Dan Holohan, well-known technical writer, hydronics expert and longtime PM columnist, really thought he was done speaking to large groups after he retired in 2016. However, once he heard about BNP Media’s new trade show, AEC BuildTech, he decided to make an exception.

“It was such a great mix of the trades, and the education program was so strong that I thought it would be fun to come out of retirement for a day and see if I still have what it takes to be on the same program with all of these industry superstars,” Holohan says. “I'm also looking forward to seeing old friends.”

AEC BuildTech is a new trade show that aims to provide a mix of networking and educational opportunities for nearly everyone involved in the design-build process — from architects and engineers to the construction and skilled-trades workers, including plumbing and mechanical professionals. The inaugural event is scheduled for April 30-May 2, in Rosemont, Illinois, and will showcase the latest design and building processes, products and emerging technologies. The show is supported by more than 20 industry magazines, including Plumbing & Mechanical, PM Engineer, Reeves Journal, Supply House Times, Snips, Roofing Contractor, Engineering News-Record, Engineered Systems, The ACHR News and Architectural Record, just to name a few.

Holohan is one of a handful of presenters in the Plumbing Track. His technical seminar, “Dead Men’s Steam School,” will discuss the many types of old steam heating systems and the problems that arise with them.

“I've taught the ‘Dead Men's Steam’ course many hundreds of times across the U.S., and almost always to very large groups,” Holohan says. “And while it's true that the trade hasn't installed new steam-heating systems in many years, our older cities continue to be home to tens of thousands of these systems, and most need troubleshooting. It's not normal for these system to clang and band, spit water and waste fuel. They were once quiet, quick and efficient. Often, all it takes is a bit of tweaking to dramatically improve their efficiency and provide quiet comfort. And comfort and efficiency will never go out of style.”

Holohan’s course will analyze common misconceptions people have of steam systems and verify the proper way to size, pipe, vent and trap steam-heating systems.

“I'm a heating historian and not an engineer,” he says. “I've spent most of my life studying these systems and I bring to Dead Men's Steam School solid information and tips our attendees won't find elsewhere. I'll wrap that information in delicious stories that will keep them on the edge of their seats and smiling for three hours. I've been known to tell a good tale, and when I'm done, our attendees will be able to do things others say can't be done. I'm going to make them shine. That's my goal, and when I'm done, I'm going to go back to being retired. So don't miss this one!”

John Siegenthaler, P.E., consulting engineer and principal of Appropriate Designs in Holland Patent, New York, and another longtime PM columnist, will also present at AEC BuildTech. Siegenthaler’s “Modern Hydronics Supplied by Air-to-Water Heat Pumps” session will present the basics of how air-to-water heat pumps work, what factors influence their performance, and how they compare with other heat pump systems. Siegenthaler says it’s more important than ever to stay on top of the changing technologies in the industry — and especially in hydronics.

“I’m most looking forward to discussing air-to-water heat pumps to a very diverse audience of building professionals, who may not have any previous exposure to what these heat pumps are capable of,” he says. “The global market for air-to-water heat pumps in 2017 was 2.77 million units. The U.S. share of this market was tiny, but the potential for this market to expand within the U.S. is strong. Air-to-water heat pumps can compete well with other renewable energy heat sources, even though they are not currently subsidized in markets where other renewable energy sources are heavily subsidized.  Eventually, all these sources will have to compete on a level playing field, and air-to-water heat pumps are very well-positioned in this respect.”



More than 80% of the educational sessions at AEC BuildTech will offer Continuing Education Units to provide industry professionals with the credits needed to keep their license/certification, including the sessions presented by Holohan and Siegenthaler.

So far, 32 different educational sessions have been approved by various organizations including The American Institute of Architects (AIA), The International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET), RCI, The American Institute of Building Design (AIBD), The American Institute of Constructors (AIC), PDHengineer, and Building Owners and Managers Institute (BOMI) International.

“We are thrilled to partner with leaders in the industry and provide our attendees the professional credits they need in six separate tracks focused on plumbing, HVACR/mechanical systems, flooring, building envelope, roofing and general contracting,” says Scott Wolters, chief events officer, BNP Media, producers of the event, in a press release. “The editors of our publications have secured an incredible faculty of subject matter experts covering important topics for our attendees to gain the knowledge to leverage tomorrow’s building processes and construction technologies.”

Additional speakers in the Plumbing Track include: Devin Abellon, business development manager, Uponor; Beth Dobkin, director of business coaching, Quality Service Contractors; Tim Schmidt, product manager, Viega; and Max Rohr, academy manager, REHAU. For more information, visit www.AECBuildTech.com.