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Clark's Remarks

Fracking, Thermal-Energy Storage, Sea-Level Rise, Legionella Revisited

Just over a year ago, “Clark’s Remarks” premiered on this Website. To commemorate, I thought it would be fun to look back at the past year’s topics and see if there have been any new developments. Not surprisingly, there have been.

My inaugural post (“In Support of S. 3591”) addressed the need for Congress to extend commercial-building energy-efficiency tax deductions (179D) that were scheduled to expire at the end of 2013. Yep, you guessed it: The matter still is mired in Congress. That said, it’s not too late. Keep the pressure on your Congressional delegation; an election is coming up in November.

Fracking was the focus of my Aug. 14, 2013, blog (“Stay Informed on Energy Issues”), and much has happened since then. In the past month alone, a study has linked earthquakes in Oklahoma to fracking (previously, fracking had been linked to flooding in Colorado), and the New York State Court of Appeals ruled individual towns can use their zoning ordinances to ban fracking.

My Oct. 8, 2013, post (“Embodied Energy”) referenced an article on ice-based thermal-energy storage (TES) I wrote in 2010. TES is the process of running water-cooled chillers at night, when energy rates are lower, to produce ice that is used to absorb heat during the day. This reduces chiller loads at higher—daytime—utility rates. It now appears my evaluation of the overall sustainability of TES should have included an analysis of how cooling-tower heat rejection affects the environment. A recent Arizona State University study found air conditioners running at night raised outside-air temperature by nearly 2°F in some urban locations, contributing to urban heat-island effect.

Sea-level rise, the subject of my Nov. 13, 2013, blog (“When It Comes to Sea-Level Rise, Size Does Matter”), still is a very serious concern in coastal South Florida, where I live. For nearly a year, the Miami-Dade Sea Level Rise Taskforce has been conducting hearings, studying reports, reviewing expert testimony, and carefully deliberating this critical issue. It recently presented its final report (appendices:, and I thought it appropriate to share the first paragraph of the chairman’s introduction: "Sea Level Rise is an inevitable consequence of the warming of the oceans and the accelerated melting of the planet's ice sheets -regardless of cause. It is a measurable, trackable and relentless reality. Without innovative adaptive capital planning it will threaten trillions of dollars of the region's built environment, our future water supply, our unique natural resources, our agricultural soils, and our basic economy.” That says it all.

Lastly, in February, I posted about Legionella and its presence in hot-water heaters, cooling towers, hot tubs, whirlpool spas, showers, fountains, ice machines, water misters, and more (“Preventing Legionnaires’ Disease”). If that wasn’t sobering enough, researchers have discovered the bacteria can grow in windshield-washer fluid, surviving for up to 14 months. In one Arizona school district, researchers found Legionella contamination in the windshield-washer fluid of three-quarters of their school buses.

Thanks for reading HPAC Engineering and my blog. Please keep those comments coming, and let me know if there is a topic you would like to see addressed.

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