ASME Integrated/Sustainable Building Equipment & Systems Open Research Forum Held in Washington

May 31, 2013

by Mark Crawford

Last month, the ASME Center for Research and Technology Development (CRTD) and ASME Emerging Technologies (ET) jointly convened the first in a planned series of workshops — called Open Research Forums — at the ASME offices in Washington, D.C. More than 25 leaders from U.S. industry, government and academia attended the event for the purpose of identifying and evaluating the various challenges and opportunities in the integrated/sustainable building equipment and systems (ISBES) field.

The ASME Open Research Forum series, a joint effort of the Center for Research and Technology Development (CRTD) and Emerging Technologies (ET), is intended to bring together industry, government and research leaders to gather knowledge and intelligence that can lead to new ASME products and services in key focus areas, according to Michael Tinkleman, director of the CRTD.“By enhancing our understanding of the issues and opportunities our goal is to expedite community and content development, and to identify how ASME can best help move these key focus areas forward,” he said.

The ASME Integrated/Sustainable Building Equipment & Systems Open Research Forum, held April 24, was a one-day, invitation-only workshop where attendees discussed three key “focus areas” relating to integrated/sustainable building equipment and systems: integrating of renewable energy generation into buildings and building systems; incorporating power generation systems into building heating and cooling systems; and integrating energy strategies at the neighborhood and city-scale.

Forum organizers selected these three focus areas based on assessments of global ISBES needs that took place at the ASME Sustainable Building Technologies Roundtable, which was held in May 2012 in New York, and at the ISBES technical and panel sessions at the 2012 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition. Last month’s Open Research Forum explored how ASME could contribute to advance these technologies to the global engineering community via research, education, knowledge dissemination, and new codes and standards. The workshop also reviewed national and global initiatives for smart buildings and communities. 

Addressing the focus area of integrated renewable energy generation and energy efficiency technologies were Yunho Hwang of the University of Maryland, Stella Oggianu of the United Technologies Research Center, and Andy Walker of NREL. Moncef Krarti of the University of Colorado at Boulder, Rongliang Zhou of Hewlett Packard, and Patrick Phelan of the Department of Energy were the speakers for the session on the second focus area, “Integrated Power, Heating, Cooling Equipment and Systems.” Jorge Gonzalez of the City College of New York, Annie Marston of Ebert & Baumann Consulting Engineers, and Jason Hercules of the U.S. Green Buildings Council discussed the third area of focus during their session, titled “Neighborhood and City-Scale Integrated Energy Strategies.”

Moncef Krarti of the University of Colorado at Boulder

The interactive discussions that took place during the daylong event resulted in 39 recommendations from Forum participants regarding what ASME could do to encourage the adoption of integrated/sustainable building equipment and systems. These suggestions fell into four broad categories: collaboration between ASME and other groups on joint research, meetings, forums and conferences; information dissemination via publications, including articles, journals, case studies, books and handbooks; the enhancement and development of codes and standards; and ISBES education opportunities, including training courses, training manuals, webinars and podcasts.

Noteworthy recommendations from the Forum participants included:

  • ASME should collaborate with other groups such as the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), IEEE, the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), the Department of Energy and the Solar Electric Power Association to address the topic of Integrated/Sustainable Building Equipment and Systems (ISBES) and establish a joint technical committee to focus decision making and prioritize research topics by drafting a research road map for the next five years.
  • ASME should continue to initiate and recommend special issues of the Solar Energy Journal devoted to ISBES issues and research needs. In addition, special effort should be made to disseminate ISBES information through non-technical articles and publications focused on increasing public awareness.
  • ASME should draft a position paper on ISBES, in cooperation with the Government Relations office, to explain the topic and related research needs to the political leadership in Washington, D.C. 
  • ASME should exercise its ability to develop consensus codes and standards for the integrated/sustainable building equipment and systems arena.
  • Existing codes and standards need to be enhanced to recognize the benefits of integrated, energy efficient building designs. 
  • ASME should lead the effort on the topic of ISBES design through vehicles such as webinars or podcasts on relevant ISBES topics.
  • Special programs, such as courses and workshops, should be developed to expand and complement the trained workforce of building operators capable of handling sophisticated integrated buildings.

A full report that includes the 39 recommendations and a summary of other Forum discussions will be released this summer.

Two more Open Research Forums are planned to be held over the next few months — one on the subject of sustainable manufacturing in June, and another addressing thermal energy storage in September.

For more information on the Open Research Forum series, contact Brandy Smith, ASME Emerging Technologies, at (917) 596-0306, e-mail, or Michael Tinkleman, ASME Center for Research and Technology Development at (202) 785-7394, e-mail

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