February 2018 Print

Message from the President

By: Kevin McDonald
Chapter President


     Greetings North Piedmont members! I am pleased to report on what has been an exciting past two months of activity within our chapter...

Looking Back

                The month of December played host to our annual Christmas Party and auction, which was a huge success. The event was top-notch as Grandover rolled out the red carpet for an evening of camaraderie and holiday merriment as we raised nearly $7,000.00 for ASHRAE Research Promotion. Thanks to all of our sponsors and members who helped make this event the annual success that it continues to be throughout the years!

                As you know, there was no January meeting. This was due to a few things including a speaker conflict and ASHRAE & AHR expo in Chicago which many members annually attend. Although the North Piedmont Chapter once again sponsored NC A&T Students to attend, they unfortunately encountered a travel snag which prevented them from attending. We had several members at the ASHRAE Society events throughout the week and the student night meet and greet session where we were able to talk with the future leaders of our industry. It was truly exciting to see so many young students excited and involved in ASHRAE. In talking with several students, when asked why they were involved with ASHRAE, many produced the same response- in addition to networking, they want to make a difference in their industry by utilizing “Green” practices in construction & design. I truly believe the future of ASHRAE is in good hands with the next generation of leaders.

Looking forward

                February will yield three great events for our chapter, beginning with a NC A&T Student Event in which members and professionals will get together with students to review resumes and conduct mock interviews. This will offer students a great oppportunity to receive feedback from professionals in our industry as they prepare to start their respective careers. If you would like to be involved, please don’t hesitate to join. Simply send myself ( or Mark Bingham ( ) a note and we will plan accordingly!

                The second event of February will be our annual ASHRAE North Piedmont Sponsor’s Breakfast. This is our opportunity to thank all of our industry business leaders & partners for their sponsorship and generousity in helping to maintain our chapter as one of the best in not only Region IV, but in the country!

                Finally, on February 21st, we will host our monthly chapter meeting. This will be a lunch meeting featuring our guest speaker, Mrs. Faun Finley, who is the Chair, City of Greensboro Community Sustainability Council. She is also an Advisory Council Member for UNCG’s Environental Sustainability Studies Program. This should be a great meeting to hear about what initiatives our local government is undertaking in 2018.

As always, thank you for being a valued member of our Chapter. Please do not hesistate to write or call should you have any questions or concerns.


Kevin McDonald
ASHRAE North Piedmont Chapter President, 2017-2018

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Chapter Technology Transfer and Programs

We are excited about the programs and activites we have planned for 2018 and we get back into the swing of things on February 21st. We are honored to have Mrs. Faun Finley, the chair of Greensboro's Community Sustainabilty Council, agree to come speak to us. Make sure you sign up early and tell your friends. You will not want to miss this one. If you have any suggesstions or ideas for future meeting topics or venues please let me know at 


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Research Promotion

Thank you to everyone who attended our annual holiday BONANZA and RP auction at Grandover last month.  On the shoulders of some great donations from our sponsors and local businesses, we were able to raise $6,650 for ASHRAE Research!  It was a great event with fantastic food and atmosphere, where I dare say a good time was had by all.

Now that we’re well and truly into 2018, we’re approaching the home stretch of our campaign.  Before you know it, it will be time to unpack the golf clubs from cold storage and start limbering up for the Spring Golf Outing.  Keep your eyes peeled for details in the coming weeks. 

Lastly, your North Piedmont Chapter is considering a brand new annual event for all the non-golfers out there.  I’d like to gauge the level of interest for a Sporting Clays Event.  No shooting sports experience is required, and rental shotguns would be covered in the cost of registration.  It could be fun for old hats and newbies alike.   If this is something you’d like to see come into being, let me know!! Email me at

Rob O’Berry

Research Promotion Chair

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Maintaining your ASHRAE membership allows you to stay in the know about your profession and it also provides you resources to help you on the job. The strength in connecting with your peers and benefiting from the resources of a global society are here for you. ASHRAE needs you, and so does our industry.

 We strongly encourage you to continue supporting your Society and the greater built environment community by renewing your membership today. Doing so will allow you to continue receiving your member benefits, including: 

  •          ASHRAE Journal
  •          ASHRAE Handbook
  •          High Performing Buildings magazine
  •          ASHRAE Insights and eSociety newsletters
  •          Fifteen percent (15%) discounts on must-have publications
  •          Reduced rates for earning or maintaining professional certification
  •          Discounted fees for specialized education, training and certification programs


Thank you for your continued support of ASHRAE!  


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Young Engineers in ASHRAE (YEA)

Presented by the ASHRAE Learning Institute, the HVAC Design Essentials Training allows attendees to gain the fundamentals and technical aspects to design, install and maintain HVAC systems.

To encourage attendance by young professional ASHRAE members, YEA offers attendance scholarships to the HVAC Design: Level I – Essentials training. The full cost of registration to Level I of this workshop will be covered by ASHRAE. Any additional costs, such as airfare or hotel, are not covered by this scholarship.

Applications are open through December 31st. Please see the below link to apply.  If you have any questions please let me know ( and I will help you out as much as I can.

YEA Scholarship

I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving!

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The first refrigeration tour of the year was an enjoyable tour of the Greensboro "Fainting Goat" Spirits Distillery, downtown Greensboro. The owners Norman and Shelley Johnson walked us through a detailed tour of how they produce their finest spirits, explaining how each process helped to craft their incredibly smooth gins, whiskeys, and vodkas. 


Anxious & Thirsty HVAC Industry Professionals

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5 Natural Air-Conditioning Designs Inspired by Nature

With heat waves gripping much of the planet, electricity grid operators are sweating even more than their customers. Air-conditioning uses a tremendous amount of energy, but a new group of designers think they can solve that problem by mimicking Mother Nature's craftiness.

Janine Benyus, a biologist, innovation consultant, and author of the book Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature, told National Geographic that copying the way plants and animals solve natural problems can provide many benefits, from environmental sustainability to economic efficiency.

"With biomimicry we're able to apply fresh thinking to traditional manufacturing, to undo the toxic and energy-intensive mistakes of the past," said Benyus, who is part of a group that hopes to lead a new revolution in design by imitating nature. "I wish we had been at the design table at the Industrial Revolution."

In natural systems, nothing is wasted, since everything can be used by something else. Instead of using large inputs of energy and toxic chemicals to make things and ship them across the globe, nature makes what it needs where it needs it, with water-based chemistry.

These designs suggest some of what could be learned by applying the lessons of biomimicry to the problem of air-conditioning.

1. Ventilation Inspired by Termites

Perhaps the most famous example of biomimicry when it comes to heating and cooling is ventilation inspired by termites. A few years ago, scientists observed that big termite mounds in Africa stay remarkably cool inside, even in blistering heat. The insects accomplish that feat with a clever system of air pockets, which drive natural ventilation through convection. Architect Mick Pearce and engineering firm Arup borrowed that idea to build Eastgate Centre, a large office and shopping center in Zimbabwe that is cooled with the outside air. The system uses only 10 percent as much as conventional air conditioning to drive fans that keep the air circulating.

2. Countercurrent Heat Exchange Inspired by Birds

Ducks and penguins that live in cold climates have an innovative adaptation that helps them survive the elements. The veins and arteries in their feet have a countercurrent configuration, which ends up warming the blood that is closer to the animal's core and cooling the blood at the edges of its extremities. By keeping cooler blood closer to the snow and ice, such birds lose less body heat overall. Shell tube heat exchangers in industrial-scale heating and cooling systems use a similar type of flow pattern to maximize efficiency, as Clayton Grow, author of The Writing Engineer blog, has pointed out.

3. Moisture Absorption Inspired by Ticks

Grow notes that a system called a liquid desiccant dehumidifier also seems to follow a form of biomimicry. Such a system is designed to pull humidity from the air inside a building (traditional air-conditioning also reduces humidity). It uses a liquid salt solution—something similar to what the brown dog tick secretes to absorb water from the air.

4. Efficient Fans Inspired by Tornadoes and Whirlpools

A company called PAX Scientific (slogan: Capturing the Force of Nature) is marketing a fan based on the logarithmic spiral shape found in such phenomena as tornadoes, whirlpools, and even airflow in the human trachea. The company says the fans have lower turbulence and higher efficiency for cooling.

5. Efficient Fans Inspired by Whale Flippers

In another take on better fan design, a startup called Whale Power is developing fan blades that produce greater lift, and therefore move more air, thanks to the bumpy design of a humpback whale's flipper. Whale Power says its fans move 25 percent more air than conventional fans while using 20 percent less energy. The company is also working on more powerful wind turbine blades.

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