Forming the Future

Read our blog for information on sustainable resource systems, resilient electrical systems, energy masterplans and more.

AI gaining speed in power systems and facilities management

An artificial intelligence-generated illustration of a robot holding its hands out in front of itself while projecting an image that looks like a map. The robot is looking toward buildings that are industrial in appearance.

This image was created using Adobe Firefly, a generative artificial intelligence application.

The past several years have seen rapid advances in the development of artificial intelligence (AI) as more companies and industries realize the capabilities of this powerful technology. A couple of areas in which machine learning (ML), a subset of AI using algorithms to evaluate massive datasets, has shown powerful gains include the electrical utility and facilities management industries.

Electrical power systems are becoming more complex with the rapid addition of various distributed generation (DG) systems requiring utilities to support multidirectional flows of electricity. AI technology can help manage and control electrical utility grids, matching variable energy supply with rising or falling demand and integrating various renewable energy DG sources into the grid. One of ML’s key values is in supporting the growth of smart grids, with the multitude of data points produced by smart meters and other devices monitoring the grid power flows and DG. ML algorithms can also detect the best times to store energy, when to release energy and how much to distribute.

One of the most common uses of AI in the energy sector has been to improve the predictions of energy supply and demand. In conjunction with historic demand data, the number of available generating sources (type and capacity) and forecast weather data, AI networks can predict future electrical output with greater accuracy.

AI can also help with the predictive maintenance of physical assets to prevent grid failures, increasing system reliability and security. ML can analyze large amounts of data from usage statistics, weather data and historical maintenance records to predict potential equipment failures. In addition, AI can integrate data from hazards, such as extreme storms or fires, then adjust grid operations.

With respect to facilities management, AI provides a number of benefits for building owners and their operations and maintenance staff, including optimizing operations, improving decision-making and reducing costs. Again, one of the keys is AI’s ability to provide data-driven insights. Analytical tools powered by AI can evaluate massive amounts of data from numerous sources, including maintenance logs, energy demand and consumption records, past projects, Internet of Things sensors and facility occupancy data.

Decreasing energy use is one of the largest opportunities for facility cost savings. By analyzing granular demand and consumption data from submeters and power monitoring systems and managing indoor environmental conditions based on occupancy, air quality, external temperatures and lighting requirements, AI-driven building automation systems can drive cost savings for the owner or property management company.

Similar to the advantage of monitoring physical grid system performance for utility companies, AI’s analysis of historical facility data can help predict equipment failures and preventative maintenance needs, leading to improved operational efficiency, reliability and cost savings.

The use of AI incorporating ML algorithms is projected to continue its expansion throughout numerous industry sectors in the years ahead. To learn more about Hanson’s efforts in employing AI in our services for clients, contact Robert Knoedler at or Bill Bradford at

Posted on May 15, 2024

The green blueprint: how AEC firms can support community climate action goals

Twelve people stand in front of a large projection screen, smiling at the camera

Hanson’s Amanda Polematidis, second from left, attended the Northeast Florida Climate Action Plan Community Meeting on Feb. 22 in Jacksonville, Florida, where environmental issues and opportunities were discussed. Hanson is developing a climate action plan for Northeast Florida, consisting of Nassau, Clay, Baker, St. Johns and Duval counties and the city of Palm Coast.

In 2023, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administered $250 million within the Climate Pollution Reduction Grants (CPRG) program to support states, municipalities, territories and tribes in developing comprehensive plans to address climate change. It is a pivotal strategy for the United States under the Paris Agreement, aiming for substantial greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions by 2030. The scope of CPRG is momentous, funding the development of over 220 climate action plans, identifying strategies that can significantly reduce carbon footprints and contributing to the global effort to limit temperature rise to below 2 Celsius.

The CPRG program will also deliver $4.6 billion in competitive implementation grant funding later this year toward priority and shovel-ready projects. This is a tailored approach, recognizing the unique challenges and opportunities across the U.S., from the Alaskan glaciers to the Florida Keys. Ongoing funding will be crucial for adapting to evolving challenges, addressing the disproportionate impact of climate change on vulnerable communities and capitalizing on new opportunities in clean energy and technology sectors.

The architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry stands at the forefront of helping these jurisdictions through offering innovative, sustainability-focused solutions. Engineering firms are pivotal in supporting climate action through:

  • Technical expertise. AEC firms can offer expertise in assessing GHG emissions, designing energy-efficient systems and implementing renewable energy solutions; support the development of mixed-use urban plans that promote public transit options; adopt design approaches that consider sustainability from the onset; conduct risk assessments to help communities understand potential climate impacts and develop strategies to mitigate these risks; develop resilient infrastructure to withstand these impacts; and embrace innovative technologies.
  • Project implementation. AEC firms can oversee the construction of green infrastructure, renewable energy systems installation and decarbonization measures; adopt construction methods that minimize waste and pollution, use sustainable materials and reduce energy consumption process. This includes adopting technology like building information modeling to enhance efficiency and to monitor and evaluate effectiveness with data analytics, helping municipalities make informed decisions and continuously improve their climate action strategies.
  • Education, training and advocacy. AEC firms can provide ongoing education and training for professionals; advocate for policies and regulations that support sustainable development, including incentives for green infrastructure and renewable energy; and facilitate workshops and forums to engage communities in the planning process, ensuring that climate action plans are inclusive and reflect the needs and priorities of all stakeholders.
  • AEC firms can help municipalities navigate the complex landscape of grants and financial incentives, ensuring that communities can secure the necessary funding to bring their plans to fruition.

A challenging journey lies ahead for all of us to achieve the nation's ambitious goals of reducing GHG emissions to 50–52% below 2005 levels by 2030, but CPRG is poised to lead the way. As we look to the future, AEC firms have a golden opportunity to support local communities and governments, acting as a driving force for meaningful change. By empowering local entities to take bold actions in lowering GHG emissions, AEC firms not only contribute to meeting these critical targets but help communities breathe easier, ensuring a healthier environment for future generations.

Contact Amanda Polematidis at to learn how Hanson can help with lowering GHG emissions and pursuing funding for these projects.

Posted on April 16, 2024

Get an early look at Airport Cooperative Research Program’s guidebook on creating an energy resiliency roadmap

Energy resiliency plays a crucial role in ensuring the smooth operation and sustainability of airports and is critical to continuity of operations, safety and security, economic impact and more. As stated in the Airport Cooperative Research Program’s (ACRP) Research Report 260: Airport Energy Resiliency Roadmap draft, which will be officially published this month, “As key infrastructure in today’s interconnected economy, the airport and its operations are critical to local, national, and international communities. Ensuring the continued operations of the airport, despite near-term disruptive events or longer-term shifts in energy supply and demand, is vital to meeting customers’ needs. Pursuing energy resiliency-the ability to withstand, adapt to, and overcome changes or impacts to the energy landscape across multiple time frames, whether caused by deliberate attacks, accidents, or naturally occurring events-ensures public safety, positions the airport as a community leader, and enhances its brand.”

Hanson assisted the Transportation Research Board’s ACRP in developing a primer on energy resilience for airport executives and a guidebook on creating an energy resiliency roadmap for their airports. The objective of the project was to prepare a resource for airports to use as they work to meet their customers’ ever-changing energy and operational needs while improving each airport’s energy resiliency and achieving sustainability.

When thinking about energy resiliency, it is important to differentiate between planning for and mitigating short-term interruptions (e.g., weather events or targeted attacks) and long-term resiliency, which may require a larger initiative encompassing years of planning, development and deployment that is focused on forecasting demand and preparing for higher energy use and grid infrastructure, which may not be reliable for 100% uptime.

The planning should also acknowledge that energy resiliency and sustainability are distinct concepts that can be achieved independently or jointly, depending on the strategy and goals set during initiation. The interplay between sustainability and resiliency should be discussed during the creation of the energy resiliency roadmap, with a focus on the tradeoffs when prioritizing one over the other, as well as the possibility of achieving both.

The processes for achieving energy resiliency should engage internal and external stakeholders early in the development process and ensure the roadmap aligns with other goals and initiatives and incorporates a broad range of perspectives on impactful resilience goals. The process should also identify an energy baseline by calculating demand, understand supply and identify vulnerabilities. Prior to identifying strategies to address resiliency gaps, the airport should establish foundational goals and identify tools or levers that can be used to implement strategies to accomplish the energy resiliency goals. For each foundational goal and associated lever in the roadmap, an airport should identify specific energy resiliency strategies and a timeline to progress toward the goal. The airport should also realize that workforce changes may be necessary to implement an energy resiliency roadmap and could vary from hiring additional information technology staff to retraining staff who currently support fossil fuel systems to service clean-energy systems.

In developing energy resiliency roadmaps for airports, it is key to remember that energy resiliency for airports is not only about preparedness — it is a strategic move that enables airports to thrive, adapt to changing conditions and maintain their vital role in transportation, commerce and each of our daily lives.

To learn more about ACRP Research Report 260, contact Susan Zellers at or Bill Bradford at

Posted on March 13, 2024

U.S. public entities can invest in energy efficiency, sustainability with federal block grant program

Eco-friendly or sustainable energy symbols of light bulbs, rechargeable battery, solar cell panel and wind turbine atop five coin stacks

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program, spearheaded by the U.S. Department of Energy, is a pivotal funding mechanism in the nation’s efforts to enhance energy efficiency, foster renewable energy adoption and promote infrastructure renewal. The EECBG began as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, received $3.2 billion under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and was refreshed in 2022 under the Inflation Reduction Act. The funds can be used for a range of energy projects and services. This program, primarily targeted at state, local, tribal and territorial governments, offers numerous benefits, making it a cornerstone in the country’s environmental and energy improvement strategies.

A crucial step in enhancing energy efficiency is understanding current energy usage and identifying areas for improvement. EECBG funds support energy audits, which provide detailed assessments of energy consumption in buildings. These audits are instrumental in pinpointing inefficiencies and help guide the implementation of measures to reduce energy waste and renew aging systems to improve reliability and efficiency.

Aging infrastructure across the U.S. poses a considerable challenge, often leading to increased energy consumption and reduced efficiency. EECBG funds allow public governmental entities to modernize their systems and facilities.

Moreover, the EECBG program empowers communities to implement energy efficiency upgrades in public facilities, such as schools, government buildings and community centers. These upgrades can range from simple improvements like installing LEDs and energy-efficient windows to more comprehensive measures such as retrofitting heating, ventilating and air conditioning or building automation systems. By reducing the energy demand of these buildings, the program helps lower operational costs, minimizes environmental impact and demonstrates a commitment to sustainable practices to the community.

Beyond energy efficiency, the EECBG program fosters the adoption of renewable and alternative energy sources. Public entities can use these funds to invest in solar, wind, geothermal and biomass energy projects. Furthermore, electric vehicle infrastructure installations and studies can be covered with EECBG funds. This shift reduces the reliance on nonrenewable energy sources and aligns with broader environmental goals, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting sustainable community growth.

The EECBG program represents a comprehensive approach to address the pressing needs of energy efficiency and sustainable infrastructure in the U.S. By providing funding to construct sustainable infrastructure, the EECBG equips public entities with the resources needed to lead the way in building a sustainably conscious future.

Contact Kalvin Kwan at for assistance on using EECBG funds for your energy and infrastructure projects.

Posted on February 15, 2024

LEED v5 for Operations and Maintenance: Existing Buildings increases focus on resiliency

In September, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) released its draft LEED v5 for Operations and Maintenance: Existing Buildings, the first rating system for the latest version of its certification program. While maintaining its original mission dedicated to advancing energy efficiency and environmental design, USGBC continues to restructure its LEED rating system, focusing on goals including climate action, ecological conservation and restoration and quality of life.

A review of the draft reflects the main categories familiar to most design professionals involved in LEED certification, including location and transportation, sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, material resources and indoor environmental quality. However, further analysis discovers an increased focus on carbon emissions (operational, embodied and transportation), health and resilience.

We have previously written on this blog about the importance of resiliency in building systems and its relationship with energy reliability and sustainability, including the expansion of distributed energy resources employing various generation sources, including microgrids. LEED v5 O+M includes two prerequisites and one credit directly related to facility resilience. The prerequisites are strategies that building managers are required to complete to become LEED certified.

The first prerequisite, assessment for climate resilience, has the intent of promoting a comprehensive assessment for climate resilience, addressing risks for site-specific natural hazards associated with weather and/or location. The second prerequisite requires an occupant needs assessment. While this prerequisite has an expanded scope addressing potential health hazards and accessibility issues, it requires an annual evaluation of the impact of extreme weather or changing climate conditions on the indoor environmental health of the building spaces.

In addition to these prerequisites, there is an optional credit offered for operational planning and response for resilience. The intent of this credit is to encourage effective hazard response plans and readiness measures to ensure safety and maintain critical operations during and after emergencies. Compliance with this credit requires developing an emergency response plan, including emergency preparedness training, communication during emergencies, the protection and restoration of critical facilities and backup power for essential systems.

There are several other credits indirectly related to resilience. Under the prerequisite for sustainable sites, beyond the requirement of a site management policy, there are three credits related to rainwater management, heat island reduction and light pollution reduction. Under the prerequisite for energy and atmosphere, there is a credit for grid harmonization, which seeks to reduce stress on the electrical grid from peak loads, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase grid reliability.

Hanson has been actively involved in assisting clients with their energy resiliency and sustainability goals. For example, we recently were the lead consultant for developing the Airport Cooperative Research Program’s new Airport Energy Resiliency Roadmap. To learn more about our efforts, contact Bill Bradford at or Robert Knoedler at

Posted on January 23, 2024

World will benefit if COP 28 sets guide to solve climate change issues

On the heels of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recording the warmest September in the 174-year NOAA record, the 28th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), otherwise known as COP 28, was held in Dubai earlier this month, with over 160 countries and 84,000 people registering to attend. The themes of COP 28 were aimed at tackling the causes of climate change and managing the impacts of a warming planet.

Although this is the 28th COP, it is the first with a “global stocktake,” which is similar to taking inventory of what has been accomplished and is defined by the UNFCCC as “looking at everything related to where the world stands on climate action and support, identifying the gaps, and working together to chart a better course forward to accelerate climate action.” The technical dialogue of the first global stocktake was published Sept. 8 by the UNFCCC and included 17 key findings in four different areas (e.g., context; mitigation, including response measures; adaptation, including loss and damage; and means of implementation and support and finance flows).

Map graphic that shows surface temperatures in September 2023 compared to the 1991-2023 average. Many areas were warmer than average (red colors). Only a handful of locations were cooler than average (blue). Bar graph that shows September temperature compared to the 20th-century average from 1850 to 2023. Septembers have grown warmer at a rate of nearly 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.6 degrees Celsius) per century over the modern temperature record.

NOAA map and graph, based on data from NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information.

The first key finding provides a good summary of where we are and what needs to be done: “since its adoption, the Paris Agreement has driven near-universal climate action by setting goals and sending signals to the world regarding the urgency of responding to the climate crisis. While action is proceeding, much more is needed now on all fronts [emphasis added].” Let us hope that COP 28 addresses that last phrase.

As of the writing of this article, much has been accomplished at COP 28, with approximately 118 countries agreeing to triple renewable power generation capacity and double energy efficiency this decade, plus 50 oil and natural gas producers and almost 30 national oil companies signed pledges to reduce their carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 and cut methane emissions to near-zero levels by 2030.

With the final statements from COP 28 yet to be written, it is unclear how this COP and its progress will be remembered. The Associated Press article, “5 Reasons Why COP 28, the UN Climate Talks, Are Worth Your Attention,” says these talks are important because they exert peer pressure, produce clear goals, frame debates, foster slow but solid progress — and there’s no other option.

Let’s hope the time spent on COP 28 is worth the effort of the attending nations and people. It would be nice if COP 28 goes down in history as the COP that established the roadmap to solve these issues!

Bill Bradford can be reached at

Posted on December 14, 2023

Conlan speaks during webinar about schools’ indoor air quality

Headshot of Wade ConlanWade Conlan, P.E., CxA, BCxP, LEED AP® BD+C, an assistant vice president and Hanson’s commissioning and energy discipline manager who works at Hanson’s Orlando, Florida, regional office, co-presented a webinar about air quality in schools.

Eliot Crowe from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Lindsay Elliot from Parkway School District in Missouri and Ian Brown from Seattle Public Schools joined Wade to deliver their “Commissioning, Retro-Commissioning and Ongoing Commissioning for School Air Quality and Energy Efficiency” presentation for the Dec. 13 webinar hosted by the Center for Green Schools. They discussed using building commissioning to improve air quality and become more energy efficient.

Posted on December 14, 2023

Decarbonization conference cultivates teamwork among industry groups

Person stands behind a lectern next to a project screen in a meeting room; screen shows Hanson logo on presentation slide for conference sponsors.

Wade Conlan opens the 2023 Decarbonization Conference for the Built Environment on Oct. 25 in Washington, D.C.

In late October, five organizations from the building industry — ASHRAE, the American Institute of Architects, APPA, the Building Owners and Managers Association International and the International Facility Management Association — held the 2023 Decarbonization Conference for the Built Environment in Washington, D.C., with the goal of discussing the design, construction, ownership and operation of facilities targeted for reduced or neutral impact on the environment with respect to carbon footprint.

As a primer, decarbonization is the process of reducing carbon dioxide emissions and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, with respect to all industries. Decarbonization is extremely important, because it helps reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and mitigate the effects of global warming.

“The built environment generates nearly 40% of CO2 emissions annually with approximately 27% attributed to building operations, placing significant responsibility for reducing operational and embodied carbon emissions on the built environment industry,” said Laurie Gilmer, chair of IFMA’s global board of directors. “We must take the lead in ensuring that what we design, construct, operate and manage is achieved thoughtfully, strategically, collaboratively. Working together to reduce or reverse the harmful impacts of our buildings is empowering, but we need direction on how to go about it. ASHRAE’s decarbonization conference will help us integrate our perspectives to help our industry take meaningful action.”

Person stands behind a lectern next to a project screen in a meeting room, with five people sitting in chairs next to the lectern
Wade moderates the “Industry Executive Roundtable” Oct. 26.

I was fortunate to be asked to chair the conference and was extremely pleased to see that in addition to a fantastic technical program that covered the basics, case studies on decarbonizing buildings as well as policies, attendees included representatives from 10 countries who are equally concerned with decarbonization and represented numerous fields in the building industry (such as architecture, engineering, education, healthcare and finance).

The program included several breaks that encouraged discussion with new friends who are concerned about decarbonization and offered different perspectives. Ginger Scoggins, the president of ASHRAE, said, "There was so much energy at this conference. It was great to see all different areas of the building sector come together to discuss how we are going to tackle the impact of buildings on global greenhouse gas emissions."

With decarbonization being such a critical topic, ASHRAE plans to provide a number of technical guides but, more importantly, have an International Building Decarbonization Conference April 17–19, 2024, in Madrid, Spain, and focus on tall buildings during the Building Decarbonization Conference in New York City in the fall of 2024.

As the chair of the decarbonization conference this year, I was honored to lead, and I want to congratulate the organizers for the steps they are taking to actively decarbonize the built environment while educating the industry on a smart path to overcome the climate crisis.

Talk about decarbonization with Wade Conlan by contacting him at

Posted on November 15, 2023

Hanson hires Kwan, Polematidis; Maldonado rejoins firm

Headshot of Kalvin Kwan
Kalvin Kwan
Headshot of Amanda Polematidis
Amanda Polematidis
Headshot of Brian Maldonado
Brian Maldonado

Kalvin Kwan, P.E., CEM, has joined Hanson’s Orlando, Florida, regional office as an energy, sustainability and resiliency lead. He will oversee the long-term planning and development of projects involving energy demand, decarbonization and strategic energy conservation initiatives. Kalvin is also an adjunct professor for Valencia College’s energy management and controls technology program. He is a licensed professional engineer in Florida and a Certified Energy Manager.

Amanda Polematidis, P.E., CxA, LEED AP® BD+C, has joined Hanson in Jacksonville, Florida. As an associate project manager, she will manage the full project life cycle, collaborating with technical staff and clients to deliver energy optimization, decarbonization, innovation and adaptation strategies for the built environment. She is a licensed professional engineer in Florida, a Certified Commissioning Authority and a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design accredited professional with a Building Design + Construction specialty through the U.S. Green Building Council (USBGC). She is the chair of the USGBC North Florida Chapter.

And Brian Maldonado recently rejoined Hanson, working as an electrical designer in the firm’s Orlando regional office. He will provide electrical design services for various types of clients. He previously worked for Hanson from 2018 to 2022.

Posted on November 15, 2023

Listen to part II of ‘Discussions With Energy Leaders’ talk with Dave Robau

Screenshot from Discussions With Energy Leaders shows Bill Bradford and Dave Robau smiling

“I was doing sustainability before sustainability was cool,” said Dave Robau, founder and CEO of National Energy USA and founder and executive director of Gulf Coast Energy Network, during the second part of his conversation with Bill Bradford, P.E., a senior vice president and Hanson’s energy, sustainability and resiliency principal who works at the Orlando, Florida, regional office.

Dave talked about how he started National Energy USA and working with customers on their energy management goals, his involvement as an advisory board member for the Florida Solar Energy Center, improvements in energy efficiency, a heightened focus on decarbonization and green hydrogen.

Watch the latest “Discussions With Energy Leaders” video, or check out the longer conversation in the podcast version.

Posted on November 15, 2023