Forming the Future

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


Properly maintaining commercial buildings crucial to saving energy

Stock image of an engineer in safety gear holding a clipboard, checking the air conditioning equipment on the roof of a large building

Energy news has filled the media lately — specifically, stories related to the U.S. government’s efforts to minimize the use of fossil fuel, the promotion of renewable sources, higher consumer energy costs and potential energy shortages in Europe. Funding through recent U.S. federal legislation dedicated to infrastructure includes money and incentives for electric vehicles, charging stations and transportation projects.

However, recent reports, such as from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, reflect that about 40% of all U.S. energy consumption is accounted for by buildings (as well as a similar share of greenhouse gas emissions). Because most of these buildings and their systems are used for a number of years, if not decades, proper operation and maintenance is critical to minimizing their energy consumption, not only to ensure long-term cost savings but to ensure indoor environmental quality (IEQ) and help manage capital repair and replacement costs.

Updated codes address the construction of new facilities, dictating sustainable materials and minimum efficiency standards for mechanical and electrical systems; however, there are over five million commercial buildings in the U.S. that vary in age and condition and often are operated with stretched staff and sparse budgets.

Earlier this year, the General Services Administration’s (GSA) Public Buildings Service commissioner, Nina Albert, testified in a House hearing that much of the federally owned property under its control is “suffering from the consequences of significant deferred maintenance, driven by inadequate investment.” In noting the importance of properly maintaining federal facilities, Albert stated that maintenance liabilities doubled in 10 years, reaching $2.6 billion in 2021.

This aligns with an inspector general’s report from last year, which noted that deferred maintenance in GSA-owned buildings leaves them “vulnerable to rising maintenance and repair costs and an increased risk of building system failure, accelerated deterioration of systems and structures, and potential life safety hazards.” In addition, it noted “Long-term deferred maintenance can also lead to more costly emergency repair or replacement projects.”

Many private commercial buildings share similar deferred maintenance issues, even with recent municipal ordinances requiring benchmarking, auditing, retro-commissioning and various incentives related to upgrades. The operators of commercial buildings in the private sector face barriers other than public funding, including conflicting priorities between owners and employees (or occupants) over limited operating and capital dollars, elevated payback periods beyond 3.5 years and a lack of knowledge regarding recent technologies that offer advanced monitoring of their building systems.

However, investments in building retrofits and renovations can provide a multitude of benefits, including reduced energy consumption (and, therefore, carbon footprint), improved IEQ and increased physical resiliency. In addition, properly maintaining facilities, extending their use and life, is inherently sustainable. The continued use of buildings helps preserve the embodied energy of the facilities, prevents the need to use new, energy-intensive construction materials and keeps construction debris out of landfills.

Evolving technologies over the past decade have included advancements in enhanced building automation and monitoring systems, using advanced metering and analytical software. These have proved to be very beneficial in building retrofits. According to Fortune Business Insights, this “smart” building market is expected to have a compound annual growth rate of approximately 22% from 2022 to 2029, with energy consumption concerns being the key market driver.

As a multidiscipline professional services firm, Hanson has dedicated engineers, energy management professionals and commissioning agents with experience in facility condition assessments, energy audits, retro-commissioning and smart building technologies. For further information, contact Bob Knoedler at rknoedler@hanson-inc.com or Bill Bradford at bbradford@hanson-inc.com.


Posted on November 15, 2022

Ryan earns professional engineer licenses in Illinois, Florida

Headshot of Patrick RyanPatrick Ryan, P.E., a mechanical engineer at Hanson’s Springfield, Illinois, headquarters, recently earned professional engineer licenses in Illinois and Florida.

Patrick, who joined the company in 2020, provides assessment, design and construction observation services for plumbing and heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems for a variety of facilities.

Posted on November 15, 2022

Hanson helps Orlando schools’ sustainability efforts

A person speaks behind a lectern on a stage, in front of a group of monitors displaying sponsoring companies’ logos. Several people are seated at tables in front of the speaker
Jennifer Fowler, director of environmental compliance and sustainability for Orange County Public Schools, speaks during the district’s Green Schools Recognition Program awards ceremony Oct. 20.

Hanson sponsored Orange County Public Schools’ Green Schools Recognition Program for the 2021–22 school year.

The program rewards schools in the district for sustainability efforts, and several schools were recognized during the program’s ninth annual awards banquet Oct. 20 at the Varsity Club at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. Arbor Ridge K–8 School took first place, winning a $5,000 reward that can be used toward its environmental education programs.

Learn more about the Green Schools Recognition Program on its website.

Posted on November 15, 2022

Unique forward pump stations will boost coastal structures’ resiliency for future sea level rise

Aerial view of North Miami Beach, Florida, with building of varying heights lining the coast

Studies suggest that sea levels will rise by a meter or more by the year 2100, threatening trillions of dollars’ worth of assets. Long-term sea level rise is a critical threat to coastal areas and poses severe risks and challenges over the upcoming decades.

South Florida may face the adverse effects of sea level rise in the future, and without adaptation investments, the area’s annual flood losses could exceed $25 billion by 2050. The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) has been making efforts to address these issues and has prepared a sea level rise and flood resiliency plan.

One way that SFWMD plans to combat sea level rise is by installing forward pump stations in many of the district’s old coastal flood control structures that will not be capable of conveying the design discharge caused by sea level rise. Forward pump stations help keep up with the design discharge, thereby regulating the stage during extreme events such as a storm surge and high tide. These pump stations are being designed to accommodate additional pumps in the future, depending on how the conditions change.

SFWMD has chosen two pilot locations to evaluate these first-of-their-kind forward pump stations. A team effort including Kimley-Horn and Hanson is designing one of these pilot locations at a gated structure in North Miami Beach, Florida. As part of the preliminary design, Hanson is developing a detailed 2D model to define a broad range of hydraulics that influence conditions leading to the pump intake and the discharge to the canal from a concentrated, high-velocity flow through the structure.

This thorough hydraulic model will provide a comprehensive look at how the flood control infrastructure will handle rising sea levels. Hanson is evaluating the gated structure’s capacity and a proposed pump station under current conditions and with the consideration of 1 foot to 3 feet of sea level rise. The model’s results will help determine the hydraulic transitions of the proposed intake and outflow channels. The 2D hydraulic model will be used in the project’s design to support the inflow assumptions for 3D computational fluid dynamics and in physical models to evaluate more detailed hydraulics within the intake bays and pump station.

Learn about increasing the resiliency of coastal structures from Garrett Litteken at glitteken@hanson-inc.com and Brian Wozniak at bwozniak@hanson-inc.com.

Posted on October 18, 2022

Orlando airport’s new terminal begins operations

Columns and tall artificial palm trees flank a ceiling of skylights in the Orlando airport’s Terminal C

Orlando International Airport’s Terminal C, shown under construction in January 2022.

Flights have begun at Orlando International Airport’s new Terminal C.

A soft opening was held Sept. 20, with an Aer Lingus flight from Manchester, England, the first to arrive. The 15-gate terminal is the first phase of the airport’s new South Airport Terminal, which connects to the Automated People Mover Complex and Intermodal Terminal Facility that were previously completed. Together, the three facilities comprise a nearly $3 billion addition to the airport.

A person in a hard hat and safety vest stands in front of a row of several large generators inside a large mechanical area

A row of generators in the terminal’s energy plant.

Hanson provided commissioning during construction of the complex, which has about 1.8 million square feet of conditioned space.

Posted on October 18, 2022

Ruecker earns CxA certification

Headshot of Marcus RueckerMarcus Ruecker, E.I., CxA, a commissioning specialist at Hanson’s Orlando, Florida, regional office, recently became a certified commissioning authority through the AABC Commissioning Group.

The Certified Commissioning Authority (CxA) certification recognizes individuals who understand the building commissioning process and possess the organizational, documentation, communications and team-building skills necessary to lead and coordinate an effective commissioning team and to determine that the building owner’s intent is achieved.

Marcus joined Hanson in 2019 and provides commissioning and retro-commissioning services for a variety of educational, institutional, governmental and commercial projects.

Posted on October 18, 2022

Perrott, Tabor talk about TAB at Associated Air Balance Council event

Headshots of Bradley Perrott and Justin Tabor
Brad Perrott
Justin Tabor

Brad Perrott, P.E., LEED AP®, EMP, an assistant vice president and Hanson’s facilities practice lead, and Justin Tabor, CxA, a commissioning and energy specialist, discussed the importance of testing, adjusting and balancing (TAB) at the Associated Air Balance Council’s (AABC) annual meeting in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

Brad and Justin, who both work at Hanson’s Raleigh, North Carolina, office, presented “Design and Commissioning: Evaluating the Interface with TAB on Projects” Oct. 13.

AABC’s annual meeting is attended by more than 100 members of the organization from around the U.S.

Posted on October 18, 2022

Hanson attends North Carolina association’s conference

A person laughs while talking to another person, both of whom are standing in front of a table with a Hanson booth on it
David Poole, right, speaks with an attendee Oct. 13 at the North Carolina Association of Community College Facility Operations’ Fall Conference.

Hanson joined exhibitors at the North Carolina Association of Community College Facility Operations’ Fall Conference.

Brad Perrott and David Poole, a project manager who works at Hanson’s Indianapolis office, were in Carolina Beach, North Carolina, to talk about energy efficiency at Hanson’s booth.

The conference, which was held from Oct. 12–14, brings together community college facility personnel from across the state.

Posted on October 18, 2022

This Energy Efficiency Day, join the global efforts to save energy and decarbonize

Graphic of green power strip with green leaves coming out of it; Happy Energy Efficiency Day!; October 5, 2022

In “A Tale of Two Cities,” Charles Dickens wrote, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity … .” Over the past year, multiple people have shared this quote with me and likened it to our times and the concerns we face regarding our changing climate.

As you look around the world, you see that a third of Pakistan is underwater due to some of the worst flooding in history; Lake Mead and Lake Powell, which supply water from the Colorado River to farmland and cities throughout the U.S. Southwest, are at record low levels; dozens of wildfires are occurring throughout the world; and European countries are facing a cutoff of natural gas supplies from Russia as winter approaches.

However, with all the bad news we see daily, we are beginning to see a groundswell of activity to address these problems. As Candace Browning, Bank of America securities head of global research, stated in a March 24 Bloomberg interview about net zero and corporations, “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% ... . The first big take away was that it, you know, it’s a movement, and it’s going to happen.”

In May and June, 61 of the largest U.S. hospital and health sector companies (representing over 650 hospitals and thousands of other providers) committed to the Department of Health and Human Services and White House’s pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030. In July, ASHRAE published “ASHRAE Position Document on Building Decarbonization” and in August, ASHRAE and the International Code Council proposed a whole life carbon approach standard.

There is a direct tie between energy efficiency and decarbonization, as the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Better Buildings Initiative states: “When pursuing a decarbonization plan, DOE is encouraging partners to lead with energy efficiency. Energy not used is energy saved, making the transition to clean, renewable energy infrastructure easier.”

With the above in mind, we celebrate Energy Efficiency Day today knowing that approximately 1,000 local governments, universities, organizations, corporations (including Hanson) and utilities are participating, and we invite you to join us. As stated on the Energy Efficiency Day website, “October 5, 2022, is Energy Efficiency Day. But efficiency is year-round.”

The groundswell is starting, and it is up to all of us to keep it growing.

Reach out to Bill Bradford at bbradford@hanson-inc.com to discuss your energy efficiency goals.


Posted on October 05, 2022

Building resiliency and sustainability into your asset management and long-range plans

Five screenshots of a software interface, with an asset selection list, map and different types of graphs

These screenshots from Decision Optimization TechnologyTM show the different asset modules, analytical components and mapping features in the software.

You know that simple maintenance on your car helps keep the engine in good condition. Just like vehicles, our roads, water systems and facilities need the same maintenance and care. With construction material costs skyrocketing, the cost of replacing infrastructure assets is steadily rising. By focusing on preventive maintenance techniques, asset owners can effectively extend the useful life of their assets by slowing the deterioration rate. Maintaining your assets today means lower repair and replacement costs tomorrow.

A large portion of carbon emissions are produced by manufacturing construction materials. Studies show that preventative maintenance methods help reduce the community’s carbon footprint. Examples of roadway preventive maintenance treatments include chip sealing, slurry sealing, cape sealing, crack sealing and microsurfacing. Using recycled and reusable materials in these projects requires less transportation and is more environmentally friendly.

When Hanson’s innovation team set out to identify challenges faced by our customers, asset management and balancing maintenance with reconstruction initiatives in capital improvement plans were reoccurring themes. Through our internal innovation program, we also recognized that our customers needed help making better, quicker and more transparent asset management decisions. We identified a method to help them achieve their goals: a decision support tool called

DOTTM helps users build resiliency into their asset management plans by reinforcing the use of preventative maintenance. By optimizing long-term pavement maintenance and rehabilitation programs, DOTTM can help customers achieve their highest returns on investments. By using DOTTM, customers can save 10% to 17% on life cycle costs and significantly improve network performance over a 10-year plan.

Through its analytical processes, DOT™ combines engineering experience and 10 years of doctorate-level research and development focused on using optimization algorithms to create multiyear, multi-constraint analyses. In addition, DOT™ can simultaneously incorporate fluctuating annual budgets, shifting strategic priorities, socio-economic factors, risk and safety considerations and cross-departmental initiatives to help its users build effective plans that support their objectives.

Long-term life cycle cost analysis within an optimized planning framework will result in more preventive maintenance treatments and a significantly reduced capital cost over time. By applying preventive maintenance strategies from a tool such as DOTTM, communities can reduce their carbon footprints and see a higher return on investment.

DOTTM is offered by Decision Optimization Technology-United States LP (DOT-US), a partnership between Hanson and Infrastructure Solutions Inc. Contact Erin Calcari at ecalcari@hanson-inc.com to learn more about DOTTM.


Posted on September 13, 2022