Forming the Future

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

Hanson helping capture the future

A rendering of a power plant, as seen from a tree-lined roadway.
This Hanson-generated 3D rendering shows the proposed CWLP carbon capture towers.

Hanson is working on two front-end engineering design (FEED) studies in support of carbon capture technology in Illinois. The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory has selected Prairie State Generating Co.’s 816-megawatt Unit 2 in Marissa and City Water, Light and Power’s (CWLP) 200-megawatt Dallman Unit 4 in Springfield for FEED studies, with the CWLP project also funded for large-scale pilot testing. As two of only a handful of coal-fired power plants in Illinois, both of which burn Illinois-sourced coal, carbon capture technology is important to the reduction of carbon emissions to mitigate global climate change.

Hanson has been involved with both coal-fired units since their construction, providing environmental, civil, geotechnical and structural design, literally seeing them built from the ground up. For the FEED studies, Hanson’s knowledge of the sites continues to be used through survey, geotechnical, civil and structural work and 3D rendering.

The University of Illinois’ Prairie Research Institute is managing both projects, using two different solvent-based technologies for the studies: a Linde-BASF system at CWLP and a Mitsubishi process at Prairie State. The university’s staff brings technical expertise to the designs for the projects and governmental oversight of the allocated DOE funds. For the CWLP project, the DOE has allotted $47 million, with the state of Illinois committing an additional $20 million to the cost of the project’s final phase: detailed engineering, construction and the operation of a 10-megawatt, post-combustion carbon dioxide capture system to process the power plant’s flue gas. The Prairie State project has received $14 million from the DOE to finalize the FEED study there.

The DOE will gain a more detailed understanding of carbon capture costs because of the FEED studies completed for carbon capture systems at actual sites. These studies help define the scope of retrofit projects based on project-specific decisions, technology-specific performance, site-specific requirements and client-specific needs. The various design and engineering deliverables also help define the commodity quantities, equipment specifications and labor effort required to execute the project. These FEED study deliverables are prepared with the intent to develop an overall project capital cost estimate within plus or minus 15% accuracy. Once the FEED scope is defined, detailed design can commence to integrate the carbon capture system with the facility.

Contact Matt Heyen at to learn more about carbon capture.

Posted on July 11, 2022

Hanson interns collecting mechanical engineering knowledge on-site

An intern moves a ceiling tile while standing on a ladder in a classroom

Cypress Gore lifts a ceiling tile to look at the heating, ventilating and air conditioning equipment at Sanford Middle School Magnet in Sanford, Florida.

Cypress Gore, an intern at Hanson’s Orlando, Florida, regional office, gathered data on heating, ventilating and air conditioning equipment June 14 at Sanford Middle School Magnet in Sanford, Florida, as part of Hanson’s facility condition assessment project for Seminole County Public Schools.

A large generator is behind an intern holding an electronic tablet.

Cypress stands in front of equipment June 16 in the energy plant for Orlando International Airport’s South Terminal C in Orlando, Florida.

Then, Cypress learned about emergency generator and switchgear operation and took notes during a June 16 field observation at Orlando International Airport. Hanson personnel conducted a site walk to check the chiller plant’s status for the airport’s South Terminal C expansion.

Christa Barsanti uses an infrared thermometer on a ductless split system at Fuller Magnet Elementary School in Raleigh, North Carolina.

That same day, intern Christa Barsanti in Raleigh, North Carolina, assisted with building commissioning activities for one of Hanson’s Wake County Public School System projects. She used an infrared thermometer on a ductless split system at Fuller Magnet Elementary School in Raleigh to determine if the temperature changed as expected when the system was turned on or off.

Cypress and Christa are pursuing degrees in mechanical engineering and are expected to graduate next year.

Posted on July 11, 2022

Conlan speaks at ASHRAE annual conference

Headshot of Wade ConlanWade Conlan, P.E., CxA, BCxP, LEED AP® BD+C, Hanson’s commissioning and energy discipline manager, discussed the core recommendations from ASHRAE’s Epidemic Task Force and key items from the Building Readiness Guide during ASHRAE’s annual conference.

Wade presented “ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force Core Recommendations, Building Readiness and Key Concerns Moving Forward” June 28 during the event in Toronto. He went into detail on the guide’s information that is useful for heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems and talked about some of the task force’s key areas of concern.

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.

Posted on July 11, 2022

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

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

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