Wednesday, July 18, 2007


The geniuses who "designed" our air conditioning "system" have struck again.

Sunday afternoon there was a series of thunderstorms in the area. Nothing severe hit Durham, although Rochester was hit with a microburst.

Nonetheless, Sunday's storms are being blamed for toasting a relay in the chiller plant. As a result, we have no air conditioning until further notice. They don't know when a full-fledged replacement transformer will come in, so they are promising that they will try to get something rigged up--but that will probably not happen before the middle of next week.

Air conditioning system failures have long been an annual (or more often) occurrence here, but this is absurd. Being honest-to-goodness rocket scientists (yes, we build space flight hardware here), we know better than to design systems with easily avoidable single point failure modes, especially in critical components. This is exactly what our B&G people are claiming we have here: one component failed, supposedly during a non-severe thunderstorm (not exactly a rarity in the summer), and we have to sweat it out for more than a week.

I want to hope that the university didn't pay a lot for this system--after all, air conditioning systems have been around for decades--but I'm sure they paid too much.

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