IAQ Website of the Month

Terminology from ASHRAE

Each month we publish a newsletter titled IAQ Website of the Month.  The excerpt below was originally published in the May 2012 newsletter.

This month ASHRAE created a new website where they publish definitions common in the field of heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC). The definitions come from standards and technical committees, which previously were not freely available to the public.

If you are new to HVAC, you’ll find this to be a good reference. However, let me caution you that these are bare-bones definitions.  Don’t expect to find any diagrams explaining a term.  Don’t expect to find any good examples of the term found in an actual building. Also some of the definitions lead you nowhere.

For example, you may look up specific enthalpy and find that the terse definition is “Enthalpy per unit mass of substance.”  When you go to look up enthalpy on the website, there is no entry.

Or if you want to look up AFUE, you’ll find out it stands for “annual fuel utilization efficiency.”  However, you won’t learn how it is calculated or to what equipment this applies.

Despite its shortcomings, ASHRAE’s new wiki site is an authoritative source and I would recommend you use its definitions in reports.  For HVAC, IAQ and engineering related terms, I trust ASHRAE over Webster and any other dictionary. To learn more about terms such as enthalpy and AFUE, you’ll just need to become a member of ASHRAE and get their annual handbook, which is a wealth of knowledge.

To visit this month’s featured website, click on this link: ASHRAEwiki.

To subscribe to this newsletter click the following link: IAQ Website of the Month.

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By Ian Cull

I'm I.A.N. the Indoor Air Nerd. I'm a speaker and consultant on indoor air quality issues. To learn more about me, click "about" at the top of this page.

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