obesity and muscular-skeletal complaints?

The WELL Standard separates the opportunities to promote health and well being in buildings into the following categories: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind.

Air                                                                                                                                                                                  We breath more than 15,000 litres of air each day but outdoor air quality is deteriorating globally due to pollution from traffic, construction, agricultural activity, combustion and particulate matter. When considering the outdoor air quality, filtration of outdoor air by air handling units becomes a critical component for the HVAC design of a building services engineer. But which of the components mentioned above is captured by the F7 filter that we usually specify? Is this sufficient or do we need to re-think?

Further important aspects of indoor air  quality are ventilation levels, selection of combustion equipment, management of pesticides, cleaning practices to remove microbial pathogens and exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which can evoke asthma, allergies and can impact on productivity.

Water                                                                                                                                                                            While the objective when considering water at design stage focuses on accessibility to drinking water to promote hydration, the main emphasis should be the water quality. As building services engineers we are responsible for planning the water installation, but testing the water quality is typically not within our scope. We are purely relying on the water supplied by the city council to be the correct quality. While the Irish drinking water is tested for compliance with the EPA standards, not all contaminants dangerous for the human body are covered by these tests.

Also, any impacts on drinking water quality through pipework distribution is typically ignored. WELL requires a broad assessment of the water delivered at the site and requires the installation of adequate filtration if needed.

Nourishment                                                                                                                                                                To avoid the post-lunch food coma and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and cancer, access to healthy and balanced food within a building or its surroundings is key. A healthy food offer goes hand in hand with healthy food advertising and information about ingredients, and can be advanced through the provision of gardening space. Imagine you are working late and instead of going down to the vending machine to buy a chocolate bar, you are going onto the balcony to pick an apple from the tree?

Light                                                                                                                                                                              The lighting codes we currently design to provide recommendations on illuminance levels to ensure sufficient light is provided for the task, to avoid eyestrains, to maintain productivity and to reduce headache. But light also influences our internal body clock that synchronises physiological function. Lighting exposure plays a key role for our sleep patterns and sleep deprivation can have a negative impact on our health and wellbeing. Do we need to go beyond code compliance to ensure our lighting design is providing a healthy environment?

Fitness                                                                                                                                                                Inactivity is now one of the biggest threats to public health, directly attributable to 9.4% of all deaths worldwide. While we as building services engineers have limited influence to the design for fitness, there are great opportunities to promote fitness within the built environment. This can go from the promotion of staircases, to the provision of bicycle parking, shower and changing facilities, gym or other internal or external fitness opportunities. Or, better still, how about combining fitness and work? Great innovations, such as sit-standing desks, treadmill desks or bicycle desks are already available on the market.

Comfort                                                                                                                                                                        Open-plan is the office layout of choice for most companies in Ireland. While it is great for collaboration with colleagues, the provision of quite areas to concentrate or make a phone call is important. As building services engineers, the selection of HVAC equipment has a great influence on the acoustics. Next to acoustic comfort, thermal comfort is important. While I typically sit at my desk with my jumper on, drinking a tea, my colleague next to me sits in a t-shirt and asks if we could open the windows as he feels too warm.

We are a key example for different temperature preferences. Why not be innovative with our HVAC design and provide different temperature gradients within a building?

Mind                                                                                                                                                                              Our minds and bodies are inextricably connected and play a vital role in our health and wellbeing. Buildings can provide spaces, such as balconies or green areas to reduce stress levels and promote relaxation. Workplace policies can have a positive impact on mood, sleep and stress levels, and can positively benefit our overall health and wellbeing. The reaction to indoor plants provided in the first WELL-certified office building in the UK was employees fighting about the plant positioning – they all wanted the plants to be located close to their desks. Maybe planting is not the best strategy for stress reduction after all!