Wondering about wild grapes

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Wondering about modern office buildings.

I received an email from my cousin who is an industrial air conditioning technician. He works on large systems used for commercial and industrial buildings, and I suppose units on any large building. I had asked him why he was so busy when it was cold in his area. This was his reply:

“Yea, I've wondered about that myself, up on the roof working on some piece-of-junk AC, It's 18 degrees and the wind is howling. But they need it to cool their electric panel rooms and computer rooms. Don't know why they can't crack open a window and let some of that 18 degree wind blow through and cool things off and let me go find a warm place to hide. But these industrial plants want to do things their way. Maybe when electricity costs triple, they'll think about catching excess heat from their hot spots to warm their cold spots, and vise versa. They don't have any windows, anyway.”

This got me thinking about a class I took way back a few hundred years ago when I was in college. Yep, believe it or not, I did visit a college a time or two. Anyway, the class was Stoichiometry. It basically dealt with chemical reactions but also heat preservation. It is less expensive to take waste heat from one process and use it at another that requires heat, than to waste power generating more heat. That would be what my cousin was talking about taking heat from warm spots to heat cool spots and visa versa.

Another thing that irritates me is the practice of building office, commercial, and industrial buildings without windows that open. People who work or shop in these buildings are forced to breathe in what other people breathe out. Also, all of the out-gassing of the building material and furniture, which can be a health hazard. And if the air moving equipment breaks down or stops for any reason, the interior of these building become unbearable very quickly. I like to be able to open a window and “air things out”. It refreshes the inside air. Yes, I know that AC units bring in some outside air, but only when they are running and then maybe not as much as we would like or need.

It is no wonder that flu and other ailments spread so fast among the population. Not only are commercial buildings that way, but so are schools. When I went to school you could open windows. Now, it seems, if one kid gets sick, the whole school comes down with it.

What brought this on, my writing about this subject today? It may have been getting up to 25 degrees here this morning; the coldest morning of the season. Not as cold as up north. I saw on the TV news people throwing cups of hot coffee up in the air and it would immediately turn to ice or snow. Wow, and I complain when it gets below 60 degrees. . .


  1. Maybe it cost too much to use natural air and filter it in the buildings? They'd have to resign all the structure to allow for open windows.

  2. Yes Ben, you are right, but why build them like that in the beginning? Just to save a few bucks on construction costs?

  3. When I lived in St. Petersburg Florida, I had to buy a new sweat suit to attend church. It was so cold, the it was a subtle form of dress code enforcement.

    No matter how cold it was though, that fat ladies were always fanning themsleves. LOL>

    I wore the sweat suit over my regular clothes. You should have seen the looks on some peoples faces, (mostly gals) when I pulled me sweat pants down on a bench in the courtyard> Hee, hee hee. I looked like the rest of them after I got the sweat suit off.

    Hey, 'We're in Florida, and its warm in Florida, everhybody knows that'! The even do this in January. That seems to be the popular line of thinking no matter how cold it is outdoors.

    Go figure!

  4. Now Ernest, you know that you will not enjoy the good days as much if you didn't have a few wet, cold days thrown in the mix. Wouldn't you get bored being comfortable all the time? Dang, what a stupid question that was, right?