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Building our new energy future! Insight from Sheila J. Hayters, ASHRAE President!
September 12, 2018

Building our new energy future! Insight from Sheila J. Hayters, ASHRAE President!

In ASHRAE Journal August 2018 I was very excited to find an interesting presidential theme by Sheila J. Hayters, ASHRAE president for 2018-2019. Sheila is the second woman to become the ASHRAE president!

I must admit that I was also very pleased to see that the expert support for this year´s presidential address was Ruby Nahan. Another woman supporting and developing such a great and extensive ASHRAE society theme! Way to go, ladies!

Sheila J. Hayters´ presidential theme

I was touched by Sheila´s introduction, as she admits that she grew up in the 1970s were pollution, the energy crisis and the environment were the topics in global attention. Sheila´s father Dick was also greatly involved in ASHRAE and together their family spent many summers at ASHRAE annual meetings and conferences.

The most interesting points from Sheila´s presidential address:

  • Buildings are the electricity sector’s number one customer, as they consume 2/3 to ¾ of all electricity that is generated.
  • The model (engineering) for electricity grid is about 100 years old.
  • Most electricity comes from burning fossil fuels (mostly coal or natural gas).
  • Power plants generate electricity at only 30-40% efficiency. They are usually located very far from consumers, thus creating lots of transmission inefficiencies
  • The system is design as one-way flow electricity – from power plants to consumers

Sheila stated: “We tend to think of a building as a box connected to the grid by a feed from the electricity provider. We design and operate buildings to minimize the electricity expense. Considering the current grid, the box is the right way to go. But we need a 21st century and 21st century buildings to focus on.”

What will a 21st century electricity grid look like?

  • Technologies and energy resources (solar and wind) will be integrated with improved and less expensive battery storage and micro grids.
  • Electricity flow would be be-directional, not just one way.
  • There will be electricity business opportunities for individual building owners and third-party providers that will own generation.
  • The grid will work with the “Internet of Things” – smart devices in buildings that communicate via internet and have an impact on electricity loads.
  • Buildings and grid will have to get smarter in very near future, without compromising the health and well-being of occupants and environment.

More information about electricity grid

Read more interesting facts about “Building Our New Energy Future” at https://www.ashrae.org/File%20Library/About/Leadership/new_energy_future_web_061518.pdf

Upcoming “Application Guide on Smart Guide” by ASHRAE, to be published in 2018.


ASHRAE was formed as the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers by the merger in 1959 of American Society of Heating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHAE) founded in 1894 and The American Society of Refrigerating Engineers (ASRE) founded in 1904. Find out more about ASHRAE at https://www.ashrae.org/.

First lady ASHRAE President

First women to become the ASHRAE president was Lynn G. Bellenger for 2010-2011 with theme of “Modeling a Sustainable World”. Her topic for the presidential year focused greatly on sustainability including integrated design, optimization of existing buildings, zero energy buildings, building standards and building modelling, etc.

The ASHRAE presidents serve for one year and you can find all their names (including cover portrait, year of service, presidential theme, speech and Leadership Recall interview – if available) at the Gallery at https://www.ashrae.org/about/leadership/presidential-members-gallery.