Brian Fauver, Project Engineer

Brian Fauver, Project Engineer, has been selected as the Employee of the Month Q/A with Brian: - If you could vacation anywhere on the planet, where would you go? An Alaskan cruise or go to Hawaii. - What is something about you that would... Read More

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.

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Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF): Growing Trend Explained


By: Thomas Conn, Field Engineer, NYC Office

Variable Refrigerant Flow, commonly referred to as VRF, is a method of heating and cooling spaces that is quickly gaining acceptance and popularity in the United States. Although VRF, which uses refrigerant in either a subcooled liquid or superheated vapor state to heat and cool spaces, was invented in Japan in 1982, it was only introduced to the United States in the 2000s. This “new” technology spread quickly across several large markets and is now a viable option for heating and cooling in almost any application.

What is VRF?
The concept of VRF is a rather simple, and literal, expansion of the tried and true refrigeration cycle. It should be explained by comparing it to a traditional chiller system first: instead of the evaporator being a heat exchanger where the refrigerant cools down water to be pumped through terminal units to cool a space, the refrigerant flows through coils inside an “Indoor Unit” which blows air taken from the conditioned space over the coils (which are acting as the evaporator), cooling the air and heating the refrigerant. The refrigerant travels back up to the “Outdoor Unit” to be pressurized by the compressor and reject heat to the atmosphere in the outdoor unit’s coils (this takes the place of a condenser in a traditional system)...

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Employee Spotlight: Ryan Younis

Employee of the Month

Employee of the Month: Ryan Younis, Field Engineer.

Aside from being an all-around amazing engineer, Ryan identified over 30 deficiencies that could have created major issues with system operation if not brought to anyone’s attention. Here's a quick Q/A with him:
• If you could vacation anywhere on the planet, where would you go? I have always wanted to go explore the Philippines.
• What is something about you that would surprise people? I just adopted a puppy – a dachshund beagle mix named Ella!
• Describe your perfect Saturday? Boozy brunch and a day in the Prospect Park with the dog.
• What is something you would like to learn to do? I love home improvement, so I would love to learn more about do-it-yourself home improvement.  
• What do you like best about working at HEA? I like being involved in the energy audits and reducing the energy consumption of major NYC buildings.

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HEA is Providing Commissioning Services for the Tappan Zee Bridge Replacement Project

 Horizon Engineering Associates, LLP (HEA) has been hired by Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (a consortium of some of the world’s best-known and most highly-regarded design, engineering and construction firms) to provide Independent Quality Assurance Commissioning Engineering services for the $3.98 billion Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project.

HEA will be providing commissioning services for all bridge and facility systems (maintenance and state policy facility). Building systems include bridge systems (power, lighting, intelligent traffic systems, structural health monitoring, security, network communication, radio and facilities systems), building automation systems, mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems. HEA’s services will provide documented confirmation that building systems function in accordance with criteria set forth in the project documents to satisfy the owner’s operational needs.

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Employee Spotlight: Anthony Grgas

Employee of the Month

Anthony Grges was recently awarded HEA's Employee of the Month award! Here's a quick Q/A with him:

If you could vacation anywhere on the planet, where would you go?
If it's someplace I've never been before, it would be Iceland. If it's someplace I've been to before and would like to go would be New Zealand.

What is something about you that would surprise people?
Outside of work...I am always looking to make something new. I've done some iPhone programming, made an LED candle that flickers when you blow on it, and now I'm looking into building a cheap & smart greenhouse (a small greenhouse) to grow my veggies during the wife calls me a busy little squirrel.

Describe your perfect Saturday?
Good breakfast, nice run (tennis/soccer), yard work, hobby time, making dinner, and cap everything off with a good show or movie.

What is something you would like to learn to do?
Learn another language.

What do you like best about working at HEA?
The communication. A construction project is like a big game of "telephone;" messages morph as they are passed around. With successful and seamless turnover as our primary goal, we (commissioning agents) should really vet information and make sure it's conveyed in an emotive fashion with the right tone/urgency to right person.  

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Uncover Hidden Energy Savings Using Demand Control Ventilation and Building Pressure Control

Written by: Scott Lance, EBCP, LEED AP O&M – Engineering Manager

Currently, there is a popular trend of controls companies providing demand control ventilation (DCV), or CO2 control, in existing buildings. DCV is normally introduced for energy saving purposes, in some rare cases it is installed to remedy a lack of outside air being introduced for ventilation. But, DCV for energy saving purposes is not as easy as reducing intake outside air at the air handling units (AHUs) based on building CO2 levels.

Typically, control companies are installing CO2 sensors in the space or in the return air duct work to an AHU. These are good locations to monitor CO2 levels for an entire building or building zone. But, where are the energy savings calculated?

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Reducing Duct Leakage in Existing Buildings: Aeroseal Technology

Written by: Nicholas Neiley, Project Engineer

Unchecked, duct leakage can be a significant added cost in any ventilation system; particularly existing laboratory buildings. The cost to condition and deliver outdoor air can range from $7 to $12/cfm per year depending on local climate and utility costs. This can make any leakage on 100% outdoor air systems extremely expensive. During a recent controls upgrade project at Cornell University, significant utility savings were captured through the use of a duct sealing technology called Aeroseal.

The Baker Lab project initially included an upgrade the control system of a modern DDC system to address ongoing maintenance and energy efficiency concerns. During testing, balancing, and commissioning, it was identified that the existing ductwork systems had significant leakage, up to 30% in some locations. This was largely due to the existing ductwork systems utilizing clay flues in the original 1921 building construction. An Aeroseal vendor was contracted to seal all the exhaust risers and most supply risers.

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Identifying and Fixing a $250,000 blunder

By: Scott Lance, EBCP, LEED AP O+M, Senior Project Engineer


  • HEA was hired to provide commissioning services for a higher education dormitory.
  • During the test and balance (TAB) period of the project, it was discovered by the TAB contractor and HEA that the dual temperature system was unable to be balanced. It was also noted that the extremities of the two wings of all three floors could not provide any heat to the occupied dorm rooms. This resulted in parents pulling students out of school due to the dorms not being able to be heated and 85% redo of the building piping systems - a $250,000 error!

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