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November 2004

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

Whose Fault is it? Understanding Arc Faults

Most people realize that a building’s electrical system can cause a fire if misused or wired improperly. The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) has determined that annually more than 10% of all household fires are related to electrical systems. Nationwide, this is over 40,000 fires a year. The CPSC estimates that of electrical system related fires, half are caused by “arcs” within a building’s wiring. As defined by General Electric, an arc is an unintentional electrical discharge, characterized by low and erratic current, that may ignite combustible materials. The heat and/or sparks that are associated with this discharge are often... Read More