What’s in Your Water?

The word legionella strikes fear into everyone associated with the building industry. For most of us, this term makes us think of cooling towers and an outbreak of pneumonia that occurred at an American Legion convention in Philadelphia in 1976. We actively monitor our HVAC systems for standing water that could lead to an outbreak. However, a team of researchers headed by Victor L. Yu, M.D., professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh and Chief of the Infectious Disease Department at the VA Hospital in Pittsburgh, has found that the source for most outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease is not... Read More

Filling the VoIP VoID

It is not a matter of if, but a matter of when, VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) will become the standard for voice communications. VoIP is the process of converting voice transmissions into digital data packets and sending them over the data network or Internet. This allows the wiring and supporting infrastructure for the voice and data systems, traditionally separate systems, to converge into one. Many of the top manufacturers of switched (PBX) phone systems are simply stopping development of their traditional switched systems and focusing on migration strategies and new features for VoIP systems. Companies like Nortel, Avaya, and... Read More

Lighting Our Skies

Over the past decade, the International Dark Sky Association (IDA) has become a significant participant in the field of residential and commercial lighting design. Originally founded in 1988 by a group of concerned astronomers, the IDA was created in response to the growing amount of lighting pollution in and around major metropolitan areas. This lighting pollution, which brightens the overhead sky, is called sky glow. The increase in urban sky glow has adverse effects on our ability to view the night sky. It is believed that about two-thirds of Americans can no longer discern our own galaxy, the Milky Way,... Read More

How’s the Weather Inside?

The relationship of the thermal environment inside a building to the comfort, welfare, and productivity of people is a significant and sometimes overlooked component of facility design. Typically, when we think of thermal comfort, we most likely consider temperature alone. However, while temperature does have the most dramatic effect on our thermal environment, it is only one of several important components. Building surface temperatures, humidity, and air velocity (drafts) all bear directly on a person’s comfort. Since each of these elements plays an important role, we must address each of them in the design of heating, ventilating, and air conditioning... Read More