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 December 2006
Global Notebook

ASHRAE Receives Grant to Advance Indoor Air Quality

Americans spend an estimated 90 percent of their time indoors — at work, home, and in school. And yet, indoor air quality often poses a greater health hazard than outdoor pollution, with pollutant levels averaging two to five times higher than the outside air. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers has received a $510,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to provide technical and educational guidance for improving the air quality in non-residential buildings. The grant is one of 30 cooperative agreements awarded by EPA’s Indoor Environments Division to encourage improved indoor air quality practices in schools, homes, and public and commercial buildings nationwide. ASHRAE will use the grant to develop the special publication, Advanced Indoor Air Quality Design Guide for Non-Residential Buildings, and a complementary educational seminar to help building professionals implement high performance designs that decrease occupant exposure to a range of air contaminants. Addressing common indoor pollutants such as dust, mold, mites and other air toxins that can trigger allergies and asthma, the document will guide the design process to allow advanced air quality practices to be realized within the limitations of typical construction and design fees.

Standards Developers Invited to Support EPA’s P3 Design Program

Kicking off its third annual P3 (people, prosperity, and the planet) award competition, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $10,000 grants to 42 student teams in support of the research and development of environmentally protective and economically competitive sustainable designs. ASTM International is a partner to the P3 program. EPA launched the competition in 2004 to respond to the challenges of moving toward sustainability in the developed and developing world. This year’s slate of design teams will seek to find innovative solutions to a varied array of environmental concerns. A Duke University team will look at the possibilities of constructing sustainable homes in the wake of natural disasters. The use of algae-produced biodiesel to treat agricultural wastewater will be the focus of a group from the California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo. A design team from the University of Illinois at Urbana will examine the use of solar LED (light-emitting diode) lanterns to replace kerosene in the developing world. In April, all 42 teams will take their designs to the National Sustainable Design Expo in Washington, D.C., to compete for the P3 Award, which includes the possibility of additional funding up to $75,000 to further develop and implement their projects and move the designs to the marketplace. Four P3 design projects from the 2005-2006 competition have grown into new commercial ventures. Standards developers who are interested in working with university faculty and students on the P3 design projects or who would like to contribute content to the “Standards Resources Guide” are encouraged to contact Caroline Holley, ANSI education and training administrator (phone: 212/642-4976). Additional information on the ways in which standards developers can offer assistance to the program is available here.

Scholarships Available for Study in Naval Architecture, Marine and Ocean Engineering

Scholarships on both the graduate and undergraduate levels are again being provided by the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers to encourage men and women to pursue studies in the naval architecture, marine engineering, ocean engineering, or closely related fields. Scholarships are available to any student regardless of nationality. Applicants must be SNAME members, and preference is given to applicants planning to study in U.S. or Canadian schools. Applications for this program for the fall of 2007 may be obtained from SNAME headquarters or downloaded from its Web site. Applications are due Feb. 1, 2007, with supporting documentation submitted by Feb. 15.

New Measurement Guide Worth “Poring Over”

In industries from textiles to automobiles and from pharmaceuticals to semiconductors, accurately measuring empty spaces — technically speaking, porosity — is a substantial matter, important to efforts to ensure high product quality and low scrap rates. This is because tiny pores — usually smaller than 50 nanometers in diameter — come in many varieties, creating complex internal and external surface features that strongly influence the performance of catalysts, filters, brake pads, pigments, ceramic components, time-release capsules and many other engineered products. A new recommended practice guide from the National Institute of Standards and Technology provides useful advice and instruction on how to analyze the size, distribution and total volume of tiny pores. The 79-page manual, Porosity and Specific Surface Area Measurement for Solid Materials, was jointly produced by scientists from NIST and Germany’s Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing. The reference materials are carefully characterized samples that serve as benchmarks for evaluating the accuracy of instruments used to measure the chemical composition or certain physical properties of materials. For example, NIST and BAM offer samples of alumina beads (NIST Standard Reference Material 1917) with certified values for pore volume, mean pore diameter, and most common pore diameter. To request a copy of Porosity and Specific Surface Area Measurement for Solid Materials, NIST Recommended Practice Guide, NIST SP 960-17, send an e-mail to Denise Shaw. //

 
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