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MARCH 2015

26 | Integration: BIM design
Building information modeling (BIM) is used frequently
when working across multiple disciplines, including
mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering, and also with other stakeholders such as architects and contractors.

32 | Energy performance in
mission critical facilities
ON THE COVER: This overall view of a building shows a single
mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection (MEP/
FP) design model representing accurate location and overall
dimensions of equipment and systems. This image is rendered
from a single Revit model containing all MEP/FP disciplines.
Courtesy: Arup

Mission critical facilities, such as data centers, are judged

carefully on their energy use. Engineers should focus on
the codes and standards that dictate energy performance
and how building energy performance can be enhanced.

07 | Viewpoint
Work smarter, not harder

09 | Research

19 | Codes & Standards

Piping arrangements for fire

Seven key findings for the

fire and life safety industry

25 | Digital Edition

11 | Career Smart

 Using IPD and Lean in

Is an international
assigment right for you?

12 | MEP Roundtable
Learning objective:
Designing K-12 schools

40 | Selecting fire pumps

The key for fire protection engineers is to understand the
requirements of both NFPA 20 and NFPA 70 to properly
choose and configure a fire pump so that the fire protection systems can serve their intended use.

building design
 LCCA for HVAC systems

47 | Advertiser Index
48 | Future of
Key political trends in green

Use the icons to identify topics of interest.







CONSULTING-SPECIFYING ENGINEER (ISSN 0892-5046, Vol. 52, No. 2, GST #123397457) is published 11x per year, monthly except in February, by CFE Media, LLC, 1111 W. 22nd Street, Suite
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President, CCJM Engineers, Chicago
Associate Principal, Mechanical Engineer, Arup, Seattle
Senior Mechanical Engineer,
Smith Seckman Reid Inc., Houston
National Program Executive,
Outcome Construction Services LLC, Kansas City, Mo.
Principal, Metro CD Engineering LLC, Powell, Ohio
Mechanical Engineer, GRAEF, Milwaukee
Vice President, RJA Group Inc., Chicago
Principal, Arup, Washington, D.C.
Associate Principal, ccrd partners, Dallas
President, Koffel Associates Inc., Columbia, Md.
Principal Data Center Energy Technologist,
HP Technology Services, Chicago
Engineering Design Principal, Jacobs Engineering Group,
President, Lane Coburn & Assocs., Seattle
Senior MEP Engineer, Center for Sustainable Energy,
Mortenson Construction, Minneapolis
President, Lovorn Engineering Assocs., Pittsburgh
Chief Fire Marshal, Boulder (Colo.) Fire Rescue
Senior Associate, Environmental Systems Design Inc., Chicago
Electrical Engineer, CH2M Hill, Portland, Ore.
Chief Executive Officer, JBA Consulting Engineers, Hong Kong
Senior Engineer, CDM Smith Inc., Cambridge, Mass.
SmithGroupJJR, Chicago
Austin Operations Group Manager and
Senior Mechanical Engineer,
Stanley Consultants, Austin, Texas
Principal, Senior Electrical Engineer,
TLC Engineering for Architecture, Jacksonville, Fla.
Principal, Confluenc, Madison, Wis.

Work smarter, not harder

t a recent gathering, I was talking to a longtime high-voltage

electrician. I knew that hed
been laid off for close to 2 years. But
when I asked how work was going, his
face lit up and he said he was busy. So
busy, as a matter of fact, that he felt
guilty for putting in overtime. He hadnt
seen overtime pay in some time, and
was happy to say that he felt that the
construction industry was on the mend.
In a different conversation with
engineers based out of Houston, I heard
similar sentiments. In one case, an
electrical engineer was putting in 50 to
60 billable hours per week, and could
work even more due to a heavy workload. Projects were rolling in, and they
needed to work more hours, hire additional staff, and streamline their project
review processes to keep up.
Finally, chatting with manufacturers at
a conference earlier this year, I learned
about several ways theyre enhancing
products and systems to help engineers
make faster calculations, learn new systems more quickly, and specify familiar
products without having to request
detailed information because its already
available at the touch of a button.
Within all levels of the architecture,
engineering, and construction industry,
the work smarter, not harder mantra
keeps bubbling to the surface. This
low rumble will likely become a dull
roar in the near future as fast-growing
industries, like hospitality, manufac-

turing, and health care, continue their

upward climb.
To work smarter, engineers should
take note of a few things:
 Many manufacturers are now
providing calculators, tools, and other
specialized software to help engineers
work through a proposal or specification more quickly. Ask your manufacturer rep to explain them to you, and
incorporate them into your proposals
and workflow to save time on designs.
 Keeping on top of industry trends
is key to the business development
process. Data may come from business-to-business references, research
reports, or education sessions. Make
sure someone on your team remains on
the cutting edge to give your firm that
extra leg-up within the marketplace.
 Succession planning takes time but
pays back when done correctly. Engineering firms approach this in different
wayssome hire straight out of college
and mold them to fit the firms needs,
while others hire people with muchneeded knowledge and abilities already
in place. Both are good approaches, but
without training and mentoring, neither
will play out in the long term.
 Think differentlyand encourage
your team to contribute ideas from outside the engineering community. Some
of the best ideas are borrowed from
divergent industriesthink TED talks,
Googles hiring practices, or about
other nontraditional thought leaders.

Consulting-Specifying Engineer MARCH 2015


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to your career.
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Electrical, power challenges





budget delivery speed efficiency


of lighting engineers specify LEDs; T5s, T8s, or T12s

(any size); and/or lighting controls.
Source: Consulting-Specifying Engineer 2014 Lighting and Lighting
Controls Study

9 out of 10

mechanical engineers rank product

quality, product energy efficiency,
manufacturers reputation, service
support, and initial product cost as
very important factors for selecting
HVAC products. Source: ConsultingSpecifying Engineer 2014 HVAC and
Building Automation Systems Study.


or more engineers
frequently use prescriptive or open
(proprietary) fire and life safety
specifications issued by their firm.
Source: Consulting-Specifying Engineer 2015 Fire and Life Safety Study

Seven key findings for the

fire and life safety industry

espondents to the ConsultingSpecifying Engineer 2015 Fire

and Life Safety Study identified
seven important high-level findings
impacting the fire and life safety
industry today:
1. Building structures: The top
building structures respondents
specify, design, or make fire and life
safety system product selections for
are office buildings (68%), industrial/
manufacturing facilities/warehouses
(60%), and government buildings/
military facilities (55%).
2. Systems specified: More than
70% of respondents specify or expect
to specify detection productsincluding control systems, dampers, and
fire, smoke, heat, and linear detectors.
3. Systems value: The average total
annual dollar amount of fire and life
safety systems specified for new and
existing systems is $1.9 million, a
12% decrease from 2014.
4. Challenges: When asked about
the challenges to fire and life safety

system design and specifications,

65% or more indicated subjective
interpretation of regulations by code
authorities, inadequate design budget,
and the authority having jurisdiction
(AHJ) or code enforcement not understanding new systems as constant
5. Disciplines: Local AHJs or fire
officials have the most input and
impact on fire and life safety design,
according to 65% of respondents, followed by owners (40%), architects
(35%), and electrical engineers (35%).
6. Design factors: Product quality
(70%), service support (50%), and
manufacturers reputation (45%) were
identified as extremely important to
respondents when selecting fire and
life safety systems.
7. Experience: The average engineer involved in fire and life safety
systems has been in the industry for
21 years.
View additional findings at

Average total annual dollar amount of fire,

life safety systems

More research
Quarterly, Consulting-Specifying
Engineer surveys its audience on
four topics: fire and life safety, electrical and power, lighting and lighting controls, and HVAC and building
automation systems. All of the
reports are available online at






Source: Consulting-Specifying Engineer, CFE Media FOR MORE RESEARCH INFORMATION

Consulting-Specifying Engineer MARCH 2015

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Turning research into insights to make better business decisions

In 2014, Consulting-Specifying Engineer surveyed its audience

members responsible for decisions related to the design of HVAC
and/or building automation systems (BAS) products and services
within their firms.
According to the data in this report, half of HVAC
and building automation products specified by
engineering firms for new and existing buildings
are valued at more than $1 million, compared to
59% in 2013 and 47% in 2012.
Download the new Consulting-Specifying Engineer
2014 HVAC and Building Automation Systems
Research today!
cse201509_research_HVAC_Hlf.indd 1

1/9/2015 3:52:30 PM

Career Smart
AMK LLC, Louisville, Ky.

Is an international assignment
right for you?
Consider these 5 questions if youd like to work abroad.

former colleague recently asked me

for help in identifying all the things
she needed to consider in deciding
whether to accept an international project assignment. The position was a 2-year
assignment in Paris that would be a nice step
up in responsibility and pay. And as a midlevel team leader, this friend was hoping the
assignment would advance her career path to
a more senior level position upon her return.
And well, it was Parisshe was definitely
dazzled by the idea that weekends could be
spent traveling and exposing her children to
the European lifestyle.
In the right circumstances, foreign
assignments can turbocharge your career
path. The professional challenges that
come with prolonged project assignments,
business development roles, or operations
can put all your skills to the test and help
you develop some new ones. Cultural
differences, language barriers, limited
local resourcesespecially in developing countrieswill force you to use both
your technical as well as your softer skills.
Success in these types of assignments can
cast you in a different leadership light with
your companys senior management, especially when you are able to demonstrate
flexibility, adaptability, and the ability to
lead an often diverse team to successall
skills needed for senior management positions. And in your company or field, such
an assignment may even be a prerequisite
for a senior position.
But before you run out to get your
passport renewed and start volunteering

for foreign assignments, consider the following:

1. Is the assignment in a country

where you are comfortable working?
Examine your personal and professional
values and make sure the local business
practices and culture align with them.
2. Where is your internal sponsor/
mentor, and who will keep you top-of-mind
in the home office while on this assignment? You do not want to suffer from out
of sight, out of mind while slaying dragons for your company in a foreign market.
3. What is the duration of the assignment, and what are your expectations
upon completion? Make sure you and your
employer are clearly in agreement on your
specific career expectations when the assignment is complete. This is not just alignment
on career advancement but also continued
employment. I have seen multiple cases
where a colleague returns from an overseas
assignment to find there is not a position for
him or her at home. This can especially be
the case in heavy project-based environments where there is not room for another
billable individual on existing projects.
4. Consider the impact on your family.
Ask yourself if your family can survive and
thrive in the assigned country. And dont
assume that because the assignment is in
a cosmopolitan, westernized country that
your family or spouse will do well. The

simple act of going to a grocery store to find

the makings for your favorite chili recipe or
finding a family dentist can be a huge challenge. Consider asking your employer to
allow you to take your family to the country
before the assignment starts to experience
first-hand what life will be like. Dont just
limit your trip to house hunting and visiting
your kids school options; spend time with
other expatriate families to really understand what life is like there.

5. Consider how your life will change

with the international experience. Living
and working abroad will change you, and
are you OK with that? Everyone I know
with international experience has returned
to the U.S. with a different perspective that
makes their views and decision-making
multidimensional, myself included. But
if you fear change or are uncomfortable
with allowing a different professional and
cultural experience to affect you, then an
international assignment is probably not a
wise choice.
Jane Sidebottom is the owner of AMK
LLC, a management and marketing consulting firm that provides market development and growth expertise to small- and
medium-size firms. She has more than 20
years of management and leadership experience in both consulting engineering and
Fortune 100 organizations. Sidebottom is
a graduate of the University of Maryland.
Read the longer version of this online at:

Consulting-Specifying Engineer MARCH 2015


MEP Roundtable

David Ellis,
Senior Vice President
of Engineering
Allen & Shariff Engineering LLC
Columbia, Md.

Nestor Ortiz
Senior Construction
Project Officer
Parsons Brinckerhoff
Long Island City, N.Y.

John C. Palasz,
Mechanical Engineer
Primera Engineers Ltd.


Learning objective:
Designing K-12 schools
In K-12 schools, technological advancements, code requirements,
and other demands placed on engineers are consistently increasing,
while limitations like budget restraints remain a challenge.
CSE: Please describe a recent K-12
school project youve worked on.
David Ellis: I was involved with the design
of a complete renovation of a 330,000-sq-ft
high school located in Washington, D.C. This
project included a natatorium, performance
auditorium, arts center, gymnasium, two
kitchens, and academic classrooms, including
labs. The high-performance conditioning and
ventilation system for this school involved the
matching of a hydronic variable refrigerant
flow (VRF) system, using a ground coupled
approach along with a dedicated outdoor air
system (DOAS). Design was performed using
a design assist contract, which included a great
deal of cost control input from the contractor,
as this allowed for an accelerated construction
schedule while containing costs. As this was a
renovation, BIM software proved valuable for
Nestor Ortiz: I am the lead project officer
for the school construction authority (SCA)
construction management for an expansion/
renovation of a public school in Queens, N.Y.
We are adding 43,000 sq ft to an existing
school. The new building will have four floors
and a mechanical equipment room located on
the roof. This expansion will be connected to
the existing school at all three floor and cellar levels. The school will become Americans
With Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant as
well as provide two elevators, a gymatorium,
a new kitchen/cafeteria, eight new classrooms,
a music room, a library, a science resource
room, and an art room. In case of emergency,

Consulting-Specifying Engineer MARCH 2015

the school will be able to run on emergency

backup due to its new generator located at the
roof level.
John C. Palasz: I was the lead mechanical
engineer for a boiler renovation project at Carl
Schurz High School. A historic landmark on
Chicagos northwest side, Schurz is a 400,000sq-ft building housing more than 2,500 students. The project included the replacement
of the steam boilers with new 500-hp lowpressure steam boilers with the addition of
steam-to-water heat exchangers, two 365-ton
centrifugal chillers and cooling towers, as well
as all pumps, feedwater, chemical treatment,
and accessories to provide a dual-temperature
water plant. In addition, the air-handling systems were refurbished and retrofitted with new
dual-temperature coils, fan motors, filters, and
dampers. The project also included all associated controls and a new building automation
system (BAS).
CSE: How have the characteristics of
K-12 school projects changed in recent
years, and what should engineers expect
to see in the near future?
Ortiz: There are several safety features that
have been added to schools for security reasons, such as cameras throughout the school
grounds and designated rescue rooms. Aside
from security upgrades, the engineers can
expect mechanical, electrical, plumbing (MEP),
and fire protection systems that are more selfsufficient and efficient. They will make the
school custodians life easier as the equipment

will be able to communicate if there is an

issue or service needed. The equipment
will be able to run efficiently, in various
modes, such as startup, occupied, unoccupied, and economizer mode.
Palasz: Similar to a number of other
markets, K-12 school projects have started to see more demanding design and
construction schedules in recent years.
Schools and districts are stretching their
budgets in multiple directions to cover
necessary building repairs, infrastructure
upgrades to reduce energy costs, teacher
salaries and pensions, utilities, and the
desire for improved teaching technologies such as smartboards and computers.
As budgets stay the same or decrease
and schedules decrease, these projects
become a challenge. In the near future,
engineers can expect to see an increase
in the overall number of projects as aging
buildings and rising energy costs drive
the need for building control systems and
high-efficiency design. The energy codes
(International Energy Conservation Code
and ASHRAE Standard 90.1) raise the
bar for both renovation and new construction projects, but this usually comes with
a higher price tag. Furthermore, the longterm energy savings that are designed
may not be realized. Commissioning
the system after the initial setup as well
as regularly scheduled user training can
help to achieve or maintain the projected
energy savings.
Ellis: Sustainabilityin regard to
energywater, and acoustics have taken
charge of the design approach. The U.S.
Green Building Councils LEED for
Schools program has led to innovation
in school design, where measures such
as energy-efficient design, water conservation, and a focus on room acoustical
performance has improved classroom
effectiveness while improving the sustainability of the school project. As certification programs ratchet up performance
expectations, along with higher performance sustainability codes, expect the

Figure 1: Primera Engineers was engaged to renovate the boiler at Chicagos Carl
Schurz High School, a historic landmark. The team replaced steam boilers with 500hp, low-pressure steam boilers, added steam-to-water heat exchangers, two 365-ton
centrifugal chillers, cooling towers, and other components. The project also included
a new building automation system. Courtesy: Primera Engineers Ltd.

drive to net zero to enter into the next

generation of facilities that begin design
within 5 to 10 years.
CSE: How does engineering systems in K-12 schools differ from colleges and universities?
Palasz: My experience is that college
and university engineering systems are
generally designed to encourage student
enrollment. Expenses are seldom spared
to ensure quiet and comfortable designs
while systems are designed with a higher
standard of quality. These systems can
be designed to last 100 years or more.
Additionally, classrooms are designed
with more versatility to specifically allow
for rapid furniture changes to allow for
collaboration one day and independent
work the next day. On the contrary,
many K-12 projects are limited by budget, and improvements are made to bring
the school up to par or code minimums.
Budget constraints often limit the design
approach, which results in equipment
that is expected to last between 20 and
30 years.
Ellis: There are similarities, of course,
but in general, along with the discrete

focus buildings, as opposed to the combined activities in schools, universities

have the potential for campus-wide utilities and the hours of operation tend to be
extended. In addition, university operations staff typically have a higher level
of training than the staff of K-12 schools.
CSE: Please explain some of the
general differences between retrofitting an existing school and working
on a brand-new structure.
Ortiz: When working on retrofitting an
existing school, some of the challenges
entail upgrading current utility services
(electrical system, water/sewer services,
and/or gas service) or having to interface
new with outdated equipment. Even with
thorough surveying and planning, unforeseen conditions inevitably occur when
working in an existing building. When
working with a brand-new structure, a
critical factor will be complete coordination of trades and compliance with all the
latest codes and standards.
Ellis: Existing schools pose a challenge
in adapting to existing structural and
envelope constraints than that encountered in new school approaches. Usually,

Consulting-Specifying Engineer MARCH 2015


input #6 at

MEP Roundtable
there is uncertainty in locating or identifying these existing constraints, and that
leads to risk in containing construction
costs. As such, renovation projects benefit from having a contractor involved
early, providing demolition to reduce the
uncertainty during design.
Palasz: Some of the general differences between retrofitting an existing school
and working on a brand-new structure are
that retrofit projects often require more
site survey work prior to construction and
are likely occupied during construction.
This introduces logistical challenges and
requires additional design considerations.
New structures allow for increased design
flexibility in building shape and system
type. That flexibility leads to an increased
potential for energy savings from a tighter
and more insulated envelope and/or a
spacious mechanical room that allows for
accessible, sustainable, and maintainable
equipment that may be integrated directly

into the building type. Older structures

seldom offer these opportunities.
CSE: Many schools require flexible spacebuilding features that
can be adapted to different uses
as the schools needs evolve. How
do you take such requirements into
Palasz: By gathering as much information about the different uses and coordinating the ways that the space will be
adapted, many system types may be eliminated. If different space uses are few and
known, then a system can be designed
to have various modes to accommodate
accordingly, such as a lab mode (using
100% exhaust), lecture mode, or disco
mode. To be cost-effective when designing a flexible space, the design requirements must be well-defined. One common approach is to design added capacity

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CSE: When designing integration

monitoring and control systems,
what factors do you consider?
Ortiz: Major components for designing integration monitoring systems and
controls are efficiency and energy conservation. For example, motion sensors
are being used to shut off lights when
there are no occupants in rooms, and
mechanical equipment is designed using
heat wheels to save energy and minimize
heat loss.
Ellis: To the extent possible, operational and maintenance complexity has
to be reduced.
CSE: What are some common
problems you encounter when working on building automation systems?
Ellis: Given the proprietary nature of
most control manufacturers architectural
approach, despite the drive toward open
systems, defining architecture is still subject to customization by each vendor.

Loa h Simp
eslp Bank ify Ge
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in the system to account for high occupancy, or additional computer equipment

while incorporating the appropriate controls to reduce or shut off cooling, ventilation, or exhaust as needed. The controls
help maintain energy efficiency, but oversizing equipment to account for design
flexibility may result in a high installation cost.
Ortiz: My current project includes a
gymatorium that is a combination of a
gymnasium and auditorium. Aside from
the two obvious functions, this space
gives the school a location for kids to play
on rainy days, a location the community
could use for events, or a community refuge from natural disasters. The gymatorium will have its own dedicated rooftop
unit and emergency lighting that will be
tied back to the schools new emergency
generator. The gymatorium will have
chair storage and retractable basketball
rims so the school can transition to different sporting setups.



Ortiz: Some of the challenging problems we have encountered with our

expansion/renovation project are dealing
with modifications of existing systems
or integrating them with new ones. The
older systems are sometimes obsolete
and need to be integrated with the new
system. To avoid further issues, the old
system will be upgraded as well.
CSE: What codes, standards, or
guidelines do you use as a guide as
you work on these facilities?
Palasz: ASHRAE has great reference

information available to engineers. Specifically, for the work we do with Chicago

Public Schools (CPS), the City of Chicago code governs these projects. Likewise,
CPS publishes an HVAC design guide
and provides details, specifications, and
invaluable input to optimize design maintain consistency and reduce cost.
Ellis: In addition to current codes,
each school district typically has its own
design guidelines, and frequently LEED
for Schools is employed.
Ortiz: The current school project
complies with the 2008 New York City
(NYC) building code, and some aspects
of the 2014 codes. Many of the standards
and guidelines are based on the needs of
the school in coordination with the New
York City Dept. of Education.
CSE: Which code/standard proves
to be most challenging in such
Palasz: Meeting the prerequisites for
LEED certification is typically the most
challenging. Because projects are trending toward tighter budgets and shorter
design and construction schedules, the
addition of a requirement to exceed the
energy code while providing quiet ventilation presents a challenge.
Ellis: Given the typical approach of
decoupling ventilation from conditioning, acoustic performance is the biggest
design challenge. New codes, especially
the IECC and the International Green

Construction Code (IgCC), pose a documentation problem that code officials

want resolved by new documentation
that increases production effort.
CSE: Energy efficiency and
sustainability are often the No. 1
request from building owners during
new building design. What is your
experience in this area?
Palasz: My experience is that to
achieve excellence in energy efficiency
and sustainability, the designers need to
work with building owners and approach
it as a team effort. Prior to building
occupancy, new buildings are being finetuned to balance system controls and
flow rates to provide comfort with the
designed operation. Adjusting systems
often needs to occur for months and

Major components for

designing integration monitoring
systems and controls are efficiency and energy conservation.
For example, motion sensors
are being used to shut off lights
when there are no occupants in
rooms, and mechanical equipment is designed using heat
wheels to save energy and minimize heat loss.
Nestor Ortiz

requires adjusting for the heating season

as well as the cooling season. I believe
that striving for improved efficiency
should be an ongoing effort that should
not stop once the building is occupied.
To do this, it is necessary to have energy meters to establish a baseline and
to track the system operation improvements or denigration from year to year.
This information is also critical in determining corrective actions for equipment
replacement and/or operational adjustments to achieve cost savings.

Ellis: Energy performance and other

sustainability practices have been
involved in the majority of K-12 projects
in the last few years, and going forward
are to be a part of all projects based on
the implementation of the new codes, in
particular the IgCC.
CSE: What changes in fans, variable frequency drives, and other
related equipment have you experienced?
Ellis: The biggest change in the design
approach has been the introduction of decoupling of ventilation from conditioning
by the use of DOAS, and the application
of VRF systems. DOAS allows for substantial energy savings in the avoidance of
conditioning unnecessary ventilation air,
and VRF allows for low-energy transport
of heat during periods of concurrent heating and cooling. Of course, improvements
in design and cost of variable frequency
drives (VFDs) allows for more opportunities for implementing the energy-saving
advantages associated with variable flow,
both air and water, and development of
inexpensive pressure independent constant
air regulators allows for the mixing of constant and variable flow ventilation on the
same variable air volume (VAV) DOAS,
which allows for ventilation savings with
highly variable occupancy classrooms
with fixed makeup spaces, such as labs.
Palasz: Over the past few years, I have
experienced a change in the trend of using
a roof-mounted return fan in an insulated
housing (similar to a rooftop unit) to wrapping a mixed flow fan. This results in a
lighter and more efficient design, which
helps to decrease initial costs by reducing the structural reinforcement requirements. It also helps to improve the return
on investment with a very efficient fan
(up to 85% efficient). In regard to VFDs,
they have become less expensive and more
widely used to provide system flexibility
and soft-start capability in addition to diagnostic alarms.
Read the longer version of this online at:

Consulting-Specifying Engineer MARCH 2015


Learn about the latest engineering trends

and technologies while earning CEU credits.
Check out some of our webcasts on topics like

HVAC: Alternative heating/cooling systems

Critical Power: Standby power for mission

critical facilities
Critical Power: Data center electrical efficiency
Energy efficiency: Variable frequency drives
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Lighting: LED codes and standards
Fire/life safety: Detection and notification
Critical Power: Coordination, selective
Integration: Specifying building automation
systems (BAS) using ASHRAE Guideline
Critical Power: Circuit protection

Codes & Standards

Piping arrangements
for fire pumps
NFPA 20 provides fire protection engineers with guidance on
design and installation of fire pumps and related components.
BY MILOSH PUCHOVSKY, PE, FSFPE, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, Mass.

ffective fire pump installations require fire

protection engineers to consider numerous
components, and correctly apply a range
of design and installation standards. In addition
to addressing the more obvious components that
comprise a fire pump installationsuch as the
fire pump, driver, controller, and pump room
careful attention also needs to be given to the
piping leading to, from, and around the pump
and the equipment associated with that piping.
While NFPA 20: Standard for the Installation
of Stationary Pumps for Fire Protection serves as
the principal standard addressing the sizing and
installation of the associated piping, the next edition being the 2016, other codes and standards
such as NFPA 13, NFPA 14, NFPA 22, NFPA 24,
NFPA 25, and NFPA 291, as well as the applicable
building and fire codes, also need to be reviewed
and correctly applied depending on the type of
fire protection systems served by the fire pump.

Suction piping

The piping connecting the water supply to the

fire pump is referred to as suction piping. It comprises all piping, valves, and fittings that feed
water to the pumps suction flange. The selection
and installation of such suction pipe material is
addressed by NFPA 24, which specifies the use
of certain types of iron, steel, concrete, plastic,
and copper. In addition, NFPA 24 addresses how
the pipe and fittings are to be joined together,
depth of cover if the pipe is buried, protection
of the pipe from freezing and other damaging
events, joint restraint, and acceptance testing
including flushing and hydrostatic tests.
NFPA 20 addresses the arrangement of the
suction pipe and associated devices. Generally,

the suction pipe and associated devices need

to be arranged in such a manner so as to minimize the likelihood of turbulent and imbalanced
water flow entering the pump. Such conditions
decrease overall pump performance, can result in
a sudden system failure and can cause premature
wear of system components.
The size of the suction pipe is influenced
mostly by the fire protection systems hydraulic
demand as determined in accordance with the
appropriate system installation standards, such
as NFPA 13 or NFPA 14, and the size of the fire
pump selected. NFPA 24 provides guidance on
suction pipe sizes and generally states that for
any system, the pipe should be at least 6 in. in
nominal diameter. Smaller pipe sizes are permitted provided hydraulic calculations verify that
the pipe can supply the necessary system demand
at the corresponding required pressure.
NFPA 22 provides specific guidance with
regard to suction piping connecting a water tank
with the fire pump. For instance, if the suction
tank exceeds 100,000 gal, the size of the suction
pipe must be at least 10 in. in diameter (nominal
dimensions). The smaller the pipe, the faster
the water flow, and therefore more turbulent
flow will occur. Increasing the pipe size lowers
the flow velocity and reduces the occurrence
of turbulence.
NFPA 20 includes more specific provisions about suction pipe where fire pumps are
installed, and specifies certain pipe sizes. The
philosophy is that suction pipe be sized so that
when the pump is operating at its maximum flow
rate, which is 150% of its rated capacity or the
maximum flow available from the water supply,
the gauge pressure at the pump suction flange

addresses the
of the suction
pipe and

Consulting-Specifying Engineer MARCH 2015


Codes & Standards

does not drop below -3 psi (-0.2 bar). where the requirements of NFPA 20 and present concern with water-based fire
protection systems. The control valve is
Furthermore, the suction pipe is to be NFPA 22 do not take precedence.
permitted to be any type of valve listed
sized such that with the pump operating
for fire protection service, including a butat 150% of its rated capacity, also referred Discharge piping
to as pumps overload point, the velocity
NFPA 20 defines discharge pipe and terfly valve, because turbulence is not as
in that portion of the suction pipe located equipment as the pipe, valves, and fit- critical on the discharge side of the pump.
A check valve is also to be installed
within 10 pipe diameters upstream of the tings that extend from the pump discharge
pump suction flange does not exceed 15 flange to the system side of the discharge on the discharge piping, between the fire
ft/sec (4.57 m/sec). Pipe flows in excess control valve. Practically, any pipe, valve pump and the discharge control valve.
of this velocity are more prone to turbu- or fitting downstream of the fire pumps The discharge check valve traps the highlence. Where the suction pipe differs in discharge control valve is no longer con- er pressure in the fire protection system
size from the pump suction flange, reduc- sidered to be part of the discharge piping. after the fire pump operation stops. The
ers or increasers are permitted to be used Such pipe, valves, and fittings are con- check valve also prevents other sources
but must be of the eccentric tapered type sidered part of the supply piping for the of water flow into the system, such as
through a fire department conand installed in such a way so
The size of the discharge pipe has an
nection, from flowing back into
as to avoid air pockets.
the fire pump.
In addition to specifying
effect on friction loss, but that effect
NFPA 20 requires that the
suction pipe sizes based on the
rating of the disrated capacity of the fire pump,
can be accounted for though hydraulic
charge components, includNFPA 20 also addresses other
analysis. As with suction pipe sizes,
ing all piping, fittings, and
system attachments that could
valves, be adequate for the
cause turbulent or imbalanced
NFPA 20 specifies minimum discharge maximum total discharge
flow into the fire pump. Where
backflow preventers or check
pipe diameters based on the capacity pressure with the pump operating at churn conditions at
valves are being considered,
rating of the fire pump.
the pumps rated speed.
they are to be located a minimum of 10 pipe diameters from
the pump suction flange. If the backflow fire protection system being served by the Pump bypass piping
device incorporates butterfly valves, the fire pump. In the case of a sprinkler sysA bypass is an arrangement of piping
device is to be installed at least 50-ft tem riser, the requirements of NFPA 13 around the fire pump that can be used to
from the pumps suction flange. In fact, would apply from the point of the pump supply water to the fire protection system
the 50-ft criterion applies to any valve, discharge control valve.
should the pump fail or be taken out of
other than an outside screw and yoke gate
NFPA 20 addresses the size of the dis- service. Such bypass piping is to be sized
valve, installed in the suction pipe.
charge pipe and associated fittings, and as required for the discharge pipe.
Elbows and tees in the suction pipe requires all of the aboveground discharge
Bypass piping is required where the
also warrant special consideration. Such piping to be composed of steel. In certain water supply is considered to be of matedevices are to be located and positioned cases the discharge pipe is permitted to be rial value to the fire protection system
with respect to the orientation of their smaller in diameter than the suction pipe without the use of the fire pump. While
centerline plane. Where the centerline because the water flow velocity is not of this is a rather subjective requirement,
plane is parallel to a horizontal split-case the same concern on the discharge side bypass lines are usually required where
fire pump shaft, the elbow or tee needs of the pump. The size of the discharge the water supply is provided by a pressurto be located a distance at least 10 pipe pipe has an effect on friction loss, but ized fire service main such as municipal
diameters from the suction flange of the that effect can be accounted for though waterworks or private fire service main.
fire pump. If the centerline plane is per- hydraulic analysis. As with suction pipe Where the water supply for the building
pendicular to the horizontal split-case sizes, NFPA 20 specifies minimum dis- is from a private stand-alone fixed suppump shaft, no limitations are placed on charge pipe diameters based on the capac- ply such as the suction tank, a minimum
the location of the elbow or tee.
ity rating of the fire pump.
pressure due to the elevation head of the
It is important to recognize that NFPA
A control valve is to be installed on the stored water in the tank is available but is
20 only addresses the size of the suction discharge piping so that the pump can be not usually considered to be of material
pipe within 10 pipe diameters of the pump isolated for service and repairs. Additional value. However, this should be verified
suction flange, while NFPA 22 addresses valves are discouraged to minimize the through hydraulic analysis, and needs to
the size of the pipe connected to the tank. possibility that a valve will be inadver- be confirmed with the respective authoriThe provisions of NFPA 24 would apply tently shut and not reopenedan ever- ties having jurisdiction.

Consulting-Specifying Engineer MARCH 2015

A check valve needs to be installed

in the bypass piping so that the flow
from the pump discharge cannot
recirculate back to the pump suction.
Additionally, control valves need to be
installed on either side of the check
valve so that the check valve can be
isolated for maintenance.
Pressure maintenance pump

A fire pump should operate only during fire conditions or when it is being
tested. A fire pump should not be used
to maintain system pressures under nonfire conditions. The activation of a fire
pump provides an alarm signal as it indicates the operation of the fire protection
system, and such fire pump activation
under nonfire conditions would serve
as a false alarm. Pressure maintenance
pumps, also referred to as jockey
pumps, are used to maintain pressures
within the fire protection system under
nonfire conditions.
Many water-filled fire protection systems are designed so that they are pressurized upon their installation. A system
check valve serves to maintain system
pressures. During a fire event, the activation of a sprinkler or the opening of
a standpipe valve will cause a drop in
system pressure, which will be sensed
by the pressure switch in a fire pump
controller. In turn, this will initiate activation of the fire pump.
Minor pressure losses can also occur
downstream of the fire pump check valve
under nonfire conditions. Pressure losses
can occur due to water seepage across
check valves or leaky fittings, or changes in system temperature. With regard
to temperature, air pockets are usually
trapped in the system piping. Ambient
temperature changes in proximity of the
fire protection system piping will cause
the air pockets to fluctuate in size, thus
varying the relative pressure in the system piping. A large decrease in ambient
temperature in the warehouse, such as
might occur in an unconditioned space
over a 24-hour period, can cause a notable pressure drop, which could be sensed
by the fire pump pressure switch.

Jockey pumps mitigate false alarms

by compensating for small pressure
fluctuations in system piping and return
the system to its normal static pressure
range under nonfire conditions. As with
a fire pump, the jockey pump installation will include a controller with a
pressure switch. The jockey pump pressure switch is normally set at a higher
pressure so that the jockey pump starts
before the fire pump. Note that each
controller, the one for the jockey pump
and the one for the fire pump, must
have its own independent pressure sensing line that connects the fire protection system with the pressure switches
in each controller.
Jockey pumps are high-pressure, lowflow pumps that typically cannot sustain
system pressures after the activation of a
single sprinkler. When a sprinkler operates or a standpipe outlet is opened, the
jockey pump operates but cannot maintain adequate system pressure due to the
relative high volume of water flow from
an operating sprinkler or opened outlet as
compared to that of a leaky fitting. The
pressure within the system continues to
fall until the fire pump starts and produces the required flow and pressure for the
operating system.
Jockey pumps are not required as part
of fire pump installation. However some
means of maintaining system pressure
under non-fire conditions without relying
upon the fire pump as a pressure maintenance pump is needed.
Jockey pumps do not require a listing
as fire protection equipment. Any pump
that can produce the necessary pressure is
acceptable. In general, jockey pumps are
sized so that their flow is lower than that
expected from the smallest orifice sprinkler on the system, allowing for system
pressure to fall and the fire pump to properly activate. Although jockey pumps and
their controllers do not require a listing,
NFPA 20 includes a number of requirements addressing their installation. As
noted above, it needs to be confirmed
that the jockey pump controller has a
pressure-sensing line independent from
that of the fire pump.

Test header and flow meter

Every fire pump installation needs

to be provided with a testing means
to ensure proper operation. At a minimum, arrangements must be provided to
evaluate the pump at its rated condition
as well as at its overload (150% of its
rated capacity) condition. The means of
testing must allow for the flow and discharge of significant quantities of water.
NFPA 20 includes provisions for sizing
the pipe used for testing. Such testing is
conducted during the initial acceptance
and/or commissioning of the fire pump
installation, and on an annual basis in
accordance with NFPA 25.
NFPA 20 allows for three different
types of testing arrangements. These
arrangements include the use of a discharge outlet such as a test header
where water is discharged to atmosphere
through connected hoses and nozzles with
appropriate pressure and flow readings
taken. The other two methods involve a
metering device that is used to measure
the flow produced by the fire pump. The
metering device is installed on a pipe
loop that is arranged so that the pump
discharge is circulated back to the water
supply tank, or arranged so that the pump
discharge is circulated directly back to
the suction line feeding the fire pump.
This latter arrangement is referred to as
closed-loop metering.
For closed-loop metering arrangements, NFPA 20 requires that an alternate
means of measuring flow, such as through
a test header, be provided. It is important
to recognize that the alternate means of
measuring flow must be installed downstream of and in series with the flow
meter. NFPA 25 includes provisions that
fire pump metering devices be recalibrated every 3 years. Locating the alternate
means of measuring flow (test header) in
the manner required by NFPA 20 facilitates this calibration activity and better
ensures an accurate assessment of fire
pump performance.
As noted above, a test header can be
installed without the use of a metering
device and loop. Located on the discharge
side of the pump, the test header must

Consulting-Specifying Engineer MARCH 2015


Codes & Standards

be installed on an exterior wall of the pump room or pump
house, or in another location outside the pump room so as to
allow for adequate water discharge during testing. Hoses are
connected to the test header during testing to allow for proper
discharge and measurement of the water flow. Flow from the
test header is usually measured by using a pitot gauge or other
flow-measuring device placed in the flow stream. See NFPA
291 for further discussion on flow testing procedures. The pitot
gauge registers a velocity pressure from the flow discharge,
which can then be converted to a flow rate using a conversion
formula or table.

A pressure-relief valve is a device on the

discharge side of the fire pump that can
be used to prevent overpressurization of
the system. It operates when the pressure
in the system reaches an unacceptably
high level, such as may occur during an
engine overspeed condition.
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The connection for the test header should be between the

discharge check valve and the discharge control valve for the
pump assembly. This allows the pump to be tested even when
the control valve is closed, isolating the pump from the rest of
the system.
The size of the pipe leading to the test header and the number
of hose connections depends on the size of the pump. This is
specifically addressed by NFPA 20. In the case of a 1250-gpm
pump, a pipe at least 8-in. in diameter is required. The test
header itself is to consist of six 2.5-in. hose valves and outlets.
Where the length of pipe leading to the hose valve test header is
more than 15-ft in length, the next larger pipe size as indicated
in NFPA 20 is to be used.
Additionally, the pipe can be sized through the use of
hydraulic calculations based on a total flow of 150% of the
rated pump capacity. This hydraulic calculation is to include
the friction loss for the total length of pipe plus any equivalent lengths of fittings, control valves, and hose valves, and
elevation losses between the pump discharge flange and the
hose valve outlets. This hydraulic calculation then needs to
be verified by a flow test.
Pressure-relief device

A pressure-relief valve is a device on the discharge side of the

fire pump that can be used to prevent overpressurization of the
system. The pressure-relief valve operates when the pressure
in the system reaches an unacceptably high level, such as may
occur during an engine overspeed condition. Operation of the
pressure-relief valve causes the pressure in the system to drop.
One type of pressure-relief valve employs an adjustable spring22

Consulting-Specifying Engineer MARCH 2015

loaded mechanism. When the pressure

in the system reaches a predetermined
level, the system pressure overcomes the
force of the spring and forces the valve
open. Another type of pressure-relief
valve uses a pilot operated diaphragm
which forces open the valve when the
pressure in the system reaches a predetermined level. With either one of these
types of valves, a substantial discharge
flow is expected and needs to be appropriately accounted for.
NFPA 20 allows the use of pressurerelief valves only under two conditions.
The first pertains to installations involving a diesel engine pump driver. The
second addresses installations involving
variable speed pressure-limiting controllers for either electric motors or diesel
engines. Note that if pressure-relief valves
are installed, NFPA 20 places a number of
restrictions on the arrangement and sizing
of the relief valve discharge depending on
where the discharge is piped back to. In
summary, NFPA 20 does not permit the
use of pressure-relief valves as a means
of limiting system pressure under normal
system operation conditions, that is, as a
substitute for higher pressure-rated system components.
For their broad range of applications,
diesel engines are designed and built to
operate over a range of speeds. For the
purposes of driving a fire pump, a diesel
engine should run at or near its rated speed
so that the fire pump produces the desired
flows and pressures. However, situations
can occur in which the diesel engine operates faster than its rated speed, creating an
overspeed condition that produces excessive system pressures that could cause a
catastrophic system failure or shortened
life of system components.
From a hydraulics theory standpoint
(pump affinity laws), a small increase in
fire pump or driver speed creates a substantially greater increase in system pressures, that is, the pressure developed is
proportional to the square of the pumps
rotational speed. Therefore, pumps operating at speeds in excess of their rated
speed can be a cause for concern. NFPA
20 includes a number of provisions that

address engine overspeed and system

Where the possibility for an overspeed
condition of a diesel engine drive exists,
and such an overspeed condition results in
system pressure in excess of the pressure
rating of the system components, which is

typically 175 psi. Specifically, NFPA 20

requires a pressure-relief valve in the discharge piping where a total of 121% of the
net rated shutoff (churn) pressure plus the
maximum static suction pressure, adjusted for elevation, exceeds the pressure for
which the system components are rated.

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Codes & Standards

To facilitate avoidance of an engine
overspeed and overpressure situation,
NFPA 20 also requires the installation
of an engine governor to regulate engine
speed. The governor is required to be
capable of limiting the maximum engine
speed to 110% of its rated speed, result-

ing in a maximum system pressure of

121% of the fire pump churn pressure.
However, failure of the governor would
result in a more critical overspeed condition. As such, an overspeed shutdown
device that senses the speed of the engine
and shuts down the engine when it oper-

input #11 at

ates at a speed greater than 20% over its

rated speed is also required. When the
overspeed shutdown device operates, it
sends a signal to the fire pump controller preventing automatic restarting of the
engine until the situation is investigated.
However, the pump can be manually
restarted through the controller.
Another means of regulating engine
speed and system overpressurization is
through the use of a controller equipped
with a variable speed pressure-limiting
control. Such a device limits the total
discharge pressure produced by the
fire pump by reducing the pump driver
speed, be it an electric motor or diesel
engine. Prevention of overpressurization
is therefore accomplished by altering the
speed of the driver. However, where a
variable speed pressure-limiting controller is used, and the maximum total discharge head adjusted for elevation with
the pump operating at shutoff and rated
speed exceeds the pressure rating of the
system components, NFPA 20 requires
the installation of a pressure-relief valve.
Fire pump installations are often complex and require the coordination of various pieces of mechanical and electrical
equipment, as well as the correct application of several installation standards
and local regulations. Proper attention
must be given to not just the sizing and
connection of the more obvious components such as the fire pump, controller,
and driver, but also the arrangement of
the associated piping and attached devices. Without a well-coordinated effort
addressing all the associated aspects of
the installation, the life span of the fire
pump equipment can be severely reduced
and, more importantly, the fire pump
cannot be expected to effectively operate during its most critical timewhen
a fire occurs.
Milosh Puchovsky, PE, FSFPE, is professor of practice in the department of fire
protection engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He is president-elect of
the Society of Fire Protection Engineers,
and serves on a number of NFPA Technical Committees including fire pumps and
sprinkler system discharge criteria.

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Using IPD and Lean

in building design
Consider integrated project delivery (IPD)
and Lean design to provide a more streamlined engineering process and less waste.


LCCA for HVAC systems

Lifecycle cost analysis (LCCA) is a tool used to determine the most
cost-effective option among HVAC system alternatives.

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Consulting-Specifying Engineer MARCH 2015


Using IPD and Lean

in building design
Consider integrated project delivery (IPD) and Lean design to provide
a more streamlined engineering process and less waste.

 Understand the key aspects
of integrated project delivery
(IPD) as it relates to building
 Learn how incorporating
Lean can eliminate waste in
the engineering process.
 Know how to combine
IPD and Lean processes to
streamline building engineering.


hen we think of the

best way to deliver
a product, some of
us might think of
the UPS slogan,
We Love Logistics. But how often do
you think about the logistics involved
with delivering building projects more
Many of us think about the manufacturing industry as a way to streamline production. The Toyota Production System
focuses on the elimination of waste. It is
not important how many cars are produced,
but rather that the best car is produced.
Another place to look is in the kitchen.
Chefs learn mise-en-place during training at places like the Culinary Institute
of America. There, they learn to gather
and arrange the ingredients to help them
focus on the meal preparation. In some
cases, chefs will spend 6 hours prepping
for 3 hours of meal production.
When you look at the engineering
industry, it seems the focus has turned
away from these practices and is solely
on the speed of production, not the quality of the work. Imagine if the schematic
phase of the project was twice as long as
the production phase. A trend is building
to reorient our processes and use other
industries as a guide to produce better
building design and construction projects with fewer errors and less waste
and that deliver better value to the owner.

Consulting-Specifying Engineer MARCH 2015

Lean design and construction is a process

that focuses on these areas to deliver a
better product.
Lean: Is this IPD?

Often, we use the concepts of integrated project delivery (IPD) and Lean
interchangeably. While they are concepts that partner well together, they
are not the same. IPD is a contracting
method. This sets the rules for a project.
Lean, on the other hand, is a mind-set.
Its the mind-set you adopt on a project
or in your daily work that focuses on the
elimination of waste.
IPD is a building trend in design and
construction communities. Many owners
have heard about IPD and are requiring
it for their projects. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has developed
a multi-party agreement that can be
used to contractually join together several entities, rather than the traditional
owner-architect agreement. The AIA has
also published a guide on IPD that can
be referenced for additional information.
Lean practices can be used on a project and are even valuable as a way to
better manage your personal workload.
The Lean Construction Institute (LCI)
has formed Communities of Practice
around the country that bring together
Lean practitioners to develop skills and
share knowledge within their business

Figure 1: The big room space brings

together all of the key stakeholders on
the project. Sitting side-by-side allows
for greater communication and for best
practices to be incorporated into the
project design. Courtesy: ccrd

Getting started

So, where does this all begin? As most

things do, it starts at the very beginning
of the project. The important part of an
IPD project is that all of the major stakeholders are brought on board at the onset.
This means the owner, architect, engineers, and major subcontracting partners
are all involved at day one. This enables
everyone involved with the lifecycle of the
building to have a voice. Whether a project uses a formal multi-party contract or a
standard contract, the spirit of collaboration is very important in setting the rules
for how all of the parties will interact.
At the heart of collaboration is trust.
This is often an uncomfortable place to
start as a project team because we all
bring our past experiences with us and
worry that something bad will happen
again. That is how most designers build
their library of specification modifications and details. It is a way to manage
a past problem and ensure that it will not
get repeated. In an IPD environment, it
is important to get the voice of all the
players to guide decision making so you
can ensure that the reason for a decision
matches the goals of the project.

The electrical engineer has laid out
the electrical rooms to show all of the
equipment and to verify the size of the
room for the architect during its initial
floor plan layout. During a meeting
with the owners team, the electrical
team finds that the adjacent room needs
to grow larger, but the engineer is concerned about giving up space. The contractor suggests the use of an integrated
switchgear system that could consolidate the equipment into a smaller footprint. Still, the engineer is concerned
about designing for this without input
from a manufacturer.
In a traditional process, identifying a
single manufacturer (sole sourcing) is
a practice that is discouraged. There is
a fear of losing a competitive pricing
opportunity with only a single manufacturer. In an IPD environment, the pricing is open to the entire team. Involving suppliers in the process allows for
a design to be developed around the
dimensions of that specific product.
Suppliers are also a good resource in
assisting to manage the budget amount
and can help the team better under-

stand the alternate options their product

offers. In a traditional process, a change
in manufacturer can often result in
expensive modifications to constructed
work and schedule delays to get equipment to fit within a space.
Work share

Another aspect of collaboration is work

share. This can take on many levels of
involvement, from sharing ideas to collaborative production of construction
documents. Every project is different, and
the team should start by identifying what
each players strengths are and how best
to apply them to the project. If you think
of the Lean principle of eliminating waste,
focus on the elements of the project that
can be streamlined.
Extreme collaboration can involve a
coordinated effort between the engineer
and contractor to produce a single document that is used for permitting and construction. In a traditional process a lot of
time is involved with duplicating information. An engineer will design and draw
the systems and then transfer them to the
contractor to redraw the entire system for
fabrication. When these processes are

Consulting-Specifying Engineer MARCH 2015


Using IPD and Lean in building design

combined, waste in the form of duplicated
effort is eliminated from the process.
During construction documents, the
mechanical engineer draws the ductwork
for the supply air on the floor. After the
documents are complete, the fabricator
looks at the design drawings and finds
that there would be a more efficient way
to connect the diffusers in a space that
would result in far fewer fittings.
In a traditional process, this occurs on
most every job with different avenues for
resolution. In most cases, a compromise is
made. By using the teams best resources,
these situations can be identified prior to
completion of the design work. Including
the sheet metal fabricator as a part of the
team during development of the HVAC
design ensures that the duct routing is
efficient, meets all of the design criteria,
and preps the construction team for prefabrication.

If you really want to push the boundaries of the traditional process, have the
team think about co-locating for the duration of the project. Sometimes the best
way to share information is in a casual
conversation between team players.
Sharing ideas can be reinforced when
the work is produced in this environment.
Setting up a big room (see Figure 1)
is a great strategy for encouraging deep
collaboration. Here you have the key
stakeholders present during document
production and providing constant feedback to the development of the design.
We all know how hard it is to truly
coordinate information even among the
design team members, but in a big room
setting, the focus remains on the development of the project and all key stakeholders monitor the development based
on their expertise.

The architect has shown an electrical room adjacent to a stairwell and a
mechanical shaft in the initial layout of
the floor plan. During a work session, the

electrical contractor sees the location and

expresses a concern about her ability to
successfully route all of the conduit in
and out of the room to serve the floor.
With all of the key stakeholders sitting at
the table, the entire team can find a more
suitable place on the floor plan that does
not come with the same limitations as the
original location.
Value management

One of the underlying principles with

an IPD approach is to eliminate waste to
drive more value into the project. With
all of the key stakeholders present at the
beginning of the project, complex issues
can be analyzed more thoroughly to
ensure the owners money is being spent
in the best way possible.
Target value design (TVD) is a tool
that many teams use to ensure that the
design is tracking to the project budget.
One of the greatest wastes in a traditional process is the concept of value
engineering and the redesign efforts that
often accompany those decisions. When
a design team develops documents that
exceed the project budget, teams waste
a lot of time in redevelopment of the
documents, the most important parts of
the design are lost, and lifecycle costing
decisions are sacrificed.
Because the owner is engaged early,
it can assist the team in identifying a
hierarchy of key factors that are important to the development of its project.
When all members of the team understand these key factors as well as the
budget constraints, conversation is
encouraged at the project start about
what type of building the owner truly
expects. As the design develops, the
budget is continually monitored to
ensure the project is trending in the
right direction. This process also allows
design iterations involving multiple
disciplines to be analyzed for the best
value to the owner.

The owner has asked that its building be a U.S. Green Building Council
LEED Silver project. The mechanical

Consulting-Specifying Engineer MARCH 2015

engineer has determined that a highly

efficient chilled water system would
be the best system design for the project and has incorporated this into the
project. The drawings are completed
and priced, but the project has come in
over budget and the mechanical budget
seems proportionally high compared to
the last project.
In a traditional process, the mechanical
contractor may offer up value engineering to go to a direct expansion (DX) system because it would save the project a
substantial amount of money. If all of the
stakeholders are not involved, the project
could risk losing its ability to meet the
LEED Silver requirements with a less
energy-efficient system. This may also
have an impact on the owners long-term
operating costs. In an IPD approach, this
chilled water system would be evaluated
at the beginning of the project to ensure
the system will meet the budget demands
before any of the work gets drawn. If not,
the team can evaluate the importance
between a LEED Silver project and this
particular system selection.
Putting it into practice

Like most things, we find it is easy to

talk about the process, but its difficult to
master it until you get a chance to put it
into practice. Every project comes with a
unique set of requirements, and new team
members make this process fluid. An IPD
approach enables your team to lower the
risk involved with producing the documents and provides ample opportunity to
interface with the trade partners to lay the
groundwork for the Lean processes to carry
over into the construction side.

Sarah S. Kuchera is associate principal

at ccrd in Dallas. Kuchera is a project
manager and electrical engineer specializing in health care projects. She has
been involved with multiple integrated
project delivery teams and actively
applies Lean construction methods in
her designs. Kuchera is involved with
Lean Construction Institute (LCI) and
spoke at the 2013 LCI Congress on Lean

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LCCA for
HVAC systems
Lifecycle cost analysis (LCCA) is a tool used to determine the most
cost-effective option among HVAC system alternatives.
BY DAVID J. MACKAY, BEMP, CPMP, LEED AP, Kohler Ronan, New York City

ractically speaking, there

are multiple building design
options that can meet programmatic needs and achieve accept Understand basic lifecycle
able levels of performance.
cost analysis (LCCA) concepts
and best practices.
From a purely financial perspective,
 Learn to incorporate LCCA
the only appropriate design alternative
into an HVAC system selecis the solution that satisfies the owners
tion process.
project requirements for the lowest total
 Identify tools that simplify
cost of ownership. Lifecycle cost analyLCCA calculation and results
sis (LCCA) is a powerful tool used to
determine the most cost-effective option
among competing alternatives. Although
LCCA has been
used for decades
to reliably identify
cost-optimal design
solutions, many
building owners
and architecture and
engineering professionals still rely on
simple payback to
make project investment decisions.
LCCA is an economic method of
project evaluation
which all costs
Equation 1: This simplified lifecycle cost formula is adapted
from ownfrom the NIST Handbook 135 (HB 135), Lifecycle Costing
Manual for the Federal Energy Management Program. All
graphics courtesy: Kohler Ronan LLC



Consulting-Specifying Engineer MARCH 2015

ultimately disposing of a project are

considered to be potentially important
to that decision. LCCA is particularly
suitable for the evaluation of building design alternatives that satisfy a
required level of building performance
(including occupant comfort, safety,
adherence to building codes and engineering standards, and system reliability), but may have different operating,
maintenance, and repair (OM&R) costs,
and potentially different useful lives.
Project-related costs that occur at different points in time cannot be directly
combined for meaningful economic
analysis because the dollars spent at
different times have different values to
the investor. LCCA provides a rational
means to weigh the value of first costs
versus future (e.g., operating) costs (see
Equation 1).
Adjusting to present value

Most individuals intuitively recognize that a dollar today does not have
the same value as a dollar in the distant
future. This concept, referred to as the
time value of money, results from two
considerations: 1) general inflation,
which is the erosion of future purchasing power; and 2) opportunity cost,
which for existing capital is the cost of

forgone investment opportunities and

for borrowed capital is the cost of borrowing (i.e., the loan rate). Lifecycle
costing considers both effects in weighing the value of present costs against
future costs.
General inflation and price escalation: General price inflation measures
the decline in the purchasing power of
the dollar over time. LCCA methodology provides two approaches for dealing with general price inflation: current
dollar analysis and constant dollar analysis. Current dollars are dollars of any
1 years purchasing power, inclusive of
inflation. That is, they reflect changes in
the purchasing power of the dollar from
year to year. In contrast, constant dollars are dollars of uniform purchasing
power, exclusive of inflation. Constant
dollars indicate what the same good or
service would cost at different times
if there were no change in the general price level (no general inflation or
deflation) to change the purchasing
power of the dollar.
In general, LCCA calculations for
building systems should treat general
price inflation using a constant dollar
approach. The constant dollar approach
has the advantage of avoiding the need
to project future rates of inflation or
deflation, which adds unnecessary
complexity and uncertainty. The price
of a good or service stated in constant
dollars is not affected by the rate of
general inflation. For example, if the
price of a piece of equipment is $1,000
today and $1,050 at the end of a year
in which prices in general have risen at
an annual rate of 5%, the price stated
in constant dollars is still $1,000; no
inflation adjustment is necessary. In
contrast, if cash flows are stated in current dollars, future amounts include an
assumed general inflation rate and an
adjustment is necessary to convert the
current-dollar estimate to its constantdollar equivalent.
Few commodities have prices that
change at exactly the rate of general

Figure 1: Each year the National Institute of Standards and Technology publishes
Energy Price Indices and Discount Factors for Life-Cycle Cost AnalysisThe Annual
Supplement to NIST Handbook 135. The price indices shown here have been reproduced from the U.S. Energy Information Association Table Ca-5 Projected fuel price
indices (excluding general inflation) by end-use sector and fuel type-United States

Figure 2: The discount rate (d) is a special type of interest rate that makes an investor indifferent between cash amounts received at different points in time. An investor
with a 3% discount rate would be willing to invest up to $424 dollars today in order to
save $1,000 in year 30; an investor with a 7% discount rate would only be willing to
invest up to $141 for the same return.

Consulting-Specifying Engineer MARCH 2015


LCCA for HVAC systems

low general price inflation, while utility
prices tend to be much more volatile.
Typically, LCC methodology assumes
that prices for all goods and services,
other than for energy and water, will
increase at approximately
the same rate as general
inflation. However, if
there is a documentable
basis for assuming that
prices change at a rate
different than general
inflation (e.g., when price
escalation rates are established in a maintenance
contract), these rates can
be used in the analysis.
While goods and services
are assumed to
Equation 2: Future value of present cost may be used
at the same rate
to determine a future price, given present price and a
general inflation
constant, real escalation rate. For example, assume the
present price of natural gas is $1/therm and that the
price of natural gas is anticipated to escalate at a conenergy
treatstant rate of 5%. At the end of year 10, natural gas will
ed separately. In other
cost $1.63/therm. Note that this escalated price must
words, this assumes that
still be discounted to present value using Equation 3.
energy prices will not
The formula is adapted from NIST Handbook 135 (HB
inflate at the same rate as
135), Lifecycle Costing Manual for the Federal Energy
other goods and services.
Management Program.
Accordingly, we distinguish general price inflation from energy price
inflation by referring to
the latter as energy price
escalation. As with the
use of the discount rate,
the energy price escalation rates are real (i.e.,
net or differential).
The US Energy Information Administration
(EIA) publishes official
Equation 3: The present value of future cost equation
projections for future
may be used to calculate the present value equivalent of
energy prices annually
a future cost, such as the natural gas price previously
each April for the residetermined using Equation 2. Although the future price
dential, commercial, and
of natural gas at the end of year 10 may be $1.62/therm,
industrial sectors broken
to an investor with a 3% discount rate, that therm of
down by region of the
natural gas is only worth $1.21 today (net present value).
country for six energy
With a 3% discount rate, the investor is only willing to
types (electricity, natural
spend up to $1.21 today in order to save a therm of natugas, propane, distillate
ral gas 10 years from now. The formula is adapted from
fuel oil, residual fuel oil,
the NIST Handbook 135 (HB 135), Lifecycle Costing
and coal). Figure 1 illusManual for the Federal Energy Management Program.
inflation year after year, but many commodities have prices that change at a
rate close to that of general inflation
over time. Maintenance and repair costs
and construction materials tend to fol-


Consulting-Specifying Engineer MARCH 2015

trates how the Dept. of Energy projects

national average electricity, fuel oil,
and natural gas prices are expected to
move over the next 30 years in real dollar terms. These fuel escalation rates are
suitable for most building-related LCCA
studies. If using alternative escalation
rates, be sure to use real rates that
indicate how energy prices will increase
above and beyond general price inflation (note that Equation 4 may also be
used to convert a nominal escalation
rate into a real escalation rate).
Given a present price and a real escalation rate Equation 2 may be used to
determine an escalated future price. For
example, assume the present price of
natural gas is $1.00 per therm and that
the price of natural gas is anticipated
to escalate at a constant rate of 5%. At
the end of year-10 natural gas will cost
$1.63 per therm. In all likelihood, general price inflation will drive the actual
price of natural gas higher than $1.63
per therm in year-10. However, constant
dollar analysis focuses on incremental
price change for energy by using real
escalation rates. Note that this escalated
price ($1.63) may not be used in Equation 1 until it is discounted to present
value using Equation 3.
Opportunity costs and discount
rates: Opportunity costs recognize
that a fair comparison of the economic
benefit of two or more project options
must consider what else we might have
done with our money (i.e., in the case
of existing capital) had we chosen to
invest in something other than the available project options or what it would
cost us to borrow the capital if necessary (i.e., loan rate). In constant dollar
LCCA methodology, opportunity cost
is accounted for through the use of the
real discount rate (d).
The discount rate is a special type
of interest rate that makes the investor indifferent between cash amounts
received at different points in time. That
is, the investor would just as soon have
one amount received earlier as the other
amount received later. For example, with
a discount rate of 5%, the present value

Making decisions
using LCCA

he design team agreed that the investment decision of

whether to build an on-site plant or use the local energy

options should be determined using LCCA.

In this example, an institutional client was trying to determine
if it should install a central chiller and boiler plant on-site or
purchase chilled water and steam from a local district energy
system (DES base case). It was clear that installing an onsite plant would add significant upfront cost and additional
maintenance cost; however, future operating costs would be
substantially higher if energy was purchased through the DES

Table 1: Example LCCA

Building characteristics
Gross square footage


Winter temperature setpoint

70 F 2.5 F

Summer temperature setpoint

75 F 2.5 F

Central plant equipment

Modular air-cooled chillers


Water side economizers


Condensing boilers


Primary pumps and variable frequency drives


Total incremental cost


Plant performance

supplier. The design team decided that the investment decision

Cooling (coefficient of performance)

should be determined using LCCA.

Heating efficiency

 If the client decided to take advantage of the DES, over a

30-year period the client would avoid approximately $1 million


Incremental pump power

19 W/gpm

Lifecycle costing

worth of initial construction, future equipment maintenance,

Base year

and replacement costs. However, over a 30-year period, energy

Service year


costs through the DES would likely total $8.6 million in net

Study length

30 years

present value
 Although installation of an on-site central plant would
increase initial investment and future capital costs by approximately $1 million, compared to the DES alternative the central
plant option would save the client approximately $2.4 million
in energy expenditures over 30 years


Discount rate


Discounting convention


Discount and escalation rate types

Treatment of inflation

Constant dollar

30-year incremental cost data

(not discounted)
Capital cost


analysis period, the central plant option is the most economi-

Maintenance cost


cally viable alternative. Initial investment costs are likely to be

Replacement cost

recovered within a 9-year period (discounted payback period);

Residual equipment value


Total investment cost


 Based on total cost of ownership during the 30-year

over a 30-year period the central plant would likely provide

the client with $1.4 million net savings (NS) compared to the
DES alternative.


30-year annualized lifecycle costs

Initial capital cost


Energy cost


Maintenance cost


Capital replacements


Residual value


Annualized lifecycle cost


Compared to DES option

30-year net savings


Savings-to-investment ratio
Adjusted internal rate of return

Figure 3: The design team agreed that the investment decision of whether to build an on-site plant
or use the local energy options should be determined using LCCA.


Simple payback period (years)

Discounted payback period (years)

Table 1: The LCCA is calculated for both building a new central plant
and for using the district energy system option. The central plant
option turned out to be the most economically viable alternative.

Consulting-Specifying Engineer MARCH 2015


LCCA for HVAC systems

broken down by region of the country
for a variety of fuel types. While these
blended rates can be a good starting
point, take care when applying them
to metropolitan areas; utility prices in
major cities tend to be significantly
higher than regional averages.
With base-year energy costs calculated
and energy cost escalation rates determined,
future energy costs for each year in the
study period may be calculated. Once future
energy costs have been discounted to their
net present value as of the base date they
may be summed for use in Equation 1 (E).
Operations, maintenance, and repair
costs: OM&R costs are often more difficult to estimate than other building expenditures. Because operating schedules and
maintenance standards vary from build-

ing to building, there is great variation in

associated costs even for buildings of the
same type and age. It is therefore especially important to use engineering judgment
when estimating these costs.

Cost estimating guides may be used

to calculate initial assumptions, but
the most direct and reliable method for
estimating OM&R costs is to obtain
preventive maintenance service contract quotes directly from equipment
manufacturers. Remember, as with initial investment costs, only the incremental OM&R costs need to be considered. If OM&R costs are essentially
the same between project alternatives,
they do not have to be included in the
Tools for calculating LCC

There are several software programs that simplify LCC calculation

and results documentation. One of the
most widely used is BLCC5, which was
developed by the National Institute of
Standards and Technology in support of
the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP). It computes the LCC for
project alternatives, compares project

alternatives to determine which has the

lowest LCC, performs annual cash flow
analysis, and computes supplementary
measures of economic performance
including net savings, savings-toinvestment ratio, and adjusted internal
rate of return for project alternatives
over their designated study period.

While BLCC5 is useful for most

LCCA studies, more advanced analysis
techniques are not supported. LCCAid
is a Microsoft Excel-based tool developed by the Rocky Mountain Institute
that provides additional flexibility,
including multi-parameter sensitivity

David J. MacKay is an associate with

Kohler Ronan LLC in the New York City
office. MacKays expertise includes
building performance modeling, building commissioning, energy auditing,
energy reduction plan development and
energy procurement consulting.

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Cover story


BIM design

Building information modeling (BIM) is used

frequently when working across multiple disciplines, including mechanical,
electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering, and also with other
stakeholders such as architects and contractors.
BY ED PAUL, Arup, Los Angeles

 Understand the requirements for a BIM model.
 Learn the key components
of a BIM execution plan.
 Understand the nuances of
smart data, content, and other
details within a model.


s it possible for BIM to be done correctly for mechanical, electrical,

plumbing, and fire protection (MEP/
FP) design? Numerous factors come
into play when integrating BIM into
the MEP/FP engineering and design process. It is up to the design team to take the
best from each variation of modeling and
apply the appropriate elements to create
a successful process.
Expectations are never the same on any
engineering project. Everyone has various
ideas of how BIM will be incorporated,
and quite a few of them are unrealistic.
The MEP/FP engineering team needs
to set appropriate expectations with the
architect and owner at the onset of the
project. Before defining these expectations, we need to understand why divergent expectations exist.
When we say or hear BIM, it is often
interpreted to mean 3-D modeling using
Autodesk Revit. While other platforms are
available, most architects use Revit, which
sets the expectation that MEP/FP models
will also use Revit. The main concern is
related to the detail and accuracy that an
architect or owner might expect because
he or she doesnt completely understand
the MEP/FP software or process. Archi-

Consulting-Specifying Engineer MARCH 2015

tectural models are detailed and dimensioned to a high level of accuracy, and it is
expected that MEP/FP models will match
that accuracy, an attitude also shared by
the client/owner. This sets the precedence
in architectural and structural models,
which are required to provide dimensional
control for the contractor as an element
of design. MEP/FP design work rarely, if
ever, has the same level of detailing. However, as MEP modeling software became
mature enough to be used on major projects, expectations were already set for
similarly detailed MEP/FP models.
Contractors have also become accustomed to using architectural/structural
models directly to create their 3-D
coordination models; increasingly, they
expect the MEP/FP models to have the
same detail and accuracy. For example,
a general contractor was completely surprised by my negative response when
he asked about modeling all the conduit
runs in the electrical model. MEP/FP
design models are created primarily to
show design intent. While support modeling and constructability are secondary
drivers, they are still important, as the
subcontractors make a substantial investment in the trade coordination exercises

and rely on that information from the

design models.
Keeping this in mind, the MEP/FP models
should focus on overall dimensional accuracy of equipment, ducts, pipes, and other
items that will require coordination with
other disciplines. This virtual coordination
for physical location must satisfy everyones needs, including those of the facility
engineers who will eventually maintain the
equipment and facility. These expectations
should be clarified in meetings with the
various teams when collaborating to create
a joint BIM execution plan (JBEP).
Creating the JBEP

Collaboration to create the JBEP is

another key factor for a successful project.
Quite often the request for proposal (RFP)
for a potential project is accompanied by
the clients BIM requirements. The JBEP
is simply a response to the requirements,
defining the plan and processes that will
be used throughout the length of the project
to meet the goals. If the RFP or the client
does not have any BIM requirements, it is
still in the best interest of the project team
to create a JBEP so that all members understand what is created and delivered to each
otherand finally to the client at turnover.
Without an agreed-upon JBEP, teams often
move forward with their own definition of
BIM goals, which results in misaligned
expectations, at times allowing the architect and/or contractor to continually ask the
MEP/FP engineers and designers for small
changes in the models detail or accuracy
that may add up to a significant amount of
work beyond the contractual scope.
When creating the JBEP the MEP/FP
team needs to pay special attention to topics like roles and responsibilities, BIM uses,
model organization/setup, models exchange,
level of development (LOD), modeling
matrix, software used, and data export. Quite
often Construction-Operations Building
Information Exchange (COBie) is required
as a data deliverable, though it is not always
clear how it will be used by the owner. While
all the elements of the JBEP are important,
the topics noted above are the core working
parts of a well-defined BIM execution plan.
Once these topics are defined in the plan,

Figure 1: An overall view of a building shows a single mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection (MEP/FP) design model representing accurate location and
overall dimensions of equipment and systems. This image is rendered from a single
Revit model containing MEP/FP disciplines along with IT and audio-visual (AV) disciplines representing accurate location and overall dimensions of equipment and systems. All graphics courtesy: Arup

effort must be maintained to stay within the

bounds of the JBEP. For projects within the
U.S. the following documents provide good
references for creating the JBEP:
 AIA Document E2032013, Building Information Modeling and Digital Data Exhibit
 AIA Document G2012013, Project
Digital Data Protocol Form
 AIA Document G2022013, Project
Building Information Modeling Protocol Form.
It is important to keep the JBEP simple; the goal is to create a virtual building before the contractors start working
on the real building. Contractor input for

constructability is necessary to create the

virtual building, which defines the necessity to model major items in 3-D. The
LOD matrix identifies the development of
objects in the model, which should be used
to populate the modeling matrix, identifying MEP/FP systems and element authors.
The modeling matrix is an excellent
place to start identifying which items
will be modeled at the agreed-upon LOD.
Accept the fact that certain elements will
always be at LOD 300 and continue to
add such elements to your content library.
Elements like pumps, fans, chillers, panelboards, transformers, ducts, pipes, and
cable trays should always be shown in
3-D, in the correct X, Y, and Z location
with respect to the architectural model.
The goal is to build a virtual building, and one similar to a real building.

Consulting-Specifying Engineer MARCH 2015


Cover story: BIM design

If the structure is not in place, none of
the MEP objects can be installed. Every
effort should be made to have the right
models in place so the most appropriate
elevation is given to elements as they are
modeled. An important item that needs to
be added to the JBEP is the variance in size
of objects given that MEP/FP engineers
specify equipment with final dimensions
by the manufacturers. This entry gives the
flexibly needed to design the right system.
If you are part of a design-build project,
there must be an agreement regarding level
of detail necessary from the design team
given that the trade contractors model will
show the elements in greater detail with
all the necessary fittings, flanges, hangers,
and other details.

well as code-required clearances. Whenever possible, the clearances should be

included as a subcategory of the Revit
families. This helps with coordination
during modeling and, if desired, the flexibility to easily turn off subcategories like
clearances for printing purposes.

With respect to content in Revit, there are

three major categories that we can refer to:
1. Equipment
2. Systems
3. Connector objects.

Items like fans, pumps, water heaters,

panelboards, and transformers are equipment objects that are referred to as families (MvParts in AutoCAD MEP). Systems
are the supply, exhaust, return, cold water,
Space allocations
The importance of setting the vertical chilled water supply, and fire main made
space allocations for each discipline and of components such as duct, pipe, conduit,
system is paramount. This information or cable tray. These are also the connector
should be shared with all the disciplines objects that connect systems to the equipbefore starting any modeling. If the eleva- ment families. The project template has
tions are not established early in the proj- to define these items correctly for all the
ect, either the MEP/FP will be going back pieces to come together and create the
and revising their models or the contractors right BIM model. The contractor installing
and the subcontractors will take on the chal- the piping has to know when to use black
lenge and burden the MEP/FP team with a pipe and when to use PVC and which sysmultitude of requests for information (RFI). tem they will serve. Furthermore, he or
Equally important is the allocation of she has to know which system connects
space for required maintenance/service as to which equipment.
Quite often MEP/FP engineers start modeling with a
default system of duct or pipe
and provide all this information in the specifications or
through annotation as in the
past. The contractor will miss
out on using some of the automatic features that the software offers, such as ability to
count fittings, measure pipe
sizes/lengths, add value to
objects, and perform early and
progressive cost estimates.
Once the BIM templates are
set up correctly, the engineers
can quickly get to modeling
without having to define systems
and associated objects.
Figure 2: This partial model view shows piping and a
trying to fix
related pipe size/quantities schedule.


Consulting-Specifying Engineer MARCH 2015

multiple instances of errors in incorrect

templates will adversely affect the profitability of the project.
Smart data in models

Information is the core component for

all successful BIM projects. MEP/FP engineers must decide on a standard approach
to what information will be contained in a
model. Early determination in the JBEP is
important when deciding at which phase
of the project information will added to
model elements. It is often felt that BIM
requires significant amount of data in the
early phases of the project, though in reality the amount of information available to
the engineer progresses as the engineering/
design of the project progresses. Planning
ahead for this information growth within
the families will allow all project team
members to easily add detailed information as necessary.
Take a simple pump, for example. In
early phases all a team needs to know that
it is P-1 and that it will be located in
the mechanical room. Before placing this
pump in the model, however, it would be
expedient for the long run to create the
basic parameter (name, manufacturer,
location, size, etc.), default electrical
parameters (horsepower, voltage, phase,
frequency, etc.), and HVAC specific
parameters (gal/min, total head, efficiency, etc.) and incorporate fields for this
data into the pump symbol/family. When
the pump element P-1 is placed in the
mechanical room where a space object
exists, the software will automatically
record the location in the internal database.
As engineers and designers, we can now
follow the JBEP and know when certain
information will be available and reliable enough to be added to the equipment
objects. At the same time the electrical
engineer will know when the electrical
data is available in the model and can
plan the circuiting effort accordingly. The
aim is to have information live and correct
within the objects and model. When the
project is in the construction phase, final
modifications should be made within the
model, so that the final deliverable asdesigned or record model has captured

the latest information. Facility managers

will be indebted to the design team when
they realize the amount of smart, useful
information they are receiving.
Ultimately this is what BIM is about,
using the information contained in the models to manage the facility.
Family content

Managing a firms content library is a

constant maintenance and investment task.
While most firms have established a standard library for symbols/families, every new

level one and two are in the basement.

This can be scheduled only one way.
Type or instance parameters should be
created with scenario 2 in mind to allow
for maximum flexibility. The location
parameter has to be instance, though the
equipment type/number parameters
(P-1) can be type or instance based. The
automatic tags for equipment are dependent on this being set correctly. When
there is a limited number of different pump
types, it is not a major concern, but when
the count will go up to hundreds or even

Figure 3: A partial model view shows electrical equipment, mechanical/plumbing

equipment ducts and piping, along with a related pump schedule.

project requires items that dont exist in the

library. When working with BIM objects,
the library needs to manage both graphics
and property/parameter data. Parameters
that tie in with the graphics to control size
and shape require special attention.
Every effort should be made to follow
the same process each time when creating the families and adding the appropriate parameters. The parameters should be
divided into subgroups for management
purposes: basic or common, electrical
default, sound data, vibration isolation,
etc. These subgroups can be added into
overall equipment-specific groups like
fans, pumps, chillers, transformers, and
more, that can share the same subgroup
parameters as the base parameters will be
consistent. Certain equipment objects like
air handling units or fan coil units can have
100 or more parameter fields. Accurately
managing this type of content metadata is
better handled by add-on utilities than the
default functionality offered by the main
software package.
Special attention is needed to decide
between type based and instance based
parameters. Consider two scenarios:
Scenario 1: Five pumps in a building
and they all have the same specifications,
three are in the mechanical room level one
and two are in the basement. This can be
scheduled three different ways.
Scenario 2: Five pumps in a building and each is a different manufacturer
model. Three are in the mechanical room

thousands, it is important to make almost

all the parameters type based, including
the name/number.
Manufacturers content

More and more manufacturers are providing Revit families along with AutoCAD blocks. While this is very useful,
care should be taken before using manufacturer content. These objects are very
detailed to support the manufacturers

processes but typically too detailed for

design model due to file size. In addition,
the objects use parameters and formulas
to manage content that is useful to the
manufacturer, but that may not always be
clear to the designer. Best practice is to
use the manufacturers content as a starting
point and simplify it down to the graphic
shape that makes sense to display. Then
go through the same steps as above for
adding standard parameters to families
to meet the design teams obligation for
appropriate detail. These steps will keep
all the content in the model to the same
standard established for the project.
The automatic generation of schedules
and equipment tagging should be a standard approach on all projects. As the models progress, size tags, circuit tags, etc.,
should be generated from the model. Limit
the use of text objects to annotate items
that cannot be generated from the model.
As the team gets more comfortable with
using the model-generated information,
the design/engineering accuracy will be
reflected in the BIM model.
An unseen and usually forgotten part of
the MEP/FP model is the space object.

Early planning simplifies BIM design

large private university in Southern California recently completed a technologically complex retrofit
of an existing 1950s building for its mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection (MEP/
FP) system design. This owner is quite sophisticated in rolling over engineering design data generated
by BIM Autodesk Revit models to be used for facility management purposes with minimal modifications
at project closeout.
Given the large effort to compile data after the fact, this owner requires the design team to set up
families to accommodate the collection of design and construction data during the process within the
BIM model. To facilitate this effort, the owner hosted BIM collaboration meetings to share goals and
requested the design teams to create a plan and process to capture the necessary data as part of the
design process. The design team worked together with the client and the contractor to develop a joint BIM
execution plan (JBEP) that will deliver on the clients request. The JBEP includes such items as explicitly
defined families with prescribed sets of university-required parameters, coordination review processes
by owner-contracted third-party BIM reviewers, and file exchange workflows.
Because the design team in collaboration with the construction team reached an early agreement on
the JBEP, the MEP engineers were able to start creating Revit families that met the necessary criteria
and were able to avoid rework. A predetermined scheduled was added to JBEP for model exchange
and additional workshops for model coordination with the contractor. Data from models was exported
at milestones and verified against facility management checklists to ensure that model objects carried
all pertinent engineering data that a facility engineer can use as needed in the future. Proper and early
planning can address the issues and challenges that MEP/FP engineers face when asked to integrate
BIM into design and use model-generated data for facility management.

Consulting-Specifying Engineer MARCH 2015


Cover story: BIM design

It is possible to engineer/design and produce all the drawings needed for construction documents without placing a single
space object; however, they are extraor-

dinarily useful at adding sophistication to

the BIM process. It is possible to export
room size data to run load calculations, to
create space schedules to show room/area/

volume within your model, and to track

which objects exist within a space to do
room/equipment quantity takeoffs. Spaces
can be tagged to show room names and
numbers from the architects model and
yet allow the BIM technician to move the
tags freely to less congested parts of the
room. Space schedules can be exported to
spreadsheets and then compared to project
program and room data sheets to verify that
model objects are placed and accounted for
as planned. In addition, they are required
to build a COBie compliant BIM model.
Data delivery (COBie)

Figure 4: Modeling matrix lists objects using the Construction Specifications Institute
UniFormat code and requires the project team to fill in the appropriate level of development values based on project phase.

As more facility owners request design

data for facility management software from
the MEP/FP engineers, COBie will become
a normal part the project deliverable.
COBie is standard format for structuring
data to allow for data export from models
to facility management systems. Providing
COBie compliance is a small step on top
of what the engineering team is already

input #12 at

doing. Models already have assigned the

name/numbering, the manufacturer, and/
or alternates. The equipment already knows
in which space/room it is located and more.
The rest of the information that is required
for a COBie deliverable comes from the
trade contractors during the construction phase as information that is already
required in their submittals. The COBie
effort is simply to combine that information
into one location, either in the Revit model
or more commonly in a spreadsheet or an
external database. MEP/FP teams should
create the necessary fields/parameters in
their models so the design engineering
parameters can be filled in as the design
progresses, while leaving fields available
as placeholders that can be exported at predetermined milestones by the contractors.
Several third-party software packages
allow much of the data and placeholder
fields to be exported to Excel. Once in a
spreadsheet, the data can be manipulated in
mass, verified, and reimported into the BIM
model. Editing the data external to the BIM
modeling software also provides opportunities for multiple personnel in a firm to be
engaged in the workflow without having to
be experts in the BIM software.
Streamlining workflow

This article has discussed some of the

topics that MEP/FP engineers and designers should incorporate into the workflow
when integrating BIM. Other factors like
type of project, project size, complexity, number of systems, number of users,
and locations all play a significant role
in determining the model setup. Because
there is more than one way of setting up
the model, it is important to capture all
possible information within the JBEP. The
JBEP will be the go to document to clarify BIM related issues as the project progresses. Model exchange schedule should
be established and incorporated in the
JBEP. Quite often a bi-weekly exchange
works best for schematic design and
design development phases; it can switch
to weekly when moving into the construction documentation phase. The process for
milestones and final delivery of the model
should include the file format that will be
exported from the models, such as PDF

and/or DWG format for all sheets to document design progress. Certain owners are
also asking for Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) format models to allow exchange
of model objects between BIM software
by different vendors, along with models
from the authoring software.

Ed Paul is the BIM manager at Arups

Los Angeles office. He has more than 20
years experience in managing large multidiscipline projects from inception to handover. His experience includes various CAD/
BIM software packages along with information systems management.

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Energy performance
in mission critical facilities
Mission critical facilities, such as data centers, are judged carefully on
their energy use. Engineers should focus on the codes and standards
that dictate energy performance and how building energy performance
can be enhanced.
BY BILL KOSIK, PE, CEM, BEMP, LEED AP BD+C, HP Data Center Facilities Consulting, Chicago

 Understand the various
ways to measure energy use
in mission critical facilities.
 Learn about the codes and
standards that dictate energy
 Learn about the codes,
standards, and organizations
that govern energy performance.


ission critical facilities

support a wide variety of vital operations
where facility failure
will result in complications that range from serious disruptions to business operations, to circumstances that can jeopardize life safety
of the general public. To minimize or
eliminate the chance of facility system
failure, mission critical facilities have
three hallmarks that make them different from other type of commercial
1. The facility must support operations that run continuously without
shutdowns due to equipment failure or
maintenance. Seasonal or population
changes within the facility have a small
impact on the energy use profile; generally, the facility is internally loaded
with heavy electrical consumption.
2. Redundant power and cooling
systems are required to support the
24/7/365 operation. Depending on the
level of redundancy, there will be additional efficiency losses in the power and
cooling systems brought on by running
the equipment at small percentages of
the capacity.
3. The technical equipment used in
the facility, such as computers; medical

Consulting-Specifying Engineer MARCH 2015

and laboratory equipment; and monitoring , communications, and surveillance

systems, will have high power requirements that translate into heat gain and
energy use.
Putting these hallmarks together,
mission critical facilities need to run
continuously, providing less efficient
power and cooling to technical equipment that has very high electrical
requirements, all without failure or
impacts from standard maintenance
procedures. This is why energy use (and
ways to reduce it) in mission critical
facilities has been, and will continue
to be, of great concern. This is true
whether the mission critical facility is a
laboratory, hospital, data center, police/
fire station, or another type of essential
And due to constant advances in
the design of technical equipment, the
strategies and tactics used for reducing facility energy consumption need
to anticipate how future changes will
impact building design, codes, standards, and other guidelines. Fortunately, the technical equipment will
generally become more energy-efficient
over time with improvements in design.
This can reduce facility energy use in
two ways: the equipment will use less

Figure 1: Using IT equipment that can run in an environment with 26 C supply air (top) enables the use of different cooling technology than IT equipment that runs with 20 C supply air. This allows for a 15% reduction in HVAC system energy use. All graphics
courtesy: HP Data Center Facilities Consulting

energy, and the energy of the power and

cooling systems will also decrease.
Data centers are one segment of the
mission critical facility industry that
arguably see the highest rate of change
in how the facilities are designed, primarily based on the requirements of
technical equipment, servers, storage
devices, and networking gear. Data
centers will have the highest concentration of technical equipment on a sq
ft or percentage of total power demand
as compared to other mission critical
facilities. A change in the specifications or operating conditions of the
computers in a data center facility will
have a ripple effect that runs through
all aspects of the power and cooling
systems (see Figure 1). Moreover, IT
equipment manufacturers are developing next generation technology that can
significantly reduce overall energy use
and environmental impact of data centers. This is a good thing, but with it
brings new design challenges that need
to be addressed in codes, standards, and

For data centers and the broader

range of commercial buildings, there
are myriad programs, guidelines, and
codes intended to keep energy use as
low as possible. Publications from
ASHRAE, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, U.S. Green Building
Council, and the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency are good examples
of technical but practical resources aiding in data center strategy.
But how did all of these come about?
To understand the path forward, it is
equally important to know how we
got here. Similar to the rapid evolution of power and cooling systems in
data centers, many of thedocuments
released by these groups were developed in response by changes and new
thinking in the data center design and
construction industry.
Energy-efficiency programs
for buildings

In the United States, one of the first

programs developed by the federal government that spawned several broader

energy efficiency initiatives is the 1977

U.S. National Energy Plan. This was
developed as a blueprint identifying
energy efficiency as a priority because
conservation is the quickest, cheapest,
most practical source of energy. This
plan became the basis for many other
building energy use reduction programs
that would typically start out at the federal level and eventually trickle down
to state and local government.
During this time, one of the most
widely used building efficiency standards was published for the first time:
ASHRAE Standard 90-1975: Energy
Conservation in New Building Design.
Because no comprehensive national
standard existed at the time, this was
the first opportunity for many architects
and engineers to objectively calculate
the energy costs of their designs and
to increase energy efficiency. Since its
initial release, the standard has been
renamed ASHRAE Standard 90.1:
Energy Standard for Buildings Except
Low-Rise Residential Buildings and
has been put on a 3-year maintenance

Consulting-Specifying Engineer MARCH 2015


Energy performance

Figure 2: The ASHRAE thermal classes are plotted on a psychrometric chart.

cycle. For example, the 2013 edition

of Standard 90.1 improves minimum
energy efficiency by approximately
37% from the 2004 edition for regulated
loads. It is typical that each new release
of the standard will contain significant
energy-efficiency requirements.
With the proliferation of communications and computing technology at the
end of the 20th century, building codes
and standards, especially Standard 90.1,
needed to reflect how technology was
impacting building design, especially
power, cooling, control, and communication systems. Changes in power
density for high-technology commercial buildings began to create situations
that made it difficult for certain building
designs to meet the Standard 90.1 minimum energy use requirements. Also,
when following the prescriptive measures in Standard 90.1, the results show
that the energy saved by better wall and
roof insulation, glazing technology, and
lighting is a small fraction of the energy
consumption of computers and other
technical equipment.
Without adapting the standards to
reflect how data center facilities and IT
equipment are evolving, it would become
increasingly difficult to judge the efficiency of data center facilities against
the standard. But without addressing the

operation and energy consumption of the

computers themselves, an opportunity to
develop a holistic, optimal energy use
strategy for the data center would be
lost. The engineering community and the
IT manufacturers, backed up by publicly
reviewed, industry-accepted standards
and guidelines, needed to take a prominent role in attacking this challenge.
ASHRAE 90.1 language

It is interesting to study how the

ASHRAE 90.1 standards issued in 2001
dealt with high electrical density equipment, such as what is typically seen in a
data center. Keep in mind that around the
beginning of the decade in 2000, highend corporate servers consisted of a single 33-MHz 386 CPU, 4 MB RAM, and
two 120 MB hard drives and were scattered about in offices where they were
needed, a far cry from the state-of-the-art.
If needed, mainframe computers would
reside in a separate data processing room.
Overall, the electrical intensity of the
computer equipment was far less than
what is commonly seen today in large
corporate enterprises. The language in
Standard 90.1 at that time talked about
computer server rooms and was written specifically to exclude the computer
equipment from the energy-efficiency
requirements, rather than stipulating

Consulting-Specifying Engineer MARCH 2015

requirements to make things more efficient. The exclusions dealt primarily with
humidification and how to define baseline HVAC systems used in comparing
energy use to the proposed design. At
that time, the generally held beliefs were
the computer systems were very susceptible to failure if exposed to improper
environmental conditions and therefore
should not have to meet certain parts of
the standard that could result in a deleterious situation.
Knowing this, data center industry
groups were already developing energy
efficiency and environmental operating
guidelines. And as the use of computers
continued to increase and centralized data
centers were beginning to show up in
increasing numbers of building designs, it
was necessary that ASHRAE play a more
important role in this process
New language for data centers

With the release of ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2007, based on input from the
the data center community, including
ASHRAEs TC9.9 for Mission Critical
Facilities, data centers could no longer
be treated as an exception in the energy
standard. There were several proposed
amendments to Standard 90.1-2007
that included specific language, but it
wouldnt be until the release of Standard
90.1-2010 where data center-specific language was used in the standard. The sections in the standard relating to data centers took another big leap forward with
the release of the 2013 edition, which
contains specific energy performance
requirements for data centers, including
the ability to use power usage effectiveness (PUE) as a measure of conformity
with the standard.
Standard 90.1 certainly has come a
long way, but, as expected in the technology realm, computers continue to evolve
and change the way they impact on the
built environment. This includes many
aspects of a building design, including overall facility size, construction
type, and electrical distribution system
and cooling techniques. This places an
unprecedented demand on developing

timely, relevant building energy codes,

standards and guidelines because, as history has shown, a lot of change can occur
in a short amount of time. And because
the work to develop a standard needs
to be concluded well before the formal
release of the document, the unfortunate
reality is that portions of the document
will already be out of date when released.
Synergy in energy use efficiency

In the past decade, many of the manufacturers of power and cooling equipment
have created product lines designed specifically for use in data centers. Some of
this equipment has evolved from existing
lines, and some has been developed from
the ground up. Either way, the major manufacturers understand that the characteristics of a data center require specialized
equipment and product solutions. Within
this niche there are a number of novel
approaches that show potential based on
actual installed performance and market
acceptance. The thermal requirements of
the computers have really been the catalyst for developing many of these novel
approaches; state-of-the-art data centers
have IT equipment (mainly servers) with
inlet temperature requirements of 75 to
80 F and higher. (The ASHRAE Thermal
Guideline classes of inlet temperatures
go as high as 113 F.) This has enabled
designs for compressorless cooling, relying solely on cooling from outside air- or

Figure 3: Using refrigerant-free cooling systems, the compressor power is reduced

as the temperature drops. The free cooling pump will run generally when the compressors are off.

water-cooled systems using heat rejection devices (cooling towers, dry coolers, close-circuit coolers, etc.). Even in
climates with temperature extremes that
go beyond the temperature requirements,
owners are taking a calculated risk and
not installing compressorized cooling
equipment based on the large first-cost
reduction (see Figure 2).
How are these high inlet temperatures being used to reduce overall
energy use and improve operations? A
small sampling:
 Depending on the type of computing
equipment, during stretches of abovenormal temperatures, the computer processor can be slowed down intentionally,

effectively reducing the heat output of the

computers and lessening the overall cooling load of the data center. This allows the
facility to be designed around high inlet
temperatures and also provides an added
level of protection if outside temperatures
go beyond what is predicted. This strategy really demonstrates the power of how
interconnected facility and IT systems can
provide feedback and feed forward to each
other to achieve an operational goal.
 Cooling technologies such as immersion cooling are fundamentally different
from most data center cooling systems. In
this application, the servers are completely immersed in a large tank of a mineral
oil-like solution, keeping the entire com-

What the 1970s oil crisis taught us

ome of the seminal events that acted as catalysts to jump-start energy

efficiency improvements in buildings, both residential and commercial,
stem from incidents that happened far from the shores of the United States.
As a result, federal and state governments (and the general public) were
exposed firsthand to the consequences of unstable worldwide energy supplies. Arguably the most infamous example of this hit the United States in
1973. And it hit hard.
The 1973 oil crisis started when the members of the Organization of Arab
Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC) started an oil embargo in response
to world political events. Six months later, the prices of oil imported into
the U.S. rose from $3 per barrel to nearly $12. In addition to massive cost
increases for gasoline and heating oil, this event brought on a decade of
high inflation where prices of energy and various material commodities
rose greatly, triggering fears of an era of resource scarcity with economic,

political, and security stresses. From 1973 to 1974, residential fuel oil rose
from $0.75/million Btu to $1.82/million Btu, a 143% increase. Electricity
costs also spiked: from $5.86/million Btu in 1973 to $7.42/million Btu in
1974. This was a 27% increase in electricity cost in just 1 year.
The 1973 oil crisis is not the only tumultuous event that has threatened
energy supplies in the U.S., but this particular event sparked the greatest
debate on energy efficiency in the built environment in the U.S. to date.
Also, during this time the unsafe levels of water- and air-borne pollution
attributed to the extraction and production of energy were making headlines,
putting pressure on private industry and government to develop laws that
would protect the welfare of U.S. citizens, and guarantee a cost-effective
and secure source of energy. These programs became part of a greater
effort, which included the industrial sector, appliances, electronics, and
electricity generation.

Consulting-Specifying Engineer MARCH 2015


Energy performance

 power delivered to data center

 IT equipment power use

mechanical + Pelectrical + Pother


Figure 4: Power usage effectiveness (PUE) is the industry standard for benchmarking
data center energy use, according to data from The Green Grid.

puter, inside and outside, at a consistent

temperature. This approach has a distinct
advantage: It reduces the facility cooling system energy by using liquid cooling and heat-rejection devices only (no
compressors), and it reduces the energy
of the servers as well. Since the servers
are totally immersed, the internal cooling
fans are not needed and the energy used
in powering these fans is eliminated.
 Manufacturers also have developed
methods to apply refrigerant phasechange technology to data center cooling
that, with certain evaporating/condensing
temperatures, does not require any pumps
or compressors, offering a large reduction in energy use as compared to the
ASHRAE 90.1 minimum energy requirements. Other refrigerant-based systems
can be used with economizer cycles using
the refrigerant as the free-cooling medium
(see Figure 3).
 Cooling high-density server cabinets
(>30 kW) poses a challenge due the large
intensive electrical load. One solution to
cool such server cabinets is to provide a
close-coupled system using fans and a
cooling coil on a one-to-one basis with
the cabinet. In addition to using water and

refrigerants R134A, R407C, and R410

in close-coupled installations, refrigerant R744, also known as carbon dioxide
(CO2), is also being employed. CO2 cooling is used extensively in industrial and
commercial refrigeration due to its low
toxicity and efficient heat absorption.
Also, the CO2 can be pumped or operated in a thermo-syphon arrangement.
Trends in energy use, performance

When we talk about reducing energy

use in data centers, we need to have a
two-part discussion focusing on energy
use from the computer itself (processor,
memory, storage, internal cooling fans)
and from the cooling and power equipment required to keep the computer running. One way to calculate the energy use
of the entire data center operation is to
imagine a boundary that surrounds both
the IT equipment and the power/cooling
systems, both inside and outside the data
center proper. Inside this boundary are
systems that support the data center, as
well as others that support the areas of
the facility that keep the data center running, such as control rooms, infrastructure spaces, mechanical rooms, and other

technical rooms. After these systems are

identified, it is easier to categorize and
develop strategies to reduce the energy
use of the individual power and cooling
systems within the boundary.
Take the total of this annual energy use
(in kWh), add it to the annual energy use
of the IT equipment, and then divide this
total by the annual energy use of the IT
systems (see Figure 4). This is the definition of PUE, which was developed by
The Green Grid a number of years ago.
But there is one big caveat: PUE does not
address scenarios where the IT equipment
energy use is reduced below a predetermined minimum energy performance.
PUE is a metric that focuses on the facility energy use, and treats the IT equipment
energy use as a static value unchangeable
by the facilities team. This is a heavily
debated topic because using PUE could
create a disincentive to reduce the IT
energy. In any event, the goal of an overall energy-reduction strategy must include
both the facility and IT equipment.
To demonstrate exemplary performance and to reap the energy-savings
benefits that come from the synergistic
relationship between the IT and facility
systems, the efficiency of the servers,
storage devices, and networking gear can
be judged against established industry
benchmarks. Unfortunately, this is not a
straightforward (or standardized) exercise in view of the highly varying business models that drive how the IT equip-

What defines a mission critical facility?

ission critical facilities are broadly defined as containing any

operation that, if interrupted, will cause a negative impact on
business activities, ranging from losing revenue to jeopardizing legal
conformity to, in extreme cases, loss of life. Data centers, hospitals, laboratories, public safety centers, and military installations are just a few
of the many types of buildings that could be considered mission critical.
While there are several formal codes and standards, such as NFPA
70: National Electric Code, various hospital administrative codes and a
presidential directive set up to guard against failure of critical infrastructure
in the United States, there is no uniform definition of a mission critical
facility. But to maintain continuous operation of the facility and the internal
processes taking place, redundant power and cooling systems must be
present in varying degrees of reliability.


Consulting-Specifying Engineer MARCH 2015

The redundant systems, regardless of the type of mission critical facility, will cause energy use inefficiencies to some degree. Using multiple
paths of power, cooling, and ventilation distribution will likely result in
less efficient operation of fans, pumps, chillers, transformers, and more.
This is not always true, but it certainly poses challenges to determining
the most effective way to run redundant systems especially when
each distribution path will likely contain multiple sensors, actuators, and
other safety devices.
Many codes acknowledge that systems that support life safety and
guard against hazards will be exempt from requirements that apply to
noncritical power and cooling systems. However, sometimes it is not
apparent where the boundary lies between mission critical and nonmission critical.

ment will operate, and the application of

strategies such as virtualized servers and
workload shifting.
To illustrate how energy can be
reduced beyond what a standard enterprise server will consume, some nextgeneration enterprise servers will have
multiple chassis, each housing very small
yet powerful high-density cartridge computers, with each server chassis capable of
containing close to 200 servers. Arrangements like this can have similar power
use profiles to the previous generation,
but by using more effective components
(processor, memory, graphics card, etc.)
and sophisticated power use management algorithms, comparing the computing work output with the electrical power
input demonstrates that these computers
have faster processing speeds and use
higher performing memory and graphics
cards, yet use less energy than the previous generation. But this is not an anomaly
or a one-off situation. For example, studying the trends of supercomputers over the
past two decades, it is evident that these
computers are also on the same path of
making the newest generation of computers more efficient than the previous. As an
example, in the last 5 years alone, the metric of megaFLOPS per kW, the miles per
gallon for the high-performance computing world, has increased 4.6 times while
the power has increased only 2.3 times
(see Figure 5).

that discuss air-handling

fan motor power will have
to be reevaluated because
a much smaller portion
of the data center will be
cooled by air, creating a
significant reduction in fan
motor power. Fan power
limitations and strategies
for reducing energy use
certainly will still apply,
but they will make a much
smaller contribution to the
overall consumption.
Historically, one of the
weak points in enterprise
server energy use was the
turndown ratio. This com- Figure 5: Since 2005, the power for the worlds top
pares electrical power draw supercomputers has increased tenfold (kW curve)
to IT workload. It used to while the performance has increased over 140 times.
be that an idle server, with Even though the computers used in this dataset are
no workload, would draw usually purpose-built, extremely powerful computers,
close to 50% of its maxi- this type of performance is indicative of where entermum power just sitting in prise servers are headed.
an idle state. Knowing that
in most instances servers would be idle The result is todays server technology
or running at very low workloads, a huge allows for a much closer matching of
amount of energy was being used with- actual computer workload to the electriout producing any computing output. As cal power input (see Figure 6).
There is movement in the IT industry
server virtualization became more prevalent (which increased the minimum work- to create the next wave of computers,
loads by running several virtualized serv- ones that are designed with a completely
ers on one physical server), the situation new approach and using components that
improved. But it was still clear that there are currently mostly in laboratories in
was a lot of room for improvement and various stages of development. The most
the turndown ratio had to be improved. innovative computing platforms in use

The progression of computers

It is important to understand that many

of the high-performance computing systems that are at the top of their class are
direct water-cooled. Using water at higher
temperatures will reduce (or eliminate) the
compressor energy in the central cooling
plant. Using direct water-cooling also
allows more efficient processor, graphics
card, and memory performance by keeping the internal temperatures more stable
and consistent as compared to air-cooling
where temperatures within the server
enclosure may not be even due to changes in airflow through the server. As more
higher-end corporate servers move toward
water-cooling, areas in the energy codes

Figure 6: As server power management has become more sophisticated, the ratio of
power at idle (no workload) compared to full power has decreased by more than 50%
since 2007. This will result in a more optimized data center energy use strategy.

Consulting-Specifying Engineer MARCH 2015


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today, even ones that have advanced designs enabling extreme

high-performance while significantly reducing energy use,
use the same types of fundamental building blocks that have
been used for decades. From a data center facilities standpoint,
whether air or water is used for the cooling medium, as long as
the computer maintains the same fundamental design, the same
cooling and power strategies will remain as they are today,
allowing for only incremental efficiency improvements. And
even as the densities of the servers become greater (increasing
power draw per data center area), the same approximate data
center size is required, albeit with reductions in the computer
room due to the high-density as compared with a lower density
But what if an entirely new approach to designing computers comes about? And what if this new approach dramatically
changes how we design data centers? Processing the torrent
of data and using it to create meaningful business results will
continue to push the electrical capacity in the data center
needed to power IT equipment. And, as weve seen over the
past decade, the pressure of the IT industrys energy use may
force energy-efficiency trade-offs that result in a sub-optimal
outcome vis-a-vis balancing IT capacity, energy source, and
total cost of ownership. While no one can predict when this
tipping point will come or when big data will reach the limit
of available capacity, the industry must find ways to improve
efficiency, or it will face curtailed growth. These improvements have to be made using a holistic process, including all
of the constituents that have a vested interest in a continued
energy and cost-aware growth of the IT industry.
The bottom line: In the next few years the data center design
and construction industry will have to continue to be an active
member in the evolution of IT equipment and will need to
come up with creative design solutions for revising codes and
standards, such as ASHRAE 90.1, making sure there is a clear
understanding of the ramifications of the IT equipment to the
data center facility. As developments in computing technology
research begin to manifest into commercially available products, it is likely that the most advanced computing platforms
wont immediately replace standard servers; a specific type
of workload, such as very big data or real-time analytics will
require a new type of computing architecture. And even though
this technology is still in the development phase, it gives us
a good indication that a breakthrough in server technology is
coming in the near future. And this technology could rewrite
todays standards for data center energy efficiency.
Bill Kosik is a distinguished technologist at HP Data Center
Facilities Consulting. He is the leader of Moving toward Sustainability, which focuses on the research, development, and
implementation of energy-efficient and environmentally responsible
design strategies for data centers. Kosik collaborates with clients,
developing innovative design strategies for cooling high-density
environments, and creating scalable cooling and power models. He
is a member of the Consulting-Specifying Engineer advisory board.

11/7/2013 12:01:55 PM

Consulting-Specifying Engineer MARCH 2015


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Selecting fire pumps

The key for fire protection engineers is to understand the requirements of
both NFPA 20 and NFPA 70 to properly choose and configure a fire pump
so that the fire protection systems can serve their intended use.
BY ALLYN J. VAUGHN, PE, FSFPE, and RICK REYBURN, PE, JBA Consulting Engineers Inc., Las Vegas

 Understand the two primary types of fire pumps:
electric and diesel.
 Learn about the codes and
standards and define specification of these systems.
 Determine how to select
the best pump to meet the
intended usage.


ower for fire pumps is critical in the

design of a properly operating fire
protection system. Without power,
the building loses the ability to have an
effective fire suppression system. The
buildings fire/life safety system also cannot control or extinguish a fire, thereby
negating the benefits of the fire protection
system. Therefore, careful consideration
in the selection of pumps and power supplies is critical to the operation of the fire
protection systems.
As fire protection engineers, our team
often selects fire pumps for various
designs. Due to the size, magnitude, and
building height of the projects, municipal
water supplies often are not capable of
providing the required pressures to meet
fire protection system (automatic sprinklers and standpipes) demand. Therefore,
fire pumps are specified to boost pressures that are needed for these systems
to protect the building and its occupants.
This teams first choice in selecting
fire pumps is to use an electric-driven
pump. An electric-driven pump is easier
to design, is easier to maintain on a regular basis, and does not require external
fuel to operate the pump. It lends itself
to a cleaner and more efficient system.
Diesel-driven pumps are very reliable
and have their place in the design and
installation of fire protection systems.
However, they require fuel storage tanks
of combustible liquids to be stored in or
near the pump room, and require ventilation of combustion products and a means
to replenish fuel used during operation,

Consulting-Specifying Engineer MARCH 2015

which includes frequent run tests. Sometimes it is just too difficult to locate a diesel-driven pump inside a building due to
these considerations, especially when the
design requires pumps be installed within
a tower due to pressure zone requirements.
Diesel-driven pumps are a good choice
when the pump is located at the base of
the building near the exterior wall or in a
separate pump house to accommodate the
refueling operations and the ventilation of
combustion exhaust. When installed inside
a building or midway up a high-rise tower,
they are difficult to design and install.
An electric-driven pump does not
require a combustion-driven engine to start
to operate the pump. As long as power is
available to the pump, when the pressure
drops in the system, the electric-driven
pump will start. The key is to provide
a reliable source of power to the pump,
under both normal and emergency conditions. For an electric-driven pump, power
is the key to the reliability of the pump
and therefore the fire protection system.
Electric power is easier to run through the
building, especially within high-rise towers where multiple pressure zone pumps
are located. Getting the power there is
easier than getting diesel fuel.
Codes and standards

Codes and standards governing fire

pumps recognize the importance power
plays in the operation of these electricdriven fire pumps. NFPA develops many
standards and guides on how to design
and install fire protection systems. NFPA

Figure 1: This represents a simple one-line medium-voltage configuration that complies with the intent of the code. All graphics
courtesy: JBA Consulting Engineers

20: The Standard for the Installation of

Stationary Pumps for Fire Protection outlines the requirements for the design and
installation of fire pumps. When a fire
pump is required due to system demands,
often NFPA 20 is the referenced standard.
NFPA 20 provides specific details for
the use of both diesel and electric-driven pumps, including the power supply
requirements for electric pumps.
Chapter 9 of the 2013 edition of NFPA
20 provides specific requirements for
electric drives for fire pumps. It outlines
the requirements for both normal and
alternate power. It is clear that the normal power source be continually available and arranged in one of five methods.
These include:
 A utility service connection dedicated to the pump
 An on-site power production facility
dedicated to the fire pump
 A dedicated feeder connection
derived directly from the dedicated
fire pump service

 A feeder connection that is part of a

multi-building campus-style arrangement meeting certain conditions
 A dedicated transformer connection
directly from the service meeting
Article 695 of NFPA 70: National
Electrical Code.
NFPA 20 requires an alternate source
of power when the height of the building is beyond the pumping capacity of
fire department apparatus or where the
normal source is not reliable. If a backup
diesel-driven or steam-driven pump is
provided, an alternate source of power
is not required. Also, many of the model
building and fire codes require an alternate or secondary source of power be
provided for all pumps serving systems
in high-rise buildings. Per NFPA, this
source of power is considered emergency
and should be available within 10 seconds of loss of normal power. The emergency source of power is required to be
available for at least 8 hours.

Power requirements

One of the things that often gets overlooked when dealing with emergency
power to fire pumps is the power requirements for the controller and pump from
the backup source. The backup source is
typically an on-site generator. NFPA 20
requires the pump to run at up to a locked
rotor current, which can be up to six times
the full load current. If the generator is
sized to handle only the full load, there
is not sufficient power available to drive
the pump to meet NFPA 20 requirements.
Because most pumps are of a significant
size (150 to 250 hp), this oversight can be
drastic in the overall performance of the
system. The generator needs to be sized
to handle the required start-up load, not
just the running load.
Most electric-driven pumps that require
backup power will have transfer switches
specified that are integral with the controller itself. The transfer switch is a component of the controller, and the two act in
unison to operate the pump under both nor-

Consulting-Specifying Engineer MARCH 2015


Selecting fire pumps

mal and backup power conditions. When
normal power is lost, the transfer switch
senses this loss of power and allows the
controller to switch to emergency power
from the generator. The transfer switch in
essence transfers fire pump power from
normal to emergency.
As mentioned, the power requirements
for a fire pump have an impact on the
design of the electrical systems mostly
attributed to the requirements of dealing
with six times the full load current. The
impacts include coordination of sizing the
standby generator to handle the starting
in-rush current and all other emergency
loads while still meeting the voltage drop
allowed during these conditions at the fire
pump motor.
The normal power distribution raises
similar concerns. Can the utility handle
the high inrush current while maintaining
the minimum voltage drop allowed at the
fire pump motor? Typically the answer
is yes, because of the stoutness of the

system. When dealing with customerowned medium-voltage distribution,

voltage drop becomes an issue when the
customer-owned transformer losses have
a definite impact on that voltage drop,
especially when the transformer selected
is closely sized at 125% of the full load
amps for the fire pump motor. When
locked rotor occurs, the transformer may
become saturated, and as such the voltage
drop is increased across the transformer.
As a rule of thumb, for a 50 hp fire pump,
a 100 kVa transformer should be specified. For a 100 hp fire pump, a 300 kVa
transformer should be specified. Modeling the distribution system for motor
starting analysis is recommended to properly size the transformer.
Use of reduced voltage starters can
lessen the impact of generator power.
Many types are available, ranging from
primary reactors to wye-delta closed or
open type to autotransformers. Each type
has its advantages and drawbacks, and

the more efficient ones will cost more

to install. These reduced voltage starters
can decrease the inrush current anywhere
from 400% to 150% of the inrush current.
Regardless of the type of starter, their use
can help reduce the impact on the overall
generator system when emergency power
is required to supply the fire pump. However, when solid-state starters are used,
care must be taken to size the generator
based upon the across-the-line inrush
because these starters have a required
bypass, which removes the ramp starting
from the circuit. NEC 695.7(A) exception
removes the voltage drop limitations for
the emergency run mechanical starting
but doesnt remove the requirement for
the generator to be sized to start the pump
for across-the-line locked rotor current.
The benefit of the reduced voltage starter
is to lessen the demand on the system for
normal inrush current.
NFPA 20 requires electrical installation methods to comply with Article 695

Figure 2: This shows one possible method of providing power for both pumps.


Consulting-Specifying Engineer MARCH 2015

of NFPA 70. One of the key considerations in protecting the reliability of the
fire pump installation is protecting the
feeder circuits to the fire pumps. NFPA
70 requires electrical services for fire
pumps to be routed outside of the building, or if routed inside the building to
be installed under not less than 2 in. of
concrete beneath a building or encased
within concrete or brick not less than 2
in. thick. This is to provide a means to
protect the service feeding the pump from
damage by fire or other physical injury.
The requirements for supplying power
to fire pumps are very stringent. This is
due to the fact that the code recognizes
that a fire pump is an essential element
of the fire suppression system. The installation, including the power supplies, has
to be very reliable for it to operate under
adverse conditions. Often these stringent
requirements, coupled with the power
demands on both the utility and emergency power sources, make the use of
electric-driven fire pumps cost prohibitive, driving the design solution to dieseldriven or other types of fire pumps. But
as mentioned, there are times when you
simply cannot use a diesel-driven pump,
and the best choice is electric.
So how does a designer or installer
apply these code requirements to the
buildings that dont specifically lend
themselves to providing electric power
to fire pumps, especially multiple fire
pumps distributed throughout the com-

plex? How does the size and configuration of the building impact the ability to
apply the code requirements of NFPA 20
and NFPA 70? In some instances, some
consideration can be given to alternative
methods that are allowed by code; other

Large facilities require

lots of power. Many
will require in excess
of 30 MW of power to
be delivered safely and
continuously for the
buildings operation.
times, one must merely consider how
to apply the code intent to the building
being designed. Following are some suggestions for applying code requirements
to the powering of electric-driven fire
pumps in large, complex facilities.
Complex facility examples

Large facilities require lots of power.

Many will require in excess of 30 MW
of power to be delivered safely and continuously for the buildings operation.
Backup is critical to the investments
made to construct these facilities for not
only emergency systems (NEC 700) and
legally required standby systems (NEC
701), but also optional standby systems

(NEC 702). Many of these buildings are

designed with numerous diesel generators to provide backup power in the event
of loss of single or multiple services to
the property. These generators are typically paralleled together and paralleled
with the utility to distribute power to the
While the total aggregate generator
capacity does not equal the total load
for the facility, it does exceed that typically needed for the worst-case scenario
of emergency (referred to as priority 1)
and legally required standby (referred to
as priority 2) loads. Whatever capacity is
left over picks up the remaining optional
standby (referred to as priority 3, priority 4, etc.) loads. At the time of a utility
service failure, whether it be one circuit,
two circuits, or all three, the facility may
be very lightly loaded and the generators
may be able to pick up the entire facility.
Other times when the facility has a heavy
load, possibly only priorities 1, 2, and 3
may be picked up. Load controllers within the paralleling switchgear will add or
shed loads depending on predetermined
setpoints and timing.
There are multitudes of configurations
for the paralleling equipment. Lets begin
with a single 10 MVa, 12,470 V, 3-phase
service connection with 10 MW of diesel generator backup. Well make the
assumed load to be 8 MW and a single
350 hp fire pump. The fire pump will be
assumed to have a nameplate of 460 V,

Figure 3: In this case, multiple fire pumps connected to three parallel generators/switchgear in a large complex facility are shown.

Consulting-Specifying Engineer MARCH 2015


Selecting fire pumps

414 full load amps, 2550 locked-rotor
amps, 3-phase, and across-the-line starting. Conductor sizes are based upon
125% of full load current for the fire
pump per NEC 695.6(B)(1) and (2) and
for this application would be 414 fla x
1.25 = 517.5 amps (900 kcmil or parallel
300 kcmil, 75 C, XHHW per NEC Table
A simple calculation of the transformer size needed to serve this fire pump is
(per NEC 695.5(A)) 125% of the full
load amps or 1.25 x 414 fla x 460 V x
1.73/1,000 = 412 kVa. The next standard
transformer size is 500 kVa. However,
due to the inrush current, well change
our selection to a 1000 kVa transformer. The transformer selected will be a
12,470 V delta to 277/480 V wye. This
provides a neutral bonding connection on
the secondary for any potentially needed
control voltage power and is a common
transformer size/configuration for ease
of replacement should it ever fail. This

transformer is dedicated to the fire pump.

No secondary overcurrent or short circuit
protection is allowed (NEC 695.5(B)).
Figure 1 represents a simple one-line configuration that complies with the intent
of the code.
Now lets consider the same building
but with two fire pumps; the one discussed above (350 hp) is located in the
low-rise portion of the building while a
second fire pump is located on the 15th
floor of a 30-story tower. Lets assume
the second fire pump is a 100 hp, 460
V, 124 full load amps, 725 locked-rotor
amps, 3-phase.
The transformer needed for this second
fire pump would be calculated as done
before, resulting in a load of 123 kVa,
and well select a 300 kVa transformer
to serve this fire pump to ensure locked
rotor currents can adequately be served
within the voltage drop limitations. Figure 2 represents one possible method of
providing power for both pumps.

Lets further complicate the needs by

changing our building to a mega-resort
with an estimated power demand of 26
MW served by three 10 MVa, 12.47 kV
circuits each loaded to 9 MW or less.
Assume the owner of this facility has
requested enough backup power to keep
this facility running at a reduced capacity (i.e., not the entire central plant) for
a short duration. The design engineer
puts together Figure 3 with nine 2 MW
paralleled generators, three to each of
the three services. These are intended to
parallel with each other and the utility. If
one service is lost, enough generation is
available to pick up the entire load connected by that one service. If two services
are lost, approximately all of the loads
would be served. If all three services are
lost, approximately 2/3 of the facility
load would be served. Because the loads
are prioritized and priority 1 will serve
NEC 700 loads plus fire pump load(s),
we have been successful at serving the

Figure 4: A vertical fire pump and its associated controllers serve a high-rise complex.


Consulting-Specifying Engineer MARCH 2015

Figure 5: Vertical and horizontal fire pumps are shown with their associated piping in a high-rise complex.

fire pumps as a prioritized breaker from

the paralleling system for normal power
with emergency power coming from the
emergency distribution system (priority
1 system).
Details to note

When sizing the transformers on the

NEC 700 emergency system, care must
be given by the engineer to allow for all
loads plus the locked rotor current of the
fire pump. Some drawbacks to increasing
the size of the emergency system transformer are the fault currents increase on
the secondary side, which must be considered for equipment ratings as well as
arc flash considerations.
All three applications will require
compliance for the normal power supply conductors to be routed outside
of the building or routed through the
building in a 2 in. concrete envelope
installed per NEC 230.6(1) and (2) as
per NEC 695.6(A)(1). The standby generator supply conductors are considered
feeders and must meet the requirements
of NEC 695.6(A)(2), which give three
options. For the medium-voltage feeders
there are two options per NEC 695.6(A)

(1) when routing through the building,

either 2 in. concrete encasement or a
2-hour rated enclosure because 2-hour
listed electrical circuit protective systems are not available. The downstream
feeders at standard voltages (i.e., 208 or
480 V) would be allowed to comply with
all three options.
There are some medium-voltage
designs that implement 480 V generators, and step-up transformers are used to
parallel with a 12,470 V system and then
step-down transformers used to serve
fire pump loads. Inrush current must be
applied for both the step-up and the stepdown transformers to meet the minimum
requirements of 15% voltage drop per
NEC 695.7(A).
Single buildings with medium-voltage
distribution systems have challenges to
comply with the NEC and will require
discussions with the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) to apply custom
designs and applications of equal or better than the code defined requirements.
There are many options to providing
fire pumps for buildings and facilities.
The size and configuration of the facility as well as the intended use will often

dictate the type of pump to use and the

quantity needed. When using electricdriven pumps, consideration should be
given to how the primary and emergency power supplies are to be arranged
and distributed. NFPA standards provide various options to the designer on
how to configure the power supplies to
ensure the power feeding fire pumps is
reliable and is protected. The key for
all is to understand the requirements of
both NFPA 20 and NFPA 70 to properly
choose and configure a fire pump so that
the fire protection systems can serve
their intended use.
Allyn J. Vaughn is president at JBA
Consulting Engineers. He has more
than 30 years providing fire protection system design and code consulting services, including design and
commissioning of fire protection system for large complex facilities. Rick
Reyburn is director of electrical engineering and has more than 30 years of
experience in development and design
of electrical systems and is a licensed
professional engineer in more than 30

Consulting-Specifying Engineer MARCH 2015


Product & Literature Digest


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suppliers to ensure high quality designs & on-time delivery within budget.
Provide, or make available, technical guidance to the project engineering
team as required to ensure total project requirements are met. Prepare
functional specifications for engineering team & suppliers as required.
Analyze crane duty cycles to confirm drives & motors meet specifications.
Conduct power system studies for crane projects to ensure power systems
are sufficient to support new crane equipment. Provide technical consultation to assist customers in specifying solutions to technology challenges
that result in projects for company. Prepare technical proposals & costing as
assigned using customer specifications & knowledge of company solutions.
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Prepare & lead presentations at customer meetings, seminars & conferences
at customer sites or other locations as necessary. Cooperate & collaborate
with peers & interact cross-organizationally. Ensure effective utilization of
business processes. Requirements: Bachelors in Electrical Engineering or a
related field. 3 years experience sizing & applying TMdrive family of drives in
coordinated control systems. 3 years experience sizing motors, transformers
& switchgears for control systems for cranes &/or related complex industries.
1 year experience performing power system studies, harmonic filter design
& protective device coordination for control systems for cranes &/or related
complex industries. Able to climb & work on cranes at heights of up to 175
feet. Able to travel in U.S. & abroad up to 15% with limited notice.

For Roanoke, VA employment with TMEIC International Corporation.

Prepare timely & accurate technical specifications & cost analysis to support sales function for crane systems market. Create a network of technical evaluator relationships with customers & vendors to build a pipeline
of potential business within the designated markets. Prepare technical
specifications of drive & automation systems to meet clients' request for
quote requirements & effectively communicate these requirements to clients & internal engineering team. Define solutions that include hardware
& software requirements for a project, in collaboration with customers &
original equipment manufacturers. Prepare detailed cost elements for the
technical specification. Lead technical & commercial proposal development
for small projects with limited supervision. Identify enhanced product or
service feature needs by soliciting feedback from clients. Design competitive & viable technical approaches to resolve customer issues. Feedback
product & service deficiencies to immediate manager for continuous
improvement. Prepare specifications for required components. Evaluate
supplier proposals to determine the best technical & most economical
solution for the application. Prepare & deliver presentations at technical
conferences & client sites as necessary or assigned. Review brochures for
technical accuracy. Identify & suggest new products & applications to drive
business growth. Monitor industry trends to recommend new product &
service features. Track competitive environment to identify new products
& technology & provide comparative analyses to commercial & R&D teams.
Track competitors' offerings, assess client situations & propose competitive
options applicable to customers' individual needs. Cooperate & collaborate with peers & interact cross-organizationally. Ensure effective use of
business processes. Requirements: Bachelors in Electrical or Mechanical
Engineering. 2 years systems &/or application engineering experience for
the material handling industry or a related complex industry with control
systems. Demonstrated experience sizing, specifying & applying TM10e2
adjustable speed drives. Demonstrated experience specifying: Rx3i PLC systems; & Maxview systems. Able to travel in U.S. & abroad up to 20% with
limited notice.

To apply go to & submit an application for Job # EE15002.

To apply go to & submit an application for Job # EE15003.

3.5" wide x 4.5" high

For Roanoke, VA employment with TMEIC International Corporation. Design
Pantone 382c


For Roanoke, VA and midwestern U.S. employment with TMEIC International Corporation. Develop & implement account plans & strategies for current & potential
clients in the oil & gas & power generation industries in the assigned region on
a rolling 12 month cycle to deliver the orders budget. Identify, establish contact
& develop relationships with a network of purchase influencers within current &
potential targeted client organizations to position the company to bid for their
new opportunities. Develop & implement sales & business plans & strategies at key
accounts, as requested. Lead the tactical plan for pursuing projects at approved
accounts. Identify & solicit leads & referrals from current & potential client needs
to maintain an active opportunity pipeline. Build industry & client awareness of
company products & services via technical presentations at conferences, trade
shows & at client meetings. Provide pre-sales technical & systems engineering
assistance to clients & channel partners, such as reviewing written proposals &
engineering specifications, & conduct product & service presentations. Proactively
communicate, cooperate & provide commercial & technical engineering support
to sales channel partners on all sales activities in the region. Collaborate with sales
& service partners, end user & company personnel to develop & enhance productive relationships. Identify, resolve & communicate resolution on customer issues,
escalating unresolved issues to appropriate internal contact. Produce & maintain
accurate records of opportunities, proposals, contracts & business activities per
corporate guidelines. Provide timely updates on sales activity, performance, integration of corporate business project processes, market trends, project status &
customer relationship issues to business unit & company management. Identify
& recommend new &/or enhanced products or service feature needs, particularly
value-added, engineered solutions, by soliciting feedback from clients, monitoring industry trends & tracking the competitive environment to drive business
growth. Track competitors' technical offerings, assess client situations & propose
competitive options applicable to the customer's individual needs. Formulate recommendations for improvements within scope of assigned work proactively. Travel
to customer locations, both locally & regionally, in support of sales opportunities.
Cooperate & collaborate with peers & interact cross-organizationally. Ensure the
effective utilization of business processes. Requirements: Bachelors in Electrical or
Mechanical Engineering. 3 years experience in a technical sales position applying
TMdrive family of drives. 2 years experience providing packaged electrical & power
electronics solutions utilizing specialized vendors for e-houses, transformers &
switchgear. Demonstrated application engineering experience integrating large
industrial drives, motors & control systems, including Dura-Bilt DB5i & TMdrive
XL series. Demonstrated customer facing experience providing technical support
in a commercial environment for large industrial drives & motors for the oil & gas
processing &/or power generation industries. Able to travel domestically 40%
& internationally, occasionally, with limited notice. Must live in or be willing to
relocate to the U.S. midwest region comprised of IN, MI, WI, IL, MN, IA, MO & KS.
Must work from home.

Consulting-Specifying Engineer MARCH 2015

Advertiser Index

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Jim Langhenry,
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630-571-4070 x2203;
Steve Rourke, Co-Founder, CFE Media
630-571-4070 x2204,
Trudy Kelly, Executive Assistant
630-571-4070 x2205,

Request more information about products and advertisers in this issue by using the link and reader service number located near each item.
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Elena Moeller-Younger, Marketing Manager



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630-571-4070 x2215;

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Caterpillar, Electric
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Maria Bartell, List Rental Account Director

Infogroup Targeting Solutions

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Letters to the Editor

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Consulting-Specifying Engineer MARCH 2015


Future of Engineering
Green Building Initiative, Portland, Ore.

Key political trends in

green building
Green building is a major push, with net-zero energy buildings at the forefront.

he Republican takeover of Congress in November means that

were unlikely to see new federal legislation affecting or mandating
green building. That is good news for
those who believe in free choice in the
marketplace for green building certification. However, the November 2014
release of the fifth report of the UN
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change, with its ever more dire predictions of massive disruption from global
warming, will likely move some states
and many cities to start taking matters
into their own hands, particularly with
regard to incentives, ordinances, and
rules around the subject of increasing
energy efficiency in buildings.
In the past 3 years, concerns over
climate change and new financing
mechanisms have led to continued
growth in energy-efficiency green
building retrofits. This trend appears to
be strongest in corporate and commercial real estate, along with municipal
buildings, universities, schools, and
hospitals (the MUSH market), where
energy service companies (ESCOs) are
looking for sustainable investments.
Along with the growth of the energy
retrofit market, net-zero energy buildings
are seeing increasing market interest.
Developers of commercial and even residential buildings have begun to showcase net-zero energy designs to gain
competitive advantage. This trend has
been developing for about 5 years and
now seems ready for takeoff, especially


as more mechanical engineers figure out

how to design low energy use intensity
(EUI, or thousands of Btus per sq ft per
year) buildings on conventional budgets.
Green buildings, especially larger
commercial and institutional building
portfolios, will increasingly be managed by cloud-based big data platforms. This trend is reflected by a large
number of new entrants and new products in fields of building automation,
facility management, wireless controls,
and building services information management during the past 3 years.
For green building certification,
the federal government (General Services Administration, or GSA; Dept. of
Defense, or DOD; and Dept. of Energy,
or DOE) have put two building certifications on an equal footing for government projects, Green Globes and U.S.
Green Building Councils LEED. This
trend was reinforced by DOEs new
rule for federal projects, announced in
October 2014. The rule said, in summary, if any government agency is going
to use a green building rating system, it
has to be one of the designated two or
any other that has an open consensus
process, and these systems must provide
ongoing monitoring and reporting of
energy and water use. Offering agencies
free choice among competing rating
systems gives engineers and building
owners greater control.
Green building is experiencing rapid
expansion globally, but certification
commitment has slowed down in the

Consulting-Specifying Engineer MARCH 2015

U.S. cumulatively. As of mid-2014 only

about 0.5% of the 5 million U.S. nonresidential buildings had been certified
to either Green Globes or LEED, indicating that there are significant market
headwinds to certification at current
costs. As the new construction market
continues to grow, private building
owners may begin to see the increased
value of having a third-party rating
assessment on their buildings, since
it doubles as a quality assurance program for the increasingly busy building
owner and as a differentiator to the public marketplace and to investors. But
this must be done at significantly lower
overall costs than at present.
Green building performance disclosure also continues as a major trend.
In the U.S., this trend is highlighted by
disclosure requirements enacted in 2013
by more than 30 major cities around the
country, and laws that require commercial building owners to disclose actual
green building performance to all new
tenants and buyers and, in some places,
to the public. This trend will spread
rapidly, as it is the easiest way to secure
and monitor reductions in carbon emissions from commercial and governmental buildings.
Jerry Yudelson is president of the
Green Building Initiative, a green
building nonprofit. A professional
engineer, Yudelson is the author of 13
books on green building, water conservation, and sustainable development.


The Worlds First Commercially-Acceptable HVAC Matrix Drive.
Yaskawa introduces the Z1000U HVAC Matrix Drive - an integrated,
low harmonic, regenerative drive designed to greatly enhance your
power quality and system efficiency.

70% less wiring than traditional harmonic reduction techniques

Reduced carbon emissions
Improved power factor
Up to 65% smaller packaged size

Dramatically reduce harmonics, energy demand and footprint

with the new Z1000U HVAC Matrix Drive.

Get personal with Yaskawa.

YA S K A W A A M E R I C A , I N C .
1 - 8 0 0 - YA S K A W A | YA S K A W A . C O M
input #15 at

2015 Yaskawa America Inc.

For more info:

Contact our Team at





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