Cisco office Tour at Waterpark Place

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Humber ASHRAE begin their Tour of the CISCO offices in Toronto with Bill MacGowan P.Eng., CEM.

On February 3rd, members of the Humber ASHRAE student board were lucky enough to get an extensive tour of the CISCO offices at WaterPark Place down at Queens Quay in Toronto. Some background on what CISCO does:

” [We] shape the future of the Internet by creating unprecedented value and opportunity for our customers, employees, investors, and ecosystem partners.”

You maybe wondering why Humber ASHRAE would be interested in what CISCO provides, since ASHRAE’s focus is primarily on Building Science; however, we came to learn that CISCO has a lot to offer our industry.

Systems they offer:

  • Power over ethernet
  • Smart monitoring
  • BAS (Building automated systems)
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The Innovation Centre Room at CISCO

Starting on January 12th, CISCO opened their doors to the Innovation Centre. A room that contained products from 11 different companies that tackled business problems that were concerned with energy usage, security networks, and building automation systems.

A few of the Innovations that stood out:

  • AERE LIGHT – A LED lighting system that is in a film form. You can literally roll it out like wall paper and it lights up by touch.
  • INVIXIUM ACCESS – fingerprint recognition
  • DELTA CONTROLS – Complete integration of building control systems into CISCO’s network of “The Internet of Things.”
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Video connectivity is huge in CISCO’s world

Next were ushered into one of many conference rooms that focused on Video chat. Through video chat CISCO has reduced their travel needs up to 40%. That is a huge reduction in GHG emissions.

The offices themselves and their mechanical needs are all automated and has sensors everywhere, providing ease of use and energy savings. One the interesting trends in CISCO is seeing is that the IT room is now becoming larger, while the mechanical room is shrinking due to things like power over ethernet and BAS.

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Power over ethernet

Humber ASHRAE would like to extend their sincerest gratitude to CISCO and tour guide William Macgowan. CISCO is changing how new buildings are designed, built and managed, which shows the exciting future of how buildings can be experienced.


By: Chad Thurlow



It may not be the flashiest or hippest software, but at some point you are almost certainly going to have to use Microsoft Excel. “Of course”, you say to yourself, “I know how to use Excel. We did that in grade three”. The problem is, while most of us can use Excel, not all of us know how to use it wisely. If you find yourself awash in ‘#REF!’ and ‘#DIV/0!’, maybe it’s time for a refresher.

Luckily, the eloquent Keith Davidge was happy to share his knowledge at our first Excel Seminar on October 21. Drawing on his workplace experience, Keith covered a wide variety of Excel topics that ASHRAE students should find useful.

One simple trick we learned was how to use ‘IF’ statements to get rid of annoying errors. When a cell uses another cell in a formula, this is called referencing. When a cell that is referenced is blank, the formula that references it can return an error. We can get around this problem by adding a logical test to our formula, for example =IF(K5<>””,D5/K5,””) . This tells Excel to perform the calculation ‘D5/K5′ only if there is a value in K5, and if not then to leave it blank.

Another frustrating source of errors and confusion can be the misuse of relative references. By default, cell and range references are relative. This means that when you copy, for example, the formula =SUM(A1:A3) into column B, it will change to become =SUM(B1:B3). This is sometimes very useful, but not always. Ways around this are to cut (ctrl+x) or insert rows instead of copying (ctrl+c). Another solution is to use absolute references instead, which look like this: =SUM($A$1:$A$3).

It’s one thing to sort through a messy spreadsheet you’ve created yourself, but trying to figure out someone else’s mess is a different battle. This, we learned, can be made a bit easier with the ‘trace precedents’ and ‘trace dependents’ options, found under the formulas tab. These show the relations between cells with a handy arrow.

Conditional formatting was another highlight of the seminar. Excel 2013 has a number of cool formatting options, like data bars and color scales, that are easy to incorporate into your worksheet. However, it is important to remember that while these formats are there to assist in visualizing data they shouldn’t hinder readability.

More seminars are planned for the future, so stay tuned. Our next event will be dealing with some important ASHRAE standards that you need to know, both now and later in your career.

Written by Cassandra Heide

So, you want to be an Energy Manager?

As our understanding of building systems adapts to the brave new world of Energy Management, it is essential that students keep up with current trends in how we manage our built environment.  That being said, it was our great honour to host Scott Rouse of Energy@Work for our very first event of 2014.  Not only was he an incredibly dynamic and engaging speaker, but he also had very practical advice for those of us looking to energy the field of Energy Management.

Energy Management is the practice of lowering energy costs by reducing consumption through careful evaluation of energy usage.  Energy Management strategies can help companies financially by reducing utility consumption, can reduce emissions with greater efficiency and can help companies to be more socially responsible.


Step 1: The Right Stuff

To get where he is today, Scott built on an extensive background of qualifications to create his skill set as the lead of Energy@Work. He is a Professional Engineer, Certified Energy Manager and Sustainability Development Professional, to list just a few of his qualifications. All the letters after his name indicate the importance of ongoing education within this dynamic field.  Whether you have an advanced diploma, an engineering degree or experience in a related field, it’s always important to maintain credentials and pursue greater knowledge.

As students, more education isn’t always our concern.  Often, what counts the most is experience.    Luckily, the scope of energy management is such that work with utilities, companies or consultants are all potential avenues for success.

Step 2: Know Thy Industry

This is of course true to be successful no matter what type of employment you’re in, but it is essential in the green sector as emerging technologies drive rapid change. Scott discussed a number of trends that he summed up with 5 key words:

Transformation – use lots of different metrics for optimal performance!

Transparency – changes made to the building should be made apparent to the tenants

Context – make your changes effective to maximize the investment

Timelines – keep your measurement dynamic

Experimentation – keep up-to-date with technologies and implementation and don’t be afraid to try new things!

Using benchmarking, real-time monitoring and a focus on safety and tenant comfort, Energy@Work has become a great success. Since 2007, they’ve helped to save over $700k in energy and achieved emissions reductions by 240,000 kg CO2e/year.  Those are some pretty impressive statistics!  Those of us interested in energy management can hope to be a part of making positive changes like these within our own careers.

At present, job prospects appear to be pretty good.  With the right training, we can be poised to meet the demands of property managers as utility prices continue to rise and legislation emphasizes demand-side management.


Step 3: Maximize Your Skills

In addition to the key skills of leadership, finances, communication and technical ability, Scott was kind enough to point out some advice that’s especially helpful for new grads:

  • Listen!  Take the time to learn from the expertise of co-workers
  • Network
    • Membership in organizations such as ASHRAE
    • Attend trade shows and conferences
    • Network with whoever you can!
    • Keep yourself aware of trends in the industry, news and politics

Technical Tour of Humber Lakeshore’s “L” Building

On Friday, April 12, 2013 members of the ASHRAE Humber student branch were pleased to attend a facilities presentation and tour of the Humber College – Lakeshore Campus’ L building, given by Humber’s own Facilities Director Spencer Wood. 

 The L building is the hub of the revitalized Lakeshore Campus, which features state of the art sustainable design techniques that combine design strategies with building technology to achieve higher operational efficiencies and significant energy savings.  Some of these measures include:

  • Green roof
  • Daylighting
  • High efficiency HVAC w/ zone control
  • High efficiency lighting
  • Thermal wheel HRV/ERV
  • Occupancy Sensors

 After the presentation on the building systems we were given a walk-through tour of the mechanical rooms.  With the Lakeshore Campus being set on the grounds of an old hospital for the mentally ill, it is unique in both design and layout.  The L building is new build and central to the campus.  The heritage hospital buildings surround the L building in a semi-circular fashion.  A connection is made underground with a series of service tunnels that are now used to run the heating and cooling loops from the boiler and chiller systems. 

 The feel inside the L building was one of comfort and contentment.  As a place primarily designated for learning, one could tell that the design of the building was done with students in mind.  The building flows from classroom to lecture hall, computer lab to study hall, all quite seamlessly.  The Indoor environmental quality was very good and more than suitable for students’ needs.

 Overall, the L building was an impressive bit of engineered design that fits in perfectly at the Humber-Lakeshore campus.  We are grateful to have had the opportunity for visiting the site.  The ASHRAE Humber Student Branch would like to thank Spencer Wood for a great presentation and tour, his knowledge of the building systems was evident and appreciated.