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How-To: Easy Spring Building Check-Up 

February, 28, 2017 at 02:00

By: Scott Lance, EBCP, LEED AP O+M, Engineering Manager

Now that winter is close to an end in the norther region of the United States, it’s time to start thinking about entering back into the cooling season.

Many facilities shut down their cooling operations in the winter; this includes items such as draining down cooling towers and exterior condenser water piping, shutting down chilled water and condenser water pumps for the season, and stopping chemical treatment of these systems. Now is the time to start performing some operational checks before that first warm day in late March or early April happens.

The easiest things to do while chilled water systems are shut down, is to start-up pumps and recirculate water through the entire interior chilled water system. This will break-up any rust scale that might have settled in the system throughout the winter and collect this material in wye strainers and suction screens of pumps. Once the recirculation has taken place, clean out the strainers and screens. During the recirculation operation, check motor voltage and amperage for all three phases of power; this will help determine if the pump motor has any issues. You’ll see it in the amperage readings, or it will determine if there is a phase imbalance issue with the incoming power.

Also, look for leaks while the system is running; when pumps sit for an extended period of time and then start back up it may cause a shaft seal to start to leak. Identifying a leak now and repairing it will be more convenient then when chilled water is actually required to be online and stable.

This is also a great time to do

 

Engineers Week: Q/A with a Mechanical Engineer 

February, 21, 2017 at 09:00

Jordan Ridgley, Field Engineer

How do you think engineers are making a difference in our world?

Engineers are the backbone of our world today. Almost every aspect of our daily lives have been touched by an engineer in some way; the car you travel to work in, the social media site you use on a daily basis, the soda you drink at lunch and the home you live in have all been influenced by an engineer in one form or another.

What interested you the most about becoming an engineer?

I have always enjoyed learning how things work and troubleshooting issues. That made mechanical engineering a no-brainer because that’s what we get to do on a daily basis.

What young people can do now to prepare themselves for a career in engineering?

To prepare yourself to become an engineer, get as many diverse experiences outside the classroom as possible. Math equations can always be taught and learned but being well rounded and having a basic understanding of how everyday items like a lawn mower or a water heater works will help once you start your career.

 

Engineers Week: Inspiring Youth to Pursue Engineering 

February, 21, 2017 at 50:00 Categories: Energy engineering

John Lutz, Engineering Manager

Do you ever stop and think about how everyday technologies make our lives easier and make our world work? How does a cell phone allow me talk to my friends on the opposite side of the world? How does a plane that weighs over a hundred tons fly through the air and let us cross continents in a matter of hours? How can my microwave turn hard kernels of corn to crunchy pieces of popcorn? We can look all around us and see ideas in motion that serve a purpose; these ideas have one thing in common, engineering. Engineering principles and applications are at play in all human innovation.

In our world, it is very easy to take all these technologies and innovations for granted, if people don’t take the time to understand the engineering or the science behind them, the knowledge could be lost. Young people taking an interest in engineering and turning that interest into a thirst for knowledge is what propels our world forward.

For parents and adults, taking the time to share what you know and help inspire the young people in your life, could be the difference between making science and engineering something that is intimidating or something that becomes a passion.

For professionals or individuals in the engineering fields, take the time, reach out, and find a youth group or STEM program in your community and volunteer your time and experience. The task is simple, do not be daunted by wondering if you’re “expert enough” to teach others; a lifelong passion can be inspired by prompting a child to ask the simple question of “what if?”

 

The Relationship of BECx to LEED V.4 

February, 02, 2017 at 45:00 Categories: Building Commissioning Energy Energy Efficiency engineering

LEED Version 4 has recently put the spotlight on Building Envelope Commissioning (BECx), in a good way. In the event your project is pursuing the credit associated with “Enhanced Commissioning”, you will be required to retain a BECx Agent, and quickly. BECx has been introduced to ensure the performance of the enclosure is coordinated with all related building systems, and to increase the overall energy efficiency of the building.

Some of the key factors associated with the new version are highlighted below:

  • Minimum Requirements for Exterior Enclosure.
  • Enhanced Commissioning Credit, BECx Agent during DD Phase.
  • Enhanced Commissioning Credit, BECx Agent responsibilities throughout the project.
  • Enhanced Commissioning Credit, Provide Post Occupancy Review and Support.
 

Tips for Ensuring Proper Building Enclosure Commissioning 

December, 30, 2016 at 23:00

Part Three of our Building Enclosure email series will discuss... Tips for Ensuring Proper Building Enclosure Commissioning

We have put together the following tips to ensure that you are well covered and versed in what you should expect when moving forward with this service:

  1. Is the BECx Agent Qualified? A qualified BECx Agent should not only have experience in the Commissioning process, but also demonstrate a vast knowledge in the fundamental principles of building envelope design, engineering, fabrication, installation, and testing of a variety of cladding systems.
     
  2. Understand the standards. Your BECx Agent should be well versed in the accepted industry standards which include ASTM E2813, Standard Practice for Building Enclosure Commissioning; ASTM E2947, Standard Guide for Building Enclosure Commissioning, NIBS Guideline 3-2006 and ASHRAE Standard 202, Commissioning Process for Buildings and Systems.

 

What are the Benefits of Building Enclosure Commissionng? 

December, 13, 2016 at 33:00
Part Two of our Building Enclosure email series will discuss...
  1. Ensure systems are properly detailed and specified.
  2. Ensure proper material fabrication methodologies (improves material longevity).
  3. Ensure systems are properly installed on-site.
  4. Ensure systems are meeting the specified performance criteria post installation.
  5. Avoid issues post occupancy.
All of these benefits can help you to save money and energy!
Would you like more information about Building Enclosure Cx? Send us an email with your inquiries. We are also available to schedule a phone call or meeting to discuss your needs/questions!
 

Benefits of Steam Trap Surveys 

Now's the time to start thinking about your steam usage!
November, 29, 2016 at 20:00

Written By: Steven Johnson, Project Engineer, Horizon Engineering Associates, LLP

When performing a steam trap survey on your building’s systems, owners/operators receive a comprehensive map of how efficiently their current steam systems are operating. A well-executed steam trap survey will also include a plan for increasing the system's efficiency by detailing which steam traps have failed or are not functioning within their peak operating parameters. Another benefit of a properly conducted steam trap survey is that, once completed, a database will be in place to monitor the lifespan of the plant’s steam traps and provide insight as to when each steam trap should be replaced. Once the failed steam traps have been replaced, significant savings, in not only energy costs but also makeup water usage, will be realized. 

Other major benefits of maintaining a properly functioning steam plant originates in the mechanical room itself. Steam traps that have failed to open or are leaking will allow steam to travel through the condensate piping, resulting in high temperature condensate, or steam, reaching the condensate pump impeller. If either of these fluids reach the impeller, the fluid will flash upon an increase in pressure and cause cavitation. Cavitation is devastating to pump performance and will often require a major pump overhaul. Failed steam traps will also increase the air temperature of the mechanical room. In most cases, mechanical equipment will function optimally at lower air temperatures. The lower temperature environment that a fully functional steam plant creates indirectly increases system performance, thereby decreasing operating costs. 

 

What is Building Enclosure Commissioning (BECx)? 

September, 27, 2016 at 22:00 Categories: Building Commissioning Energy Energy Efficiency
HEA loves to stay ahead of the curve - who doesn't? This is why we've put a lot of effort into our newest service offering, Building Enclosure Commissioning (BECx). This process will deliver an efficient building and can also keep your facility in tip top shape. But, first...
 

What is Building Enclosure Commissioning?

 
BECx is a quality-oriented process implemented to provide a building enclosure that meets (and most times, exceeds) Owner's Project Requirements.
 

High Performance Building Envelope 

July, 22, 2016 at 03:00 Categories: Building Commissioning Energy Energy Efficiency engineering



By: Robert Golda, Building Enclosure Associate

As building codes and energy codes continue to advance, especially as they are beginning to align with the latest versions of ASHRAE 90.1, the requirements for higher performing exterior envelopes is becoming the norm on many buildings across the country. 

With more stringent U-values, and much lower Solar Heat Gain Coefficients (SHGC) for fenestration systems, the cladding industry is quickly reacting by providing more high performance systems for the typical building stock. In addition, strong research into the effectiveness of air barriers, and the demonstrated cost savings when they are properly designed and installed, continues to highlight the importance of the building envelope and its roll in energy performance.

 

Solutions For Keeping Your Building Cool in the Summer 

Chilled Water

By: Christopher Duranceau, CCP, Project Engineer

With the summer temperatures gearing upwards, it is important for facility operators to be proactive with their building’s HVAC cooling systems. Most large HVAC systems rely on mechanical cooling. This could be a chilled water system or perhaps a closed loop direct expansion (DX) system. Each system presents its own unique set of maintenance requirements before being able to fully operate during the cooling season.

This article will quickly summarize the needs of a chilled water system and DX system.