ASHRAE Presents 2011 Lou Flagg Historical Award to Global Collaborators for their "History of Radiant Heating and Cooling Systems"

June 27, 2011
ASHRAE has presented the 2011 Lou Flagg Historical Award to Canadian Robert Bean, R.E.T., P.L. (Eng.) and two collaborators from Denmark and South Korea on a recently published, two-part historical series on radiant heating and cooling.

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has presented the prestigious 2011 Lou Flagg Historical Award to Canadian Robert Bean, R.E.T., P.L. (Eng.) and two collaborators from Denmark and South Korea on a recently published, two-part
historical series on radiant heating and cooling.

The trio was recognized at the 2011 ASHRAE Annual Conference in Montreal, held June 24-29, for the most outstanding recorded history of either projects or persons related to the heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) industry.

Bean, who served as the lead researcher, and co-authors Professor Bjarne Olesen, Ph.D., from the Danish Technical University and Professor Kwang Woo Kim, Arch.D., from the Seoul National University were recognized for their global collaborative work on the "History of Radiant Heating and Cooling Systems," published in the January and February 2010 issues of the ASHRAE Journal. Bean, Olesen and Kim, who began the project in 2006, are specialists in building energy and indoor environmental quality and have extensive knowledge of radiant-based HVAC systems.

A Registered Engineering Technologist through the Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta (ASET), Bean is a graduate of N.A.I.T.'s Building Construction Engineering Technology program and a Professional Licensee (Engineering) through The Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists, and Geophysicists of Alberta (APEGGA).

"I am grateful to the ASHRAE Journal editorial team, the members of the Historical and Radiant Technical committees, and of course my co-authors who brought the European and Asian elements into the project," Bean comments. The three authors also wish to credit those who freely shared historical
documents and photographs during the research.

The "History of Radiant Heating and Cooling Systems," says Bean, is necessarily a work in progress. Each year, archeological digs and newly discovered literature from around the globe reveal more of the early history of architecture and the means with which inhabitants tried to stay comfortable under often very cold and difficult conditions.

Europe is typically credited with the invention of radiant floor heating. But currently available records show Asia as the original source, according to Bean. Of historical interest are the ongoing archeological digs in Alaska that show floor-heating developments from circa 1000 B.C. The systems
discovered recently by Professor R. Knetch, Ph.D. and his team from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, are similar to those discovered in the Northern Far East section of Asia. These discoveries are important for their possible influence on radiant systems used elsewhere, including those constructed in hospital tents during the U.S. Civil War (1861-1865). Equally
interesting is the existence of global radiant heating and cooling companies with extensive histories in the field, including Uponor Inc. (Apple Valley, Minn.), whose corporate roots reach back to the 17th century.

As noted recently by Thomas Auer from the world-renowned indoor climate engineering firm Transsolar Energietechnik GmbH, too much focus is placed on air temperature for exclusive comfort control. In thermal climate design, air temperature is only one of ten or so criteria defined in NSI/ASHRAE 55 ­ Thermal Environmental Conditions for Human Occupancy. Of equal importance are the mean radiant temperature, radiant asymmetry and floor temperatures,
according to Bean.

"Unfortunately, in America, radiant is frequently mistakenly touted by modernists as new, high-tech, sophisticated and expensive," says Bean. "In fact, the regulation of heat transfer via radiation is the oldest and simplest solution known to wo(man)kind.

"The world's foremothers and forefathers knew that control over radiant transfer for heating and cooling began first with the shelter, then with fire and then over time with rudimentary but simple floor heating systems serving as a supplement to the enclosure itself," he continues. "Human comfort relies upon the deliberate combination of building performance with
conditioned surfaces, such as warmed or cooled floors, as implied in the term, Œradiant-based HVAC.

"Today, world experts in energy and indoor environments are designing high-performance buildings, using low-temperature radiant heating and high-temperature radiant cooling," Bean continues. "Their objective is to maximize both energy efficiency and exergy efficiency as well as indoor environmental quality within the modern studies of the building and health sciences."

A chronological history of radiant cooling and heating is now being maintained at Bean's website and can be accessed using this link: http://www.healthyheating.com/History_of_Radiant_Heating_and_Cooling/history

Copies of the original article published in the ASHRAE Journal are available from: http://www.ashrae.org/publications/page/540

Those interested in contributing to the evolution of this topic can contact Robert Bean via [email protected] or at 403/278.8481.

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