Category: Energy

Since the first water-tube boilers made over one hundred thirty years ago, central energy plants have provided a consolidated energy source for multiple building complexes. Central utility plants now include boilers, chillers, thermal storage, cogeneration equipment, electrical gear and monitoring, and energy management systems. The primary benefits of central utility plants, compared to smaller local systems, are reduced operating costs, better maintainability, less downtime, and easier servicing. The major disadvantage is first cost. more

Technological advancements in the building design and construction industry are allowing the performance envelope to be pushed from all directions. Reducing energy usage, improving occupant comfort, optimizing lighting levels, and integrating systems to simplify operation and maintenance practices are all examples of issues that require close scrutiny and expertise when designing high performance buildings. To achieve success with such projects, high performance buildings require a more collaborative approach to design and construction. In order to produce and sustain the performance levels of these types of facilities, owners are actively involved during the design process and have upgraded their approach to operations and maintenance. more

The current approach in building design focuses almost solely on increasing energy efficiency by improving system-oriented controls and behavior. However, occupant behavior also affects energy efficiency. To provide a more realistic modeling result, occupant behavior needs to be included in energy modeling.  more

 

“Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily.”

– Franciscan friar William of Ockham

Among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected. There are many interpretations of Occam’s Razor, a line of reasoning attributed to English philosopher William of Ockham, but put most plainly: the simplest explanation is usually right. Scientists, detectives, and doctors all use the razor to trim away improbable explanations and arrive at the truth.  more

Campus energy plants produce chilled water, heating water, steam and/or electricity to serve a group of buildings in a common location. These energy plants are a vital key in today’s quest to design buildings with higher energy efficiency, reduced carbon footprints, water saving features, and lower environmental impact. more

Agent-based modeling and multi-agent modeling are relatively new methods that have been successful in answering many biological, social and behavioral questions such as analysis of the spread of epidemics, workforce management, and modeling consumer behavior in recent years. They share overlapping roots with gaming theory and its concepts, and adopting this type of modeling into engineering systems decision-making can create solutions to our daily problems in ways that were not possible before. more

The pursuit of the Living Building Challenge pushes projects to be not just ‘less harmful’ to the environment, but to be at a minimum neutral and at its utmost, a ‘restorative’ impact to the environment.

The Living Building Challenge currently has over 200 projects registered in 14 countries, including the United States, Canada, China, India, Mexico, Haiti, Lebanon, France, Romania, Australia, and New Zealand, in various stages of design, construction, and occupancy.

Similar to LEED, it is a holistic approach to the building design but pushes the boundaries by achieving net positive energy, net positive water, and paying careful consideration to the materials used. Site, equity, beauty, health, and process are also critical components incorporated into the design.  more

Willis Manor, named for the WWII Medal of Honor Winner, was procured as Design-Build P-123 Bachelor Quarters, Homeport Ashore Norfolk Naval Station (N40085-11-C-4572). The Clark Construction/LS3P design team was awarded the project as the first NAVFAC MIDLANT project evaluated for Total Ownership Cost (TOC). For the design-build team, P-123 represents the culmination of 12 years of involvement in design-build competition and delivery for NAVFAC and USACE. Many Clark Construction/LS3P projects have included BEQs and barracks, and the team has developed a wealth of knowledge in appropriate systems selection and implementation. more

Two years ago, I was invited to visit the Atlanta corporate campus of Assurant, Inc. to discuss their Energy Star score – it was too low and they wanted to do something about it. The twelve story office building was burdened by a chiller plant that was all original construction. Chillers, pumps, and cooling towers were well-maintained, but after more than 27 years of service, they were showing their age and not performing at the level they once did. This initial meeting unofficially began design efforts that have resulted in the recent completion of a $5.7 million upgrade to the HVAC and Electrical systems, a construction project that already has proven itself with lower electrical bills that bring a smile to Tony Ring, Manager of Maintenance Operations for Assurant.  more

In simplest terms, Net Zero Energy (NZE) buildings produce as much energy as they consume. However, it isn’t enough to design and build a net zero energy building. Long term success is based on the interdependence and collaboration between design, construction, operations and occupant behavior.  more