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ASHRAE Funds Research on Particulates, Solar Radiation
Aug 3, 2004
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Better understanding of filtration requirements and removal mechanisms in regard to particulate matter should result from research being funded by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers.

ASHRAE approved funding totaling U.S. $759,073 for seven research projects in the areas of design tools and indoor air quality, comfort, and health at its 2004 Annual Meeting.

Among them was 1281-RP, Identification, Classification and Correlation of Ultrafine Airborne Particulate Matter and Contrasted to Outdoor Values.

Studies have recognized that fine particles (those 10 micrometers and smaller) are a serious health threat and that ultra-fine particles (those 2.5 micrometers and smaller) are a bigger health threat.

The research will help in understanding the benefits of the air quality necessary to improve health due to respirable particulate in the nanometer size range, according to Charles Kern, a member of the ASHRAE technical committee that sponsored the project.

With this information, filter media and filter manufacturers will reportedly be able to tailor media and filters to best clean the air to protect the public from harmful particulate.

The study will provide detail on the size and chemical makeup of airborne particulate down to 0.01-micrometer size range at two locations in the U.S. It also will provide information on the variability of the particulate from location to location and also variability between times of the day and seasons of the year.

"This will allow better assessments of filtration requirements and removal mechanisms to be made as new studies determine the health risks associated with inhalation of fine particulate matter," Mr. Kern said. "At the same time, a comparison can be made of the particulate makeup indoors vs. outdoors to better evaluate the performance of HVAC systems in conditioning the outside air makeup as well as recirculated air."

The principal investigator of the research project is Shelly Miller, University of Colorado (Boulder, CO, U.S.). The project is expected to take 2 years at a cost of $109,972.

Also approved was 1309-RP, Development of Solar Radiation Models for Tropical Locations. According to ASHRAE, good solar radiation data that can be used in building simulation, particularly for use in cooling equipment sizing, dehumidification, and solar energy applications, is lacking for many low latitude locations across the world. These areas include Hawaii, Mexico, Central and South America, and large parts of Asia.

"The need for solar radiation data for tropical locations for use in building simulation programs has never been greater as this is where much of future construction growth will be concentrated," said Dru Crawley, a member of the ASHRAE technical committee that sponsored the project. "Building energy simulation, which depends on accurate weather data, is important to implement cost-effective and appropriate air-conditioning and energy-efficiency measures and for policy research."

The project's principal investigator is Moncef Krarti, Ph.D., P.E. of MK Associates in Boulder, CO, U.S. The project is expected to take 1 year to complete at a cost of $77,544.

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