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GSBN: Digest for 10/1/03



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-> Mechanical Systems in Commercial SB building
     by jeff@...
-> Re:  GSBN:Mechanical Systems in Commercial SB building
     by Strawnet@...
-> Re: Mechanical Systems in Commercial SB building
     by Derek Roff derek@...
-> RE: GSBN:Mechanical Systems in Commercial SB building
     by "John Swearingen" johns@...


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Date: 1 Oct 2003 16:07:21 -0500
From: jeff@...
Subject: Mechanical Systems in Commercial SB building

I have a client who is trying to get his mechanical engineers to understand
the level of energy efficiency of a bale building, while also attempting to
help them see the world outside of their small boxes.  He wants to simplify
his mechanical systems, and they have designed him a cadillac system.  The
project is a natural food store in Montana and we are looking for examples
of not-too-complicated systems placed in commercial bale structures.  Can
anyone help with this one?  Any example projects come to  mind?

Jeff Ruppert, P.E.
Odisea, LLC
Consulting, Engineering and Design
1022 Main St.
Carbondale, CO  81623
303.881.2905
jeff@...
www.odiseanet.com




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Date: 1 Oct 2003 18:51:52 -0500
From: Strawnet@...
Subject: Re:  GSBN:Mechanical Systems in Commercial SB building

>I have a client who is trying to get his mechanical engineers to understand
>the level of energy efficiency of a bale building, while also attempting to
>help them see the world outside of their small boxes.  He wants to simplify
>his mechanical systems, and they have designed him a cadillac system.  The
>project is a natural food store in Montana and we are looking for examples
>of not-too-complicated systems placed in commercial bale structures.  Can
>anyone help with this one?  Any example projects come to  mind?
>
>Jeff Ruppert, P.E.

Jeff,

I think the key is to look for a mechanical engineer or consultant who 
knows his or her stuff well enough to be able to work with the engineers 
your client has already and make the case for the simpler path, not just 
to look for good examples of simpler systems (though there are probably 
some good ones). I say that because to do this properly you would want to 
design the system for the specific building, loads, uses, climate, etc.  

Of course they will likely to need to pay for some of such a person's 
time, but a few really savvy mechanical engineers come to mind. They 
don't need to be totally familiar with sb construction to be able to 
properly design a system for such a building. The ones that popped into 
mind are Marc Rosenbaum in New Hampshire (Marc.J.Rosenbaum@VALLEY.NET) - 
brilliant, amazing, small one-person operation and very busy; Eric 
Thompson in Virginia - lots of alternative building and alternative 
energy/energy efficiency experience, very clever, fun, and good to work 
with; Malcolm Lewis in California - has a somewhat larger firm that does 
a lot of commercial and institutional work - very good guy and very solid 
technically and otherwise (mlewis@ctg-net.com); and Al Nichols here in 
Tucson - a long-standing interest in sb and zero-energy buildings, solar 
and much more, lots of experience with a wide range of projects, small 
firm, very creative (ALNICHOLS@aol.com). 

I know that there are lots of other good people out there but these are 
folks I know understand integrated design and appreciate things like sb 
for its full range of thermal and other benefits. They also know how to 
design elegant systems that are optimized for the project. 

Hope that helps.

David

David Eisenberg, Director
Development Center for Appropriate Technology
P.O. Box 27513, Tucson, AZ  85713
(520) 624-6628 voice / (520) 798-3701 fax
strawnet@...
http://www.dcat.net

The Development Center for Appropriate Technology is a 501(c)(3) 
non-profit organization. Our primary support comes from foundation grants 
and charitable contributions from individuals and businesses, and from 
our educational and training programs and consulting services. Our 
mission is to enhance the health of the planet and our communities by 
promoting a shift to sustainable construction and development practices 
through leadership, strategic relationships, and education. To learn 
about DCAT's work and how you can support it, please visit our website at 
www.dcat.net



----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: 1 Oct 2003 19:22:05 -0500
From: Derek Roff derek@...
Subject: Re: Mechanical Systems in Commercial SB building

>I have a client who is trying to get his mechanical engineers to 
understand
>the level of energy efficiency of a bale building, while also 
attempting to
>help them see the world outside of their small boxes.  He wants to 
simplify
>his mechanical systems, and they have designed him a cadillac 
system.  The
>project is a natural food store in Montana and we are looking for 
examples
>of not-too-complicated systems placed in commercial bale structures. 
Can
>anyone help with this one?  Any example projects come to  mind?
>
>Jeff Ruppert, P.E.

The key question is modeling the energy use of this building, in its 
local climate, considering the intended use factors.  Regardless of 
the design and materials, heating and cooling systems must handle the 
energy losses of the structure.  To design and specify mechanical 
systems without knowing the parameters of the building seems 
irresponsible to me.  When the parameters are known, specifying a 
system that is inappropriately large (or small) is a disservice to 
the client.

OK, so Jeff already said that this is the problem he is trying to 
solve.  I suggest contacting John Swearingen, at SkillfulMeans.com. 
He has referred to his use of the Energy 10 software for modeling the 
energy usage for some of his SB buildings.  I suspect that he works 
with engineers, who have experience in modeling energy usage in SB 
structures.

Derek

Derek Roff
Language Learning Center, MSC03-2100
Ortega Hall Rm 129, 1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001
505/277-7368, fax 505/277-3885
Internet: derek@...


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Date: 1 Oct 2003 19:25:01 -0500
From: "John Swearingen" johns@...
Subject: RE: GSBN:Mechanical Systems in Commercial SB building

Jeff,

This sounds like the brother of our neighbor, who runs Straw House
coffee....

Part of the difficulty (as you probably know) is that the input and formulas
used for sizing mechanical systems are relatively crude, and so doesn't
account very successfully for the integration of insulation, mass and solar
orientations.  We use computer simulations, primarily Energy 10, to model
energy use, and invariably come out with a lower requirement.  This can be
used to persuade the ME to downsize the system.  We've taken the approach
that if the ME is concerned about the system operating efficiently, then he
should take the trouble to understand the actual energy requirements and
size the system appropriately.

A second approach is for the client to simply ask for the most stupid/simple
design that will pass code.  The client can downsize the appliances
according to an understanding of the actual energy requirements of the
building.

Hope this helps,

John

- -----Original Message-----
From: GSBN [mailto:GSBN@...]On Behalf Of Strawnet@...
Sent: Wednesday, October 01, 2003 4:24 PM
To: GSBN@...
Subject: Re: GSBN:Mechanical Systems in Commercial SB building

>I have a client who is trying to get his mechanical engineers to understand
>the level of energy efficiency of a bale building, while also attempting to
>help them see the world outside of their small boxes.  He wants to simplify
>his mechanical systems, and they have designed him a cadillac system.  The
>project is a natural food store in Montana and we are looking for examples
>of not-too-complicated systems placed in commercial bale structures.  Can
>anyone help with this one?  Any example projects come to  mind?
>
>Jeff Ruppert, P.E.

Jeff,

I think the key is to look for a mechanical engineer or consultant who
knows his or her stuff well enough to be able to work with the engineers
your client has already and make the case for the simpler path, not just
to look for good examples of simpler systems (though there are probably
some good ones). I say that because to do this properly you would want to
design the system for the specific building, loads, uses, climate, etc.

Of course they will likely to need to pay for some of such a person's
time, but a few really savvy mechanical engineers come to mind. They
don't need to be totally familiar with sb construction to be able to
properly design a system for such a building. The ones that popped into
mind are Marc Rosenbaum in New Hampshire (Marc.J.Rosenbaum@VALLEY.NET) -
brilliant, amazing, small one-person operation and very busy; Eric
Thompson in Virginia - lots of alternative building and alternative
energy/energy efficiency experience, very clever, fun, and good to work
with; Malcolm Lewis in California - has a somewhat larger firm that does
a lot of commercial and institutional work - very good guy and very solid
technically and otherwise (mlewis@ctg-net.com); and Al Nichols here in
Tucson - a long-standing interest in sb and zero-energy buildings, solar
and much more, lots of experience with a wide range of projects, small
firm, very creative (ALNICHOLS@aol.com).

I know that there are lots of other good people out there but these are
folks I know understand integrated design and appreciate things like sb
for its full range of thermal and other benefits. They also know how to
design elegant systems that are optimized for the project.

Hope that helps.

David

David Eisenberg, Director
Development Center for Appropriate Technology
P.O. Box 27513, Tucson, AZ  85713
(520) 624-6628 voice / (520) 798-3701 fax
strawnet@...
http://www.dcat.net

The Development Center for Appropriate Technology is a 501(c)(3)
non-profit organization. Our primary support comes from foundation grants
and charitable contributions from individuals and businesses, and from
our educational and training programs and consulting services. Our
mission is to enhance the health of the planet and our communities by
promoting a shift to sustainable construction and development practices
through leadership, strategic relationships, and education. To learn
about DCAT's work and how you can support it, please visit our website at
www.dcat.net

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