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EPA’s Clean Power Plan
This controversial plan will affect everyone from the energy consumer to those in the construction industry
Whether you are of the persuasion that climate change and global warming is a fact that needs to be addressed or in the
camp that climate change is a myth perpetrated by the political agenda, the Obama Administration and the EPA has come
forth with a “Clean power Plan” that is a force to be reckoned with.
In targeting the 1,000 fossil fuel burning power plants, the Clean Power Plan’s basic edict is to cut fossil fuel burning power plant’s carbon dioxide emissions by 33%.
The plan calls for the states to work with the power plants to submit a carbon dioxide reduction emissions plan to the federal government by September 2016. A scaled reduction would start in 2022 and reach the targeted 33% reduction by 2030. Of course, the Clean Power Plan encourages reduction via renewable energy to replace fossil fuel power plants.
The opposition by 16 states requested in a letter in August to delay and then kill the “Clean Power Plan“: instituted by the EPA citing that the law the EPA is using for the basis of the “Clean Power Plan” the Clean Air Act does not allow the EPA to require states to make such a large reduction to their energy economies. Counter to that, the EPA claims that the “Clean Power Plan” complies with the Clean Air Act.
Also, the 16 states letter cites that the “Clean Power Plan” coerces states to spend large amounts of tax payers’ dollars just to prepare the State’s Plan of such unprecedented scope and complexity.
The State coalition claims that the “Clean power Plan” will lead to power plant shut down and substantially higher utility bills for the consumer.
Lawsuits are expected to be filed by the 16 states to halt the EPA’s “Clean Power Plan” enforcement against the states. Notably, several in congress and other government officials have requested the states to refuse to submit their carbon dioxide reduction plan to the EPA.
If the EPA prevails it will surely lead to much higher utility costs to the end user, impacted product costs to the consumer, and lead to power plant and coal company’s closures effecting local and state economies.
With the EPA’s impending tighter power plant regulations, we must consider even tighter building envelope design and more efficient HVAC and lighting systems design to minimize the energy usages in new buildings.
This past summer, ASHRAE published Standard 188, “Legionellosis: Risk Management for Building Water Systems”.
This standard established requirements for designers and owners involved in new buildings, renovations, additions, or
modifications to existing buildings.
The designer needs to review the standard for the requirements that apply to their project. If the project contains any of the following risk factors, the design must comply with the applicable provisions of the standard:
- • Multiple housing units with one or more centralized hot water systems
- • Contains more than 10 stories (including levels below grade)
- • Health–care facilities with patient stays over 24 hours
- • Facilities that house or treat immune–compromised, at–risk occupants such as those being treated for burns, organ transplants, chemotherapy, chronic lung disease, or diabetes
- • Facilities designated for housing occupants over age 65
The designer also needs to review if the project contains one or more of the following system components:
- • Cooling tower or evaporative condensers
- • Whirl pools, spas, or ornamental fountains
- • Humidifiers, air washers, atomizers, or misters
- • Any non–potable water systems or devices that have the potential to release water aerosols, such as ice machines
If any of these devices or components are present in the project, the designer needs to comply with the applicable portion of the standard.
In addition to requirements for the design phase of the project, Standard 188 also applies to the construction, commissioning, operation, and maintenance of the building.
The standard also has requirements for the building Owner, such as:
- • Establishing a “Program Team” of one or more qualified individuals
- • Establishment of a “Water Management Program” which will identify Legionellosis control strategies and how they are documented
- • Surveying the building to identify potential aerosol generators and other risk factors
With the outbreak of Legionaires’ disease in New York City that caused 12 deaths and more than 120 cases of infection, risk management for Legionellosis has become an increased concern in the building industry and regulatory bodies. State and local governments are working to develop regulations to address potential areas of risk. Per the Center for Disease Control there are between 8,000 to 18,000 cases of LD per year in the US with more than 10% of those cases becoming fatal.
As you can see this is a very important area of concern for all of us in the construction industry.
For more information, read ASHRAE Standard 188 available on the ASHRAE website www.ashrae.org
Gardner South Wilmington High School Renovation
Failing sanitary and vent piping created an urgent need for room renovation
Renovations were necessary to replace failing sanitary and vent piping, as well as updates to the toilet exhaust and
new lighting in the 1924 portion of the main high school to provide school district with updated toilet rooms.
Key components for the toilet room renovations:
- There was a distinct sewer gas odor emanating from one of the main floor toilet rooms that impacted the main corridor and adjacent cafeteria daily
- Existing plumbing plans were no longer available for the 1924 portion of the facility
- It was observed that one of the floor drains in the toilet room on the upper floor had been covered with floor covering. However; this did not appear to be the cause of the odor on the main floor
- A request for proposal was developed and sent to plumbing contractors to camera the existing sanitary sewer mains to document the pipe size, routing and invert elevations so contract documents could be developed and sent out for bid
- The information for the existing storm and sanitary piping was obtained via the camera documentation and contract documents were prepared to replace the sanitary and vent piping in this section of the facility
- During construction it was discovered that a second floor drain had been covered with floor covering on the main floor
- New sanitary and vent piping was installed to replace the 80 year old piping systems. The renovated toilet rooms will provide the facility with a reliable sanitary system that should last another 80 years
Spot “Lighting” North Township Social Center
Careful planning is key when designing properly illuminated parking areas
The North Township Social Center in Highland, Indiana provides patrons with a sprawling wooded park along with a banquet
center. The facility has a large parking area that extends through the wooded park, however the existing site lighting
was experiencing failures due to the age of the equipment. In addition, numerous areas of the parking lot had
insufficient lighting, which did not comply with current site lighting standards. New light fixtures were needed to
replace the aged fixtures and provide additional lighting to the parking areas.
Millies Engineering Group worked diligently with the Owner to review the existing traffic patterns and light pole locations to determine the optimal locations for the new poles. The new locations would need to provide adequate lighting, but also eliminate conflicts with car and pedestrian traffic. Photometric simulations were generated to model the parking area. This software allowed our engineers to review multiple types of light fixtures and lighting patterns in order to adjust the existing light fixture positions to properly illuminate the entire site. In all, 40 new light poles were provided throughout the parking areas.
Due to the condition of the existing light pole bases and the need to adjust some locations, new pole bases were required. Because of the amount of pedestrian traffic, the Owner was open to more decorative light pole bases, compared to the standard cylindrical bases. A pole base form manufactured by Art Forms was utilized to provide an aesthetic highlight to the pole bases. In addition, the pole base design allowed reflective tape to be easily integrated into the design.
Next, due to the varied timing of functions in the park and banquet center, a control solution was provided to allow reduced lighting levels until motion is sensed, thereby increasing the energy savings of the retrofit installation.
This project provided the Social Center with new and reliable site lighting. Also, the parking area has been provided with energy efficient illumination that complies with current lighting standards.
The Importance of a Daylighting System
Daylighting systems can help reduce energy consumption by reducing the need of electric lighting and benefit human
performance at the same time
Daylighting systems can help reduce energy consumption by reducing the need of electric lighting and benefit human
performance at the same time. Humans prefer to be in a well daylit environment verses one that relies totally on
Studies cite the benefits of daylighting in terms of increased productivity, reduced absenteeism, enhanced retention of employees, and improved test scores among students. People are happier and more excited about coming to work or school when their surrounding are lit with natural light. Our brain chemistry is directly influenced by the amount of daylight we receive.
A space with properly designed daylighting and integrated lighting controls will positively impact human performance and have energy benefits considering the cost per square foot on salaries, sustainability by reducing the building carbon foot print, and energy savings with reduced lighting and controls.
There are three common ways to provide daylighting in a building:
The most common vertical windows which not only allow light in but a view of the outside. Consideration must be given to the building orientation, the size of the windows, and the quality of the widows to reduce solar heat gain.
Skylights can provide a ambiance in a building that connects people to the outdoors. Translucent panels in skylights help reduce the heat gain. Skylight do require a large roof area and depend on the sun’s orientation to provide even levels of light. Skylight do require light shafts down into the ceiling to provide the light to the space that could cause plenum obstructions.
Tubular Daylighting Devices:
They have a rooftop dome to capture the sun light, reflect tube to transfer the light and a diffuser to spread the light. These have a relatively small foot print and minimize the thermal impact. They are versatile in new buildings and effective in remodeling as they usually do not require any additional structural reinforcement. They can have many different diffuser options to fit in open or enclosed ceiling spaces.
The primary concern is the building occupants and secondary the look of the building when selecting a daylighting system. Everyone likes the day light and it should be incorporated into the building to save energy and increase productivity.
Source: Environmental Design and Construction May 2014
Using Sea Water to Heat and Cool a Building
When Southern Maine Community College needed to heat and cool a campus building, they turned to the power of a plentiful
natural resource: sea water
Southern Maine Community College developed an innovative way to heat and cool one of their existing small campus
buildings utilizing a local resource – sea water. Pulling sea water from nearby Casco Bay, the sea water based
system uses a Variable Refrigerant Flow configuration coupled with geothermal heat pumps to heat and cool the existing
3,250 square foot facility.
A cupronickel ship keel underwater cooler heat exchanger was used to extract and reject heat from the sea water. The heat exchanger is built to handle the corrosiveness of the sea water. The sea water temperature in the Bay ranges from 35 to 65 degrees which is a larger range than a typical ground source, which falls between 45 to 50 degrees. The Daikin ground source geothermal heat pump was used for the heating phase of the building because its operating temperature range of 24 to 113 degrees is wider than that of many other systems.
The ship keel heat exchanger was submerged in 3 feet of water at low tide at the Bay pier. An uninsulated 50% propylene glycol fluid mixture pipe loop was installed from the heat exchanger to the building which was a few hundred feet away and the piping loop was routed in the ground.
One 8 ton and two 6 ton Variable Refrigerant Volume (VRV) compressor geothermal heat pumps serve the building utilizing 16 evaporators. Ventilation air is ducted directly into the evaporator units for conditioning prior to introducing it into the spaces they serve, allowing each space to be heated or cooled independently. The VRV compressors have variable frequency drives to match the compressor capacity to the building loads in both heating and cooling modes of operation. Branch selection boxes make this a heat recovery VRV as opposed to heat pump VRV. With heat recovery, each individual evaporator can either heat or cool independent of one another.
Retrofitting the facility with the geothermal recovery system and heat exchanger utilizing sea water eliminated the fossil fuel heating system in the building. Comparing this system to the original oil heating system and D.X. cooling system there was a savings of 33% in the heating season and 27% in the cooling season.
Source: Engineering Systems February 2014
Updating Electrical Systems Without Power Interruption
Despite many challenges, NISOURCE Dispatch Center’s electrical systems were able to be updated without any loss of
operation, providing the equipment needed to maintain great service for their utility customers
The NISOURCE Dispatch Center located in Hammond, Indiana had an aging main electrical switchboard that was beginning to
experience problems. The switchgear had integral automatic transfer switches that were not transferring load upon loss
of power. Also, the switchboard had rivets and other metals components, which were beginning to fail. In addition, the
building had two 80KVA UPS units that were reaching the end of their life cycle and were heavily loaded. Millies
Engineering Group worked with the end users to develop a design to replace the existing main switchboard and upgrade
the UPS system.
A new main switchboard was provided, which utilized draw out type, motor operated breakers in lieu of the existing automatic transfer switches. The new circuit breakers would provide a more reliable switching device, as opposed to transfers switches, and would allow for easier maintenance in the future. However, replacing the switchboard was challenging due to the building’s critical support to NISOURCE’s operations. The facility could not lose power at any time. Loss of power was prevented by staging the replacement of the switchboard and providing temporary electrical service and a portable generator to serve the facility during the replacement of the switchgear.
The existing 80KVA UPS units were also replaced with two new 150KVA Mitsubishi UPS units. These new UPS units offered greater capacity for the current loads and future expansion. Also, the new UPS units offered more reliability to the system. The replacement of the UPS units was challenging since the facility needed to maintain UPS service at all times. As such, nonessential UPS load was shed from the system to allow one UPS to serve the entire load. Therefore, the UPS units were replaced one at a time.
Due to intense coordination with the end user, the main switchboard and UPS replacement was seamless and the building was able to maintain operation at all times. The NISOURCE Dispatch Center has been provided with new and more reliable electrical equipment to best serve their customers.
Towing Vessel Safety
Engineering services can play an important role in fire alarm and emergency notification review ensuring the safety of
The United States Coast Guard has numerous code requirements to ensure that every towing vessel has a properly functioning fire alarm and emergency notification system. In addition, this code mandates that detectors and notification devices shall be installed in specific areas. For example, the engine room requires heat detection along with alarm bells and a flashing red light to indicate a fire alarm condition. The United States Coast Guard mandates that all towing vessels have their fire alarm and emergency notification system inspected and documented every ten years.
Millies Engineering Group provides assistance to the towing vessel operators by reviewing the fire alarm and emergency notification systems on board these vessels. Upon reviewing the systems, our office submits a letter identifying any deficiencies in the systems along with the required corrective action. Once these items have been corrected, our office submits official documentation indicating the vessel's compliance with the United States Coast Guard’s requirements. This documentation is then submitted to the United States Coast Guard and a copy remains on the boat for reference.
Throughout the years, Millies Engineering Group has worked with many towing vessel companies and operators to review and assist with documenting the fire alarm and emergency notification systems.
Should you have a project that is unique, feel free to contact us as we are always prepared to assist regardless of the type of engineering required.
Engineered Solutions When Systems Fail
Multiple systems failures can create significant issues in a facility. MEG’s evaluations can alleviate these issues
and give your facility a new start
Farragut Elementary School’s auditorium ductwork project involved many tasks and challenges. This Joliet, Illinois school had specific needs that involved replacing the aged and damaged exterior duct wrap on the existing supply air ductwork in the auditorium attic space, updating the auditorium attic exhaust system, and providing new exhaust fan temperature controls to eliminate condensation on the auditorium ceiling.
Key components for the renovations:
- The existing exterior duct wrap on the supply air duct routed in the attic of the auditorium had been damaged over the years, which was suspected to be a cause of the condensation stains on the auditorium ceiling
- The ceiling supply air diffuser plenums were not insulated and were exposed to the attic temperatures and humidity. The flexible supply air ducts were not secured air tight to the diffuser plenums which was suspected to be a cause of the condensation stains on the auditorium ceiling
- There was an older auditorium attic exhaust system along with old intake hoods on the roof. The intake hoods’ back draft dampers no longer worked, allowing air and bats into the attic space
- The supply air ductwork exterior duct wrap was replaced with new duct board insulation meeting the current codes
- The supply air diffusers were replaced and the diffuser plenums insulated in the attic space
- The flexible supply air branch duct work was replaced with new hard duct connections to seal the supply air diffusers to the supply duct
- The attic exhaust system was replaced with a new exhaust fan complying with the current code ventilation requirements. New makeup air hoods were installed with new motorized dampers and bat guards
- The attic exhaust fan system temperature controls were provided to control the attic humidity and excessive air temperature
Oftentimes, failure in multiple components or systems can combine to create issues within a facility. By providing thorough investigations and observations, cost–effective engineered solutions are developed to eliminate the concerns and improve indoor air quality.
Murphy Park Site Improvements
Properly illuminating the diverse monuments within Murphy Park presented special challenges and considerations
The new Murphy Park, located at the former Village Hall site at 13 Montrose Drive in Romeoville, IL, is a new park which
includes a rock climbing play structure, playground, parking lot, entryway and rock outcroppings, rubberized safety
surfacing and a picnic shelter. Also located at the park is a military memorial dedicated to the area's servicemen and
women who have served in foreign wars.
During the design of the park, the Owner was interested in lighting the memorial monuments. However, they did not want to detract from the design and information included on the monuments. Utilizing Hitchcock Design Group’s monument renderings and plan layout, MEG developed a detailed lighting plan utilizing flush–in–grade fixtures. Numerous types of in–grade fixtures were provided to accent the memorial walls, columns, flags and other memorial structures within the park. Our office spent time working with multiple manufacturers to ensure the fixtures selected would properly illuminate the desired monument, while also providing a sustainable solution. In addition, receptacles were provided throughout the park for maintenance personnel.
Properly illuminating the diverse monuments was challenging, but through detailed coordination with the Owner and Architect along with a detailed review of the fixture manufacturers, an optimal solution was attained. The fixtures provided on this project illuminate the monuments to allow observers to enjoy the memorial at any time of the day or night.
Improving Health and Patient Care
St. Catherine’s Hospital installed new MRI equipment to meet the growing healthcare needs of its patients
Millies Engineering Group was able to assist St. Catherine’s Hospital in East Chicago, Indiana to continually improve
its quality of care by replacing the existing outdated MRI equipment in the hospital. Due to the high volume of the patients,
the adjacent supporting areas (changing room, storage, toilet, etc.) were expanded to accommodate patient support guests
The design included a separate chiller for the MRI room and a separate air conditioning unit for the equipment room. The control room and the supporting areas were served from the hospital’s existing HVAC system. Code required air changes were provided in all areas to meet the guidelines as set forth by the department of public health. Shielding and guidewaves were provided to separate the MRI room from the adjacent rooms.
Key components of the project included:
- • New MRI equipment installed
- • New air conditioning units
- • New LED lighting
As a result of the MRI equipment replacement, the hospital has cutting edge imaging equipment that is successfully
meeting the increased patient load.
South Suburban College
Replacing the college’s heating and cooling systems has offered significant savings and greater comfort
South Suburban College’s existing fitness center was served by a packaged roof mounted unit. The scope of design
for this facility was to replace the existing outdated heating/cooling unit with a new high–efficiency unit due
to the age and poor efficiency of the existing equipment. The challenge was to size a new unit to accommodate 1,800
people during the school’s graduation ceremony. A heating/cooling load calculation was performed that resulted in
95 tons of cooling load. Because of the high amount of fresh air and exhaust, a heat energy wheel was used to capture
energy from the exhaust air that otherwise would have been wasted. This resulted in substantial reduction of the cooling
load, allowing the new rooftop unit to be only 80 tons of cooling capacity.
As a result of this upgrade, the system became more efficient and the college is benefiting from an operating cost savings as the small size rooftop unit is using significantly less energy.
If you or your facility have a similar need or opportunity for operational savings, please contact us.
Energy Star Target Finder
Millies Engineering Group uses this helpful tool as well as many others to help estimate building costs very early in the
“How much energy will my building use?” is a question often asked early in the design process. This is a difficult question to answer in a project’s beginning stages because not many details about the building are known. One very useful to tool that helps in answering this question is the Target Finder on Energy Star’s website (www.energystar.gov). It is part of the EPA’s program to assist in the design of Energy Star rated buildings. For a building to achieve an Energy Star rating, it must perform better in terms of energy efficiency than 75% of similar buildings within the database. The target finder tool, when provided with some eneral information about the building being designed (square footage, building usage, location, number of occupants, etc.), provides the following information:
- • Target building energy consumption (kbtu/sq. ft/yr.)
- • Median building energy consumption (kbtu/sq. ft/yr.)
- • Carbon emissions (tons / year)
- • Energy costs ($)
The median building energy consumption and costs provides data for a typical building of similar size. This is information is based on a survey of the performances of real buildings. At Millies Engineering Group, this is one of our many tools used in the design process. We regularly utilize this tool as a method to provide relevant data to Owners so that important energy and systems decisions may be made early in the design process. If you have a similar question, feel free to contact us.
Water Heater Replacement
Space constraints, while offering design challenges, can be accommodated with engineered solutions by MEG
Working in conjunction with Healy, Bender & Associates Architects (www.healybender.com), Plainfield South High School
desired replacement of two existing standard efficiency 1,200,000 BTUH water heaters, each with 1,250 gallons of storage,
with two new 96% efficient 1,300,000 BTUH condensing domestic water heaters.
Existing site conditions would not allow for the replacement of water heaters with units of the same physical dimensions. Millies Engineering Group provided the Owner with a solution that would work within the existing space constraints, while offering increased energy efficiency and providing additional control of the domestic hot water systems.
New water heaters were integrated with the existing Facility Management System (FMS) to allow for the maintenance staff to remotely monitor alarms and enable water heaters.
Key Components of design:
- • High efficiency condensing hot water boilers
- • Variable speed pumping to match the building load
- • Hot water temperature reset based on the outside air temperature
Let MEG help with your next design challenge.
Natural Gas to Dual Fuel Gas and LP Boiler Plant
Boiler modifications provide a local storage alternative should natural gas services be disrupted
A recent project included replacing a natural gas power burner on the existing boiler plant with a new dual fuel natural gas/LP gas power burner for emergency backup capabilities at a healthcare facility in Indiana. The project included an LP gas storage system and associated piping to the boiler room, as well as the following key components:
- The existing boiler burner was a natural gas power burner which was replaced with a new dual fuel natural gas/ LP gas power burner
- Boiler controls were modified for the dual fuel power burner
- New LP storage tank and vaporizer sized for the emergency backup duration
- LP gas piping was routed underground into the existing boiler room
- New natural gas and LP gas trains were installed on the boiler plant
- The temperature controls were modified to automatically switch the boiler from natural gas to LP gas in the event the natural gas failed
- The new dual fuel boiler plant will provide the facility with reliable boiler plant service in the event that the natural gas infrastructure would become compromised
These boiler modifications were completed recently and provided a local storage alternative should the natural gas services to the facility be disrupted. Please contact Millies Engineering Group should you have similar needs!
2016 Energy Star Top Cities
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced their annual list of the top 25 U.S. metropolitan areas with the most
Energy Star certified buildings for 2016
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced their annual list of the top 25 U.S. metropolitan areas with the
most Energy Star certified buildings for 2016. The cities on this list demonstrate the economic and environmental
benefits achieved by facility owners and managers when they apply a proven approach to energy efficiency to their
buildings. See the list here:
Goodings Grove Elementary School
The lighting and projector improvements at this Homer Glen, IL elementary school greatly improved energy efficiency and
the educational experience
Goodings Grove Elementary School, located in Homer Glen, Illinois had existing lighting that was older and nearing the
end of its life cycle. In addition, many of the light fixtures utilized four T8 4’ fluorescent lamps and were
very inefficient since new fixtures would offer the same lighting output with three T8 4’ fluorescent lamps. Also,
the classrooms did not have overhead projectors, which are very common in today’s teaching environment.
Millies Engineering Group developed a new lighting design that utilized higher efficiency fixtures that would allow the quantity of lamps to be reduced from 4 lamps to 3 lamps. This reduction in lamps resulted in considerable energy savings for the school. In addition, the school was provided with a Lutron Eco–System lighting control system, which included dimmable ballasts along with occupancy sensors and daylight harvesting sensors. These components assisted in achieving the code required lighting controls. Also, a wall mounted control station was provided to offer full range dimming of the lighting. This allowed flexibility in the lighting system to adapt to numerous classroom activities.
New power and low voltage connectivity was provided to a new 2’x2’ plate mounted in the ceiling. This plate supports the ceiling mounted projector and has openings within the plate to mount receptacles and low voltage connectivity. This plate provides a time–efficient and cost–effective integration of the projector installation and required connectivity.
Goodings Grove Elementary School has been provided with a state–of–the–art lighting and control system that will serve the facility for years to come and greatly reduce energy costs. Additionally, the new projectors will enhance the educational experience for the teachers and students alike.
Genesis Convention Center
Upgrading the Genesis Center’s mechanical systems improves efficiency and offers comfort for those who enjoy its many uses
Genesis Center is located in the City of Gary and is one of the largest convention centers in NWI. The Center consists
of a large arena, several exhibit halls, meeting/conference spaces, locker rooms and offices.
The Arena can hold over
6,000 people for games and various functions. The challenge was to design, bid and replace the building’s aging
mechanical systems with new systems before summer. The existing air handling units and air–cooled condensing
units were in poor condition and had exceeded their useful life expectancies. Parts were not available for this
equipment resulting in high maintenance costs.
Due to the time constraints, the decision was made to refurbish (in lieu of replacing) the existing interior central station type air handling units and pre-purchase the air-cooled condensing units with new high efficiency units. The total combined airflow and cooling capacities of the systems are approximately 235,000 CFM and 850 Tons respectively. Key components of the replacement/upgrade project included:
- • Eight new high efficiency air-cooled condensing units
- • Re–furbishing of eight existing air handling units
- • New variable frequency drives (VFD) for energy savings for VAV units
- • New facility management system with energy saving control strategies
The construction of the project was completed in July 2012. As a result of these improvements, Genesis Center now has
energy efficient HVAC systems and a brand new, state of the art DDC facility management system.
Tenant Star Program
The Tenant Star Program offers leased spaces in commercial buildings the ability to offer sustainable design and operation
In April 2015, Congress passed the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015. This bipartisan federal legislation
created the Tenant Star program. As the Energy Star building program works for building owners allowing them to track
and openly promote their energy efficiency, the Tenant Star program will help tenants and land lords work together to
promote energy efficiency in the operation of leased spaces in commercial buildings. Find out more about this program
by clicking here:
Tenant Star Program
Millies Engineering Group is pleased to have been recognized by the Eastern Illinois Chapter of the American Institute
of Architects for our work on the Evergreen Park Senior Center project. We are pleased to have worked with Craig A.
Podalak Architects, Ltd. on this project which involved renovation of an existing church and facade improvements to
transform it into a Senior Center that improves the community of Evergreen Park, Illinois.
For more information about the architect:
For more information about the American Institute of Architects:
“Going For The Gold”
New building construction is always pushing the envelope and some projects go for “The Gold”
The new Hall High School in Spring Valley, Illinois is pushing towards the LEED Gold threshold. The new school is 134,000
square foot with a practice gym, competition gym, auditorium, media center, full-service kitchen and lunch room, as well
as an academic tower.
The building is comprised of energy efficient building envelope construction, HVAC systems and lighting systems.
The HVAC system portion of the design is comprised of:
- • High efficiency condensing hot water boilers
- • Variable speed pumping to match the building load
- • Hot water temperature reset based on the outside air temperature
- • Packaged gas fired / D.X cooling VAV roof top units
- • Packaged gas fired / D.X cooling single zone VAV roof top units
- • Energy recovery wheels on most roof top units
- • Digital scroll compressors and variable speed condenser fans
- • Modulating heat
- • VAV boxes with hot water reheat
- • Energy conservation temperature control sequences utilizing Demand Control Ventilation, supply air temperature reset, hot water reset, etc.
- • HVAC equipment scheduling, and exhaust system control
The Energy simulation which included the building lighting (some LED lighting) calculated a 36% energy savings for a new facility compared to a conventional HVAC system. The 36% energy savings translates to 13 points for the HVAC system on the LEED spread sheet. On–site renewable energy was not taken into account for the calculations.
We look forward to the final submission of this project for LEED and assisting the project in earning LEED Gold Status.
When planning out a project, invariably the question arises as to which of the two main technologies (fluorescent or LED)
will be utilized within the building. Decision makers and Owners frequently are confronted with many varying and
seemingly conflicting information during the decision making process. One statement that is commonly made is the
“LED technology offers incredibly huge energy savings (80% or more) over a typical, well designed efficient modern fluorescent system.”
Some less than reputable marketing literature appears to paint a picture of the LED that can do anything. These materials suggest that LEDs will light a space at double the output and half the energy usage all while saving enough energy to pay off the entire investment in 2–3 years. Such thinking is unrealistic in a real world application.
LEDs and fluorescent technology both feature systems that perform greater than 100 lumens per watt, which is the quantity of light that is produced per unit of electricity. Currently, the rate of progress made in the LED field is rapidly improving the output of this product so that some LEDS may be offering 110+ lumens per watt, which is exceptional performance.
However, the mature linear fluorescent technology (T8) has developed 100+ lumens per watt lamps. Therefore, LEDs do not as of yet offer incredible leaps in light output versus fluorescent technology. However, there are two main differences between fluorescent and LED fixtures that give LEDs an advantage with regard to energy performance.
The first is fixture efficiency. Fluorescent fixtures use this factor to describe how much of the lamp light (in percentage) makes it out of the fixture to light the space. This amount of light that is usable ranges from very efficient fixtures (85%) to some fixtures that are not efficient at all (30–40%). To find the total amount of lumens that the fixture provides the efficiency must be multiplied by the total lamp lumens. In contrast, LED fixtures use different metrics called delivered lumens. This describes the total amount of lumens that the fixture provides. This is a much simpler way to see at a glance how much light output the fixture will provide.
For example, consider a standard 2–lamp T8 high efficiency fluorescent fixture (80% efficiency). Each T8 lamp provides 2800 lumens. The usable light provided by this fixture is 2 lamps * 2800 lumens * .8 = 4480 lumens.
In contrast, the typical LED cut sheet does not require any calculation. A glance at the cut sheet will indicate delivered lumens of 4000 for the typical 2x4 unit. This means that 4000 lumens are provided as usable light from the fixture.
The second difference between the two technologies is lumen depreciation. This is a factor that takes into effect how much light will be lost due to the degradation of the lamps and fixture over time as well as the effect of dust/dirt that may accumulate.
A typical fluorescent fixture will have a lumen depreciation factor of .75. This means that over the life of the lamp (typically 20,000 hours), only 75% of the initial light will remain. In contrast, some LED lamps will maintain their outputs for very long periods of time (>50,000 hours). Since LED technology has much longer life, manufacturers have suggested using a lumen depreciation factor for LEDs of .85–.95, which is an improvement over fluorescent technology.
To tie it all together, let’s return to our comparison of the 2–lamp high efficiency fluorescent vs. the standard LED 2x4 fixture. Taking the fixture efficiencies into account, the fluorescent fixture still has more light output (4480 lumens vs the 4000 lumens from the LED unit).
The fluorescent will need to be derated by the lamp depreciation factor to account for light lost over its lifetime. Hence, the 4480 lumens * .75 (lumen depreciation factor) results in a final lumen output of 3360 lumens.
If we take the same lumen depreciation adjustment on the LED fixture (4000 lumens * .9) we would arrive at a final lumen output of 3600 lumens.
Now, the LED fixture is better than the fluorescent fixture when all the variables are taken into consideration. This is even more impressive when considering that the LED is providing more light while using less energy (40W for the typical LED fixture vs. 58W for the 2 lamp fluorescent).
In this example, we see that the LED offers a respectable 33% energy savings over the fluorescent. While this may not match the inflated claims of many marketing materials, it is a sizable improvement over fluorescent technology.
However, there are more factors than just energy efficiency that make LED fixtures more attractive and these will be covered in Part II.
South Suburban College in South Holland, Illinois, had an existing 600 KW diesel generator that served the main campus
building. The generator had reached the end of its life cycle and was beginning to develop maintenance and operational
concerns. In addition, the facility has a separate cooling tower building with a second diesel generator. This generator
was sized at 60KW and had also reached the end of its life cycle. The Owner was interested in replacing both generators.
Millies Engineering Group reviewed the loads for the main campus and cooling tower building. Based on MEG's analysis and metering information the Owner provided, it appeared that a new generator sized at 600KW would properly serve both buildings and offer 30% spare capacity for future expansion. In addition, the building has a 30 horsepower fire pump that previously was not connected to the generator, but the Owner requested to add it to the generator service. Lastly, the existing generators were diesel fueled and the Owner preferred the new generator to be natural gas to eliminate storing and maintaining of on–site diesel.
A new 600KW natural gas generator was provided and located between the main campus building and cooling tower building. The generator was provided with three integral circuit breakers. Each circuit breaker would independently serve the main campus building, cooling tower building and fire pump. Furthermore, the generator was located near residential properties so a Level 2 sound enclosure was provided with directional hoods for the intake and exhaust of the generator. This drastically reduced the operational noise and effect upon the surrounding residents.
The replacement of the two existing generators with one new generator has greatly reduced maintenance costs, as well as eliminated diesel fuel storage on–site. The new generator has significantly improved reliability compared to the demolished, aged units.
Decreasing Energy Costs in Schools Through Upgrades
As efficiencies in modern HVAC and lighting systems continue to improve, the energy cost savings created by upgrading
outdated equipment is becoming more substantial
To learn more about this case study, click here: Case Study
Human Centric Lighting: Wave of the Future?
As lighting technology constantly evolves, industry attention turns to human–centric lighting, HCL. Will it be the
next big thing?
According to IHS Electronics article, “In the lighting industry, product evolution is advancing again, moving from
regular LEDs to human–centric lighting. HCL, an LED–based lighting technology that aims to match light
characteristics with human circadian rhythms, is a potential sweet spot where manufacturers are setting their sights
and investing in what they hope will be a bright future.”
Read the full article here: Human Centric Lighting
Codes and Standards of Boiler Systems
Important current information for design engineers is easily available for reference online
The following is an excellent reference article that everyone should keep on their desk for future reference. This information
will ensure design engineers are paying attention to the current codes and standards that must be followed when designing a
The following is a link from Consulting–Specifying Engineer magazine titled “RESOURCES FOR BOILER CODES AND STANDARDS” with the most current codes:
MEG School Project Files – Schilling Elementary School
MEG’s design concept helped improve the energy efficiency and functionality of this school addition while minimizing
Millies Engineering Group was pleased to work with Healy Bender & Associates on Schilling Elementary School, SD 33C in Homer
Glen, IL. This project consisted of a 40,000 SF classroom and administration office addition to the existing school. One of
the primary design considerations for the new addition was to provide a functional learning environment that is energy
efficient and stays within a limited budget.
To meet the Owner’s requirements, MEG implemented the following design concepts:
- • Gas heating/DX cooling rooftop units with demand control ventilation. The new rooftop units were very cost
effective because the components can be installed in the factory with minimal installation time. The units were provided
with energy recovery wheels, digital scroll compressors and demand control ventilation sequence (outside air control based
on CO2 levels) for energy conservation.
- • High efficiency condensing boilers and variable speed pumps also improved energy efficiency. The hot water
distribution system is designed to vary the supply water temperature based upon outside air temperature. This allows for
the supply water to be as low as possible, while still maintaining space temperatures. By keeping the supply water
temperature low, we were able to increase boiler efficiency (condensation) for longer periods of time.
- • Lighting Control System was installed for the entire addition and integrated into the Facility Management System (FMS) for easy access and control. The lighting control system included daylight harvesting sensors and occupancy sensors that will turn the lights off when the space is not occupied.
It is anticipated that these energy efficiency items will help the building perform between 25% and 30% better than the ASHRAE minimum requirements. This energy efficiency is achieved with minimal additional construction costs. Contact Millies Engineering Group and let us help you upgrade your school.