Education

Who Is Deciding What Goes Into Your Facilities?

Managing the construction of new facilities or renovation and maintenance of existing facilities with multiple design and construction firms can be a daunting task even for the most experienced owner. One way to help eliminate miscommunication and set expectations of all project stakeholders is to have written design and construction standards. If you own, operate … Read more

Understanding Building Energy Usage

Fall is almost here and winter isn’t too far behind, so let’s make sure your building and wallet is ready for it! It’s important to understand how your monthly energy use is broken down by your building systems. Below represents a pretty typical breakdown for a building: System Type % of Total Energy Consumption HVAC … Read more

Exterior Lighting Upgrades

Since 2009, the lighting industry has made remarkable improvements in LED technology for exterior lighting. Manufacturers have been able to significantly increase light output, improve the color quality and reduce electrical usage all while lowering upfront costs. These advancements have made upgrading to exterior lighting to LED sources a viable way to create a positive, … Read more

HVAC System Selection Considerations

When designing a building, there are some things that are pretty straightforward: plumbing fixtures need water supply and drain; you need lighting to see; power for that lighting and other equipment; and you may also want some telecommunications and life safety/security systems – the things that Make Buildings Work. The fixture types that you choose … Read more

Using BIM to Coordinate Designs

Building Information Modeling (BIM) has rapidly changed the construction industry in recent years. One of the most powerful uses of BIM is the ability to integrate models from the architect, structural engineer, MEP engineers and others to discover and resolve potential conflicts in constructability before the project moves into construction. This allows the design team … Read more

Energy Savings with Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) Systems

Building owners are becoming more and more concerned about their building’s energy usage. Reducing the amount of energy a building uses can both help reduce annual costs for the building owner and reduce the building’s environmental impact. The largest piece of the pie for a typical commercial building’s energy is used by the heating, ventilation, … Read more

The Challenges of Archival Storage Facilities

If you are responsible for archival storage you may find yourself faced with a mountain of questions and a shortage of answers. Historical items that we deem most valuable are often the most fragile and susceptible to deterioration over time. Items such as books, video, film, paintings, furniture, and metals are all sensitive to the … Read more

Don’t Take Any Static: The Issues with Electromagnetic Interference of LED Lighting

Over the past ten years, LED products have taken the lighting world by storm. They are flooding the market, but not all of them stack up. This is true especially when it comes to their ability to mitigate electromagnetic interference. Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) is often referred to as ‘static’. It is a disturbance to an … Read more

Benefits of Centralized Uninterruptible Power Supply Systems

When evaluating the design criteria for an electrical distribution system in a facility of significant magnitude, vast complexity, or of critical operations, such as a hospital, a centralized uninterruptible power supply (UPS) system backed up by the emergency standby power source should be considered. There are numerous benefits associated with utilizing a central UPS system … Read more

Advanced Central Steam Plant Technologies

Central utility plants are traditionally used in campus settings to generate and distribute steam to multiple buildings. While central steam plants are an effective way to provide heat for a campus layout, these plants are also complex and can be expensive to operate. Some owners are finding that investing in and employing advanced steam plant … Read more

Reducing Utility Costs of Ventilation Air

Ventilation load can be a significant portion of a building’s heating and cooling load and subsequently a building’s utility costs. Finding ways to reduce the energy use associated with ventilation load can greatly reduce these costs. Two methods of reducing these energy costs are to utilize energy recovery ventilation equipment or demand control ventilation. Energy … Read more

Low-Flow Fixtures Can Be A Hot Topic

Energy/utility savings are becoming more prevalent in building managers’ roles in reducing their facility’s operational costs. Water consumption savings are attractive with the latest in low-flow plumbing fixtures, and the consumption savings trickle into reduced water heating capacity too. Although it may seem like a simple task in specifying low-flow fixtures or even replacing plumbing … Read more

Arc Flash Hazard Analysis

Why Do I Need To Be Concerned With Arc Flash Hazards? An arc flash is a sudden, massive release of energy from a piece of electrical equipment caused by a fault in the system. The fault can be caused by anything from failing insulation to moisture in equipment to a worker accidentally dropping a screwdriver … Read more

Defining NFPA 37

Wesley Stiles, PE, Director of Electrical Engineering for the York office, is featured in the December Issue of Consulting-Specifying Magazine for the article below. NFPA 37: Standard for the Installation and Use of Stationary Combustion Engines and Gas Turbines, 2015 edition, is an important yet often overlooked player in NFPA’s extensive lineup of codes and … Read more

Understanding Laboratory Plumbing Systems

When designing plumbing systems for science laboratories certain requirements such as space planning, code compliance and user’s needs must be considered. Acid waste, natural gas, reverse osmosis/deionized water, compressed air and vacuum are the most common plumbing systems utilized in science laboratories. The most important part of science laboratory system design is coordination between the … Read more

Fire Protection Antifreeze Systems

The coming of winter requires building owners and managers to review their buildings and systems for protection against freezing. However, there is one building system that may already be freeze protected and should be reviewed due to recent developments — sprinkler antifreeze systems. Based upon reports of a fire incident involving a sprinkler system that … Read more

Optimizing Your Chilled Water Plant

Many existing chilled water plants are designed using primary-secondary pumping where one set of pumps circulates water at the chilled water plant and then another set of pumps circulates water to the building or buildings. This is common in larger buildings or campuses where the many spaces or buildings are served by one system, and allows … Read more

Retro-Commissioning – A Brief Case Study

Barton Associates recently retro-commissioned an air handler for a hospital client. The retro-commissioning process typically starts with a review of the Building Automation System (BAS). A graphic screen shot from the subject air handler is shown above. There is a lot of information on this screen, but focus on the basic information circled in red … Read more

Increase HVAC Efficiency by Directing Air to the Source of Heat Generation

Traditional air conditioning typically conditions an entire room or space, such as in an office space or classroom. Air is supplied from the ceiling and distributed throughout the space. This is a cost effective method but is not well suited for some applications due to the limitations in efficiency in cooling the entire space including … Read more