In pursuit of the BESS in energy storage

Over the past several years, there has been increased interest and research in energy storage and battery energy storage systems (BESS). Basically, energy storage is a method of capturing and storing energy so it may be used later. Energy storage techniques have included hydroelectric dams, pumped storage, mass storage (like this electric rail car-based system), liquid air, underground compressed air, fly wheels and chemical or battery storage.

Whatever the type or method of storage, there has been an increased interest in BESS because of its benefits. BESS adds resiliency to systems by allowing an end user to isolate themselves from the grid during a power outage, which is called “islanding,” and it is integral to setting up a microgrid. BESS assists with the initial switch to the microgrid by providing power and can provide capacity until the outage is corrected or other power generating systems are initiated. BESS can also be used with renewable energy sources (e.g., wind turbines or solar photovoltaic systems). Wind and solar energy are increasingly being used to provide power to the grid. However, when the wind is intermittent or the skies are cloudy, BESS can help store energy for minutes or hours and help balance the power generated from wind turbines and solar. BESS also provides fast regulating reserves and can help balance fluctuations between supply and demand and renewable production “smoothing” and frequency support.

The cost of BESS has decreased greatly over the past several years. As mentioned in the Oct. 23, 2020, U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Today in Energy article, “The average energy capacity cost of utility-scale battery storage in the United States has rapidly decreased from $2,152 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in 2015 to $625/kWh in 2018.” And Fortune Business Insights reported, “The global battery energy storage market size stood at USD 7.06 billion in 2019 and is anticipated to attain USD 19.74 billion by 2027 … .”

Hanson is assisting our customers as they begin to explore and install these types of systems. We anticipate the use of microgrids will continue to increase, and we are certain we will see growth in electrical production by renewable energy systems. As the technology behind BESS continues to improve and the cost of these systems continues to decrease, we anticipate our customers, and the industry as a whole, will find more energy storage opportunities for their facilities and campuses. Although many questions remain to be answered on time-of-use rates, battery materials and more, we believe BESS will become more prevalent in the future.

Questions about BESS? Contact Bill Bradford at

Posted on September 10, 2021

Knoedler to discuss challenges of resiliency for facilities during two virtual events

Robert Knoedler, P.E., EMP, CxA, a vice president and the principal of commissioning and energy-related services at Hanson, will talk about commissioning’s role in resiliency planning and risk management Sept. 16 during a webinar for the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) Energy and Sustainability Community of Interest. Register for “Energy Management and Commissioning for Reliability and Resiliency: Lessons Learned From Natural Disasters” at the SAME website.

He also will discuss including resiliency in projects and systems for the National Institute of Building Services’ Building Innovation virtual conference. More information about the “Resiliency Challenges for Our Facilities and Critical Infrastructure” session on Sept. 27 is available on the conference website.

Robert, who is immediate past president of the Energy Management Association, has been sharing his insights on commissioning, resiliency and other energy-related topics this year for several virtual events, including for the Department of Veterans Affairs. He was joined by Mike Kelly, president of the Associated Air Balance Council, and Troy Byers, president of the AABC Commissioning Group to present “Testing, Tuning and Tracking for Optimum Building Performance” to the department on Sept. 7.

Posted on September 10, 2021

Florida’s water infrastructure: New law requires needs analysis

Stories of broken sewer mains dumping raw sewage into pristine waterways have become all too common in the Florida news. Protecting public health, water quality, recreation, fish and wildlife are critical to the economy. The management of wastewater and stormwater is essential to maintaining the aesthetic appeal of Florida waters. To address this, the state legislature passed House Bill 53 (HB 53), which adds requirements to Chapter 403 of the Florida Statutes (Florida Air and Water Pollution Control Act) and became effective July 1. The rest of this article contains summaries of parts of the bill.

Section 403.928 of Chapter 403 requires the Office of Economic and Demographic Research (EDR) to conduct annual assessments of Florida’s water resources and conservation lands. HB 53 adds the requirement that, beginning with the assessment due Jan. 1, 2022, the assessment will include an analysis of the expenditures necessary to repair, replace and expand water-related infrastructure. HB 53 also requires that, as part of the analysis, the office shall periodically survey public and private utilities.

Flowchart with bulleted lists next to questions. What do you know about your system? Existing pipe and system inventory; exis

So, to meet the requirements of HB 53, each county, municipality and special district must complete a 20-year needs analysis by June 30, 2022, and every five years thereafter. The needs analysis, one for wastewater and one for stormwater, must include:

  1. A detailed description of the facilities used to provide services.
  2. The number of current and projected connections (wastewater) and number of residents served in five-year increments.
  3. The service area for current and projected services.
  4. The cost of providing services (current and projected) in five-year increments.
  5. The estimated remaining useful life of each facility or its major components.
  6. The most recent five-year history of capital accounts for maintenance and expansion, including balances, expenditures and contributions.
  7. A plan to fund maintenance or expansion, including historical and estimated future revenues and expenditures.

Once the needs analysis is complete, the municipality or special district will submit the findings to the county. The county will compile all analyses into one document for wastewater and one for stormwater and include the county’s own analysis. Both documents must be submitted to the EDR by July 31, 2022, and every five years thereafter.

Data will be used by the EDR in developing the following year’s statewide analysis, due Jan. 1, 2023.

Hanson is in a strong position to assist with developing the newly required needs analysis. Creating the needs analysis starts with traditional engineering services like systemwide inventories, condition assessments and water resource modeling. Our partnership with DOT–US and its web-based capital planning software, DOT™ (Decision Optimization Technology), uses your geographic information system (GIS) data from these traditional engineering activities to help build actionable and optimized 20-year capital plans for the wastewater and stormwater systems you manage. DOT™ performs risk-based analysis based on asset criticality and the likelihood of failure, environmental and surface water impacts and the difficulty of access and repairs. Your decisions become proactive, based on in-depth civil engineering principles and advanced mathematical optimization processes that weigh operational and socioeconomic requirements to produce effective long-term plans. This package of services helps meet the HB 53 requirements by reporting existing conditions, evaluating risks and determining the future water infrastructure needs created by population growth.

Talk to Brian Wozniak about the new requirements and how Hanson can assist you at

Posted on August 12, 2021

Conlan to co-instruct ASHRAE courses on virus mitigation

Wade Conlan, P.E., CxA, BCxP, LEED AP® BD+C, Hanson’s commissioning and energy discipline manager and a member of ASHRAE’s Epidemic Task Force and its Building Readiness Team, will co-instruct three ASHRAE Learning Institute online courses next month.

Wade will join the task force’s Schools Team members Corey Metzger, P.E., and Raj Setty, P.E., LEED AP®, CxA, to present the “Virus Mitigation in K-12 Schools: A Game Plan for Lasting IAQ Improvement” course Sept. 7. They will talk about schools’ typical heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, the evaluation method and the fiscally responsible approach to carrying out facility improvements.

The “Evaluating Your HVAC System’s Readiness to Mitigate the Spread of SARS-CoV-2” course on Sept. 15 will be led by Wade and fellow Building Readiness Team members Dennis Knight, P.E., FASHRAE, DAL, CxA, BEMP, LEED AP® N.C. and O&M, and Sarah Maston, P.E., BCxP, LEED AP®. This course will address the engineering controls that can be used on typical building systems.

And Sept. 21, Wade and Corey will discuss issues encountered when reopening colleges and universities and preparing a readiness plan during the “Reopening Universities: Managing HVAC Systems to Mitigate the Spread of SARS-CoV-2” course.

Posted on August 12, 2021

Catch this week’s EMP seminar with Knoedler

Robert Knoedler, P.E., EMP, CxA, vice president and principal of commissioning and energy-related services, will co-instruct an Energy Management Professional (EMP) virtual seminar this week.

During the six-hour course Aug. 18–19, Robert and Al LaPera, CxA, EMP, LEED AP®, from TLC Engineering will explain energy management, how it can be applied and the Energy Management Association’s (EMA) commissioning-based approach.

More information about the event, which is presented by the EMA, is available on the EMA’s website.

Posted on August 12, 2021

Florida’s resilient coastlines: New law requires impact studies for public coastal construction

Effective July 1, Florida has a new law requiring a sea level impact projection (SLIP) study for state-financed construction within coastal areas. To help with the process, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection has developed a web-based tool for performing a SLIP study. There are three required elements to a SLIP study: estimated sea level rise, 1% flood inundation and risk to public safety.

This new law is a great first step toward resilient planning for future development along the coasts. Excerpts from and summaries of Florida Administrative Code Chapter 62S-7.012: SLIP Study Standards:

  1. Show the amount of sea level rise expected over 50 years or the expected life of the structure, whichever is less. The amount of sea level rise expected must be calculated using the following criteria:
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Intermediate-High sea level rise scenario per the NOAA report, “Global and Regional Sea Level Rise Scenarios for the United States.”
  • The local sea level rise at the project’s location must be interpolated between the two closest coastal tide gauges with NOAA sea level rise projections, per NOAA Tides and Currents’ “Sea Level Trends” website.
  • Flood depth over the entirety of the project location out 50 years or the structure’s expected life, whichever is less, for the NOAA Intermediate-High sea level rise scenario, at a minimum.
  • To the extent possible, the contribution of land subsidence to relative local sea level rise must be included. The land subsidence contribution is calculated by NOAA for each local tide gauge and is included in each of the NOAA sea level projections. This data (labeled VLM for Vertical Land Movement) is presented in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) sea level change calculator (Version 2019.21).
  1. Show the amount of flooding, inundation, and wave action damage risk expected over 50 years or the expected life of the structure, whichever is less. The amount of flooding and wave damage expected must be calculated using the following criteria:
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) storm surge water surface elevation for the 1% annual chance (100 year) flood event. Location-specific water surface elevations can be found within the SLIP tool or at the FEMA Flood Map Service Center.
  • The FEMA 1% annual chance water surface elevation must be added to the sea level rise scenario, and then compared to the project’s critical elevations to assess flood risk. Critical elevations must be Finished First Floor Elevation (FFE), the Lowest Adjacent Grade (LAG) of the structure, or another critical design element which may be substantially damaged if flooded. Refer to the 2020 Florida Building Code, Section 1603.1.7, Flood Design Data, for assistance in defining the critical elevation.
  • Depth-Damage Curves from the 2015 North Atlantic Coast Comprehensive Study, titled “Resilient Adaptation to Increasing Risk: Physical Depth Damage Function Summary Report” must be used to estimate the cost of future flood damage, for vertical construction only.
  1. Show the risk to public safety and environmental impacts expected over 50 years or the expected life of the structure, whichever is less. The structural design risk must be calculated using the following criteria:

Hanson’s experience in Florida’s water resources and sea level rise flooding issues has us positioned to aid our clients on future SLIP-related projects.

Are you planning to build a state-funded project on a Florida coast? Talk to Brian Wozniak about this new law’s requirements and how it could affect your project at

Posted on July 13, 2021

Hanson intern becomes mechanical designer

Landon Skelly, who joined Hanson in 2018 as an intern, has become a full-time mechanical designer. He will work on projects related to heating, ventilating and air conditioning; mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems; and building energy design.

Landon received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, where he was president of ASHRAE’s student chapter and a member of the solar car team.

Posted on July 13, 2021

Building performance metrics: beyond energy use intensity

In July and August last year, we focused on the process for energy roadmaps and noted the importance of establishing a baseline for a building’s energy performance. The process involves reviewing utility bills and developing an energy balance, defining the various energy sources and identifying the major energy consuming systems. Once developed, the baseline can be used to benchmark against other facilities of a similar type and occupancy.

Read more: Creating a comprehensive energy roadmap, Part I and Part II

The most common benchmarking metric is the energy use intensity (EUI), expressed as energy per square foot per year (kBtu/ft2/yr), and it results from a fairly simple calculation of the total annual building energy use divided by the gross building area, as defined by the ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 105-2014: Standard Methods of Determining, Expressing and Comparing Building Energy Performance and Greenhouse Gas Emissions. The EUI metric is widely used in the built environment, and it is the basis of multiple industry standards and energy conservation incentives. However, metrics considering other factors than floor area may be selected, depending on the owner’s goals and concerns, including:

  • Btu per employee: typical for office buildings
  • Btu per unit of product: typical for assembly plants
  • Btu per pound of product: typical for manufacturers
  • Btu per number of beds occupied: typical for hotels or hospitals

Data center operators have their own metrics to evaluate how efficiently a data center uses energy, including power usage effectiveness, data center infrastructure efficiency and water usage effectiveness.

While these metrics are very useful in comparing a facility’s energy performance to peer buildings, one of the drawbacks to these metrics is that energy cost is not considered. An important and useful benchmark to consider is the energy cost intensity (ECI), which is the cost of energy used annually per square foot of conditioned space. This metric can identify key targets for cost and energy efficiency measures and is crucial to financial management and planning.

In addition, the above-mentioned metrics do not accommodate the operating and maintenance costs associated with the building’s systems. Consider the cost of water and water treatment associated with heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Two facilities can have the same EUI; however, one may require significant water consumption and chemical treatment for an open loop condenser water system, while the other building employs air-cooled chillers. The operating costs associated with such systems should be evaluated when analyzing overall system costs for an owner.

Even though EUI is a common tool used in benchmarking, it is important for energy managers and engineers to be familiar with other metrics and cost considerations to help their clients establish energy goals and make the most impactful budget decisions related to their facilities and systems.

To learn about benchmarking with these metrics, contact Imane El Ghazouani at

Posted on June 12, 2021

Engineered Systems magazine interviews Knoedler

Engineered Systems magazine featured Bob Knoedler, P.E., EMP, CxA, a vice president and principal of commissioning and energy-related services, for “The Blueprint,” its series of monthly Q&A interviews with individuals in the heating, ventilating, air conditioning and refrigerating engineering field.

Bob answered questions from Herb Woerpel, editor-in-chief, about Hanson, the Energy Management Association (EMA), energy and the pandemic. Check out the entire interview on the magazine’s website.

Bob has served as president of the EMA since 2017 and was elected immediate past president in April.

Posted on June 11, 2021

ASHRAE Journal’s latest issue includes article by Conlan

A presentation by Robert Knoedler, P.E., EMP, CxA, a vice president and principal of commissioning and energy-related services at Hanson, and Jim Magee, CxA, EMP, principal of Facility Commissioning Group, will be available to watch during April to CxEnergy 2021 registrants.

Their technical presentation, “Codes, Standards, Ordinances and Guidelines — Which Rule?,” is part of the all-virtual event that offers 16 live and prerecorded sessions originally scheduled to be in person for the conference and expo in Fort Worth, Texas, which was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Commissioning (Cx) increasingly is addressed in codes, standards, guidelines and sustainability programs, and Robert and Jim discuss what they require and how they differ.

For more information and to register, click here.

Posted on June 11, 2021