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I nd u s t r i a l R e s earch Of f i ce News l etter

High Performance GREEN Building Research at Penn State. page 2 Pratt & Whitney establishes Center of Excellence at Penn State. 3

Upcoming events. 4-5

Chimay Anumba, Department Head of Architectural Engineering. 6

Indoor Environment Center at Penn State. 7

Sustainable transparent wall system for residential construction. 8

Summer 2008

iron hot topics

High Performance Green Building Research — By Sue Marquette Poremba


eveloping high performance green buildings is a collaborative research effort at Penn State, involving an interdisciplinary team from a variety of departments across campus. Led by faculty in Architectural Engineering, including Chimay Anumba, Department Head, and Jim Freihaut, Associate Professor, the high performance building research also involves researchers from the Institutes of Energy and the Environment, the Materials Research Institute (MRI), the Center for Sustainability, and the Applied Research Lab. The high performance green building initiative at the University follows two paths: large commercial buildings and smaller, residential buildings. One goal of the commercial building research is to work with companies to create buildings that have zero nonrenewable energy consumption, or net zero energy. According to Freihaut, “A net zero energy building may not create surplus electric energy, but it certainly will not use non-renewable fuel sources for operation such as coal, natural gas, or oil from natural reserves. Any oil or gas used would be from crop-based sources that can grow as fast as they consume energy, thereby utilizing the CO2 produced from the building operation in the growth process. So the building is net zero from the perspective of increasing CO2 in the atmosphere.” “In a commercial building, you want to build with materials that are high-end, but still utilize industrial systems within it,” says Tom Richard, Director of the Institutes of Energy and the Environment. “This is the area that the architectural engineering faculty is most focused on.” The materials used in these buildings are just as important as the systems used for energy consumption. The role of Carlo Pantano, director of the MRI, in the high performance building research is to identify new materials and apply knowledge of materials. “It’s a challenge finding materials that can play a role in making energy-efficient buildings,” Pantano says. For example, Penn State has some expertise in phase-changing materials. These are materials that change their properties as the temperature changes or depending on the light. “If we can find the right phase-changing materials, it can play a role by controlling heat flux in a building,” Pantano adds. Unfortunately, these materials are often polymers and aren’t made of renewable materials. Pantano’s own research is to develop glass adhesives that are more sustainable, and the hope is to broaden that research to other materials and other manufacturers.

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According to David Riley, director of the Center for Sustainability, “New technologies are rapidly being introduced into the market and it is vital to understand their impact on whole building systems. For example, we are currently examining how systems of solar power and advanced energy storage technologies can be combined to dramatically reduce building energy consumption.” Modular construction and prefabrication will play a critical role in widespread adoption of high performance building technologies. The Center for Sustainability is currently working with modular builders to examine how the cost of solar photovoltaic systems can be reduced through prefabrication methods. Within the scope of small or residential buildings and high performance, the best example may be Penn State’s entries into the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon, a competition to design, build, and operate the most attractive and energy-efficient solar-powered house. The building approach is to reduce loads via conservation and efficiency, effectively capture and use solar energy, and reclaim waste energy. The next Solar Decathlon will be held in our nation’s capital during the Fall of 2009. This research collaboration across the University also includes the Applied Research Lab, where Tom Hughes, assistant director of the energy science and power systems division, provides insight on power and energy issues and how they work within a facility. Much of his research is done with the Department of Defense, and, he adds, a facility can be defined as anything from a building to an entire base. The high performance green building research takes on all aspects of a building, and the architectural engineering faculty are looking at performance issues like heating and cooling of a building. One of the areas they are looking at, for example, is insulation and redesigning walls through what is called integrated design. This will require working closely with the manufacturers and installers of heating and air conditioning systems so they can be installed for maximum efficiency in production. “It all starts with the engineering design,” Pantano says, “and from there, the expertise of everyone else is added in to ensure a building that will work at peak performance.” “And,” Hughes adds, “having better performing buildings is in the interest of industry as their needs of the future shift toward renewable resources.” o.psu . e d u / t h e i r o n

forging relationships

Pratt & Whitney Establishes Center of Excellence at Penn State — By Gregory Angle


uring her time at the University of Wisconsin 14 years ago, Karen Thole developed a relationship with Pratt & Whitney that has followed her to Virginia Tech and continues today at Penn State. “When I was at Virginia Tech, I had encouraged Pratt & Whitney to form centers of excellence. When I came to Penn State, they were ready to launch into that,” said Thole, who is currently department head of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering and professor of mechanical engineering at Penn State. Pratt & Whitney, a United Technologies Corp. company, is a world leader in the design, manufacture and service of aircraft engines, industrial gas turbines and space propulsion systems. Pratt & Whitney’s 38,577 employees support more than 9,000 customers in 180 countries around the world. In May of 2007, Pratt & Whitney Engineering requested a proposal from Penn State for the development of a Center of Excellence to include R&D funding by Pratt & Whitney for five years. Pratt & Whitney indicated Penn State has been important to the company’s research and development for many years. The company sees the University as industry-friendly (no Intellectual Property issues), world-class in its technical expertise, staffed with investigators in technical areas of interest to the company, and capitalized with significant funding from the government and private sector. “In order to be successful, technology development is of the utmost importance to Pratt & Whitney,” wrote Pratt & Whitney Engineering in its request for proposal from Penn State. “Partnering with universities has been a part of our technology development strategy for a number of years. We want to increase that R&D involvement with universities, but only with those who have capabilities in multiple areas of interest to us; are industry-friendly; and are interested in partnering with Pratt & Whitney in a business sense as well as in an R&D sense.” Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbofan™ PurePower™ PW1000G engine

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The proposal from Penn State was accepted. By September 2007, the Center of Excellence was formed between Pratt & Whitney Engineering and Penn State. Pratt & Whitney committed a minimum of $400,000 per year to the University. Pratt & Whitney was particularly interested in five areas of strength at Penn State: aero-heat transfer related to gas turbine airfoils, gearboxes, acoustics, combustion, and advanced materials and coatings. Most of the projects at Penn State currently deal with aero-heat transfer. “On the gas turbine side, we’re looking at effective ways to cool gas turbine airfoils,” Thole explains. “These engines run hotter and hotter to increase the efficiency of the engine, but we run into materials and coatings limitations in terms of component melting.” Thole’s group is currently researching methods to effectively cool those parts. The Industrial Research Office (IRO) supported the growing relationship between Penn State and Pratt & Whitney. “John Siggins was part of the initial meeting between Pratt & Whitney and the University, and he helped to arrange meetings for initial discussions,” says Thole. Tom Massaro, contracts negotiator at the IRO, also played an essential role amending the current master agreement between Pratt & Whitney and Penn State to account for the new Center of Excellence. Pratt & Whitney’s philanthropic efforts also have been extremely generous to Penn State. The company has already donated significant funds to enhance the equipment and capabilities of the Penn State Experimental and Computational Convection Lab. In addition, the Vice President of Engineering – Module Centers at Pratt & Whitney, Dave Carter, is serving on the Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering Department’s advisory board.

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upcoming events

International Society of Chemical Ecology, 25th Anniversary Meeting Penn State University Park • August 17-22, 2008


he 2008 annual meeting of the International Society of Chemical Ecology will be held from August 17 to 22 at Penn State. This meeting is in celebration of the Silver Anniversary (25th year) of the society, which was started in 1983. The meeting will be hosted by Jim Tumlinson, Director of the Penn State Center for Chemical Ecology, and other program committee members. The four plenary symposia feature presentations on chemical deception/mimicry, phylogenetic analyses of plant defense and insect host range, chemical ecology of disease transmission, and chemical ecology of plant–plant interactions.

Ag Progress Days Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center • Pennsylvania Furnace, PA • August 19-21, 2008


g Progress Days, Pennsylvania’s largest outdoor agricultural exposition, will return for its annual three-day run from August 19-21. Sponsored by Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, the event is held at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center in Pennsylvania Furnace, PA, nine miles southwest of State College. More than 400 commercial exhibitors will display their latest goods and services. Interactive educational exhibits, guided tours and workshops will show how agricultural researchers and educators are addressing important issues, safeguarding and improving our food supply and the environment, and helping to enhance the efficiency and profitability of agriculture and related industries.

Northeast Renewable Energy Conference The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel • State College, PA • August 26-28, 2008


he Northeast Renewable Energy Conference, sponsored by the Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment, will be held at Penn State from August 26-28. The conference will feature six breakout sessions: biomass conversion; biomass production; wind, hydro, and bioproducts; economic opportunities; efficiency; and energy basics. The conference is open to industry and universities. Other participating universities include Cornell, Michigan State, and Ohio State. The conference kicks off with a reception from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. on August 25.

Pennsylvania Green Growth Partnership Forum Hershey, PA • September 15-16, 2008


he PA Green Growth Partnership Forum is a unique networking event designed to connect industries, investors, universities and non-profits interested in capitalizing on the growing market demand for green products, energy efficient technologies and research/education opportunities. Companies with specific design/technical challenges can interact with university research teams, and universities can connect to potential corporate sponsors for existing research projects that are nearing commercialization. The forum will also educate attendees on funding opportunities available through the PAGGP and other government or foundation sources for green product and project development.

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Energy Innovation Forum The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel • State College, PA • October 23, 2008 The Energy Innovation Forum will allow Pennsylvania companies to present their energy technologies, products, and core competencies to national and international corporate leaders. The forum will present opportunities for one-on-one discussions between corporate leaders and PA companies, table-top exhibits, and a poster session featuring Penn State energy research and technologies. Call Garry Miller, Program Manager, at 570-722-5854 for more information.

recent trade show exhibits NSTI Nanotech / CTSI Cleantech Boston, MA • June 1-5, 2008

BIO International Convention San Diego, CA • June 17-20, 2008

or the third consecutive year, the Industrial Research Office partnered with the Materials Research Institute and exhibited at NSTI Nanotech. We presented information on the nano-related research and facilities available at Penn State. Held concurrently with the event was CTSI Cleantech. The Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment also partnered with us to promote the ongoing renewable energy research at the University. We also highlighted Strategic Polymer Sciences, Inc. (SPS), a great example of technology transfer at Penn State. SPS is focused on the development and commercialization of state-of-the-art electro-polymer technology invented by Penn State researcher, Dr. Qiming Zhang. Their offices are located at Innovation Park at Penn State.

his year at the BIO International Convention, we emphasized Penn State’s bioenergy research. With gasoline prices exceeding $4 per gallon, finding the energy sources of the future— clean, sustainable, reliable sources—holds an urgency. Switchgrass, hybrid poplar, blue-green algae, and sugar cane are a few examples of biomass, plant matter that can be transformed into fuels and other energy products. Like petroleum and coal, biomass contains carbon taken from the atmosphere via photosynthesis, turning sunlight into energy. Unlike fossil fuels, however, biomass is renewable, and can be grown domestically. At Penn State, over 50 researchers are currently involved in researching biomass energy, in every discipline from fuel science to genetics. •


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faculty spotlight

Chimay Anumba, Department Head of Architectural Engineering — By Sue Marquette Poremba


himay Anumba came to Penn State from Loughborough University in the U.K., where he was the founding director of the university’s Center for Innovative and Collaborative Engineering and a professor of construction engineering and informatics. Now department head of Architectural Engineering at Penn State, he took over a department that supports a competitive 5-year undergraduate program limited to 100 students per class year and 50 graduate students. Founded in 1910, the Architectural Engineering Department at Penn State is the oldest, continuously accredited architectural engineering program in the United States. The department has just completed its new 5-year strategic plan which has a new focus on high performance green buildings. “High performance green buildings are energy efficient, healthy, productive, and safe facilities that reduce the environmental impact of the built environment through the use of integrated systems and appropriate materials,” Anumba explains. “This is vital given the importance of sustainability considerations in the design, construction, operation, and retrofitting of buildings. We have recently been successful in our bid for a new faculty position, co-funded with the Institutes of Energy and the Environment, in the area of sustainable building energy systems. This is expected to make a great contribution to this goal.” Architectural Engineering faculty at Penn State are leaders in research focused on construction, lighting and electrical, mechanical, and structural engineering. Research facilities include the Building Environment Simulation and Testing Facility, Building Enclosure Test Lab, Digital Addressable Lighting Interface Lab, Floor Vibration Research Lab, Immersive Construction Lab, and the Structural Model Instructional Lab. Anumba’s own research focuses on the use of communication and information technologies to advance the field of construction engineering, as well as solve problems within design and construction. His most recent projects relate to investigating how to facilitate distributed collaboration between the various parties involved in a construction project. “This involves developing IT tools that would make that collaboration possible,” he explains. “Many construction projects have global teams

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that span wide geographic areas (and time zones) who need to work together.” “One of the new projects I’m starting at Penn State is in the area of intelligent construction,” Anumba says. “It would integrate a bit more knowledge into the construction process so that you can track what is happening at every point in time.” Embedded sensors will allow the worker to track movement and integrate components so a relationship with other components can be easily seen. Anumba plans to involve architectural, engineering, and construction (AEC) companies to test the concepts he is developing. Another element of the project is to link the virtual prototype to the actual physical construction. He sees this as offering many potential benefits to project managers. “You can monitor the progress in real time while exploring alternate construction methods,” he says. “You can also make sure the construction is safe by maintaining the associativity of the relationship between the different components.” A long-term benefit of the project is active control of the different components of the building. “We can start to explore concepts such as Design for Deconstruction, which will enable the proactive reuse of certain parts of the building without any detriment to the parts that are retained.” In his past projects, Anumba collaborated with companies from countries around the world, bringing in the equivalent of $30 million to his former department. He has won several awards for his work, including an Engineering Foresight Award from the Royal Academy of Engineering and an Honorary Doctorate from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. He’s hoping that his current research will be the beginning of an equally successful partnership between Penn State and industry. Anumba expects to be in his new lab by the time fall semester begins and hopes to have his prototype tested in real building situations by the fall of 2009. Initial investigations will be laboratory-based and will be followed by full-scale tests on real construction projects. “We want to try this out in the lab on a small mock-up prototype, and then migrate to a real construction project,” he says. He also plans to have his research complement that of his department’s faculty and eventually he will be able to reach out to other groups both on campus and in industry. o.psu . e d u / t h e i r o n

research spotlight

Indoor Environment Center —By Sue Marquette Poremba


he Indoor Environment Center (IEC) got its start at Penn State in 2000 to serve as a focal point for the research of indoor environmental quality. The IEC conducts interdisciplinary research, knowledge transfer and outreach activities to support the development of indoor environments that are more safe; more thermally, visually and acoustically comfortable; and that minimize the use of energy and other resources. “Indoor environmental quality is broader than indoor air quality,” explains Bill Bahnfleth, director of the Center and professor of architectural engineering. “It includes indoor thermal conditions, lighting, and acoustics.” The IEC is housed in the Department of Architectural Engineering, but includes faculty from throughout the University, as well as collaborators from outside Penn State. The IEC uses a number of existing laboratory facilities at Penn State and collaborating institutions. Under the direction of Jim Freihaut, associate professor of architectural engineering, the IEC has developed significant new indoor air quality laboratories for the study of the dynamics and control of viable and non-viable aerosols. The new facilities are being used to investigate exposure pathways for indoor allergens and the control of bioaerosols with ultraviolet light. UV research includes the development of protocols for conducting bioLamp Depreciation and Life Test Facility logical testing of air cleaner performance and the measurement of the characteristics of UVC lamps under variable operating conditions and as they age. The Center is also studying the effects of different types of return air systems. “As air is supplied to a space to condition it, the air it displaces can go back to the air-handling unit through ducts or through a plenum space between the ceiling and floor above. This may be the only study that’s ever been done to see if there are any important differences between those two in terms of energy use, air quality, and security.” The research involves modeling, field measurements at Penn State, and laboratory measurements at the Iowa State Energy Resource Station.”

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Aerosol test rig and measurement equipment. The rig in the background is an ASHRAE Standard 52.2-compliant particulate filter test rig modified to be able to perform wet and dry bioaerosol tests.

Cross-disciplinary work is one of the fundamentals of the IEC’s success. The IEC has supported research by construction management faculty in Architectural Engineering on green healthcare facilities. Rick Mistrick, associate professor of architectural engineering, is working with the Center to research daylighting, taking into account not only the lighting energy consumption, but also its impact on heating and cooling loads. Indoor environmental quality is an issue in all buildings, so the IEC has researched not only commercial buildings, but also hospitals and agricultural buildings. “One of our studies investigated air quality in poultry barns,” Bahnfleth said. “Since 2002, we’ve done a considerable amount of homeland security-related research for government sponsors because of its connections with indoor air quality control,” Bahnfleth says. This research is related to the protection of buildings and their occupants from chemical and biological weapons attacks. It has involved modeling air flow and the transport of contaminants in buildings, and studying methods for evaluating security measures. The Center seeks to engage industry using a systems approach to air quality and building design. The IEC works with industry and other sponsors on research projects and also uses its laboratories for product testing on a limited basis. “Manufacturers of building products are becoming more attuned to the idea of a systems approach,” Bahnfleth says. “This is a fundamental aspect of high performance green building design.” Bahnfleth notes that the IEC works closely with the University’s Office of Physical Plant when field studies are needed. These have included testing its airflow model calibration software at the MBNA Career Services and Thomas Buildings and studying the effects of ducted and plenum return air systems in the Rackley and Leonhard Buildings. “We can help industry characterize their products, like air cleaners, in our IAQ laboratory, and we can apply the systems point of view to integrate projects into buildings,” Bahnfleth says.

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Penn State Inventions Sustainable Transparent Wall System with Steel Framing for Residential Construction Currently, over 80% of single-family dwellings are constructed using wood-frame walls, which consist of wood studs that make up the framing with plywood or oriented strand board (OSB) as sheathing. While the studs carry the vertical forces resulting from gravity loads (e.g., weight of materials or moveable objects), the sheathing resists the shear forces resulting from lateral loads (e.g., wind loads or earthquake effects). The light-gage steel industry has tried to emulate wood-frame wall systems by promoting the use of steel stud wall systems, which follow the same design principles as the wood-frame walls. For both of these wall systems, the interior finish is usually drywall, while the exterior skin can be vinyl (or wood) siding or brick veneer. The insulation is usually batt, but it can also be of rigid type. Although these wall systems can provide acceptable thermal insulation, they are normally not considered sustainable systems in the sense of advantageously using solar radiation.

Industrial Research Office Newsletter Subscribe to the e-Edition of The IRON at Look for our Fall 2008 issue in October.

Send comments or suggestions for The IRON to: Gregory Angle, Marketing Coordinator Industrial Research Office The Pennsylvania State University 119 Technology Center University Park, PA 16802 814-865-9519 This publication is available in alternative media on request. The Pennsylvania State University is committed to the policy that all persons shall have equal access to programs, facilities, admission, and employment without regard to personal characteristics not related to ability, performance, or qualifications as determined by University policy or by state or federal authorities. It is the policy of the University to maintain an academic and work environment free of discrimination, including harassment. The Pennsylvania State University prohibits discrimination and harassment against any person because of age, ancestry, color, disability or handicap, national origin, race, religious creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or veteran status. Discrimination or harassment against faculty, staff or students will not be tolerated at The Pennsylvania State University. Direct all inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policy to the Affirmative Action Director, The Pennsylvania State University, 328 Boucke Building, University Park, PA 16802-2801, Tel (814) 865-4700/V, (814) 863-1150/TTY. U.Ed. RES 08-66.

Ali M. Memari, Associate Professor of Architectural Engineering at Penn State, is developing a new type of wall system that is transparent for increased daylight benefits. The exterior skin of the wall system consists of glazing, which can also be equipped with photovoltaic (PV) technology as a PV-integrated building envelope in order to take advantage of solar radiation for electricity generation. Instead of studs (wood or light-gage steel), which are usually spaced at 16 inches on center, structural steel is used as framing members. Structural steel members, which are either hot-rolled (e.g., wideflange) or cold-formed (e.g., structural tubing), are significantly stronger than wood or light-gage steel studs, and therefore, can have much wider spacing, say at 48 inches. As for sheathing, a transparent material is employed that matches or exceeds the shear strength of the conventional ½ inch thick plywood or OSB with less thickness. The external skin of the wall system consists of an energy efficient insulating glass unit in a dry-glazed configuration. PV cells or film can be incorporated on the glazing system for energy generation. The wall system is designed to be modular so that it can easily be used just like panelized wood frame or panelized steel stud system in 4’ x 8’ modules. The system is designed such that conventional wood frame wall can be easily attached to the proposed panel system for areas of the wall where opaque wall system is preferred. Because of the use of recyclable material (steel and glass), as well as the transparency of the wall for day-lighting and employing a PV-integrated building envelope, the proposed wall system can be promoted as a highly desirable sustainable and energy efficient system. Currently, pilot experimental tests are being carried out on the sheathing for the wall system. Of immediate need is structural testing of the steel framing system. More specifically, racking load testing and gravity load carrying capacity testing is necessary on the steel framing system. A mock-up of the proposed wall system is currently under construction at Penn State’s Building Envelope Research Laboratory (BERL) in the Department of Architectural Engineering.

Contact the Industrial Research Office for more information 814-865-9515 • •


I nd u s t r i a l R e s earch Of f i ce News l etter Summer 2008 Sustainable transparent wall system for residential construction. 8 Pratt...