- FIRM PROFILE
Vernon joins Newcomb & Boyd’s Consulting Engineering Group as a Plumbing Designer. He has taken continuing education classes in the following disciplines: Network Engineering at Chubb Institute, Drafting/AutoCAD at Mechanic’s Institute, and Plumbing Design at New York University School of Continuing and Professional Studies.
Michael Conners joins Newcomb & Boyd’s Special Technology Group as an Intelligent Building Consultant. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree from Kennesaw State University in May of 2016 and is currently attending their Graduate School for a Master of Science in Quality Assurance – Engineering Quality Assurance degree.
Arturo Garcia joins Newcomb & Boyd’s Consulting Engineering Group as an Electrical Engineer. He graduated from Kennesaw State University where he was a Hispanic Scholarship Fund Scholar and was on both the Dean’s and President’s List. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering degree from KSU in December of 2018.
Please join us in congratulating our new Associate Partners, Senior Associates, and Associates. We are proud to work with some of the best and brightest minds out there to serve our clients, provide innovative solutions, and deliver outstanding environments that are healthy, comfortable and efficient.
Newcomb & Boyd is proud to welcome our new co-ops for Spring 2019. From a quadrilingual AP Scholar to a web platform founder, these young men and women have accumulated an impressive amount of experience both academically and personally. They are heavily involved in campus organizations and professional societies, all while also contributing to MEP projects that are developing their practical skills and knowledge in their respective fields of study. Get to know more about them as they contribute to the success of Newcomb & Boyd and embark on their future careers.
Lynn Thackery joins Newcomb & Boyd’s Special Technology Group as a Security Consultant. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Electronics Engineering degree from Wright State University and her Master of Business Administration degree from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management.
Kimberly Stroud joins Newcomb & Boyd’s Consulting Engineering Group as a Mechanical Engineer. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree from North Carolina A &T State University in 2001, and a Certificate in Construction Management, Specialty Construction from Kennesaw State University in 2018.
Nate Lea joins Newcomb & Boyd’s Special Technologies Group as a Communications Consultant. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering degree from Kansas State University in 2013. Nate previously worked for Hoss and Brown Engineers as a Staff Engineer.
Garrett Morin joins Newcomb & Boyd’s Consulting Engineering Group as a Mechanical Engineer. He earned his Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering degree from Kennesaw State University in 2017 and his Associate of Science, Engineering degree from the University of North Georgia in 2015. Garrett previously worked for Proficient TAB as a Technician and Designer.
Elliott Clowdis joins Newcomb & Boyd’s Consulting Engineering Group as a Mechanical Engineer. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering degree from Old Dominion University in 2015. Previously, Elliott worked for Gray & Postell Inc. as a Mechanical Design Engineer.
Sarah Batchelor joins Newcomb & Boyd’s Marketing Department as a Marketing and Communications Coordinator. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Organizational Management degree from Agnes Scott College in 2011, and her Master of Business Administration and Marketing degree from East Carolina University in 2013. Sarah previously worked for Total Systems Commissioning, Inc. as a Marketing & Business Development Manager.
Jade Printup joins Newcomb & Boyd’s Accounting Department as a team member in Finance and Accounting. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree with a concentration in Management from Alabama State University in December of 2013. Jade previously worked for Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart, Stewart & Associates, Inc. as a Staff Accountant.
The 85,000 square foot Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center at Auburn University will feature two large performance venues. The building, which is pursuing LEED certification under the LEED-NC v2009 rating system, is projected to achieve significant energy cost savings when compared to a baseline building. more
Jacob Pullias joins Newcomb & Boyd’s Consulting Engineering Group as an Electrical Engineer. He earned his Bachelor of Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering degree from Virginia Military Institute in May of 2015. Jacob has previously worked as a Field Engineer for Electrical Power Systems in Salem, Virginia.
Our firm was founded by a visionary engineer who saw that modern heating and ventilation technologies would revolutionize the built environment. We grew along with the Atlanta skyline, shaped by the vibrancy and energy of our city and the region. more
For many of our new building projects, Owners ask about the expected energy costs of the proposed building so that they can financially plan for those costs. Benchmarking against the industry averages is a good first step. The table below, by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), outlines the expected energy costs for code-compliant buildings of various occupancy types.
John Fitzpatrick joins the Consulting Engineer Group in Atlanta as an Electrical Engineer. He earned his Associate of Applied Science in Avionic Systems Technology degree from Community College of the Air Force in 2007 and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Kennesaw State University in 2016 with his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering Technology degree.
Melissa Chumbley joins the Lighting Design Group in Atlanta as a Lighting Designer. She earned her Bachelors in Environmental Design, Emphasis in Architecture, from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 2016. Additionally, Melissa has certificates in Lighting Design and Technology, Arts, and Media from the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Carolina Jakob Valdiviezo joins the Consulting Engineering Group in Atlanta as an Electrical Engineer. She earned her Bachelors in Engineering Science in 2012 and her Masters in Material Science and Engineering in 2013 from the Stony Brook University in New York. Additionally, Carolina is a Professional Engineer in Texas.
Bilton Bryan joins the Consulting Engineering Group in Atlanta as an Electrical Engineer. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering Technology degree from Southern Polytechnic State University in 2005. Bilton previously worked as an Electrical Designer for NBP Engineers in Macon, Georgia, and a Design Engineer, Electrical for Shepherd Harvey & Associates in Duluth, Georgia.
Storm shelters provide safety from tornadoes, hurricanes, and severe storms. They are specialized spaces with specific design considerations! The ICC 500, ICC/NSSA Standard for the Design and Construction of Storm Shelters – 2014 defines 2 types of shelters: tornado shelters are designed for 2 hours of use, and hurricane shelters are for a 24-hour event. more
John Garretson joins Newcomb & Boyd’s Special Technology Group as an Acoustical Consultant. John graduated Summa Cum Laude from Columbia College Chicago with his Bachelor of Arts in Audio Arts and Acoustics, Concentration in Acoustics degree in May of 2011. John has more than six years of experience as an Acoustical Consultant and has previously worked as a Project Consultant for D.I. Adams Associates and an Acoustical Engineer for Aerosonics. more
Kameron Lipsey joins the Consulting Engineering Group in our Charleston office as a Mechanical Engineer. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree from Clemson University in May of 2018. Kameron began his career co-oping with Newcomb & Boyd in 2017.
Matt Rossey joins Newcomb & Boyd’s Accounting Department as Manager, Accounting. Matt earned his Bachelor in Business Administration-Finance, degree and a Masters in Business Administration degree from the University of West Georgia. Matt has previously worked as a Director-Finance & Accounting for Classic Signature Foods, Inc. and a Manager-Financial Planning & Controls for Hoshizaki America.
Get to know one of our talented engineers in our Special Technologies Group! With 8 years of experience designing communications systems, Igor’s design experience encompasses more than 70 projects for academic buildings, military installations, and health care facilities.
To prevent the unintended utilization of extension cords and to eliminate daisy-chains of “power strips”, the 2017 version of the National Electrical Code (NEC) now provides guidelines for locations and quantities of receptacles provided in meeting rooms. Historically, the NEC has not dictated receptacle layouts for individual space types in non-residential construction.
Per the NEC, meeting rooms are typically designed or intended for the gathering of seated occupants for such purposes as conferences, deliberations, or similar purposes, where portable electronic equipment is likely to be used. The infographic below helps explain the receptacle and floor box layout process, but Article 210-71 in the 2017 NEC outlines the actual requirements.
The $110M State of Georgia Judicial Complex will replace the former Georgia Archives Building, constructed in 1965 and commonly referred to as the “White Ice Cube”. Newcomb & Boyd designed the replacement archives facility, located in Morrow in 2000 and provided minor renovations and evaluations to the building destined to be demolished.
Nick Efird joins Newcomb & Boyd’s Consulting Engineering Group as a Plumbing Engineer. Nick began his engineering career as a Co-Op in 2016. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from The University of Georgia with his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree in Spring of 2018. more
Andrew Strack joins Newcomb & Boyd’s Consulting Engineering Group as a Fire Protection Engineer. He graduated Cum Laude from the University of Florida with his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree and a minor in Sales Engineering and Business Administration in 2009. He earned his Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree from Georgia Tech in 2010. more
IWBI, the International Well Building Institute, launched WELL Building Standard version 2 pilot (WELL v2) on May 31st, 2018. Under the leadership of Rick Fedrizzi (previously CEO and founding chair of the USGBC from 2001 to 2016), IWBI is working to reduce barriers to entry while maintaining features that distinguish WELL Building Standard version 1 (WELL v1) from other certifications in the market. They are keen to entice and push the existing building market towards WELL. The hope is that with the WELL v2 pilot they can close the gap and target this huge market, increasing the equity of the buildings pursuing WELL. more
Noah Eggleston joins Newcomb & Boyd’s Consulting Engineering Group as a Mechanical Engineer. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree with a minor in Global Development from Georgia Tech in May of 2018. Noah began his career co-oping with Newcomb & Boyd in August of 2015. more
Get to know one of our talented engineers in our Atlanta Office! Amanda has 5 years of experience in the design of plumbing systems. Her experience includes over 30 projects for new and renovated facilities, including health care, k-12, corporate, and higher education facilities.
Mitch Costley joins Newcomb & Boyd’s Consulting Engineering Group as an Electrical Engineer. He earned his Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degrees in Electrical Engineering from Georgia Tech. Mitch was previously a Managing Engineer in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science practice at Exponent, Inc., where he provided failure analysis, custom testing, and other consulting services on a wide array of electrical and electronic systems. more
William Tibbitts joins Newomb & Boyd’s Consulting Engineering Group as an Electrical Engineer. William began co-oping for Newcomb & Boyd in 2016 and continued to work part-time with us until he earned his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering degree, from Kennesaw State University (though he still prefers to think of it as Southern Polytechnic State University) in May of 2018.
It’s officially summer vacation season. Finally.
Time to take trips to the lake or the beach, and go swimming, hiking, biking, fishing, and exploring. Enjoying all these activities usually means planning out several different trips, but Gulf State Park offers all of the above within walking distance of a new hotel built with sustainability in mind. more
Get to know one of our talented engineers in the Charleston office! With 20 years of project management and mechanical engineering experience, Chris has provided mechanical, plumbing, fire sprinkler systems design and construction administration services on over 450 projects of varying size and complexity for commercial, corporate, military, higher education, hospitality and mixed-use, mission critical, industrial, K-12, and health care clients.
Rusty Scott joins Newcomb & Boyd’s Consulting Engineering Group as a Plumbing and Fire Protection Engineer. He earned his Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering degree from Georgia Tech in May of 2016. Rusty was previously a Fire Protection Designer for Century Fire Protection. more
Kevin Edwards joins Newcomb & Boyd’s Consulting Engineering Group as a Fire Protection Engineer. He earned his Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering degree, with minors in Computer Science and Spanish from Georgia Tech in December of 2017. Kevin has a strong interest in the practical application of design, automation, and robotics to promoting productivity and efficiency. He has previously worked as a Mechanical Engineering Intern for the Eaton Corporation and an Undergraduate Research Assistant for the Exoskeleton and Prosthetic Intelligent Controls Lab at Georgia Tech. more
Josh Walker joins Newcomb & Boyd’s Special Technologies Group as a Communications Engineer. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Telecommunications Management degree from DeVry University in 2002. Josh has experience in multi-family, class-A office, and hospitality high rise buildings. He was previously the Managing Director of One Code Technologies, Inc., and the Director of Technology at Landmark Properties, Inc.
The United States Air Force is moving away from LEED certification and is moving to Guiding Principles certification.
Since 2001, new federal facilities have been required to comply with federal sustainable building requirements called the Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings (also known simply as Guiding Principles). more
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and General Services Administration (GSA) have recently developed a new certification for healthy buildings. This new rating system, Fitwel, introduces a user-friendly, intuitive, and affordable approach to not only achieve healthy building certification, but also to create an environment in which employees are happier, healthier, and more productive. more
The WELL Building Standard, or WELL, focuses attention solely on the health and wellness of building occupants. WELL was pioneered by Delos, is administered by
International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), and is third-party certified through IWBI’s collaboration with Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI). more
A building becomes intelligent when its HVAC, lighting, power, low voltage, and other systems speak the same language, share meaningful information, and work together to enhance the building’s performance, add functionality and achieve performance, wellness, and engagement goals. This gives building owners the ability to install apps, such as Comfy, which provides the occupant control over zone lighting and temperature from their phones. Apps like Rifiniti also generate statistics about the usage of the rooms in a building. more
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
The American health care system remains the worldwide standard for quality care, physicians produced, and research. One of the obvious reasons for this reputation is the commitment to excellence evidenced in the facilities cooperated by medical schools. These facilities can include research laboratories, medical education buildings, imaging center, and vivariums. The medical school of tomorrow uses the latest in technology, energy conservation, and facility design to attract and educate both physicians and scientists. 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
Communications, entertainment, productivity and resource management are all becoming increasingly mobile. As smartphones and mobile devices proliferate, people are expecting the same level of mobility at the office and in public spaces. Planning for successful and comprehensive wireless voice and data applications requires an understanding of networks, cabling infrastructure, building design and radio frequency (RF) signal behavior. 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
A master plan is a critical tool for any building owner. Most facilities management, design and construction professionals recognize the value of a master plan for a building or campus. A master plan focuses attention on the owner’s ultimate goals so that every facilities decision contributes to these goals. Some master plans, though, focus almost exclusively on architectural issues and do not adequately address engineering and infrastructure features. An engineering master plan, whether separate or as part of an architectural master plan, can allow building system and utility infrastructure decisions to be made within a framework that furthers the owner’s goals in a cost-effective and efficient manner. more
Institutional Owners are groups who build, own, renovate, and maintain multiple buildings on a regular basis. These Owners are more likely to be interested in longer payback on initial building capital costs to achieve straightforward maintenance and lower energy consumption. They are sophisticated and know how they want their buildings and consultants to perform. These types of Owners may be in the business of higher education, aviation, healthcare, research, corrections, or corporate activities, among others. They may be public or private. They all have common needs that are different, and in most cases, more complex than those of other Owners. more
As a result of the political and economic events of recent years, governmental revenues available for correctional facilities’ construction and operation have steadily declined. To continue providing value to our clients, correctional facilities designers must adapt to the constraints imposed by reduced funding. By providing high-value design services, creative engineering practices can keep both first costs and operating costs reasonable. 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
Sound influences our daily lives regardless of its intent. Advancements in the field of acoustics have led to a more comprehensive understanding of the relevance of this science to our world. Effective, collaborative efforts, along with thoughtful design strategies, can result in an environment that enhances our perception, and ultimately our performance. more
An electrical hazard analysis identifies dangers that are present in an electrical system. This starts at the building’s electrical service and continues through the electrical distribution system to the building loads, including panelboards, motors, safety switches, etc. This analysis should identify electrocution (shock) hazards, arc flash (burn) hazards and arc blast (pressure & shrapnel) hazards. 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
Canstruction® is a design/build competition for companies in the building industry to create structures using only canned food. This event raises awareness for hunger in the community and provides a collection for local food banks. The Atlanta CANstruction event supports the Atlanta Community Food Bank in its efforts to provide sustenance each week to over 80,000 people in Northwest Georgia who experience food insecurity.
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
Have you ever wondered what the most frequent citations are during Joint Commission surveys? Speculate no more! The Joint Commission has teamed up with The American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) to identify the top eight physical environmental standards that are most frequently cited during Joint Commission surveys. Physical Environmental standards include, but are not limited to, fire safety features, egress concerns, and mechanical and electrical system design and operation issues. Citations are made during on-site surveys conducted by The Joint Commission every three years as a part of the process that allows hospitals to maintain their accreditation. 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 this 21st century, it is truly amazing how quickly we can gather so much data with just a few mouse clicks! Our company database stores information for our 10,000+ projects, 4,500+ opportunity pursuits, 6,000+ companies, provides resume information for our 160+ employees, and even tells me that I have logged 51,665 hours to 344 Newcomb & Boyd projects (insert engineers and numbers jokes here). more
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standard 96 clearly states the requirements for Type I grease hoods over commercial cooking equipment, but what are the requirements for hoods over domestic cooking equipment and how should we approach the installation of domestic cooking equipment in a commercial facility? more
The second session I attended at the 2015 American Alliance of Museums was Spatially Literate Digital Experiences with Nathan Moody and Alan Maskin. The presentation opened with the picture of a musical swing set in Montreal, seen above, which shows consideration of spatially literate designs. In this exhibit the designers found an underused area and, understanding the desire for community involvement, created an interactive exhibit that was so popular it is now a permanent installation! more
Today, the unfortunate news of a shooting at our nation’s schools is far too common. As educational campuses implement security measures and create plans of action in the event of an attack, Corporate America is also considering their course of action to mitigate the threat of, and prepare for, an active shooter. more
Bustling Atlanta is no stranger to hosting fantastic conferences. Upon learning that this year’s American Alliance of Museums Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo was taking place in my backyard, I knew I couldn’t miss the opportunity to strengthen my knowledge of effective museum design. 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
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and its Committee on the Environment (COTE) have selected New Orleans Bio Innovation Center (NOBIC) as one of the year’s top Ten examples of sustainable architecture and ecological design projects that protect and enhance the environment. The project will be honored at the AIA 2015 National Convention and Design Exposition in Atlanta. more
One of the most challenging aspects of designing modern video surveillance systems involves managing the Owner’s expectations. With the prevalence of large flat monitors and televisions in homes and the creative license of shows like CSI and NCIS, it is expected that security video cameras deployed on a site will provide crystal clear images where identification of a perpetrator will be possible regardless of the ambient light levels, weather conditions, or the perpetrator’s distance from the camera. more
Resource conservation is important to Newcomb & Boyd and our clients’ sustainability goals. We provide innovative solutions for water conservation and management through the design and commissioning of systems that reduce, reuse and recycle. Whenever feasible, we incorporate strategies to harvest, treat and reuse stormwater, wastewater, potable and non-potable water. more
Micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) were invented in the second half of the past century and since then their use has been growing rapidly. The automobile industry was an early adopter, using MEMS sensors for automobile navigation, tire pressure control, and airbag deployment. As we start transitioning from today’s buildings and systems to future smart buildings, design engineers will have a wide variety of MEMS applications to choose from. more
At Newcomb & Boyd, we believe in highly functional, high performance buildings. Through integrated design and commissioning, we seek to provide the best value to our clients through conceptualization and implementation of the principles of sustainable design and operations. Our portfolio of more than 60 LEED certified projects represent a wide array of building types – laboratories, higher education, military, commercial, residential, government – and bear testimony to Newcomb & Boyd’s commitment and drive to be a leader in sustainable design. more
Newcomb & Boyd Associate Partner, Lynda Herrig, and Senior Architectural Project Manager of Grady Health System, George Smith, presented on the importance of hospital renovations at the Healthcare Facilities Symposium and Expo in Chicago, Illinois. Their presentation highlighted the ongoing renovation of Grady Memorial Hospital. more
Newcomb & Boyd attended the Lean Construction Institute (LCI) – Georgia Community of Practice Integrated Project Delivery Panel on July 30 where we learned about some of the top integrated project delivery (IPD) methods from leaders in the A/E/C industry. more
In my earlier columns, I tried to explain the concept of uncertainty analysis and also draw the attention of the industry to the advantages of performing probabilistic energy modeling. One of the most valuable complementary tools to uncertainty analysis is sensitivity analysis. Terje Aven in his book, Foundation of Risk Analysis,1 gives the following definition for sensitivity analysis: “A sensitivity analysis is a study of how sensitive the risk is with respect to changes in input parameter of risk model.” more
Successful museum design encompasses a number of challenges requiring knowledge and expertise in acoustical soundscapes, audio-visual technology, lighting solutions, and security measures. Equally as important is commissioning systems to ensure mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems function as required the sensitive museum environment. more
Health-care design evolves constantly, reflecting improvements and advancements in surgical techniques, equipment (such as MRIs and robotic surgical equipment), clinical practices, hospital design trends, energy efficiency, sustainable design, and other factors. Ventilation for health-care facilities must change to be aligned with the changing needs of health-care facilities design, patients, surgeons, clinical staff, and visitors. more
Building an energy-efficient building often begins with an energy (cost) comparison between a design building and an imaginary baseline building as defined in ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1, Appendix G. Even though this method has contributed to higher performance of buildings and systems, I believe we can do better than that. more
When one thinks of critical infrastructures, some come quickly to mind: the water system, the power grid, the Internet, dams, bridges, roads, air and rail transportation to name a few. Commercial buildings may not occur to the average individual as critical infrastructure, but they are considered as such by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and ASIS International. If we think about the impact of the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers, we understand why. The attack on the Twin Towers cost nearly 2,600 people their lives, and launched the United States into a long term war on terror that has increased the national debt approximately 1.5 trillion dollars.1 more
A truly effective audio-visual presentation system must be planned, designed, and implemented as a fully integrated set of subsystems. A well-designed system should make any presentation easier and more effective, accommodating a wide variety of presentation types and presenter styles. Proper planning of a presentation system requires consideration of acoustics, lighting, potential audiences, and potential media formats ranging from speech reinforcement to multimedia presentations. A well-designed system should be as transparent as possible allowing the focus to be on the message. more
In my November column, I discussed the necessity of performing a probabilistic energy modeling process instead of a deterministic one for an ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1, Appendix G, design building. To be able to run a probabilistic energy model, the first step is to develop a tolerance margin library for all the construction material that would be used in constructing a building and for its associated equipment. more
Uncertainty analysis is the process of changing simulation model input parameters in a small margin of possible occurrences and observing how simulation output can be affected (output probability distribution). That is the basic difference between a deterministic simulation and a probabilistic (uncertain) simulation. Uncertainty analysis is a strong tool for modelers and those who use modeling results to make well-informed decisions. more
Universities and colleges are experiencing growth and pressure on existing aging facilities. This occurs at a time when funding from both government sources and endowments is decreasing. Students also have higher expectations for the facilities, resources, and amenities; the perceived quality of residence halls, dining facilities, student unions and recreational facilities can be important factors in a student’s school choice. more
Mission critical facilities support computing resources that have no tolerance for downtime caused by system failures. The unique nature of these facilities requires close coordination between the building design team and information technology equipment providers so that resources can be put in place to provide cooling, power, and connectivity that best suit the equipment while allowing for planned equipment maintenance as well as equipment failures, while maintaining operation. more
Most HVAC design engineers use an array of sophisticated software calculation and modeling tools for load calculations and energy analysis. These tools offer almost total flexibility for the engineer to define physical arrangement, thermal parameters, operating schedules, internal loads and zoning. To achieve that flexibility, the input parameters are extensive and time consuming. more
Laboratory facilities are highly complex and specialized. Academic teaching laboratories, corporate research laboratories, testing facilities, public health laboratories, pharmaceutical facilities, biomedical research laboratories, and biocontainment research facilities all require that comfort, safety, flexibility, future growth, standards, regulations and energy usage be balanced. Successful laboratory design depends on managing multiple criteria in increasingly sophisticated facilities. more
Architects have long embraced BIM, and software developers are moving to add mechanical, electrical and plumbing to the models. ASHRAE Technical Committee 4.1, Load Calculation Data and Procedures, prepared a seminar for the 2010 ASHRAE Annual Conference to examine the state-of-the-art for using building information modeling (BIM) for load calculations, including methods of extracting data from the BIM model for import into traditional stand-alone calculation programs and use of built-in “native” BIM load calculation software. This article addresses native BIM load calculations only, although lessons learned regarding interoperability and data definition apply to both approaches. more
ANSI/ASHRAE/ASHE Standard 170-2008, Ventilation of Health Care Facilities, can be adopted by authorities for health care facility construction and private national organizations such as the Facilities Guidelines Institute (FGI). In 2010, FGI incorporated Standard 170- 2008 as Part Six of its Guidelines for Design and Construction of Health Care Facilities.1 This includes all addenda, present and future, issued by ASHRAE. The Joint Commission, federal agencies and authorities in 42 states use the Guidelines either as a code or a reference standard when reviewing, approving, and financing projects or when surveying, licensing, certifying or accrediting newly constructed facilities, according to FGI. more
Specialty systems include many of the low-voltage systems that comprise the tools necessary for information professionals to produce work. Many applications such as e-mail, messaging, telephony, security systems and building environmental controls depend on the LAN and WAN and require a robust combination of physical hardware and logical configuration to operate correctly. As we learned by watching the heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) industry, benefits can be realized by more closely involving the design team, the contractor and the owner during the implementation phase to ensure that systems operate as intended and can prove themselves fully during a performance evaluation. more
Vivariums present many unique challenges to design and construction professionals. Due to the stringent environmental and construction requirements, designers and builders have their hands full ensuring the facility meets the numerous standards regulating these spaces. more
HVAC systems in a typical laboratory facility can use five to 10 times as much energy as the systems in a typical office building.1 This higher energy use is due to many factors including 100% outside air systems; 24-hour-a-day operation; high internal heat gains; high air change rate requirements; equipment exhaust requirements; and high fan energy. more
While overall data center efficiency can be increased through server virtualization and consolidation efforts, the use of these technologies is also pushing many data centers’ power and cooling densities beyond their original infrastructure capacity. These trends, along with the EPA’s recent report on data center inefficiencies, have caused many data center owners to reevaluate the design of their facilities and to look for innovative ideas to optimize their next generation mission critical facilities.1 more
The movement to provide more sustainable school buildings continues to grow. At the same time, the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and recent campus shootings are driving education institutions to construct safer campuses and more secure buildings. Although these movements appear to have little in common, they complement each other in several areas. more
The reemergence of our core cities as more active and vibrant communities brings pressures and challenges to those who design. The density of buildings, traffic, the scarcity of land, and a competitive spirit among developers are all factors that work together to push modern buildings higher.
Sometimes, especially in motion pictures, we envision high-rise buildings as towering skyscrapers. While this is the romantic and not always incorrect vision, a “high” rise can be as short as eight to 10 floor levels. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) defines a high-rise building as a building with an occupied floor that is 75 feet above the level where the firefighting apparatus would stage firefighting operations. That low threshold requires several specific features to be designed into buildings to promote life safety and allow for emergency responders to safely and quickly access the higher levels of the building, thereby saving lives and considerable invested resources. With that fairly simple definition, all high-rise design challenges should be the same, right? Perhaps some additional discussion is warranted before we make that determination! more
The furor over compliance with United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) General Chapter 797, Pharmaceutical Compounding—Sterile Preparations,1 has somewhat subsided with the Joint Commission for Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations’ decision not to enforce its requirements. As of this writing, at least 10 states require compliance (in whole or in part). However, many facilities may desire to comply now to prepare for future federal, state or industry regulations. Operational modifications are the primary means of compliance, but the pharmacy’s HVAC system also must be evaluated. USP 797 offers some confusing requirements for HVAC system designers, but compliance in an existing facility is not as difficult as it may seem. more
In its purest form, water is one of the most aggressive solvents known and will dissolve a material until the solution reaches saturation. Pure water is also a critical ingredient in many business ventures; manufacturing, power generation, health care, pharmaceuticals, research, food production and processing, etc. Each of these business sectors has a different but specific use for high purity water. Water purity is relative to its use. Different industries have different critical levels or types of impurities; microelectronics – TOCs (total organic compounds); power – silica; pharmaceutical – bacteria; research –conductivity/resistivity.The specific purity needs, along with the analysis of the source water, form the basis of treatment to produce high purity water. more
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is undergoing significant changes at its Atlanta campuses. With many of its buildings constructed in the 1950s and ’60s, the main campus now requires facility upgrades to improve its ability to fulfill its missions, which include being a national leader in research and response to the threat of bioterrorism. more
If a desktop computer had the capability to transmit data at 10 Gigabits per second, one could transfer an entire DVD movie in 30 seconds-a movie that otherwise would require two hours to consume. The speed of 10GBase-T is so much greater than 1000Base-T that it dwarfs the speed at which modern hard disk drives read and write to the system bus.
When hardware that can use this technology becomes commercially available, the opportunities for working directly from centralized data storage will be possible. This can potentially change the concept of using local storage. If used in a current desktop, the computer would quickly become overwhelmed with data. more
In the pursuit of science, competition for the best and the brightest minds has become fierce. Institutions and organizations often use laboratory facilities as recruiting tools to lure top researchers to their team. Today’s laboratories emphasize architectural design by featuring natural light, open floor plans, and flexible layouts, while at the same time promoting comfort, collaboration and productivity. more
The latest edition of the Guidelines for Design and Construction of Hospital and Health Care Facilities1 will be published this month. With assistance from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Guidelines is revised periodically and published by the American Institute of Architects Academy of Architecture for Health, and Facility Guidelines Institute (FGI). The Guidelines provide minimum ventilation for health-care facilities. The Guidelines also are adopted or adapted and enforced by 42 states and the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. The 2006 edition has some notable changes to the ventilation and ventilation-related recommendations. more
The design-build delivery method was used for the U.A. Whitaker Biomedical Engineering Building at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and the schedule was aggressive: 18 months from beginning of design until substantial completion of construction. Although Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System certification was not a project requirement, the building still has many green elements. This article describes how the design-build team incorporated green concepts into this non-LEED project, and highlights sustainable features of the architectural, electrical and HVAC systems. more
Emory University has had a long history of providing quality cancer care, research and medical training since its clinics first opened in 1937. Unfortunately, cancer remains one of the leading killers of Georgians, and Atlanta is one of the largest cities in the country without a National Cancer Institute designated “Comprehensive Cancer Center.” When Emory University’s Woodruff Health Sciences Center set out to change that, it realized that a new home was required to meet its potential, and the Winship Cancer Institute (WCI) project was initiated–focusing exclusively on cancer research, and serving cancer patients and their families. The new WCI is a powerful tool in the fight against cancer and represents not only cutting edge healthcare design, but leadership in sustainable design and construction.
Many groups in the facilities industry are becoming aware of the greatest potential of the commissioning revolution—retrocommissioning. Retrocommissioning is the systematic process by which owners ensure that their buildings and their systems are optimized to perform interactively to meet the current operational needs as closely as possible. This process may include remedial design and construction to accomplish this goal. more
In the old days, telecommunications consisted of only the telephone network, and the design services were provided free of charge by the local telephone company. The internal personnel responsible for this design were known as the BICs, or building industry consultants. The fee for this design was covered by telephone subscribers as a part of their regular service.
Back then, coordination was not a major concern. BICs would work with architects and engineers in the planning phases and continue throughout construction by working with the contractors.
But all of this changed with industry deregulation in 1984. Not only did it break up the phone company into the regulated bell operating companies for local service, with AT&T continuing to provide long distance, but it also shifted the ownership of the cabling in a facility to the customer. more
On the surface, vivariums housing rodents are very similar in function, use, and frankly, design. Generally, they include holding rooms, procedure rooms, cage washing facilities, necropsy, and various other support spaces. Likewise, heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems serving these spaces can also be fairly typical. more
In its simplest sense, commissioning verifies that systems operate in a manner consistent with construction or procurement documents. This includes identifying and labeling devices, cabling and equipment; cleaning; preparing O&M documentation; testing and adjusting; and training personnel more
Despite the recent scrutiny and criticism of primary-secondary chilled water pumping systems, many owners still decide these systems are appropriate for their facility. Factors such as simplicity, familiarity, and experience are considered, in some cases, to have benefits to the owner that overshadow efficiency and first costs. Primary-Secondary pumping is not appropriate for all projects, but when the decision has been made to use it, properly addressing technical aspects of such designs and adequately addressing facility users’ needs significantly contributes to the project’s success. This article explores key issues to consider when designing a primary-secondary chilled water plant. more
When the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency classified environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) as a Group A carcinogen, many state and local codes began requiring restaurants and entertainment facilities to provide designated smoking areas that prevent smoke from being recirculated to nonsmoking areas.
For consulting engineers, these smoking areas open up whole new concerns—and special commissioning needs. The following case study is a primer on HVAC commissioning with special attention to smoking areas in these venues. more