Forming the Future

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


Energy issues quickly changing on global scale

If you follow the news, you know some of today’s primary topics deal with energy costs, security, financing and transition. In March, I wrote about the increased attention on energy transition plans, and in April, I detailed six steps for these plans.

Since writing those articles, the worldwide situation continues to rapidly change, as is pointed out in the Forbes article, “How Ukraine Invasion Is Changing Europe’s Energy Plans,” which states, “Up until now, climate change has been the dominant driver of this development work. Now with the security of energy supply suddenly under the microscope for the first time in decades, there is an additional driver.” The article goes on to refer to the European Union’s RePowerEU plan that was released May 18. The plan includes:

  • Saving energy. “Energy savings are the quickest and cheapest way to address the current energy crisis, and reduce bills.”
  • Diversifying (energy) supplies and supporting international partners, which in the case of the EU involves weaning themselves off its dependency on Russian energy supply, developing relationships with other potential suppliers and boosting the development of renewables and hydrogen.
  • Accelerating the rollout of renewables. “A massive scaling-up and speeding-up of renewable energy in power generation, industry, buildings and transport will accelerate our independence, give a boost to the green transition, and reduce prices over time.”
  • Reducing fossil fuel consumption in industry and transport, which will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The emphasis for change is not only occurring in other parts of the world, but where I live and work. Orange County Public Schools in central Florida just released its “Sustainability Plan 2030.” In March, the Miami-Dade County Public Schools Clean Energy Taskforce issued its “Clean Energy 2030” report.

And Hanson is working with a variety of our public and private customers to develop energy and sustainability master plans, energy transition plans, an energy resiliency roadmap and primer (which is to be used nationally), energy roadmaps, net-zero energy and carbon-neutral feasibility studies and much more.

Although the world is going through difficult energy times, it is wonderful to see the amount of activity occurring locally and worldwide to resolve our ongoing energy problems. If we can assist you as you begin to look at your energy costs, security, financing and transition, please let us know.

Bill Bradford is a senior vice president and Hanson’s energy, sustainability and resiliency principal who works at the Orlando, Florida, regional office. He can be reached at bbradford@hanson-inc.com.


Posted on June 14, 2022

Sun signs down in Texas: Road curves get solar-powered chevrons

The improvements to Miles Road in McMullen County, Texas, include these solar-powered curve signs with flashing LEDs.

The improvements to Miles Road in McMullen County, Texas, include these solar-powered curve signs with flashing LEDs.

A road project recently completed in Texas includes lighted chevron signs powered by small solar panels.

Hanson provided design engineering for the project for Miles Road and Rhode Ranch Road in McMullen County, which involved repaving the roads and drainage improvements. Miles Road has several sharp horizontal curves that could not be easily straightened. This type of curve can be dangerous when motorists traverse it at speeds higher than advised, which may result in the car leaving the road and possibly striking objects or overturning.

Signs, such as chevrons, alert motorists to the curve. The chevron signs installed on Miles Road have the added benefit of solar-powered LEDs that continuously flash day and night.

Hanson’s services also included construction administration.

Posted on June 14, 2022

Bradford to discuss energy efficiency and sustainability plans at conference

conference logo; 2022 FES | ACEC-FL annual conference; July 20-23; Waldorf Astoria Orlando; Reimagining Florida’s Future; Dre

Bill Bradford, P.E., a senior vice president and Hanson’s energy, sustainability and resiliency principal, will deliver a presentation at the annual conference of the Florida Engineering Society and the American Council of Engineering Companies of Florida.

Bill, who works at Hanson’s Orlando, Florida, regional office, will join Frank Consoli, the building division manager for Seminole County in Florida, for the “Developing a County-Wide Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Plan” session July 22. This year’s conference will be held July 20–23 in Orlando.

For more information about the event and to register, visit the annual conference’s webpage.

Posted on June 14, 2022

Auditing tomorrow: What building owners need to meet growing priorities

Reducing building energy use means reducing utility bills. This is the fundamental fact that has driven building audits for the last 20 years. Yet, it was only in 2018 that ASHRAE published Standard 211, which codified the industry standards for commercial building energy audits. In the years preceding Standard 211, audits could have significant variability in the delivered outcomes. Now, with a standard in place and clear expectations outlined, auditors are seeing building owners’ priorities expand to include more varied motivations than just energy efficiency.

Often, these modern evaluations, while built on the common framework from Standard 211 and other earlier guides, go beyond the prescribed simple paybacks. When performing an audit that does not fit into the predefined scope of guidelines, an auditor’s main goal should be addressing the building owner’s priorities. This means the consulting teams must define the scope of the audit with the owners and the types of expertise needed internally to evaluate the owner’s questions.

For the auditor and their team, this means being able to develop multiple paths to the client’s overarching goals, ensuring that no single path is dependent on individual improvement measures. For example, consider the recommendation to replace an air-cooled chiller. If this is part of the core replacement strategy during reporting, a long list of recommendations can be made as a result: chilled water supply temperature reset strategy, differential pressure reset strategies, bypass valves at air handling units, various pumping strategies and so on. All these improvement measures stem from a single suggestion. What happens if the owner’s capital budget plan doesn’t allow for a chiller replacement? The auditor has spent considerable time and effort analyzing energy savings, carbon footprint reduction and any other agreed-on metrics for something that isn’t valuable to the owner. But, with a little more effort, multiple paths can be developed that include chiller refurbishment, pump replacement, etc. Increased core options can then be fitted to the owner’s needs and the corollary improvement measures chosen to fit within the new framework.

Taking this base principal of providing multiple paths to the ever-broadening owner’s priorities, we are finding that the search space for improvement measures is increasing exponentially. That is why I cannot speak often enough about cultivating an open line of communication with owners. It offers more insights than merely reducing the search space for improvement measures. These conversations also give insights into the owner’s decision-making process. Is the audit government-mandated? Does the corporation see a value in reaching carbon neutrality? Is water conservation the primary driver? Understanding the motivation helps the auditor’s analysis focus on what is useful to the owner.

The newest evolution of these types of audits comes from the COVID-19 pandemic. With an increased focus on indoor environmental quality in public spaces, a deeper review of ventilation, filtration, and air distribution systems has been called for. Many institutional and governmental clients commissioned readiness studies of their facilities to protect the occupants from the transmission of airborne viruses. Based on the procedures recommended by professional organizations like ASHRAE’s Epidemic Task Force, consultants reviewed the layout and performance of the air distribution systems, as well as the capacity to add supplemental protective protocols, like enhanced filtration and ultraviolet lighting to inactivate the viral load. With proper occupancy sensors in place, ASHRAE’s equivalent outdoor air rate can help mitigate the energy increases that this rise in outdoor air naturally leads to.

In this age of increasing scope for consultants, no individual can have expertise in all areas of energy efficiency, microgrids, renewable generation and pandemic response. This evolution of building audits requires a team of individuals with varied, but related, expertise. Depending on the audit’s scope, the team may include commissioning providers, energy managers, test and balance agencies, sustainability consultants, environmental health professionals, security experts, and information technology specialists. It is up to the auditors to forge these connections with owners and build the teams capable of providing the next generation of solutions.

Mat Coalson is a commissioning and energy specialist for Hanson and can be reached at mcoalson@hanson-inc.com.

Posted on May 16, 2022

Conlan on ASHRAE team that provided technical support for legislation

Wade Conlan, P.E., CxA, BCxP, LEED AP® BD+C, Hanson’s commissioning and energy discipline manager, was part of an ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force team that lent technical assistance for air ventilation legislation.

U.S. Rep. Don Beyer, who chairs Congress’ Joint Economic Committee, introduced on May 10 the Airborne Act, which would give commercial building owners tax credits for conducting indoor air quality assessments and upgrading ventilation and air filtration systems.

Wade, who works at Hanson’s Orlando, Florida, regional office, is a voting member of the task force and is its Building Readiness Team lead. Technical comments from the task force were incorporated into the bill.

Posted on May 16, 2022

Knoedler honored by EMA

: Bob Knoedler accepting a plaque in front of a lectern with a CxEnergy sign

Robert Knoedler, P.E., EMP, CxA, left, holds a plaque for his Distinguished Service Award from the Energy Management Association on April 21 during CxEnergy in Orlando, Florida.

Robert Knoedler, P.E., EMP, CxA, a vice president and an executive staff consultant who works at Hanson’s Orlando, Florida, regional office, received the Distinguished Service Award from the Energy Management Association.

Robert is a former president of the EMA and frequently leads training programs offered by the organization. He was presented with the award during CxEnergy in Orlando last month.


Posted on May 16, 2022

Bradford moderates session at sustainability summit

Bill Bradford, P.E., a senior vice president and Hanson’s energy, sustainability and resiliency principal who works at the Orlando, Florida, regional office, moderated a collaboration effort focused on industry, innovation and infrastructure issues in central Florida.

On May 5 and 6, the East Central Florida Regional Resilience Collaborative, Central Florida Foundation, city of Orlando, University of Central Florida’s Center for Global Economic and Environmental Opportunity and Orange County hosted an event in Orlando called 17 Rooms. It’s a method for problem-solving and action development focused on the U.N.’s 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs). This brainstorming concept comes from a partnership between the Brookings Institution and The Rockefeller Foundation.

The summit gathered leaders and community and organization representatives from the eight-county region to plan actions under all 17 SDGs that could be completed in 12–18 months. Each room had a facilitator and moderator. On May 6, Bill moderated a room, or session, based on the ninth SDG: industry, innovation and infrastructure.

Posted on May 16, 2022

Six steps for crafting your energy transition plan

My article last month about energy transition plans was written during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as energy prices skyrocketed in the U.S. and worldwide and after the Feb. 28 release of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Sixth Assessment Report, “Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability.” Now, my thoughts are again colored by recent events, including the March 21 announcement by the Securities and Exchange Commission proposing rule changes to require climate-related disclosures, the March 24 Bloomberg interview with Candace Browning, Bank of America securities head of global research, on net zero and corporations, and the April 4 “Summary for Policymakers” of the IPCC Working Group III report, “Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change.”

Based on events from the past two months, it is evident that momentum is increasing for companies, public agencies, governments and others to begin their energy transition planning. In her Bloomberg interview, Browning said, “In 2019, about 16% of the world’s GDP, you know, by country, had committed to some sort of net zero plan. And today, just three years later, that number is 90%. And, you know, this whole thing was really led initially by policy makers, right? But now, what’s happened is all these other groups have jumped in … and everybody wants to get on this wagon.” Browning goes on to say, “The first big take away was that it, you know, it’s a movement, and it’s going to happen. And I think, actually, that the events between Russia and Ukraine are actually going to further accelerate this because Europe, you know, has to get off its dependency on hydrocarbons.”

 

How do businesses, schools, hospitals or governments join the movement? We have advised our customers that there are steps to follow when developing their energy transition plans.

  1. Benchmark your facilities and processes.
    1. Gain an understanding of what information you have and how it would correspond to your short-, medium- and long-term plans.
    2. Gather data regarding your existing equipment and processes, utilities and metrics.
    3. Review the steps you have implemented and your plans (including renewable energy) and determine how those steps will affect your energy use and your Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 emissions.
  2. Evaluate best practices and latest technologies.
    1. Survey what is being done by leaders in your respective areas (and in other areas of the country), then develop an understanding of the strategies that are the most applicable to what you are doing.
    2. Identify and evaluate potential opportunities for energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainability that will help you reach your targets.
  3. Identify potential achievable goals for energy, emission, etc.
    1. Use the baseline information gathered in Step 1 and quantify existing conditions and efficiencies to benchmark yourself against your peer group, using nationally and internationally recognized metrics.
    2. Determine the various levels of potential savings and fiscal impact.
  4. Establish your conservation goals.
    1. Prioritize and rank the potential opportunities identified earlier, then establish achievable and “stretch” goals for energy, fuel, operation savings and emissions.
    2. Determine what infrastructure (e.g., renewable energy sources, storage, smart grid, etc.) is needed to achieve your goals.
    3. Coordinate plans with the local utility to identify rebates and plan infrastructure improvements needed to achieve your goals.
  5. Develop a coordinated strategy to determine the actions required to achieve your goals. This includes:
    1. a comprehensive roadmap for achieving your goals
    2. a timeline for achieving your goals
  6. Establish a mechanism to verify and report the benefits of the measures you have implemented. Also pursue:
    1. ongoing measurement and verification
    2. a dashboard to report your results for stakeholder and educational engagement

Regarding achieving net zero, Browning said that in Bank of America’s survey, “What we found is that of 3,400 companies, that 11% of them globally said they’re going to get there by 2030. That’s just eight years away. That number quadruples by the time 2040, and 41% of the companies said that they would be there.”

Have you started the process? As the title of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s April 4 summary says: “The Evidence Is Clear: The Time for Action is Now. We Can Halve Emissions by 2030.”

Start your energy transition plan today by talking to Bill Bradford — contact him at bbradford@hanson-inc.com.


Posted on April 12, 2022

Catch Hanson-led presentations at CxEnergy

If you are attending CxEnergy next week, three members of Hanson’s energy, sustainability and resiliency team from the Orlando, Florida, regional office are delivering technical presentations.

On April 21, Robert Knoedler, P.E., EMP, CxA, a vice president and an executive staff consultant, and Mathew Coalson, E.I., a commissioning and energy specialist, will cover how energy audits, condition assessments and strategic planning are increasingly expanding beyond energy efficiency in “Efficiency, Sustainability, Resiliency and Security – Redefining Auditing.”

Wade Conlan, P.E., CxA, BCxP, LEED AP® BD+C, Hanson’s commissioning and energy discipline manager, will present “Building Readiness and Reopening: Guidance and Case Studies” on April 22. He will talk about the core recommendations from ASHRAE’s Epidemic Task Force and systems evaluation and mitigation strategies for reopening buildings. He also will discuss projects involving evaluations and an indoor air quality pathway for educational facilities.

CxEnergy 2022 will be held April 19–22 at Caribe Royale Orlando. Find more information about the conference at the CxEnergy website.

Posted on April 12, 2022

Project manager joins Hanson’s Orlando area office

headshot of Burns BradfordBurns Bradford, P.E., LEED AP BD+C, a project manager, recently joined Hanson’s Orlando, Florida, regional office. He will manage projects for a wide range of healthcare, education and government clients.

Burns has more than a decade of experience in the engineering industry, including several focused on mechanical engineering. He previously was a project manager of aerospace and defense for an architecture and engineering firm in Orlando, successfully managing complicated projects for NASA and other aerospace customers.

Burns is a licensed professional engineer in Florida and a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design accredited professional with a Building Design + Construction specialty through the U.S. Green Building Council, of which he is a member. He also is a member of ASHRAE and is a mentor in the Horizon Scholars Program through Valencia College.

Burns can be reached at wbradford@hanson-inc.com.

Posted on April 12, 2022