Forming the Future

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


In building auditing, expanded scope requires a team

Auditing and strategic planning for buildings, their systems and their efficiency have long been an important part of the toolkit for decreasing energy demand and consumption. Typically, these audits were initiated to find operational savings in facilities, often through discrete measures affording attractive returns on investment.

However, over the past several years, consultants have been asked to expand the scope of their auditing and assessment of existing buildings and their systems, based on a growing list of owner concerns and priorities. Beyond energy efficiency, these may include quantitative and qualitative concerns. Qualitative goals often include sustainability, resiliency, indoor environmental quality and security, while intangible benefits may include improved employee comfort, positive brand recognition and reinforced customer loyalty.

This requires the consultant team and the owner to accurately define the audit’s scope and the analyses for evaluating identified measures. Often, evaluations require more than quantitative calculations examining economic feasibility and payback. Analyses may need to assess the advancement toward goals and/or complying with codes or ordinances.

Government programs and corporate initiatives are driving the move to carbon neutrality or net zero carbon (different goals), net zero energy, water conservation and other goals related to the stewardship of Earth and its resources. Commitments to sustainability goals and targets require auditors to focus on these areas, with owners often seeking compliance with certification initiatives like LEED®, Green Globes or WELL.

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Another issue at the top of many building owners’ and facility managers’ minds is resiliency. Extreme weather events and more utility interruptions, coupled with other threats to infrastructure, have increased the focus on resiliency for facilities and their systems. Consultants are asked to evaluate facilities’ vulnerabilities to a variety of hazards, from natural disasters to malicious attacks.

The COVID-19 pandemic increased attention on indoor environmental quality to public spaces, requiring a review of ventilation, filtration and air distribution systems. Before reoccupying buildings, many institutional and governmental clients commissioned “readiness” studies of their facilities to protect the occupants from the transmission of airborne viruses.

This expansion in the scope of building audits requires a team of individuals with varied but related expertise. Depending on the scope, the team may include commissioning providers; energy managers; design engineers; testing, adjusting and balancing contractors; sustainability consultants; and environmental health professionals. The team must be conversant with the latest incentives, rebates and funding opportunities. This may require engaging utility representatives and public governmental officials.

Collaboration and coordination between members of the team is crucial, especially because many recommendations may afford benefits addressing multiple concerns. In addition, often a broad range of goals compete for limited capital funds, requiring consultants and owners to develop a weighted algorithm to prioritize facility improvement opportunities.

As a multidiscipline professional services firm, Hanson has a number of dedicated design engineers, energy management professionals, commissioning agents and environmental and sustainability personnel. We have experience in assembling a synergistic, highly knowledgeable auditing team to comprehensively address our clients’ needs. For further information, contact Bill Bradford at bbradford@hanson-inc.com.

Posted on January 14, 2022

Bradford joins peers for Professional Engineer Legislative Days

Nine people stand together in an office, some wearing face masks, smiling and facing camera

Bill Bradford, P.E., fourth from left, and others from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Florida and the Florida Engineering Society spoke with Rep. Anna Eskamani, center, in her office Jan. 13 at the Florida State Capitol.

Bill Bradford, P.E., a senior vice president and Hanson’s energy, sustainability and resiliency principal, joined other members of the American Council of Engineering Companies of Florida and the Florida Engineering Society in discussions with Florida legislators about current topics pertinent to the engineering industry.

The Jan. 13 talks at the Florida State Capitol were part of Professional Engineer Legislative Days, a two-day, annual event in Tallahassee hosted by the professional organizations that connects its members with state representatives and senators to become up to date on the latest legislative efforts linked to engineering.

Posted on January 14, 2022

Catch three speakers from Hanson at this year’s CxEnergy

Headshots of Wade Conlan, Robert Knoedler and Mathew CoalsonThree members of Hanson’s energy, sustainability and resiliency team will speak at CxEnergy 2022, which is planned for April 19–22 at Caribe Royale Orlando. 

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

In “Efficiency, Sustainability, Resiliency and Security – Redefining Auditing,” Robert Knoedler, P.E., EMP, CxA, a vice president and the principal of commissioning and energy-related services, 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.

Find more information about the conference at the CxEnergy website.

Posted on January 14, 2022

Hanson drops in at CLEANPOWER

Four people smile as they pretend that they are trying to maintain their balance at the edge of an optical illusion of hole i
From left, Hanson’s Suzy Keim, P.G., an associate project manager; Dan Whalen, P.E., a senior vice president and the power market principal; Andy Canopy, P.E., PLS, PSM, an assistant vice president and a senior project manager; and Jennifer Sunley, the natural resources discipline manager, stand on the edge of the optical illusion in Hanson’s booth at CLEANPOWER 2021.


Hanson attended the American Clean Power Association’s CLEANPOWER 2021 in Salt Lake City last month.

CLEANPOWER is an annual conference and exhibition for the U.S. renewable energy industry. Visitors to Hanson’s booth during the event Dec. 7–8 could play a golf game or take a photo while pretending to fall into the hole in the floor that opened over a wind farm — a renewable energy-themed optical illusion.

Three people stand by a tall, round table in Hanson’s conference booth

Andy Canopy visited with David Evans and Associates Inc. employees Dec. 7 at the event.

Hanson will return to CLEANPOWER this year, which is set for May 16–18 at the Henry B. González Convention Center in San Antonio.

Learn more about Hanson’s services for energy providers and power-generation companies, including for renewables and high-voltage transmission lines, on Hanson’s website.

Posted on January 14, 2022

Reducing carbon footprint starts with simple approach: cut down energy use

Do you want to decarbonize and strive to become carbon neutral, but you don’t know how to do so? Would you like your buildings and campuses to be powered by renewable energy, such as wind or solar, so you can have a smaller carbon footprint, but you don’t have the capital expenditure funds to invest? Or do you desire to simply use less energy and reduce your energy bills — while still creating fewer greenhouse gasses and (again) reducing your carbon footprint? You are in luck, because investing in energy efficiency can help you begin to achieve all this and save money!

“While renewable electricity investments are indeed a critical pillar of overall decarbonization, energy efficiency is equally critical, yet it is still too-often overlooked,” said Longevity Partners’ Anneli Tostar and Laure Ferrand and Climate Group’s Tessa Lee and LeAnna Roaf in their June 2021 article, “Energy Efficiency: The Unsung Hero of Net Zero Carbon.” They go on to say, “reducing consumption through energy efficiency measures is an essential step to developing an overall decarbonization plan … ”

According to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s scientist Jessica Granderson in a Berkley Lab news release, “Buildings account for nearly 40% of the energy used in the United States, with a total bill well over $400 billion per year.”

Many cities, counties, states and utilities recognize that increasing your overall energy efficiency reduces the amount of energy used by buildings and establishes a lower baseline of energy need, which can ultimately be satisfied by the increased use of renewable energy. Examples include the New York City Mayor’s Office of Climate and Sustainability, Orlando’s Building Energy and Water Efficiency Strategy and Miami-Dade County’s Building Efficiency 305 program. These have instituted multiple energy efficiency policies and programs, including updating building and energy codes, implementing commissioning and retro-commissioning programs to verify the energy-using systems are installed correctly and operating properly, instituting energy benchmarking and disclosure for commercial real estate and public sector buildings and offering financial incentives and programs. Search the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency to find what is available where you are.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration projects that “… global energy consumption and energy-related CO2 emissions will increase from 2020 through 2050 as a result of population and economic growth.” Because the amount of energy used in buildings is directly connected to carbon dioxide emissions, one of the best things building owners can do is implement energy efficiency measures that reduce each building’s energy baseline. As stated in the “Unsung Hero” article mentioned above, “There are many ways that a company can reduce their carbon footprint, but by far the one that makes the most immediate financial sense is to cut back on consumption from the start.”

This mirrors what Hanson has found in the numerous energy audits, retro-commissioning projects and energy masterplans we have developed for our customers. By first focusing on energy efficiency, you reduce the amount of energy you use, save money, create fewer greenhouse gasses, reduce carbon and expand the use of renewable energy! Contact Bill Bradford at bbradford@hanson-inc.com to start your journey to energy efficiency today.

Posted on December 13, 2021

Hanson hosts representatives of ASHRAE, educational facilities

Several people sit around a table in a conference room, listening to one person speak

Mick Schwedler, P.E., FASHRAE, LEED AP®, the president ASHRAE, center, speaks Nov. 11 during a discussion about ASHRAE’s zero energy resource for schools at Hanson’s Orlando, Florida, regional office.

Hanson welcomed representatives of ASHRAE and educational buildings to the Orlando, Florida, regional office last month.

Mick Schwedler, P.E., FASHRAE, LEED AP®, the president ASHRAE, was joined by several members of ASHRAE’s board of directors, nine people from K-12, state college and private school facilities and members of Hanson’s energy, sustainability and resiliency team Nov. 11 in the office for a discussion about high-performance schools and ASHRAE’s “Advanced Energy Design Guide for K-12 School Buildings: Achieving Zero Energy.” This resource focuses on reaching higher levels of energy savings at schools.

Sixteen people stand together outside an office building, smiling and facing the camera

Representatives of ASHRAE, educational facilities and Hanson gathered for a group photo outside the office.



Posted on December 13, 2021

EPA office director commends Epidemic Task Force

Jonathan Edwards, director of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Radiation and Indoor Air, wrote a letter of appreciation to ASHRAE’s Epidemic Task Force for its work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wade Conlan, P.E., CxA, BCxP, LEED AP® BD+C, Hanson’s commissioning and energy discipline manager, is a voting member of its Epidemic Task Force and its Building Readiness Team lead. Mathew Coalson, E.I., and Imane El Ghazouani, commissioning and energy specialists at Hanson, were part of the Building Readiness Team and helped create a visual guide to task force’s resources. The task force comprises more than 150 volunteers who work in the air conditioning, ventilation, filtration and air cleaning fields.

“The growing list of ASHRAE Task Force resources has provided specific, timely, and credible guidance and significantly benefited the national and international response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Jonathan wrote. “… The ASHRAE COVID-19 Epidemic Task Force has therefore played an invaluable role in protecting public health and providing reliable, practical resources as the challenges related to COVID-19 continue to evolve. This volunteer effort demonstrates true civic spirit and deserves special recognition.”

Posted on December 13, 2021

Looking back on 2021, we think of you

Season’s greetings! It’s the time of year when we prepare to wrap up one year and look ahead with a renewed focus on health and wellness, opportunities to improve our communities and sustainable, resilient solutions that benefit us all.

Hanson’s energy, sustainability and resiliency team is so grateful to you, our valued clients, friends and colleagues, for the projects and partnerships we’ve been privileged to work on with you. Our employee-owners across the country strive to design and deliver projects and solutions that help our clients and communities. We work to make the impossible possible.

Why? Because you matter to us. Every day, in every way.

We wish you a safe, healthy and memorable holiday season.

 

Posted on December 13, 2021

‘Connected communities’ increase energy efficiency and resiliency

Events over the past several years have demonstrated that infrastructure resiliency and system reliability are equally important to energy efficiency and sustainability. Facility managers, utility operators and homeowners continue to face an evolving number of risks that may interrupt their operations and disrupt their ways of life. Whether a natural disaster, deliberate physical attack, cyberattack or accident, owners and their designers must consider the resiliency and reliability of their buildings and systems.

After a slight drop in demand and consumption in 2020 due to the pandemic, the global demand for energy is increasing again, especially for electricity. According to a Sept. 25, 2020, news release from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), commercial and residential buildings account for nearly 40% of the nation’s total energy demand, as well as approximately 74% of all electricity use in the United States. The federal government identified electricity as the most critical infrastructure — it is important to develop sustainable energy solutions to increase efficiency while addressing resiliency.

The growth of distributed energy resources (DERs) employing various generation sources, including microgrids, has been previously discussed on this blog. In the past, many DERs were dedicated to individual facilities in a standalone arrangement. However, technological advances expanding the size of DERs have led to grid-interactive efficient buildings and their ability to create “connected communities.” Through the use of smart controls, sensors and analytics, a larger number of buildings are able to communicate with the utility grid and associated DERs to control electricity demand, optimize consumption and reduce carbon emissions.

The development of shared DERs and the required communication with their connected communities provide challenges at three levels: system design, operations and governance. The need for open standards that enable integration between the various facilities’ systems and the grid is important for design. In addition, there must be a framework for system governance to ensure security and data management between community stakeholders.

ASHRAE’s Vision 2030 Connected Communities team members Jiri Skopek and Manish Sharma said the technical challenges relate to the interoperability of systems and technologies, the modeling and analysis for operational optimization and cybersecurity. These challenges are being met by various groups, and the DOE recently announced a $61 million pilot program to develop new technology for connected communities. In October, the DOE selected 10 teams to manage the projects, which include utilities, local governments and homebuilders. Researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will partner on two of the projects with innovative technologies, including intelligent load control (ILC). ILC can automatically adjust building energy use by coordinating heating and cooling, lights and other building functions while maintaining occupant comfort.

Hanson has been monitoring the shared use of DER and the development of connected communities. We have an experienced team of design, energy and commissioning engineers actively engaged in renewable energy projects and the required controls’ integration to facilitate tomorrow’s sustainable and resilient communities. To learn more about our efforts, contact Robert Knoedler at rknoedler@hanson-inc.com.


Posted on November 11, 2021

Presentation by Bradford, Coalson covers carbon reduction

Bill Bradford, P.E., and Mathew Coalson, E.I., LEED® Green Associate™, discussed the pursuit of a carbon neutral built environment during an Oct. 21 webinar for the American Council of Engineering Companies of Florida and the Florida Engineering Society.

Bill and Mathew joined Chris Gray, Ph.D., P.E., the chief technical officer for RENU Communities, to present “Decarbonizing the Built Environment and Improving Property Value.” They talked about two case studies — an office park with 15 single-story buildings totaling 272,000 gross square feet and a multifamily complex with 300 apartment units totaling 300,000 gross square feet — and how to reach energy goals and reduce carbon at these facilities.

Posted on November 11, 2021