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JULY 2017

COVER STORY Conventional design model

36 | Integration: electrical

and HVAC systems
Integration of electrical and HVAC
systems requires both careful design Operator Designer

and integrated controls. This type Operate Design

of system integration can provide a

more energy-efficient building. d
nte Dis joi
joi cte
d co nte
onn ect
c ed


ON THE COVER: Modern central utility plants are purpose-

built spaces that house large heating, cooling, and power
equipment. These systems are critical to the building perfor-
mance and requires extensive coordination among trades 46 | The benefits and challenges
to insure proper operation, fit, and service clearances. Using of wireless fire alarm systems
data analysis to right size building loads during design can
Although designers should consider wireless
have a significant impact on the cost of the building and the
equipment. Courtesy: NV5 fire alarm systems for their portability, easy
installation, and flexibility, they must also con-
sider cost-effectiveness for each application.

05 | Viewpoint 29 | Codes & Standards

Starting the conversation, The development of
changing the game ASHRAE 90.4: Energy
Standard for Data Centers 52 | Assessing wireless fire alarm systems
07 | Research Fire protection engineers should assess the costs, ben-
Lighting in government/ 61 | Digital Edition efits, history, technology, and code-compliance aspects of
military facilities Exclusive low-power wireless fire alarm systems and wireless smoke
Replacing an EPSS at a alarms.
11 | Career Smart hospital WILLIAM E. KOFFEL, PE, FSFPE
Six principles for master-
ing the art of project 63 | Advertiser Index
64 | Future of
12 | MEP Roundtable
Integrating teams Use the icons to identify topics of interest.
Tips to design multifamily
and mixed-use buildings for success AUTOMATION & CONTROLS HVAC
23 | Codes & Standards ELECTRICAL PLUMBING
standard for data centers

CONSULTING-SPECIFYING ENGINEER (ISSN 0892-5046, Vol. 54, No. 6, GST #123397457) is published 11x per year, monthly except in February, by CFE Media, LLC, 1111 W. 22nd Street, Suite
#250, Oak Brook, IL 60523. Jim Langhenry, Group Publisher /Co-Founder; Steve Rourke CEO/COO/Co-Founder. CONSULTING-SPECIFYING ENGINEER copyright 2017 by CFE Media, LLC. All rights reserved. CONSULTING-
SPECIFYING ENGINEER is a registered trademark of CFE Media, LLC used under license. Periodicals postage paid at Oak Brook, IL 60523 and additional mailing offices. Circulation records are maintained at CFE Media, LLC, 1111
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in the USA. CFE Media, LLC does not assume and hereby disclaims any liability to any person for any loss or damage caused by errors or omissions in the material contained herein, regardless of whether such errors result from
negligence, accident or any other cause whatsoever. Consulting-Specifying Engineer JULY 2017 3

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Editors Viewpoint
AMARA ROZGUS, Editor-in-Chief/Content Manager
630-571-4070 x2211,
EMILY GUENTHER, Associate Content Manager
630-571-4070 x2220,
AMANDA PELLICCIONE, Director of Research
MICHAEL SMITH, Creative Director
ELISA GEISHEIMER, Production Coordinator
630-571-4070 x2213,
Amara Rozgus,
Associate, Environmental Systems Design Inc., Chicago
Principal, Mechanical Engineer, Arup, Seattle
Starting the conversation,
Vice President, NV5, Kansas City, Mo.
Principal, Metro CD Engineering LLC, Columbus, Ohio
changing the game
Senior Electrical Engineer, ater this month, Im part of a group have changed my career plans, but I cer-
Smith Seckman Reid Inc., Houston
of professionals speaking with tainly would have had my eyes opened
Energy Modeling Wizard, TLC Engineering for Architecture Inc., high school females about career to a whole menagerie of options. Would
Brentwood, Tenn.
options. This speed-networking event I have considered fire protection engi-
Vice President, Electrical Engineer, will allow about 35 young girls to meet neering? Would my love of science have
CannonDesign, Grand Island, N.Y.
professional women from a variety of guided me toward research or working at
Mechanical Engineer, GRAEF, Milwaukee backgrounds and learn a little about a tech company? Would I have become
Vice President, JENSEN HUGHES, Framingham, Mass.
what our jobs are and how we got here a patent attorney, putting my knowledge
RAYMOND GRILL, PE, FSFPE, (education, career transitions, etc.). I of science and love of details into play?
Principal, Arup, Washington, D.C.
have 60 seconds to share my profes- Many of the people Im going to meet
Senior Vice President, WSP, Dallas sional background with each student, so may not have anyone in their family who
WILLIAM KOFFEL, PE, FSFPE, Id better start working on an amazing has gone to college. For me, the ques-
President, Koffel Associates Inc., Columbia, Md.
story about my career and well-thought- tion was not whether Id go to college,
Senior Mechanical Engineer - Mission Critical, out plans. Do I tell them Ive been laid but rather what college I should attend.
exp US Services Inc., Chicago
off twice? Do I share that most pursuits Im guessing many of these girls do not
Engineering Manager, Jacobs, Philadelphia in print journalism are poorly paid? have anyone in their immediate circle of
Senior MEP Engineer, Center for Sustainable Energy,
What do I say when Im asked about friends or family who have even asked
Mortenson Construction, Minneapolis obtaining two degreeswas it really them that question, so Im pleased to be
Chief Fire Marshal, Boulder (Colo.) Fire Rescue
worth it? (Short answer: yes.) part of a group of professionals who can
BRIAN MARTIN, PE, Afterward, well break out into small help them think about their options.
Senior Electrical Engineer, Buildings and Places,
AECOM, Portland, Ore.
groups. The girls will select the group Have you participated in events like
DWAYNE G. MILLER, PE, RCDD, AEE CPQ, by their level of interest in each profes- this, perhaps at your local high school?
Chief Executive Officer, NV5, Las Vegas sionals short description and have the Or have you spoken with college students
Principal, Regional Engineering Leader, opportunity to learn more, ask ques- who are still trying to determine what
DLR Group, Overland Park, Kan. tions, and generally pick our brains. path to pursue in engineering? And espe-
Principal/Senior Electrical Engineer, Page, Austin, Texas The groups organizers do this every 6 cially for the women in this audience:
GREGORY QUINN, PE, NCEES, LEED AP, months with a different group of high What did your career path look like, and
Principal, Health Care Market Leader,
Affiliated Engineers Inc., Madison, Wis. school students from around the Chi- how are you navigating it today?
BRIAN A. RENER, PE, LEED AP, cago area. Most are underprivileged, Ill report back after the event,
Associate, SmithGroupJJR, Chicago
from other countries, and may have no which I assume will be amazing and
Vice President, CCJM Engineers Ltd., Chicago idea what a professional career could eye-opening for everyone. Please share
RANDY SCHRECENGOST, PE, CEM, look like for them down the road. your stories, too. I want to learn about
Austin Operations Group Manager and
Senior Mechanical Engineer, Had this type of career day been how youre changing the face of engi-
Stanley Consultants, Austin, Texas
available to me, Im not sure I would neering.
Senior Vice President, CDM Smith Inc., Boston
Senior Electrical Engineer and Acoustics Engineer,
IMEG Corp., Rock Island, Ill.
Campus Energy Market Leader, MEP Associates, Verona, Wis.
Lead Electrical Engineer, McGuire Engineers Inc., Chicago Consulting-Specifying Engineer JULY 2017 5
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Prescriptive HVAC, controls



Lighting in government/military facilities

he Consulting-Specifying Engineer 3. Specifications: Engineers are most
2017 Lighting and Lighting Con- frequently issuing prescriptive lighting
Frequently trols Study indicated that 45% of system specifications (77%) for govern-
engineers specify, design, or make prod- ment/military facility projects, followed
Figure 1: Seventy-four percent of uct selections for government buildings by performance specifications (65%).
firms are regularly writing prescrip- and/or military facilitiesand eight in 4. Outlook: Eighteen percent of
tive HVAC and controls specifications. 10 of these engineers are responsible for engineers are concerned about frequent
Source: Consulting-Specifying Engi- determining the requirements/writing changes to codes and standards; the
neer 2015 HVAC and Building Automa- specifications for these projects. Below usage of controls, building automation,
tions Systems Study are five lighting engineering and design and addressable systems; and keeping
findings as they relate to government/ up with new/changing technology for
military facility projects. lighting design.

8 in 10 engineers usually
1. Revenue: The average firm earns
$790,000 annually from lighting and
5. Comparing products: Overall
quality is most important when select-
write performance fire and life safety lighting control products specified into ing a lighting product for a govern-
system specifications. Source: new and existing government/military ment/military facility; engineers are
Consulting-Specifying Engineer 2016 facilities, with 42% bringing in more also looking at product energy effi-
Fire and Life Safety Study than $1 million each year. ciency, their previous experience with
2. Systems specified: The top three manufacturers, and superior service
lights or lighting control products being support.

62% of engineers are chal-

specified into these facilities are LEDs
(94%); lighting controls and/or address-
View more information at
lenged by frequent changes to able systems (78%); and any size T5, T8, Amanda Pelliccione is the research direc-
electrical and power codes and or T12 (55%). tor at CFE Media.
standards when designing these sys-
tems. Source: Consulting-Specifying
Top 5 lighting design challenges for government,
Engineer 2016 Electrical and Power
military facilities
Inadequate budget for
good design

55: Average age of an engineer Speed of project

responsible for specifying or buying
lighting fixtures, equipments, and Codes and standards
controls selections. Source: Consult- changing frequently

ing-Specifying Engineer 2017 Light- LEED, ASHRAE 90.1, California

Title 24, sustainable design
ing and Lighting Controls Study
Lighting controls sequence of
operations, integration, etc.
More research
Consulting-Specifying Engineer cov-
ers several research topics each year. Figure 2: When working on lighting engineering and design for government/military
All reports are available at facilities, engineers are having the most difficulty with insufficient budgets for high- quality designs (71%) and meeting a clients expected delivery date (54%). Source:
Consulting-Specifying Engineer Consulting-Specifying Engineer JULY 2017 7

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input #7 at
Career Smart
RMF Engineering, Baltimore

Six principles for mastering the

art of project management
Project managers reveal their secrets to success.

roject managers who directly inter- milestone and anticipate challenges 5. Accountability
act with clients and production before they occur will better position One of the most detrimental things
teams are the linchpins to success. themselves for success. a project manager can do to a project is
To leverage the most valuable assets, we hide their own mistakes. Mistakes become
decided to initiate a training program 2. Preparation more expensive when they go unresolved.
that would supplement industry semi- The managers believe time invested in Project managers who address issues in
nars with specific project-management preparation have the greatest return when a timely manner and hold themselves
principles that have been instrumental it comes to future effort and costs. This accountable for finding a solution are
in our most successful projects. To fully philosophy is carried through each com- always highly appreciated by clients.
understand and define these principles, ponent of the project including progress
eight successful managers were asked meetings, field surveys, milestone submis- 6. Culture
about the five most important practices sions, and site visits. Careful preparation The most valuable project manag-
for successful project management. throughout a project helps avoid mistakes ers create a positive team culture for
The survey resulted in a wide range and ensures everyone is on the same page. every project by taking an interest in
of responses that fit into one of six the professional development of each
categories. The survey also helps to 3. Communication team member, as well as in the cli-
understand the approach to apply these Once the project plan is developed, ents needs. In the consulting business,
practices on a daily basis. The following it must be communicated to the client being able to develop young profes-
is a brief overview of each practice. and production staff. The communica- sionals into qualified managers and
tion process is critical and never-ending. technical staff is an invaluable attri-
1. Vision Good communication may be very bute that can propel careers.
The best project managers envision subjective, but there are certain com- Strong project managers are the
a projects evolution from the start. munication skills that usually prove to be backbone of engineering firms. Train-
There is no straight path to success, so extremely effective, such as responding to ing teams in the fundamentals of proj-
anticipating the challenges early on can clients in a timely manner, or consider- ect management and the six principles
prevent major problems from occur- ing the recipient when determining the that lead to project success has sup-
ring later. Though experience assists in method of communication. ported a firms growth and staff devel-
developing the project vision, valuable opment.
research can be done to compensate 4. Quality
for a lack of experience. Reviewing past Everyone values a quality product, but Stephen McAdams is an associate at
projects, consulting with experienced the process should not be overlooked. RMF Engineering. He leads RMFs mas-
managers, and reading case studies on The final product along with the process ter-planning group, which specializes in
similar projects all provide less experi- should be held to the highest standards. developing strategies for utility systems,
enced project managers with informa- For every aspect of the project plan, infrastructure growth, and energy. He has
tion to consult moving forward. successful project managers strive to been with RMF for more than 20 years
Ultimately, project managers that achieve high quality throughout even and is a member of the International Dis-
envision the path to each project the smallest items. trict Energy Association. Consulting-Specifying Engineer JULY 2017 11

MEP Roundtable

Tips to design multifamily

Brian Berg,
Associate Principal

and mixed-use buildings

Irvine, Calif.

Multifamily dwellings and mixed-use buildings are becoming more

prevalent. Some best practices and tips are offered for engineering
systems in these residential buildings.

David Crutchfield, PE
Principal CSE: Whats the No. 1 trend you see property managers have needed to provide
RMF Engineering today in the design of multifamily dwell- cooling in buildings that were often only
Charleston, S.C. ings and mixed-use buildings? heated with perimeter fin tubes or in-slab
radiant flooring. Many owners have opted for
Brian Berg: Were seeing a lot of large com- water-source heat pumps or variable refriger-
plexes taking the mixed part of mixed-use ant flow (VRF) systems to reduce the overall
to the extreme. Retail, restaurants, offices, energy required to both heat and cool the
hotel, residential, grocery stores, and parking building. These systems are unique in that a
are typically being built as part of one large vertically tiered renovation approach can be
complex. Oftentimes, this is being done on a used to keep the majority of units occupied
multilevel podium with tower(s) stacked on while others are being renovated.
Kieran Healy, PE top. And sometimes all those uses are in one Lui Tai: In Ontario, the recent trend is to
Mechanical Engineer
tower. Parking is either all underground or a install automatic sprinkler protection in mul-
Chicago combination of underground and wrap-style tifamily-dwelling units, such as retirement
lots where residential units line up around and care homes. After a few high-profile inci-
the aboveground parking. These are all being dents in retirement and care homes from the
built in either dense urban areas or less dense last decade where there were reported fatali-
burgeoning areas near an abundance of pub- ties, the fire code is mandating that these
lic transportation options. types of buildings be reviewed to comply with
David Crutchfield: One interesting trend the retrofit code. Within the retrofit code,
we are seeing is a desire for mixed-use spaces there is the mandatory requirement that all
to support lifestyle activities. For example, such multifamily homes be retrofitted with
Lui Tai, PE occupants often want an in-house gym or automatic sprinklers by the year 2019.
Technical Services Director space for outdoor activities. Were also see- Robert J. Voth: Amenities remain a highly
JENSEN HUGHES ing an increasing number of people working attractive part of the development as compe-
or studying from home, so they need flex- tition for occupants is intensifying in mar-
ible mixed-use spaces that can accommodate kets outside of New York City. Additionally,
their lifestyle. Overall, this indicates a larger mixed-use developments are moving to a
movement toward people becoming increas- smaller-scale, very efficient build model.
ingly reliant on their homes or dorms to cater
to all their needs underneath one roof. CSE: What other trends should engi-
Kieran Healy: A growing trend we have neers be on the lookout regarding such
seen within the Chicago housing market is projects in the near future (1 to 3 years)?
the retrofitting of central cooling systems
Robert J. Voth
Executive Vice President
into low- and mid-rise multifamily build- Healy: Developers are becoming increas-
Bala Consulting Engineers ings that were built in the 1980s or earlier. ingly competitive with each other as they
King of Prussia, Pa. To stay competitive with new construction, strive to capture and maintain residents in

12 Consulting-Specifying Engineer JULY 2017

mixed-used facilities. Be on the look- CSE: Please describe
out for more luxury amenities, such as a recent project youve
full fitness and yoga studios, confer- worked onshare
ence centers with commercial kitchens, details about the project
rooftop pools and spas, and lobby bars including location, sys-
and coffee shops. Mechanical, electrical, tems engineered, team
and plumbing (MEP) systems have to be involved, etc.
sized to allow that flexibility, supporting
longer-duration occupancy of common Tai: Recently, we took
areas versus a transient occupancy where on a project to design and
residents are only passing through from install automatic sprinklers
interior to exterior and back. into 75 existing retirement-
Crutchfield: The infrastructure to home facilities across
support personal devices, such as cell Canada (for one owner).
phones, tablets, and laptops, for people Because it is a retrofit proj-
who work from home have driven a ect, the level of difficulty
need for higher levels of cabling and was increased. We had to
power in mixed-use buildings. Connec- come up with innovative
tivity solutions, such as USB chargers engineering methods to
built into receptacles and information do the work that would
technology (IT) wiring ready for the cause only minimal impact
next level of bandwidth, are becoming to existing residents and
standard and critical to building a mar- deal with possible asbestos
ketable project. issues, disease outbreak,
Tai: The use of alternative solutions and inadequate water sup-
to resolve issues that do not match the plies. To avoid costly errors
prescriptive requirements of the build- and delays, we worked with
ing code. This is particularly true for a procurement company to schedule and Figure 1: Bala engineers provided services for
new builds, but can also apply to exist- administer the work, completing the $55 The Bridge in Philadelphia, a highly efficient,
ing facilities. In new construction, million project within 18 months to the 17-story building featuring 146 apartments.
alternative solutions allow more flexible satisfaction of the owner. It incorporated a VRF system and central
designs that are not envisioned by the Voth: The Bridge in Philadelphia is domestic hot-water generation to obtain LEED
prescriptive code; and in existing facili- an efficient 17-story building with 146 certification. The team worked to include the
ties, they allow less destructive work to apartments. The project used a VRF build partner from the beginning of the project
take place. system and central domestic hot-water to help boost the efficiency of the design and
Voth: Suburban markets centered generation to obtain U.S. Green Build- build process; time to market was less than 20
around multi-use villages will remain ing Council LEED certification. The months. Courtesy: Rendering by Volley
a strong market. Engineering firms will team included the build partner from
need to understand the 4-story stick- the beginning of the project, which led architect and Old Veteran Construction
built-over-concrete development model to a very efficient design and build pro- as construction manager to completely
to remain competitive. cess. Time to market was less than 20 redevelop the 132,000-sq-ft building on
Berg: These complexes seem to be months. a 2.5-acre site originally constructed in
getting bigger and more prevalent. Healy: The Fannie Emanuel Senior 1963. As the MEP/fire protection (MEP/
California has a housing shortage right Apartments is a 20-story senior-living FP) engineer for the project, we selected
now, so housing is popping up all over facility with 181 single-bedroom apart- systems to increase comfort and acces-
the place with multifamily mixed-use ments owned by the Chicago Housing sibility for senior citizens and brought
projects as the developments of choice. Authority (CHA) in Chicagos West fire alarm and sprinkler systems up to
This is what we see locally, but we have Garfield Park neighborhood. As part current code. HVAC systems includ-
projects throughout the state and coun- of a $61 million gut-rehab project, we ed a 276-ton air-cooled heat pump
try of similar types. worked with Holabird & Root as the VRF system with ducted evaporators, Consulting-Specifying Engineer JULY 2017 13

MEP Roundtable
condensing boilers with panel radia- used DOAS to provide code-required ment. Acoustics become a big issue in
tors as supplemental heat, dedicated ventilation air and building make-up the HVAC world, but we need to be
outside-air system (DOAS) with energy air. Fan coils with heating and cooling extra conscious of equipment selections,
recovery for corridor make-up air and coils are provided in the rooms to allow locations, and acoustic- and vibration-
toilet exhaust, and demand-controlled for individual room climate control. In mitigation measures with living quarters
ventilation (DCV) system for 1st-floor addition to the dorm rooms, community throughout. Make sure there is always
offices and community spaces. Plumb- spaces were provided on each floor at a an acoustical engineer on the design
ing systems included new condensing- ratio of two large community spaces, one team for these types of projects to help
water heaters, intelligent domestic quiet student room, and one living room inform the MEP designs. Architects
booster pump, and low-flow plumbing per 35 residences. Wireless and wired and developers often want to move the
fixtures. Electrical upgrades included internet connectivity, access control emergency generator to the roof so it
new 4,000-A switchgear and metered and security systems, high-efficiency is out of the publics view and/or kept
distribution, video surveillance and IT laundry machines, a convenience store out of subterranean parking to allow for
infrastructure, LED lighting fixtures, and student cooking kitchen, custodial more spaces. Moving a generator out of
and a 350-kW generator for life safety and maintenance storage, apartments the garage would also help lessen HVAC
and standby loads. for live-in staff, administrative offices, costs to get radiator exhaust and engine
Crutchfield: RMF Engineering was the and reception and meeting space were exhaust out of the building. Locating on
MEP engineer for the Coastal Carolina all included in the buildings. Outdoor the roof causes its own set of challenges,
University Student Housing project in spaces incorporated sand volleyball necessitating fuel day tanks, rated shafts
Conway, S.C. The complex consisted of courts, a covered pavilion complete with for the fuel lines, and an expensive float-
333,100 sq ft and 1,270 beds in a series a fireplace, a grilling area, and plenty of ing slab to deal with vibrations during
of stand-alone buildings. This project courtyard green space. generator exercising if its located on top
Berg: Were working on a high-rise of living spaces.
project in downtown Sacramento, Calif., Tai: For retrofit projects of multi-
thats wrapping up construction at the family-dwelling buildings, the biggest
moment. The project has two levels of consideration is to minimize impact
underground parking; four podium to existing residents. This includes
levels of retail, restaurants, and offices; the design, which would require the
and a 12-story tower with hotel and least amount of work done within each
residential units on top of the podium. dwelling unit and the most work done
We selected a condenser-water system in common areas. Detailed to-the-
to serve multiple types of water-cooled hour scheduling is required on a daily
HVAC equipment to suit the occupancy basis to ensure that any work required
use. within residents spaces are completed,
so residents can return to their units as
CSE: What are some unique ele- scheduled. In a senior-living environ-
ments/considerations to designing/ ment, infection control is another major
retrofitting multifamily dwellings consideration.
and mixed-use buildings?
CSE: Is your team using BIM in
Voth: The existing building floor plate conjunction with the architects,
is key, as the configuration for an effi- trades, and owners to design a proj-
cient unit layout will drive the develop- ect? Describe an instance in which
ment opportunity. We have typically youve turned over the BIM model to
engineered all new systems in our retro- the owner for long-term operations
fit projects; therefore, incoming services and maintenance.
Figure 2: Engineers specified a sprin- need to be reviewed carefully, especially
kler in a project involving multifamily the domestic water, sanitary, and gas Healy: Our experience on numerous
residences incorporating a combination services, as residential projects demand projects has been that the design model
of steel and chlorinated polyvinyl chlo- a higher usage for these services. was not shared with the construction
ride (CPVC) pipes. Courtesy: JENSEN Berg: There are always living spaces team. Whether for design-liability
HUGHES nearby where we want to put equip- reasons or otherwise, we just havent

14 Consulting-Specifying Engineer JULY 2017

seen the logical extension of sharing CSE: What are some of the chal- CSE: When working on monitoring
the design model with contractors nor lenges incorporating the IoT into and control systems in multifamily
have we had clients requiring this in facility design for existing build- dwellings and mixed-use buildings,
conventional design-bid-build projects. ings? what factors do you consider?
This may change in design-build proj-
ects where the designer and the builder Healy: The IoT is, in theory, a great Voth: Primarily, central system reli-
have a contractual relationship that may concept. Personally, Ive adopted all ability and performance; we typically do
offset liability concerns. sorts of gizmos and gadgets that adjust not reach into the occupant level of con-
Voth: All of our projects are delivered themselves based on whether Im home trol. We are seeing a trend to submeter
in BIM. To date, we have not turned or not, or that send me text messages domestic water usage through the con-
a BIM model over to an owner in the when my laundry is done. In owned trol systems. On higher-end work using
mixed-use market space, we have turned properties, the owner has complete four pipe fan coil systems, we are using
BIM models over in our corporate and control over security and who has the central control and monitoring sys-
higher education projects. We have typi- access to settings and data. A chal- tem to submeter energy usage for chilled
cally taken the BIM model to LOD400 and hot water.
and then turned it over to the contractor Crutchfield: We always try to keep
for the construction period.
Crutchfield: BIM has become the nor- $2,085,000: in mind that the staff charged with the
maintenance and control of a facility
mal tool in the design of all buildings. Average total annual dollar amount could be any age and could operate at
RMF has not delivered a job in CAD in of fire and life safety systems a variety of skill levels. There could be
about 18 months. The next step in pull- staff members who are fresh from a
specified for new and existing
ing the most functionality out of BIM is trade school where they were trained
getting the long-term facility staff to use engineered multidwelling build- with an iPad and, therefore, have no
the model as a tool in the operation of the ings, retail complexes, and/or desire for paper sets of drawings or
facility. A cultural shift is slowly unfold- operations and maintenance (O&M)
restaurants. Courtesy: Consulting-
ing in which the facilities staff is outfitted manuals. Or, there could be more sea-
with the devices necessary to access and Specifying Engineer 2016 Fire and soned staff members who have worked
use a BIM model. We suggest that each Life Safety Study on buildings for their entire careers
projects closeout materials be provided and have no desire to use any device
on an Apple iPad or laptop that is pre- other than their personal cell phone
loaded with the BIM model and neces- lenge in incorporating the IoT into and a stack of manuals. Knowing that
sary maintenance-scheduling software. multitenant facility design is imple- our systems must be easy to maintain
We have noticed that if we dont drive the menting it in such a way that privacy by either type of person, using vastly
transfer of technology this way, the facility and security isnt compromised for different methods of troubleshooting,
staff will print a set of drawings as theyve the tenants. Maintaining firewalls for diagnosis, and repair is imperative to
always done in the past. If there is a paper network security infrastructure and having a building that functions prop-
set of drawings on the site, the electronic personal privacy within multitenant erly.
documents may never be accessed again. facilities will be a major roadblock in Berg: Theres a lot of submetering
Tai: Traditionally, sprinkler designs implementing these technologies on a involved to charge tenants for the ener-
are completed using more special- larger scale. gy they use. On the HVAC side, these
ized software, such as HydraCAD and Tai: For existing facilities, having larger projects typically all involve some
SprinkCAD. We are watching the trend a fully addressable system would sort of central utility plant, and theres
in using BIM closely and have switched sometimes mean complete replace- a need for British thermal unit meters
to AutoSprink, which is a software spe- ment of field wiring, as the type and for condenser, chilled, or hot water to
cially made for sprinkler design in 3-D condition of existing wiring is not charge the tenants appropriately. Weve
and is compatible with other BIM draw- compatible for addressable circuits. worked with special submetering com-
ings created in 3-D. At the end of the Because the previously embedded panies to set up a system of monitoring
project, the 3-D model showing the con- conduit and wire cannot be reused, and billing the tenants for the energy
trol valves and pump controls are turned r unning new wiring throughout they use. Weve also set up all of the sub-
over to the owner(s) to allow them to the building can be costly and may metering through the buildings direct
visually prepare for the required peri- create unsightly conduits in open digital control system that the building
odic inspections. spaces. owner uses to generate the tenant billing Consulting-Specifying Engineer JULY 2017 15

MEP Roundtable
themselves. It all comes down to how Healy: When designing projects with- performed to help inform the architect
the operator would like to handle their in Chicago, the Chicago Energy Con- of envelope limitations and what impact
billing. So, well make sure we have that servation Code 2015 (CECC, which is desired envelope designs have on the
conversation with the operator early in a localized version of the International mechanical and lighting systems. The
the project to identify the desire and Energy Conservation Code; IECC) often additional costs of some of the needed,
design appropriately. plays a big role when deciding the type premium MEP systems to achieve a cer-
Tai: For retirement and care homes, of engineered systems to use or which tain envelope design could be enough for
we must take flexibility into consider- features must be included in a system. the architect to rethink glazing perfor-
ation when designing fire alarm sys- When using the CECC or IECC, engi- mance or design to remain within budget.
tems. For example, smoke-detector sen- neers should generally be well-versed in This comes up time and again on these
sitivity and fire alarm audibility must the exceptions that may apply to their large mixed-use projects, and we make
be field-adjustable to allow changes project to avoid specifying unnecessary sure were always keeping an eye on the
to be made based on each tenants liv- equipment that may add unneeded cost energy component from the conceptual
ing habits. As an example, for a tenant and operational complexity to a project. phase on through design. Well maintain
who is always baking, the smoke detec- Tai: In Canada, national building constant communication with the archi-
tor installed near the kitchen must be codes and fire codes are sometimes tect on where the building stands with
adjusted so that it does not always go adapted by provinces and made into regards to energy compliance.
into nuisance alarm every time the oven provincial building and fire codes. For
is opened. life safety system designs, the codes CSE: What are some solutions/
would reference other applicable Cana- best practices to ensure that mul-
CSE: Please explain some of the dian and international standards. Typi- tifamily dwellings and mixed-use
codes, standards, and guidelines cally, fire alarm designs are governed by buildings are in compliance with
you use during the design process. UL of Canada; standards and sprinkler codes and standards?
Which codes/standards should designs reference NFPA standards.
engineers be most aware of in their Berg: As energy codes get more Berg: Have a code consultant on
design of engineered systems in aggressive, ensure that initial and ongo- board early, meet in person with city
such projects? ing code-compliance calculations are and fire officials to get important deci-
sions made and understood by all par-
ties, and document everything.
Healy: One solution is to include an
integrated MEP coordination sheet at
the front of the MEP drawings where
all equipment requiring building
utilities are scheduled with their spe-
cific utility requirements. This table
ensures the designers and contrac-
tors know what disciplines need, to
make sure they are including neces-
sary services to all applicable equip-
ment. This sheet also can highlight
the applicable codes that may have an
impact on the design of those equip-
ment. Care should be taken to avoid
duplication and potential ensuing
conflicts between the drawings and
Figure 3: The Coastal Carolina University Student Housing project involved 333,100 specifications if one changes and the
sq ft of facility, accommodating a total of 1,270 beds in a series of stand-alone build- other isnt revised. However, there can
ings. Features specified by RMF Engineerings team included dedicated outdoor units also be references to the applicable
that provide code-required ventilation air and building make-up air including fan coils specification sections for each piece of
with heating and cooling coils, allowing for individual room climate control, wireless equipment to ensure the correct codes
and hard-wired internet connectivity, access control and security systems, high- and standards references are followed
efficiency laundry machines, and more. Courtesy: RMF Engineering without duplication.

16 Consulting-Specifying Engineer JULY 2017

input #8 at
MEP Roundtable
Tai: For every jurisdiction, it is impor- buildings. If in doubt, always consult to meet current energy codes. Architects
tant to know the applicable code that with a code consultant. are still designing many predominantly
applies to the multifamily dwellings glass buildings because the market really
and mixed-use buildings. For example, CSE: How are codes, standards, demands it at the moment, but that glaz-
in Ontario, the retrofit requirement for or guidelines for energy efficiency ing is high-performing, the accompany-
a retirement home would differ from impacting the design of such build- ing HVAC systems are extremely effi-
that for a residential rental building. ings? cient, and the connected lighting loads
Authorities often overstep their author- and lighting controls are aggressive.
ity by requesting changes that are not Tai: Energy efficiency is now part of
retroactively applied to some existing the building code requirement in Ontar- CSE: What new code or standard
io. Even though it has not yet made a sig- do you feel will most impact mul-
tifamily dwellings and mixed-use

nificant impact to our design, the trend
is definitely moving toward achieving buildings? This may be a code that
of engineers most
it. For example, LED visual strobes will your authority having jurisdiction
frequently write performance fire soon replace the traditional high-inten- (AHJ) has not yet adopted, but you
and life safety system specifica- sity strobes, which draw a lot of power. feel will directly impact your work.
tions for engineered multidwelling This will, in turn, demand smaller
buildings, retail complexes, and/or power supplies and smaller gauge field Berg: Three-story and less multi-
wiring, leaving a much smaller ecologi- family new-construction buildings in
restaurants. Courtesy: Consulting-
cal footprint. California will need to be designed to
Specifying Engineer 2016 Fire and Berg: Higher-performing envelopes net zero energy standards starting in
Life Safety Study and higher-performing HVAC and 2020. Thats the next code cycle, but
lighting systems are being implemented many developers are not fully aware of

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input #9 at
the requirements, so education needs ing requirement between the many members of a nursing home to confirm
to occur with all parties in the market- automobile manufacturers, however, the fire condition and then be present
place. before the building code can request at this unsecured door to attend to the
Healy: With recent changes to the that charging stations be provided in needs of those in evacuation.
LEED v4 rating system, more prop- these multifamily-dwelling buildings. Berg: Space is always tight and valu-
erty owners will begin pursuing LEED able for high-rise multifamily build-
ratings for buildings that are 4 stories CSE: What are some of the chal- ings, so its often a challenge squeezing
and higher, leading to different design lenges for fire and life safety system in smoke exhaust and smoke-exhaust
approaches than what currently occur. design for multifamily dwellings and make-up air shafts. Well often use a
The added flexibility in selecting wheth- mixed-use buildings? How have you make-up air shaft for double-duty and
er to use the Multifamily Midrise or the overcome these challenges? provide space conditioning during nor-
New Construction rating system will mal operation through the same shaft.
reduce some of the past issues that made Tai: The conflicting requirements of
multifamily certifications extremely life safety versus security always pose CSE: Describe the cost and com-
costly for owners and difficult to design an interesting challenge. In a fire sce- plexity of fire protection systems
for architects and engineers. nario, all doors must be released to allow involved with such structures. Have
Tai: With the increase in hybrid or for safe egress from the building, yet in they changed over the years?
electrical vehicles on the road, a new some secured areas, keeping the doors
code requirement might be added for secure is almost equally important to Voth: Fire protection systems have
charging stations inside the garage for stop patients from wandering off in case dramatically changed when structures
multifamily and mixed-use dwelling of a nuisance alarm. We often introduce exceed 340 ft in height. Current tech-
buildings. There is still a lot of work a small time delay into the release of a niques include a spare high-zone fire
to be done to standardize the charg- secured door, which would allow staff pump and secondary-water street service.

input #10 at

MEP Roundtable
Depending on the regional AHJ, storage facility, thus must use the egress eleva- powered and accessible and under the
tanks for fire protection systems may be tors. Designated egress elevators are control of the unit owner. Due to the
required at the top of the building. installed in a 4-hour-rated shaft, with relatively small size of these units, the
Tai: The cost of the intelligent con- designated stops (i.e., every 10 or 15 HVAC equipment serving these units
trol systems for the multifamily dwell- stories) along the way, which are con- are fairly small and generally not too
ing and mixed-use building has gone up structed as fire-rated and pressurized efficient, and theres no coordination
because of the sophisticated computing spaces. The elevator call button in between units to allow diversity and
power of the control panels. However, these designated stops are connected central system economies of scale.
hardware cost for field wiring is reduced to the smoke detector in the corre- Berg: We tend to end up with multi-
due to the programmability of the sys- sponding elevator lobby, which would ple system types to suit the occupancy.
tem components. Overall, the cost of the stop the egress elevator from stopping Im working on a mixed-use building
fire protection system is only increased on this floor should the smoke detector right now with a condenser-water sys-
marginally over the years. The notice- be activated. tem serving multiple types of mechani-
able increase in cost comes from the Voth: We are engineering dedicated cal units. We have water-source heat
requirement that all sleeping rooms firefighter wireless communication pumps for the residential floors and
must be equipped with visual signaling systems in all of our supertall struc- podium retail, water-cooled VRF for
devices. tures; egress stairways are now suffi- hotel floors, vertical self-contained
cient to let firefighters into the build- water-cooled variable air volume for
CSE: In supertall, high-rise mul- ing while providing an egress path for office floors, and radiant in the lobby
tifamily dwellings and mixed-use occupants. areas that gets hot water and chilled
buildings, what types of areas of ref- water produced by water-cooled VRF
uge, elevator egress, or other solu- CSE: What unique HVAC require- systems.
tions have you implemented? ments do multifamily dwellings and
mixed-use buildings have that you CSE: Have you specified VRF sys-
Tai: In a typical high-rise building, wouldnt encounter in other build- tems, chilled beams, or other types
smoke detectors are designed into ings? of HVAC systems into one of your
every elevator lobby to allow eleva- multifamily dwellings and mixed-use
tors to return home on any fire condi- Healy: Once of the biggest dif- buildings? If so, describe its chal-
tion. The smoke detector installed on ferences in multifamily residential lenges and solutions.
the home floor will send the elevators buildings with owned units (condo-
to their alternative home floor. In a miniums) versus other types of rental Berg: Weve used VRF on some
supertall, high-rise building, occu- and commercial buildings is ensuring mixed-use buildings, typically for hotel
pants cannot use the stairs to exit the that all systems for each unit are locally occupancies, but not for residential.
The preference of splitting up utili-
ties between residential tenants usu-
Top 3 lights, lighting products used in engineered ally steers us toward water-source heat
multidwelling/retail complexes/restaurants pumps or chilled-water fan coil units to
more easily submeter energy usage via
British thermal unit meters.
73% Voth: We see a significant move
59% toward VRF in many of our multifam-
ily projects, especially when LEED cer-
tification is an objective. We typically
do not use chilled beams in any proj-
ects that include operable windows, as
the beams will sweat.
LEDs Lighting controls,
controls T5,
T5 T8,
T8 or Healy: One of the biggest challenges
addressable systems T12 (any size) in implementing a large-scale VRF sys-
tem for a multifamily complex is man-
Figure 4: According to a recent research study, LEDs are the No. 1 product specified aging refrigerant loss that may occur
in multidwelling/retail complexes/restaurants. Courtesy: Consulting-Specifying Engi- from the small pipe sizes and magni-
neer 2017 Lighting and Lighting Controls Study tude of fittings required to distribute

20 Consulting-Specifying Engineer JULY 2017

refrigerant throughout a large footprint. While investigating
existing installations, our firm has come upon VRF instal-
lations that were losing more than 100% refrigerant charge
each year. Consider installing refrigerant-monitoring sys-
tems in shafts or other areas where fittings may be concealed,
installing valves at branch controllers to isolate zones, and
using continuous-refrigerant line sets between branch con-
trollers and terminal units to reduce the likelihood of leak
points being buried within walls or ceilings. Refrigerant
piping will inevitably leak over time; make sure the design
solution will allow a property manager to find and seal those
leaks easily.

CSE: What types of DOAS are owners and facility

managers requesting to keep their facility air fresh?

Voth: As a standard of practice, we use a DOAS with

heat recovery including latent heat recovery on all of our
projects. We have been powering the relief fans on emer-
gency power to eliminate the need for fire/smoke damp-
ers throughout the building risers. We document subduct
connections in lieu of fire smoke dampers when the relief
fan is on emergency power.
Healy: For multifamily dwellings, facility managers have
often requested variable-volume DOAS with energy-recovery
plates. This allows them to reduce airflow when not needed
and recover energy between code-required toilet exhaust
and corridor make-up airstreams. For mixed-used facilities,
systems with DCV are often requested for commercial areas
to account for occupant loads using carbon dioxide sensors.
Facility managers are able to account for commercial vacancies
and varying occupancy throughout the day and week.

CSE: What unusual systems are owners requesting

that help save energy and/or electricity when a space is

Tai: We have received a unique request from a building

owner who wants to have occupancy sensors on all exit
lights, such that the exit signs will turn off when the room
is unoccupied.
Berg: Weve used key cards in hotel rooms to shut off
lights and HVAC. Weve used occupancy sensors to reset
outside-air quantities and temperature setpoints. Demand-
control ventilation is pretty common in retail and food and
beverage spaces on podium levels to save energy when the
customer traffic is light.

Read more at about:
n Automation and controls
n Electrical and power
n Integration and interoperability.

input #11 at

Consulting-Specifying Engineer JULY 2017 21

Regulations Determining Computer Room

Cooling Selection
Dave Meadows | Director of Industry, Standards, and Technology at STULZ USA

Many engineers and contractors today are facing increasing concern about comfort (residential)
cooling units being misapplied to computer room applications. There is no shortage of misinformation
defining the appropriate use of air conditioning equipment and specifying the delineation between
comfort cooling applications and computer room applications.
Since computer rooms consume large amounts of power, manufactures of Computer Room Air Conditioners have dedicated
thousands of hours of research and development in an effort to create the most energy efficient equipment for this particular
application. Comfort cooling equipment has neither this tight control nor the built in energy efficiency to serve the
computer room adequately.
This white paper outlines the history and evolution of precision cooling, as well as the key federal and
local efficiency requirements that are in place for data center applications. Keeping up to date with the
fast changing requirements is vital to selecting the appropriate cooling equipment for the application.

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input #12 at

cse201707_whitePprHlf_stulz.indd 1 6/19/2017 2:26:32 PM

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Codes & Standards

ASHRAEs new energy standard

for data centers
ASHRAE Standard 90.4 is a flexible, performance-based energy
standard that goes beyond current ASHRAE 90.1 methodology.


The data center industry is fortunate to have ASHRAE Standard 90.1 and data centers
many dedicated professionals volunteering their ASHRAE 90.1 has become the de facto energy Learning
time to provide expertise and experience in the standard for U.S. states and cities as well as many objectives
development of new guidelines, codes, and stan- countries around the world. Data centers are  Explain ASHRAE Standard
dards. ASHRAE, U.S. Green Building Council, considered commercial buildings, so the use of 90.1.
and The Green Grid, among others, routinely call ASHRAE 90.1 is compulsory to demonstrate  Understand the fundamen-
on these subject matter experts to participate in minimum energy conformance for jurisdictions tals of ASHRAE Standard 90.4.
working committees with the purpose of advanc- requiring such. Specific to computer rooms,  Explore how ASHRAE
ing the technical underpinnings and long-term ASHRAE 90.1 has evolved over the last decade 90.4 will impact data center
viability of the organizations missions. and a half, albeit in a nonlinear fashion. The 2001, mechanical/electrical system
For the most part, the end goal of these work- 2004, and 2007 editions of ASHRAE 90.1 all have
ing groups is to establish consistent, repeat- very similar language for computer rooms, except
able processes that will be applicable to a wide for humidity control, economizers, and how the
range of project sizes, types, and locations. For baseline HVAC systems are to be developed. It is
ASHRAE, this was certainly the case when it not until the ASHRAE 90.1-2010 edition where
came time to address the future of the ASHRAE there are more in-depth requirements for com-
90.1: Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low- puter rooms.
Rise Residential Buildings and how it applies to For example, ASHRAE 90.1-2010 contains a
data centers. new term, sensible coefficient of performance

Dry-bulb temperature frequencies (Seattle, Wash.)

1,400 1,338
1,200 Hours
Annual hours

600 505
400 285
200 155
59 72
10 17
10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 80 85 90 95 100 105 110 115 120
Dry-bulb temperature bin (F)

Figure 1: In Washington State, climate analysis for Seattle shows relatively mild dry-bulb temperatures through the year with little
variation. All graphics courtesy: exp Consulting-Specifying Engineer JULY 2017 23

Codes & Standards
(SCOP), an energy benchmark used for total building, there were still difficulties in effectiveness in reducing energy use in
computer and data processing room demonstrating compliance. Yet there was buildings, several questions needed to be
(CDPR) air conditioning units. The no slowdown in technology growth; proj- addressed before new criteria could be
construct of SCOP is dividing the net ects began to slowly include full-sized data developed. What would be the best way
sensible cooling capacity (in watts) by centers with an annual energy usage greater to develop new language for data center
the input power (in watts). The defini- than the building in which they are housed. facility energy use? Should it be an over-
tion of SCOP and the detail on how the Even with all the revisions and additions lay to the existing standard? Should it be
a stand-alone document? Should it be
a stand-alone document and duplicate
But even before ASHRAE 90.1-2013 was released, all the language in ASHRAE 90.1? How
the data center community was pushing for should the technical processes developed
by The Green Grid and U.S. Green Build-
clearer criteria for energy-use compliance. ing Council be folded into the standard?
Would it be able to keep up with the fast-
units are to be tested comes from the Air to ASHRAE 90.1 relating to data centers, paced technology developments that are
Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration there were still instances that proved dif- truly unique to data centers?
Institute (AHRI) in conjunction with the ficult in applying ASHRAE 90.1 for energy- Fast-forward a few years and in mid-
American National Standards Institute use compliance. 2016, ASHRAE published ASHRAE 90.4-
(ANSI) and was published in AHRI/ANSI Fortunately, as the data center com- 2016: Energy Standard for Data Centers.
Standard 1360: Performance Rating of munity continued to evolve in sophisti- Coming in at just 68 pages, ASHRAE 90.4
Computer and Data Processing Room Air cation in designing and operating highly doesnt seem to be as detailed as compared
Conditioners. energy-efficient facilities, so did ASHRAE with other standards released by ASHRAE
With the release of ASHRAE 90.1-2013, 90.1 with the release of the 2013 edition. (ASHRAE 90.1 weighs in at just over 300
additional clarification, and requirements But even before ASHRAE 90.1-2013 was pages). But this is by designinstead of
related to data centers including informa- released, the data center community was trying to weave in data center-specific lan-
tion for sizing water economizers and an pushing for clearer criteria for energy-use guage into the existing standard, ASHRAE
introduction of a new alternative compli- compliance. It was crucial that these crite- wisely chose to create a (mostly) stand-
ance path using power-usage effectiveness ria would not stifle innovation, but at the alone standard that is only applicable to
(PUE) were included. As a part of the PUE same time provide logic and consistency on data centers and contains references to
alternate compliance path, cooling, lighting, how to comply with ASHRAE 90.1. Many ASHRAE 90.1. These references mainly
power distribution losses, and information in the data center engineering community are for building envelope, service-water
technology (IT) equipment energy are to be (including ASHRAE) knew something heating, lighting, and other requirements.
documented individually. But since the req- needed to change. Using this approach avoids doubling up
uisites related to IT equipment (ITE) listed on future revisions to the standard, mini-
in ASHRAE 90.1 were originally meant ASHRAE Standard 90.4-2016 mizes any unintended redundancies, and
for server closets or computer rooms that Due to ASHRAE 90.1s history, (dat- ensures that the focus of ASHRAE 90.4
consume only a piece of the energy of the ing back to 1976) and its demonstrated is exclusive to data center facilities. Also,

Dewpoint temperature frequencies (Seattle, Wash.)

1,905 1,598
Annual hours

1,372 Hours
200 267
104 160
2 18 5
10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 80 85 90 95 100 105 110 115 120
Dewpoint temperature bin (F)

Figure 2: Climate analysis for the city of Seattle shows dewpoint temperatures indicating elevated moisture levels.

24 Consulting-Specifying Engineer JULY 2017

ASHRAE maximum MLC comparison
Calculated MLC ASHRAE 90.4 maximum annualized MLC
issuing updates to ASHRAE 90.1 will
automatically update ASHRAE 90.4 for 0.35

Annualized MLC
the referenced sections. In the same way, 0.30
updates to ASHRAE 90.4 will not affect
the language in ASHRAE 90.1.
Using ASHRAE 90.1 will not automati- 0.20
cally require the use of ASHRAE 90.4. In 0.15
fact, since many local jurisdictions oper-
ate on a 3-year cycle for updating their 1A 1B 2A 2B 3A 3B 3C 4A 4B 4C 5A 5B 5C 6A 6B 7
building codes, many are still using the ASHRAE climate zone
ASHRAE 90.1-2013 or earlier. The nor-
mative reference in ASHRAE 90.4 is Figure 3: The calculated mechanical load component (MLC) values (in blue) show
ASHRAE 90.1-2016; however, the final an improved performance over the MLC values in ASHRAE 90.4 (in red). This
say on an administrative matter like this shows that it is feasible to outperform the minimum requirements and gain a bet-
will always fall to the authority having ter understanding of how energy use can be reduced in specific climates using
jurisdiction (AHJ). smart design strategies.

Fundamentals of ASHRAE 90.4 ASHRAE 90.4 has a table of climate  Test in accordance with ASHRAE
ASHRAE 90.4 gives the engineer a zones with the respective design dry- Standard 140: Standard Method of
completely new method for determining bulb and wet-bulb temperatures that are Test for the Evaluation of Building
compliance. ASHRAE introduces new to be used when determining the peak Energy Analysis Computer Programs.
terminology for demonstrating compli- mechanical system load. The calcula-
ance: design and annual mechanical load tion procedure is shown below. It must  Able to evaluate energy-use status for
component (MLC) and electrical-loss be noted that when comparing the calcu- 8,760 hours/year.
components (ELC). ASHRAE is careful lated values of design MLC, the analysis
to note that these values are not compara- must be done at both 100% and 50% ITE  Account for hourly variations in IT
ble to PUE and are to be used only in the load; both values must be less than or load, which cascades down to electri-
context of ASHRAE 90.4. The standard equal to the values listed in Table 6.2.1 cal system efficiency, cooling system
includes compliance tables consisting of (design MLC) in ASHRAE 90.4. operation, and miscellaneous equip-
the maximum load components for each ment power.
of the 19 ASHRAE climate zones. Design MLC = [cooling design power (kW)
Assigning an energy efficiency target, + pump design power (kW)  Include provisions for daily, weekly,
either in the form of design or an annual- + heat rejection design fan power (kW) monthly, and seasonal building-use
ized MLC to a specific climate zone, will + air handler unit design fan power (kW)] schedules.
certainly raise awareness to the inex- data center design ITE power (kW)
tricable link between climate and data  Use performance curves for cool-
center energy performance (see Fig- Annualized mechanical-load ing equipment, adjusting power use
ures 1 and 2). Since strategies like using component based on outdoor conditions as well
elevated temperatures in the data center The concepts used for the annu- as evaporator and condenser tem-
and employing different forms of econo- alized MLC path are like the design peratures.
mization are heavily dependent on the MLC, except an hourly energy analysis
climate, an important goal is to increase is required when using the annualized  Calculate energy savings based on
the appreciation and understanding of MLC path. economization strategies for air- and
these connections throughout the data This energy analysis must be done water-based systems.
center design community. using software designed for calculating
energy consumption in buildings and  Produce hourly reports that compare
Design mechanical-load component must be accepted by the rating author- the baseline HVAC system to a pro-
MLC can be calculated in one of two ity. Some of the primary requirements of posed system to determine compli-
ways to determine compliance. The first the software include the dynamic char- ance with the standard.
is a summation of the peak power of the acteristics of the data center, inside and
mechanical components in kilowatts, outside.  Calculate required HVAC equipment
as well as establishing the design load The following are some of the software capacities and water- and airflow
of the IT equipment, also in kilowatts. requirements used in the modeling: rates. Consulting-Specifying Engineer JULY 2017 25

Codes & Standards
Since ASHRAE 90.4 categorizes com- When energy use is calculated using electrical system, and the design ELC cal-
pliance metrics based on climate zone, it simulation techniques, it becomes obvious culations demonstrating compliance. Tables
is imperative that the techniques used in that the energy used has a direct correla- and in ASHRAE 90.4 list the
simulating the data centers energy use tion to the climate zone, primarily due to maximum ELC values for ITE loads less
are accurate based on the specific loca- the ability to extend economization strat- than 100 kW and greater than or equal to
tion of the facility. As such, the egies for longer periods of time through- 100 kW, respectively. The tables show the
simulation software must perform the out the year. If we compare calculated maximum ELC for the three segments indi-
annualized MLC values for data centers vidually as well as the total.
with the MLC values in ASHRAE 90.4, The electrical distribution systems
One of the most the ASHRAE requirements are relatively efficiency impacts the data centers over-
flat when plotted across the climate zones. all energy efficiency in two ways: the
distinctive requirements This means the calculated MLC values in lower the efficiency, the more incoming
of data centers is this example have energy-use efficien- power is needed to serve the IT load. In
cies that are in excess of the minimum addition, more air conditioning energy
the high degree of required by the standard (see Figure 3). is required to cool the electrical energy
dissipated as heat.
reliability. Annual MLC = [cooling design energy (kWh) ASHRAE 90.4, Section, is
+ pump design energy (kWh) explicit on how this should be handled:
analysis using climatic data including + heat rejection design fan energy (kWh) The systems UPS and transformer cool-
hourly atmospheric pressure, dry-bulb + air handler unit design fan energy (kWh)] ing loads must also be included in [the
and dew point temperatures as well as data center design ITE energy (kWh) MLC], evaluated at their correspond-
wet-bulb temperature, relative humid- ing part-load efficiencies. The standard
ity, and moisture content. This data is Design electrical-loss component includes an approach on how to evaluate
available from different sources and in Using the ASHRAE 90.4 approach to single-feed UPS systems (e.g., N, N+1,
the form of typical meteorological year, calculate the ELC defines the electrical etc.) and active dual-feed UPS systems
(TMY2, TMY3), and EnergyPlus Weather system efficiencies and losses. For the (2N, 2N+1, etc.). The single-feed systems
(EPW) files that are used as an input to purposes of ASHRAE 90.4, the ELC con- must be evaluated at 100% and 50% ITE
the main simulation program. sists of three parts of the electrical system load. The dual active-feed systems must
This compulsory hourly energy-use architecture: be evaluated at 50% and 25% ITE load, as
simulation considers fluctuations in these types of systems will not normally
mechanical system energy consumption, 1. Incoming electrical service operate at a load greater than 50%.
particularly in cases where the equipment segment
is designed for some type of economizer Addressing reliability
mode, as well as energy reductions in vapor- 2. Uninterruptible power supply of systems and equipment
compression equipment from reduced lift (UPS) segment One of the distinctive design require-
due to outdoor temperature and moisture ments of data centers is the high degree of
levels. This approach seems to be the most 3. ITE distribution segment. reliability. One manifestation of this is the
representative of determining the energy use of redundant mechanical equipment.
performance of the data center, and since The segment for electrical distribution The redundant equipment will come online
it is based on already established means for mechanical equipment is stipulated to when a failure occurs or when maintenance
of determining building energy use (i.e., have losses that do not exceed 2%, but is is required without compromising the origi-
hourly energy-use simulation techniques), not included in the ELC calculations. All nal level of redundancy.
it also will be the most understandable. the values for equipment efficiency must Different engineers use different
Again, it must be noted that when com- be documented using the manufacturers approaches based on their clients needs.
paring the calculated values of annualized data, which must be based on standardized Some will design in extra cooling units,
MLC, the analysis must be done at both testing using the design ITE load. The final pumps, chillers, etc. and have these pieces
100% and 50% ITE load; both values must submittal to the rating authority (the orga- of equipment running all the time, cycling
be less than or equal to the values listed nization or agency that adopts or sanctions units on and off as necessary. Other designs
in Table (annualized MLC) in the the results of the analysis) must consist of might have equipment to handle more strin-
ASHRAE standard. It also is important to an electrical single-line diagram and plans gent design conditions, such as ASHRAE
note that both the design and annualized showing areas served by electrical systems, 0.4% climate data (dry-bulb temperatures
MLC values are tied to the ASHRAE cli- all conditions and modes of operation used corresponding to the 0.4% annual cumula-
mate zones. in determining the operating states of the tive frequency of occurrence).

26 Consulting-Specifying Engineer JULY 2017

62% of engineers identified energy efficiency to
be a critical challenge affecting the future of HVAC sys-
tems in data centers. Source: Consulting-Specifying Engi-
And yet others will use variable-speed motors to vary neer 2015 HVAC and Building Automation Systems Study
water and airflow, delivering the required cooling based on
a changing ITE load. Since these design approaches are quite
different from one another, Table in ASHRAE 90.4 electrical engineer having to collaborate by going
provides methods for calculating MLC compliance under through an iterative, synergistic design process.
these scenarios.
Publishing ASHRAE 90.4-2016 is a watershed momentto
Performance-based approach date, there has not been a code-ready, technically robust approach
ASHRAE 90.4 uses a performance-based approach rather to characterize mechanical and electrical system designs to judge
than a prescriptive one to accommodate the rapid change in conformance to an energy standard. This is no small feat, con-
data center technology and to allow for innovation in develop- sidering that data center mechanical/electrical systems can have
ing energy efficiency cooling solutions. Some of the provisions a wide variety of design approaches, especially as the data cen-
seem to especially encourage innovative solutions including: ter industry continues to develop more efficient ITE requiring
novel means of power and cooling. And since ASHRAE 90.4 is a
 Onsite renewables or recovered energy. The standard separate document from ASHRAE 90.1, as computer technology
allows for a credit to the annual energy use if onsite changes, the process to augment/revise ASHRAE 90.4 should be
renewable energy generation is used or waste heat is less difficult because they are two separate documents. While
recovered for other uses. Data centers are ideal can- certainly not perfect, ASHRAE 90.4 is a major step along the path
didates for renewable energy generation, as the load of ensuring energy efficiency in data centers.
can be constant through the course of the daytime and
nighttime hours. Also, when water-cooled computers
are used with high-discharge water temperatures, the Bill Kosik is a senior mechanical engineer at exp in Chicago. Kosik
water can be used for building heating, boiler-water is a member of the Consulting-Specifying Engineer editorial advi-
preheating, snow melting, or other thermal uses. sory board.

 Derivation of MLC values. The MLC values in the

tables in ASHRAE 90.4 are considered generic to allow
multiple systems to qualify for the path. The MLC
values are based on systems and equipment currently
available in the marketplace from multiple manufactur-
ers. This is the benchmark for minimum compliance
that must be met. But ideally, the project would go SETTING THE
beyond the minimum and demonstrate even greater STANDARD FOR
energy-reduction potential.
 Design conditions. The annualized MLC values for air PERFORMANCE.
systems are based on a delta T (temperature rise of the
supply air) of 20F and a return-air temperature of 85F.
However, the proposed design is not bound to these Introducing the new Ruskin EME720 seven-inch,
values if the design temperatures are in agreement with horizontal louver. Featuring industry-leading
the performance characteristics of the coils, pumps, fan 56 percent free area, the EME720 combines a
continuous-blade architectural appearance with
capacities, etc. This provision from the standard gives
the performance of a wind-driven, rain-resistant
the engineer a lot of room to innovate and propose
louver. The louver is available in single sections as
nontraditional designs, such as water cooling of the
large as 90 by 120 inches and comes in a variety
of anodized and painted finishes. Aluminum
construction ensures low maintenance and
 Trade-off method. Sometimes mechanical and electri- high resistance to corrosion.
cal systems have constraints that may disqualify them
from meeting the MLC or ELC values on their own For more information visit
merit. The standard allows, for example, a less efficient
mechanical system to be offset by a more efficient elec-
trical system and vice versa. Another benefit of using
this approach comes from the mechanical and

Consulting-Specifying Engineer JULY 2017 27 input #13 at


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input #14 at
Codes & Standards

The development of ASHRAE 90.4:

Energy Standard for Data Centers
ASHRAE 90.4 is a new energy standard for data centers that
calls for meeting minimum efficiency requirements.

BY JOHN YOON, PE, LEED AP ID+C, McGuire Engineers Inc., Chicago

hen addendum bu was added to
ASHRAE 90.1-2007: Energy Stan-
dard for Buildings Except Low-
Rise Residential Buildings in 2010, it caught
the data center industry off-guard. While data
center operators had a considerable amount of
representation on the ASHRAE TC9.9: Mis-
sion Critical Facilities, Data Centers, Technol-
ogy Spaces and Electronic Equipment technical
committee that shapes the environmental stan-
dards for data centers, the ASHRAE 90.1 Stand-
ing Standards Project Committee (SSPC 90.1)
was something else altogether. This addendum
added significant prescriptive requirements to
ASHRAE 90.1 for air- and water-side economiz-
ers in data center HVAC systems.
Up until that point, data center HVAC sys-
tems were effectively exempt from energy code Figure 1: This is a photo of multiple condensing units on the roof of an older
requirements. The major players in the data cen- colocation facility. The power usage of these condensing units would count
ter industry reacted strongly to these changes toward the heat-rejection peak fan-power portion of the mechanical load com-
and the resulting firestorm served to help shape ponent. All graphics courtesy: McGuire Engineers Inc.
future standards development, namely ASHRAE
90.4-2016 Energy Standard for Data Centers. The major change attributed to addendum bu Learning
was the addition of economizer requirements for objectives
What was 90.1-2007 addendum bu? cooling systems with fans that serve computer
 Explain ASHRAE 90.4:
Addendum bu added a new definition to rooms. This more or less aligned data centers Energy Standard for Data
ASHRAE 90.1: computer room. This defini- with requirements for HVAC systems in other Centers.
tion was as follows: types of buildings and affected sections,  Explore the performance
A room whose primary function is to house 6.5.1, and Table 6.8.1H within ASHRAE 90.1- requirements of ASHRAE
equipment for the processing and storage of 2007. There were several exceptions to the econ- 90.4 versus the prescriptive
electronic data and that has a design electronic omizer requirement including when: requirements of ASHRAE
90.1-2007, addendum bu.
data equipment power density exceeding 20 W/
 Calculate energy efficiency
sq ft of conditioned floor area.  The total combined design load of all
in data centers.
This definition has been altered substantially computer rooms in a building is less
in recent versions of the code, which will be than 3,000,000 Btu/h (250 tons) and not
discussed. chilled-water cooled. Consulting-Specifying Engineer JULY 2017 29

Codes & Standards
n If chilled-water cooled, the room of Florida, Puerto Rico, Guam, and Hawaii centers were responsible for about 1.5%
design load is less than 600,000 are in these climates zones). (61 billion kWh) of total U.S. electrical
Btu/h (50 tons). consumption in 2006. The report further
Why did the data center forecasted that this use would double by
n Less than 600,000 Btu/h (50 tons) industry object to bu? 2012. Now with the issue quantified, the
of computer room cooling is being While the foreword to the addendum wheels of change could be set in motion.
added to an existing building. clearly outlined ASHRAEs justification Given this dramatic projected increase
for the new requirements and exceptions in energy usage, adoption of new energy
n The authority having jurisdiction contained in it, the data center industry efficiency requirements would be justi-
(AHJ) does not allow cooling tow- still had unusually strong objections. The fiable per the key provisions of federal
ers. primary issue was that the requirements energy efficiency legislation in effect at
were prescriptive, mandating specific that time, the Energy Policy and Con-
n Where at least 75% of the design design solutions. The data center indus- servation Act of 1975 (EPCA) and the
load is critical in nature (i.e., trys argument was that in a product Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPAct).
NEC Article 708: Critical Opera- sector experiencing explosive growth/ Those projections ended up being
tions Power Systems, Tier IV data change, they should not be limited with wrong. Based on a Lawrence Berkeley
centers, data centers that process prescriptive requirements that stifle tech- National Laboratory report issued 9 years
financial transactions, etc.). nical innovation. Rather, the preference later in 2016, usage did not increase near-
was that the requirements be perfor- ly as dramatically as predicted. Instead of
The economizer provision affected mance-based and focus solely on quan- doubling, data center electrical usage was
every climate zone except for zones 1A tifying energy efficiency, not the exact estimated at about 1.8% (70 billion kWh)
and 1B (in the United States, typically only methods used to achieve that efficiency. of total 2014 U.S. electrical consumption.
tropical regions, such as the southern tip The data center industrys most public This represents only a 15% increase from
response to addendum bu was published 2006 levels.
on Googles public policy blog in April Ironically, the forecasting error is
2010. Google traditionally reserves use mostly attributed to the emergence of
of this widely read forum for official hyperscale/cloud data centerswhich
commentary on privacy, net neutrality, include many of the signatories to
anti-trust, and similar major regulatory Googles open letter who have since
topics. This open-letter response was embraced forms of air and water econo-
signed by the whos who of the data cen- mizers in a significant percentage of their
ter industry. ASHRAE did issue a formal data centers. Google, in fact, has managed
response to the open letter, maintaining to reduce its fleetwide trailing 12-month
that the new exceptions in combination power-usage effectiveness (TTM PUE) in
with alternative compliance paths, such 2016 to 1.12, even when using fairly con-
as the energy cost budget method, rea- servative metrics.
sonably addressed those concerns. By
this point, however, the lines had already The emergence of ASHRAE 90.4
been drawn between the two groups. Traditionally, energy codes have
addressed only HVAC systems used for
Why did efficiency requirements comfort cooling and heating and left
suddenly apply to data centers? out requirements for systems related to
Like all new codes and standards, process cooling/heating. With the afore-
nothing happens quickly. Changes are mentioned conflicts over new data cen-
generally the result of a long, deliber- ter efficiency requirements starting with
ate sequence of events. ASHRAE has the addendum to 90.1-2007, members of
Figure 2: A step-down transformer within long considered addressing data center the technical committee for TC9.9 initi-
a server room power distribution unit is energy efficiency in ASHRAE 90.1. In ated a new standard in response to those
shown. The inefficiency associated with August 2007, the EPA issued a report perceived shortcomings. After almost 5
the transformer would count toward the on data center energy efficiency to the years of work, the result was ASHRAE
ITE distribution segment loss portion U.S. Congress. The key takeaway from 90.4-2016: Energy Standard for Data
of electrical loss component. this report was that the nations data Centers.

30 Consulting-Specifying Engineer JULY 2017

Figure 3: A generalized formula for how to calculate the electrical loss component (ELC). For systems with redundant paths of
power, the worst-case path must be included in the calculation. Also, any equipment efficiencies used for this calculation must
also consider the level of redundancy. For example, the efficiency of an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) at 100% load cannot
be used if it is part of a 2N redundant system where, under normal conditions, the UPS will never see a load of more than 50%.
Similar to the mechanical load component, the ELC calculations have to be made for 100% and 50% IT equipment load.

Even though ASHRAE 90.4 was a con- A data center is defined by ASHRAE ITE and the total energy used by a data
sensus standard with input from numer- 90.4 as follows: center. It is the most widely accepted effi-
ous industry groups, there was still sig- A room, building, or portions thereof, ciency metric in the industry. However, it
nificant heated debate, specifically over including computer rooms being served has a few shortcomings:
minimum acceptable efficiency levels by the data center systems, serving a total
and associated measurement metrics. ITE load greater than 10 kW or 20 W/sq  It indicates nothing about the
One of the first hurdles was agreeing ft of conditioned floor area. efficiency of the ITE itself. Since
on a formal definition for a data center. This distinction is important. ASHRAE it does not consider productivity
As mentioned previously, addendum bu 90.1 still applies to computer rooms but (how much compute processing
had added an unusually broad definition does not apply to the mechanical and capability per unit of data center
for a computer room. Based on that ear- electrical distribution systems in data input power or percentage usage
lier definition, there would be no useful centers. However, ASHRAE 90.1 still of computer server equipment),
distinction between an intermediate dis- applies to other portions of data centers, underused ITE can skew the energy
tribution frame (IDF) closet in an office namely envelope, service-water heating, profile of the overall facility.
building and a large, hyperscale data and lighting. Neither standard applies to
center. The proposed addendum cs to mechanical and electrical equipment in  While it is useful in provid-
ASHRAE 90.1-2010 laid the groundwork telephone exchanges or essential facilities ing insight to how energy usage
for ASHRAE 90.4 by attempting to revise (i.e., NEC Article 708 Critical Operations changes in response to changes
the definition of computer rooms. That Power Systems, Tier IV data centers, data in a data centers infrastructure
addendum also introduced a new defi- centers that process financial transac- (deployment of new servers,
nition, data center, to which ASHRAE tions, etc.). changes to how air conditioning
90.4 now applies. Those two definitions equipment is operated, etc.), it is
have since been revised in subsequent Efficiency is meaningless if based on actual measured energy
addenda to ASHRAE 90.1. you cant calculate it usage of an active data center. It
The final definitions as incorporated A primary point of contention during can change dramatically based on
into ASHRAE 90.4 make a distinction the writing of ASHRAE 90.4 was how to changes in uncontrollable factors
between these two occupancy types by quantify minimum efficiency require- (i.e., server use, weather, etc.). It
adding power usage thresholds for each. ments. The Green Grid Association, is not especially useful for theo-
The revised definition in ASHRAE 90.4 a consortium of data center industry retical baseline calculations per-
for a computer room is as follows: companies that works to improve the formed during the initial design of
A room or portions of a building serv- efficiency of data centers worldwide, the data center.
ing an information technology equipment developed a metric known PUE. PUE
(ITE) load less than or equal to 10 kW or is a ratio that quantifies the relationship  Depending on the Green Grid level
20 W/sq ft or less of conditioned floor area. between the energy specifically used by of metering (where or how it is Consulting-Specifying Engineer JULY 2017 31

Codes & Standards
measured), you may not capture all the standard, an alternative compli-  Incoming electrical-service seg-
measured energy consumption in a ance path could be used where trade- ment (from the utility service
way that is directly comparable to offs would be allowed. For example, disconnect/demarcation to the UPS
otherwise similar facilities. if replacement of a major portion of input)
the electrical distribution system (i.e.,
The ASHRAE 90.4 committee initially deployment of a new larger uninter-  UPS segment (limited to the UPS
tried, during early draft revisions of the ruptible power supply; UPS) triggered equipment and any associated
a compliance requirement for an exist- paralleling gear for multimodule
ing facility, replacement of an other- designs)
In place of PUE, ASHRAE 90.4 wise functional existing mechanical
brought forth two new metrics, system that didnt meet the minimum  ITE distribution segment (from
required efficiency could potentially be the UPS output to the end of the
electrical loss component avoided by an offsetting increase in the branch circuit at the point of use/
(ELC) and mechanical load efficiency of that new electrical distri- receptacle including all trans-
bution equipment. formers/power distribution units,
component (MLC). The associated minimum-efficiency remote power panels, busduct,
threshold levels were structured to branch conductors, etc.)
standard, to apply a concept that they also effectively create an 80/20 policy where,
called PUE, but potential confusion over after trade-offs are considered, gener- The focus here is solely on the portion
comparisons to the Green Grid version of ally only the bottom 20% of existing of the electrical distribution system that
PUE eventually led to the elimination of facilities will be forced into upgrades. delivers power to the data center ITE
PUE nomenclature from ASHRAE 90.4. load. If multiple paths to the ITE exist,
In place of PUE, ASHRAE 90.4 Electrical loss component the pathway with the greatest losses needs
brought forth two new metrics, electrical ELC quantifies the inefficiencies/ to be used in the calculation. However,
loss component (ELC) and mechanical losses of different parts of the electrical losses attributed to the portion of the
load component (MLC). A conscientious distribution system, from the utility ser- electrical distribution system serving
decision was made to address mechanical vice entrance all the way through to the associated supporting systems (com-
system and electrical distribution system receptacle at the ITE cabinet. The ELC puter room air conditioning units,
efficiencies separately. The ultimate goal value is the percent loss (i.e., a 75% over- chillers, lighting, etc) are not included
of separating the two was to provide more all efficiency equates to an ELC of 0.25). in ELC. Also, emergency/standby gen-
design flexibility. If either the mechani- There are three distinct segments of erator systems that are normally off
cal or electrical systems didnt meet the this power path defined by ASHRAE are not considered as part of ELC cal-
minimum efficiency level required by 90.4 as follows: culations.

Figure 4: A generalized formula for how to calculate the mechanical load component (MLC). Note that the power for each system
is the maximum design value as required to support design ITE load at the outdoor weather conditions for the appropriate climate
zone. MLC must be calculated for the mechanical systems at both 100% and 50% IT equipment loads. An alternative MLC formula
considers annualized power usage (kWh instead of kW for each system), which may be more advantageous where energy model-
ing/hourly simulation can prove reduced energy usage.

32 Consulting-Specifying Engineer JULY 2017


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input #15 at
Codes & Standards
The ELC calculation for the UPS seg-
ment also recognizes that efficiency is
components effectively makes MLC
performance-based and not prescrip-
62% of engineers identi-
fied energy efficiency to be a criti-
affected by the physical size of the UPS tive, which addresses some of the
cal challenge affecting the future
system and by the level of redundancy. intense criticism directed at the adden-
of HVAC systems in data centers.
For example, it is expected that in a fully dum bu for ASHRAE 90.1.
redundant 2N UPS system, neither UPS To give the design team more flex- Source: Consulting-Specifying Engi-
will be loaded to more than 50% under ibility, there are two MLC compliance neer 2015 HVAC and Building Auto-
normal operating conditions. A lightly pathspower and energy. ASHRAE 90.4 mation Systems Study
loaded UPS will generally be less effi- does not mandate that one or the other
cient than a more heavily loaded UPS be used in specific situations. Rather, the
with less redundancy. As such, maxi- decision concerning which path is more
When will ASHRAE 90.4 take effect?
mum allowable ELC values as detailed appropriate is left to the design team. The
SSPC 90.4s original goal was to have
in tables and include the power-compliance path calculates peak
the issuance of ASHRAE 90.4 to coincide
following considerations: MLC at both 100% and 50% ITE design
with the release of ASHRAE 90.1-2016.
loads (kW). The energy path calculates
However, after the first public review of
 Is total ITE design load either less annualized MLC at both 100% and 50%
ASHRAE 90.4, more than 600 comments
than or greater than 100 kW? ITE design loads (kWh). Ultimately, the
were received in 45 days. While the
determining factor for which path is more
sheer volume of comments was not
 Is UPS system configuration single- appropriate lies in whether seasonal vari-
totally unexpected, it did slow down the
feed (N, N+1, etc.) or dual-feed ability in weather at the data center loca-
adoption process.
with two distinct output busses tion will hurt or help overall HVAC sys-
(2N, 2N+1, etc.)? tem efficiency. Per the ANSI requirements for a
consensus-based standard-making pro-
ELC calculations must be made at How existing facilities are addressed cess, any issues raised during the public
two different load points (100% and The very first question that many cli- commentary period must be formally
50% of the load expected at each UPS). ents will nervously ask is if ASHRAE 90.4 addressed prior to acceptance of the
For example, ELC calculations for a 1N applies to their existing data center. The standard. Ultimately, this meant that final
UPS would be made at 100% and 50%, answer is a definite maybe. Since this approval was delayed until mid-2016.
and those for a 2N UPS would be made is a new standard, it is unclear exactly While placeholders referencing ASHRAE
at 50% and 25%. how individual AHJs will interpret and 90.4 were incorporated into ASHRAE 90.1-
apply it. Some of the language, especially 2016, it is unclear if ASHRAE 90.4 will be
Mechanical load component as it pertains to alterations, is somewhat adopted by the International Code Coun-
MLC takes a slightly different calcu- confusing. However, ASHRAE 90.4 does cil (ICC) during the current code-devel-
lation approach than ELC. MLC is the attempt to make a distinction between opment cycle for inclusion in the 2018
sum of all data center HVAC equipment new data centers, additions to existing International Energy Conservation Code
power usage (including humidification, data centers, and finally, alterations to (IECC). Proposals for inclusion by refer-
if present) divided by the baseline ITE existing data centers. The applicability ences were brought before the ICC 2016
design power. Unlike ELC, where the is as follows: Group B Committee last year, but were
overall system is subdivided into three rejected. The reason for rejection wasnt
parts, the distinction is de-emphasized  All provisions of ASHRAE 90.4 necessarily because of any inherent flaw in
between individual data center HVAC apply to new data centers. ASHRAE 90.4. Rather, the standard was
system components. new and had not been reviewed. Regard-
Rather, the overall power usage of the  ASHRAE 90.4 applies to an addi- less, if the prevailing energy code in a par-
data centers HVAC system is the key tion only if it increases area or con- ticular jurisdiction is IECC, it is question-
metric here. The only consideration is nected load by 10% or more. able that ASHRAE 90.4 will be enforced
that the maximum acceptable MLC value any time in the immediate future for those
changes depending on the climate zone  Alterations shall comply, provided locations.
in which the facility is located. This may that compliance will not result in
make certain HVAC technologies that are the increase of energy consump- John Yoon is a lead electrical engineer at
more effective in certain climate zones tion for the building. An alteration McGuire Engineers Inc. and is a member
more attractive. Regardless, this focus is defined as replacement not in of the Consulting-Specifying Engineer
on the system rather than the individual kind. editorial advisory board.

34 Consulting-Specifying Engineer JULY 2017

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input #16 at

Integration: electrical
and HVAC systems
Integration of electrical and HVAC systems requires both careful
design and integrated controls. This type of system integration can
provide a more energy-efficient building.


echnology has changed the projects because the design expertise was
Learning way modern buildings are contained within the group. The design
objectives designed and operated. It team was a stand-alone component that
 Understand how build- has improved the reliabil- had limited exposure with the construc-
ing systems can be inte- ity and efficiencies of the tion team and the owner once the build-
grated, such as electrical and modern electrical and mechanical sys- ing was in operation. This relationship is
mechanical systems. tems. Equipment is more efficient due illustrated in Figure 2.
 Learn about building man- to advanced component design and the Although each team was coordinat-
agement systems and build- incorporation of onboard computer con- ing internally, the coordination efforts
ing automation systems.
trols and logic. between the design team, contractor,
 Assess ways to integrate
Building management systems (BMS) and owner were disjointed and discon-
engineered systems to
achieve greater energy effi- are more advanced than ever and can nected. This resulted in buildings that
ciency in buildings. operate the systems to much tighter were designed with specific efficiency
tolerances. The improvements have measures but constructed with systems
changed the way todays engineers can that were more cost-effective than base
design and operate buildings to maxi- design, which resulted in them not
mize energy consumption and minimize operating according to the original
their impact on the environment. design intent.
To achieve these goals, the various This dynamic needed to change as
building systems must operate together buildings became more complex due to
instead of working as stand-alone sys- advancements in technology, building
tems. Integration has compelled electri- materials, and construction methods. It
cal and mechanical engineers to work was necessary for the traditional design
more closely together during the various team to expand and seek advice from
design phases so they can incorporate specialized consultants who work for the
the required tools and logic to seamlessly architect (acoustics, vertical transporta-
operate the modern smart building. tion, building envelope, audio/video,
security and surveillance, information
The integrated design team technologies, etc.) and nontraditional
For many years, projects were designed resources that work for the owner.
by teams comprised of architects and As building systems become more
engineers (civil, structural, fire/life safe- advanced and energy consumption
ty, mechanical, plumbing, and electrical). becomes a prime driver in system design,
This team approach worked well for most it is imperative that the systems operate

36 Consulting-Specifying Engineer JULY 2017

Figure 1: Modern central utility plants (as shown on the cover) are purpose-built spaces that house large heating, cooling, and power
equipment. These systems are critical to the building performance and requires extensive coordination among trades to insure prop-
er operation, fit, and service clearances. Using data analysis to right size building loads during design can have a significant impact
on the cost of the building and the equipment. All graphics courtesy: NV5

according to the design intent. Building  Review of sequence of operations they were designed and to peak efficien-
owners have been turning to commis- to incorporate practical experience cy. As the building ages, the operational
sioning agents (CxA; often called com-  Preliminary electrical, heating, feedback is used to tweak the systems to
missioning providers, or CxP), energy and cooling load profiles based on improve efficiency or identify areas of
engineers, and in some cases, various region and building type the building that may require mainte-
specialized trade contractors to certify  Estimated energy consumption for nance or upgrades.
the actual system operation meets the proposed systems to identify the
design specifications. In the past, these most efficient system option Coordination during the
consultants and contractors were typi-  Financial models to assist the design phases
cally hired by the owner and operated owner in making informed deci- The design effort required to success-
independently of the design team. sions fully integrate the building electrical and
In recent years, however, the vari-  Review of equipment submittals to mechanical systems cannot be viewed
ous experts have become involved early assist the engineers in identifying as a single checkbox in the designers
in the design process and are integral variances to-do list. Integration must be a con-
members of any successful design team.  Review and analysis of potential scious effort among the various design
This model has become so successful that value-engineering (VE) solutions professionals involved in the project. As
many engineering firms have hired these proposed by trade partners. each member of the team begins their
consultants and contractors to provide an respective designs, information needs
expanded service offering to their clients. The feedback loop between opera- to pass freely from one discipline to the
Allowing these specialists to participate tions and design allows the integrated other. Coordination between the engi-
in the early phases of design is key to team to operate under a different model neers must be intentional to deliver the
delivering a successful smart building to that includes more communication and appropriate information at the right time
the owner. coordination throughout the entire life- so as to minimize mistakes and prevent
These specialized disciplines can assist cycle of the building (see Figure 2). The wasted effort.
the engineers by providing operational operation-driven design model facili- For example, as the electrical engi-
feedback during design that can greatly tates sharing of information between neer begins to conceptualize the electri-
influence how systems are sized, config- the design team, contractor, and owner. cal distribution system, that engineer
ured, and operated. This feedback can The model produces a building with will need to understand the impact that
include but is not limited to: integrated systems that are operated as the mechanical systems will have on Consulting-Specifying Engineer JULY 2017 37

Integrating electrical, HVAC systems
the electrical infrastructure serving the During the SD phase, the electrical and Critical information required to prelimi-
building. What are the estimated equip- mechanical engineers begin to investigate narily size the electrical and mechanical
ment loads? Where are the loads located? different system options that meet the needs systems include:
How does the equipment operate? The of the project. Each discipline starts to per-
electrical engineer can make assump- form calculations and develop technical n Estimated electric loads for the
tions based on experience, but will need schematics to define the various options. major mechanical equipment
the input of the mechanical engineer to Expected engineering tasks that (chillers, cooling towers, pumps, air
finalize the design. require coordination and input from handling units, large fan systems)
As buildings systems become more others at this stage are: n Estimated heat-rejection rates of
advanced, collaboration during each major electrical equipment (substa-
phase of design is crucial to the success- n Review applicable building codes, tions, transformers, uninterrupt-
ful delivery of a high-performing build- building certifications (LEED, ible power supplies, also known as
ing. It is even more critical when design Green Globes, Energy Star, etc.), UPS)
services are provided by multiple firms and design standards to identify n Preliminary locations of major
or the design is dependent on the input impacts on the proposed building electrical and mechanical equip-
from architects and other specialized systems. ment
n Available power and voltage
n Estimated UPS and generator loads
The schematic design (SD) phase of the project is the (if applicable).

starting point for every design and is the time where the Design development phase
The design development (DD) phase
electrical and mechanical engineers begin to conceptualize of the project expands upon the concepts
developed in the SD phase. The design-
the building systems to meet the project needs. team members begin to focus more time
on developing the technical aspects of the
consultants. To make the collaboration n Determine the level of energy building systems and material specifica-
effort meaningful, each member of the performance based on building- tions. At the same time, open issues iden-
design team needs to understand what use type and define key metrics, tified at the completion of the SD phase
information is important to the other such as energy use intensity or can now be addressed and resolved.
designers and when it is required. power usage effectiveness. The refinement of the system con-
n Estimate electrical loads for the cepts and increased coordination help
Schematic design phase project and begin coordination to minimize the possibility of major
The schematic design (SD) phase of with the civil engineer and electri- system revisions during the next phase
the project is the starting point for every cal utility. of design. During this process, the rela-
design and is the time where the elec- n Estimate mechanical loads tionship between each system and its
trical and mechanical engineers begin (heating, cooling, water, sewer, spatial impact on the design is defined.
to conceptualize the building systems and gas) and begin coordination The owner is now able to start envi-
to meet the project needs. The intent of with the civil engineer and utility sioning what the project will look like
this phase is to investigate various system companies. when complete and how it will func-
options and arrive at a clearly defined n Preliminary sizing of electrical tion. While most design issues should
concept that meets the owners objec- and mechanical equipment. be resolved by the end of the DD phase,
tives. The SD phase defines the param- n Preliminary sizing of required some will continue to be refined,
eters that will influence how the building plant rooms. resolved, or modified during the sub-
systems are sized and configured. n Preliminary electrical single-line sequent phases of the project.
The concept design is typically con- distribution. The DD phase also is the point in the
veyed through a basis-of-design (BOD) design where coordination efforts expand
narrative and large-scale drawings that Coordination efforts between the vari- beyond the electrical and mechanical
can demonstrate basic spaces, scale, ous disciplines should begin to ensure engineers to include the CxA and the
and relationship of components. Once that the proposed systems can integrate. energy engineers. The entire design team
approved, this concept will guide the At this point, much of the coordination reviews the various system concepts, pre-
engineers through the design evolution is kept within the mechanical, electri- liminary control diagrams, and sequenc-
of the various building systems. cal, and plumbing (MEP) design team. es of operation. Preliminary load profiles

38 Consulting-Specifying Engineer JULY 2017

are defined for the building to assist with equipment sizing and develops plant-room n Finalize plant-room sizing and
preparing electrical, heating, and cooling layouts and system layouts. Expected engi- layouts.
loads. Based on this information, system neering tasks that require coordination n Develop system layouts detailing
modifications are made that will enhance and input from others at this stage are: major horizontal and vertical infra-
the performance of the equipment and structure (ductwork, piping, con-
maximize energy savings. n Review proposed system design duits, bus ducts, etc.) pathways.
The anticipated deliverables at this is in accordance with applicable n Refine electrical single-line distri-
stage will include an updated BOD docu- building codes, building certifica- bution.
ment, drawings of appropriate scale to tions (LEED, Green Globes, Energy n Develop BMS and metering control
convey the more detailed level of coor- Star, etc.), and design standards. sequences and control diagrams.
dination and outline specifications that n Define energy efficiency measures
begin to define the quality level of the and incorporate them into system Coordination efforts between the
materials and system components. It also design. various disciplines intensify as more
is important to note that many of todays n Refine electrical-load estimates for detail is incorporated into the design of
projects use these deliverables to produce the project based on the chosen the systems. The DD phase is also the
preliminary construction-cost budgets or design, and continue coordination start of coordination with the special-
lock contractors into a guaranteed maxi- with the civil engineer and electri- ized consultants. Their input at this stage
mum price. At this point, it is imperative cal utility. helps the design team to identify system
that each discipline is coordinating and n Refine mechanical-load estimates modifications required to incorporate
disseminating the correct information to (heating, cooling, water, sewer, and the technology that makes todays high-
the entire design team. gas) for the project based on the performance buildings efficient and
During the DD phase, the electrical and chosen design, and continue coor- environmentally friendly. Information
mechanical engineers select the systems dination with the civil engineer and critical to continue coordination and
that best fit the function of the build- utility companies. integration of the electrical and mechan-
ing and start to incorporate more detail n Refine electrical and mechani- ical systems include:
into the technical design. Each discipline cal equipment sizing based upon
refines load estimates, calculations, and selected system design. continued on page 42

Conventional design model Operation-driven design model


y Audit, Operationa
l feed

benchmark, k

and monitor
rational ef

Operator Designer Operator

Operate Design
Operate Design






n Dis joi

joi ed co n ted Efficiency-


Dis nn


n focused im
on ect ize
c ed
Dis commissioning


Contractor n

Figure 2: The graphic on the left illustrates the disjointed process of design, construction, and operation that has been used for
many years. Each phase was seen as independent functions that did not require input or feedback from the various parties. The
operation-driven design model on the right seeks to break down these barriers by introducing various feedback loops and verifi-
cation steps that are meant to influence design. Consulting-Specifying Engineer JULY 2017 39

CASE STUDY: Integrated resort

nergy is one of the primary drivers of innovation in modern building To better understand how designers can use the operational-driven design
design. As energy costs continue to increase, the industry is turning model to overcome these challenges and provide owners with innovative
to engineers to take an active role in designing systems that result designs, we will take a closer look at how the chilled-water system was
in more efficient buildings. Why is it so important that the engineers optimized for this integrated resort project. The project was a mixed-use
drive this effort? The answer is simple; it is the building infrastructure (light- facility consisting of a three-level underground garage, two high-rise hotel
ing, cooling and heating systems, hot-water systems, etc.) that accounts for towers, and a multilevel podium, which included a casino, shopping area,
much of the energy usage. food and beverage venues, nightclubs, a state-of-the-art theater, and various
Figure 3 illustrates the expected energy usage of a recently designed inte- back-of-house functions.
grated resort project. It is evident that lighting and the HVAC systems account The total project area was approximately 3.9 million sq ft with plans for
for more than 75% of the overall energy usage in the building. Using LED a future expansion of 1.2 million sq ft. During the design, it became evident
lighting and high-efficiency cooling systems, incremental changes in these that the building program and the incoming electrical service would not
systems can have a dramatic effect on the overall energy usage. support a traditional chilled-water design. The system would need to be
For example, one of the most common methods of recognizing energy redesign to fit the project parameters. Some of the factors that influenced
savings in building cooling systems is to centralize the cooling function into this decision included:
a central utility plant (CUP). The size of the CUP and the cooling equipment
installed within is a function of the building location, type/use, size, and the  Limited electrical capacity for the site
calculated cooling loads. The resort project referenced used a centralized  Limited space available in the central plant
chilled-water system, which circulated chilled water to the various cooling  Reduction in calculated load based on operational data
coils throughout the property.  Owners desire to increase operating efficiency while decreasing
operating costs
 First-cost savings to the project.
As the design progressed into the design
The design of the integrated resort during the schematic phase followed
development stage, it was apparent to the
more closely with the traditional model described in Figure 2. The design
team that the electrical capacity for the site team calculated preliminary system loads for the property based on the
original area program. The loads were used to develop several system
was going to become a concern. concepts to present to the owner. Preliminary central plant equipment and
central air handling systems were sized to determine the electrical loads
The largest energy consumers in the cooling system are the chillers (see while system information was provided for the rest of the spaces to calcu-
Figure 4). Reducing this consumption is not as easy as increasing chiller late an electrical allowance for secondary HVAC systems. This information
efficiency. There are other components that influence the performance of was coordinated with the electrical engineer, who began negotiations with
the overall system: chilled-water temperature design, condenser-water the utility company to size the incoming service and the main electrical
temperature design, cooling tower fan energy, pump configurations, pump distribution gear.
energy, use of variable frequency drives, air handling unit coil sizing, etc. As the design progressed into the design development stage, it was
The challenge presented to the engineer is how to design the mechanical apparent to the team that the electrical capacity for the site was going to
systems to minimize energy consumption while maintaining low first costs become a concern. If the site exceeded 30 MW, the utility would require the
and maximizing the use of available space. owner to construct a high-voltage substation to serve the property. Based

Integrated resort building energy usage Integrated resort central plant energy breakdown
General power Cooling towers
Lifts Chilled water
Plant HVAC
7% 3% 12%
13% 68%
55% 13%

Lighting Condenser water pumps Chillers

Figure 3: The chart represents the expected breakdown of the Figure 4: The energy consumed in a typical central utility plant
energy usage for a typical integrated resort building, showing is primarily associated with the chillers.
that the building systems are the major consumers of power,
not the occupants.

40 Consulting-Specifying Engineer JULY 2017

on the schematic level loads, the building demand exceeded this limit and ments were made to the control diagrams and sequences to fine-tune
would require a dedicated substation. control of the system and maximize system performance.
Because the property was constructed with a zero-lot line, there was To close the coordination loop, the design team reviewed the final sys-
no place to install the substation. The design team needed to find ways tem concept with the electrical engineer to make sure that the proposed
to reduce the overall electrical load. The largest load in the building was configuration could be supported by the electrical infrastructure. The
related to the chilled-water system; this was the most logical place to start. electrical team evaluated the various operating modes to make sure that
The design team revised the schematic cooling loads to incorporate more the system did not exceed the power threshold required to maintain the
detailed building program information. At the same time, several different building electrical demand below 30 MW.
chiller configurations were being evaluated based on maximizing chiller Through the close coordination effort during the design development phase,
efficiencies. During the re-evaluation process, the owner decided to hire the design team identified a serious issue that would have had a significant
an energy engineer and a CxA to provide a different perspective. It became impact on both the project schedule and budget. The design team, assisted
apparent very quickly that each consultant had an area of expertise that by nontraditional consultants, rationalized reduced building loads, analyzed
could benefit the project. The chilled-water optimization project was now multiple system options, and optimized the chilled-water system to reduce
going to follow a nontraditional model, the operation-driven design model. overall electrical consumption. This process resulted in an innovative solution
The base system design consisted of eight water-cooled centrifugal to a complex issue and provided the owner with a high-performance building
chillers using a variable-flow pumping arrangement to circulate chilled that will save energy for many years to come.
water. Four large-capacity heat pumps were used to provide heating hot
water to the building while pretreating the condenser water serving the Cooling and heating capacity
chillers (see Figure 5 for base equipment list). Cooling capacity Phase 1 Phase 2
Because the energy engineer had already completed several energy Sum of peaks 15,880 tons 19,380 tons
retrofits at the owners other properties, they had access to a wealth of Block load 13,480 tons 16,475 tons
information. The energy engineer had firsthand knowledge on how integrated Block load 12,000 tons 13,500 tons
resorts were operated and how to improve upon standard chiller designs. optimized (11% savings) (18% savings)
Most important, they had 2 years of operational data, which was analyzed Heating capacity Phase 1 Phase 2
and used to rationalize a smaller building load based upon actual building
Sum of peaks 58,000 MBH 65,250 MBH
operation of similar use groups (see Figure 6).
Block load 43,500 MBH 49,000 MBH
The team then used the rationalized load to develop different concepts
to determine the system with the best operating efficiency. The optimized Block load 40,000 MBH 45,000 MBH
optimized (8% savings) (8% savings)
design consisted of three pairs of series-counterflow chillers using a
variable-flow pumping system. A variable speed drive was installed on Figure 6: This table summarizes the heating and cooling loads
one chiller to provide improved part-load performance. Two double-bundle for the building before (SD) and after (DD) input from the ener-
machines, which can be used as either a heat pump or a chiller, were used to gy engineer was used to optimize the design.
provide heating hot water during heat pump mode or base load the building
in chiller mode (see Figure 7 for optimized equipment list). Optimized plant equipment summary
During the optimization phase, the team relied heavily on the operational
(3) 4,000 TR series counterflow sets, 0.559/0.574 kW/ton
experience of the CxA, who reviewed each of the options to identify control
CHWR = 56.0F, CHWS = 42.0F, 6,900 gpm/set
issues that would cause problems during the commissioning phase. Adjust- CWS = 90.0F, CWR = 100.0F, 11,125 gpm/set
(2) 1,600 TR double bundle chiller, 0.684 kW/ton
Base plant equipment summary
CHWR = 56.0F, CHWS = 42.0F, 2,775 gpm/CH
(8) 2,750 TR CWS = 90.0F, CWR = 100.0 F, 4,580 gpm/CH
CHWR = 56.0F, CHWS = 42.0F, 4,700 gpm/CH
(2) 7,521 kW, 1.184 kW/ton
(6) 560 TR, 0.670 kW/ton, COPh = 6.2, COPc = 11.45 Heat
CHWR = 56.0F, CHWS = 42.0F, 2,775 gpm/hp
Heat pump
CWS = 90.0F, CWR = 80.0F, 1,345 gpm/hp HWR = 125.0F, HWS = 140.0F, 3,470 gpm/hp
HWR = 125.0F, HWS = 140.0F, 1,060 gpm/hp
Cooling 6-Cell, Field erected, 672 kW Fan power
Cooling 6-cell, Field erected, 894 kW Fan power tower CWS = 90.0F, CWR = 100.0F, 49,445 gpm total
tower CWS = 90.0F, CWR = 100.0F, 53,920 gpm total
HW boilers boilers (3) 8,200 MBH, (1) 2,600 MBH
(4) 8,200 MBH

Figure 5: The base plant equipment summary lists the major Figure 7: The optimized plant equipment summary lists the
system components as designed during the schematic design major system components after operational feedback was
phase, prior to review of building loads or input from outside incorporated into the design to rationalize building loads to
consultants. reduce energy consumption. Consulting-Specifying Engineer JULY 2017 41

Integrating electrical, HVAC systems
continued from page 39 vious phases, is compiled into the final
system design.
n Revised electric loads for the major The engineers will provide detailed
mechanical equipment (chillers, infor mat ion ab out t he te chnic a l
cooling towers, pumps, air han- aspects of the overall systems and the
dling units, large fan systems) and specified equipment that set forth the
preliminary loads for secondary requirements for the construction of
mechanical equipment (fans, fan the project. During this process, the
coils, terminal boxes, heat pumps, relationship between each system
split systems, dampers, etc.) and its spatial impact on the project
n Revised heat-rejection rates of is finalized. The design team is tasked
major electrical equipment (sub- with coordinating the final design
stations, transformers, UPS) and information between disciplines to
preliminary heat-rejection rates ensure that all project requirements
for low-voltage and information are satisfied. Coordination becomes
technology (IT) equipment even more important within the last
n Revised locations of major elec- few weeks of the design schedule to
trical and mechanical equipment identify last-minute changes and the
and preliminary locations of sec- impact these changes may have on the
ondary electrical and mechanical designs of the other disciplines.
equipment As the CD phase progresses, the role
n Revised UPS and generator loads of the CxA and the energy engineers
(if applicable) becomes more critical. This is the last
n Identify life safety equipment opportunity for the design team to
locations and power require- incorporate comments and suggestions
ments. based on a review of system concepts,
n Preliminary electrical-, heating-, control diagrams, and the sequences of
and cooling-load profiles based operation. This feedback, usually based
on project-specific criteria on operation experience, allows the
Connectrac wireways n Preliminary BMS and metering designers to modify the systems with the
control sequences and control appropriate technology and components
provide a proven power and diagrams required to achieve the proposed build-
IT alternative to expensive n Preliminary electrical loads and ing performance.
locations for direct digital control The system enhancements will make it
and disruptive core drilling, (DDC) panels and devices possible for the building owner to con-
trenching and unsightly power n Preliminary energy modeling (if trol the building systems and collect ana-
applicable). lytical data to provide real-time feedback
poles. Our ultra-low profile to the BMS. Without this operational
wireway is so discreet its Construction document phase feedback, the BMS cannot adjust system
The construction document (CD) performance to achieve the anticipated
barely noticeable as
phase of the project is the culmination performance and predicted energy sav-
it elegantly blends in to any of the design effort. It is the point in the ings.
process where the engineers address the The anticipated deliverables at this
environment while
remaining outstanding issues and evalu- stage would include a final BOD docu-
accommodating power ate the proposed VE options presented mentdrawings of appropriate scale
by the contractors. If value-engineering that set forth the detailed requirements
and data.
options are proposed, the design team necessary for construction, and final
can evaluate the options and coordi- specifications that define the require-
nate with the other disciplines to make ments of the building materials, equip-
sure a mechanical VE option does not ment, and systems. When the con-
Connect without core drilling adversely affect the electrical design or struction drawings are complete, the
cost. This information, along with all the client will have sufficient information concepts and comments from the pre- to secure contractor bids, obtain the
input #17 at 42 Consulting-Specifying Engineer JULY 2017

Connectrac 2.7 Under-Carpet Wireway

Its so good at
you wont even know its there.
Introducing Our New Under-Carpet Wireway
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Connectrac wireways provide a proven power and IT alternative
to expensive and disruptive core drilling, trenching and unsightly
power poles. Our ultra-low profile wireway is so discreet its
barely noticeable as it elegantly blends in to any environment
while accommodating power and data.
Delivers Power + Data

input #18 at Connect without core drilling

Patent Pending
Integrating electrical, HVAC systems
required permits, and ensure that the structure (ductwork, piping, conduits, n Final BMS control sequences and
contractor is building the project as the bus ducts, etc.) pathways as well as all control diagrams
design team intended. secondary and branch pathways. n Final electrical loads and locations
During the CD phase, the electrical n Finalize electrical single-line dis- for DDC panels and devices.
and mechanical engineers complete tribution.
the system design and incorporate n Finalize BMS and metering control Bid and construction
final technical details. Each discipline sequences and control diagrams. administration phases
The importance of the bid and construc-
tion administration (CA) phases is some-
There is a unique opportunity for engineers to times overlooked by the design team. In
most cases, the design teams have limited
provide value to the owner during construction exposure during the construction phase.
through continued coordination of the design. The The design-team involvement is usually
limited to review of contractor shop draw-
engineers become guardians of the design during ings, response to contractor requests for
information, perform a limited quantity
the bid and construction administration phases. of onsite observation visits, and address
issues related to design as the systems are
finalizes load estimates, calculations, Coordination efforts between the installed.
equipment sizing, plant-room layouts, various disciplines and specialized However, there is a unique opportunity
and system layouts. Expected engineer- consultants continue as the design of for engineers to provide value to the owner
ing tasks that require continued coor- the systems are finalized. At this stage, during construction through continued
dination and input from others at this most of the systems are fairly defined coordination of the design. The engineers
stage are: and only require minimal modifica- become guardians of the design during the
tions. The design should be nearing bid and CA phases. The design team can
n Perform a final review to ensure completion, and it is important that work with the owners to de-scope the con-
the system design is in accordance the communication between the dis- tractor bids and make sure that the integ-
with applicable building codes, ciplines and specialized consultants rity of the design is maintained. The design
building certifications (LEED, does not stop. Information critical to team can work with the CxA to implement
Green Globes, Energy Star, etc.), continue coordination and integration the coordinated design that was agreed
and design standards. of the electrical and mechanical sys- upon during the DD and CD phases.
n Evaluate final energy efficiency tems include: Modern owners and developers are
measures and verify all com- pushing the limits of building design
ponents and modifications are n Final electric loads for the major and challenging todays engineering
incorporated into the final system mechanical equipment (chillers, professionals to become more creative
design. cooling towers, pumps, air han- with system design. The demand to
n Calculate final electrical loads dling units, large fan systems) and bring projects to market quicker and
associated with the system design secondary mechanical equipment more cost-effectively is reducing the
and verify that the system is fully (fans, fan coils, terminal boxes, heat margin of error during the design phase.
coordinated with the civil engineer pumps, split systems, dampers, etc.) Engineers must place more emphasis on
and electrical utility. n Final heat-rejection rates of major effective communication and increased
n Calculate final mechanical loads electrical equipment (substations, coordination between the disciplines
(heating, cooling, water, sewer, and transformers, UPS), low-voltage to deliver a fully integrated building.
gas) associated with the system equipment, and IT equipment Thorough coordination of the design
design and verify systems are fully n Final locations of major and sec- has never been more critical.
coordinated with the civil engineer ondary electrical and mechanical
and utility companies. equipment Hans Grabau is executive director of
n Finalize the electrical and mechani- n Final UPS and generator loads mechanical at NV5. His expertise is in
cal equipment sizing based upon (if applicable) multiple market sectors including large
final load calculations. n Final electrical loads and locations mixed-use gaming and hospitality proj-
n Finalize plant-room sizing and of the life safety equipment ects, mixed-use commercial develop-
layouts. n Final electrical-, heating-, and ments, mission critical facilities, and
n Finalize system layouts detailing cooling-load profiles based on central plant design both domestically
major horizontal and vertical infra- project-specific criteria and internationally.
44 Consulting-Specifying Engineer JULY 2017
Conventional wisdom
says that the maximum
life of CRAC units is
about 15 years. Thats
often a fair statement
although Data Aire is
proud to have a large base
of installed equipment
well over 15 years old.

Celebrating 30 Years of Continuous Service

Scott Hawkins
Building Project Manager

That said, sometimes there are

standouts among the standouts.

The same Data Temp equipment

has been cooling the data center in
the John Duncan Federal Building
in Knoxville, TN since 1987 with
barely a hiccup. The building is home
to the Office of Surface Mining and
Reclamation with the FBI, AFT and
IRS as prior tenants over the years.

For 30 years, Data Aire has been

protecting data vital to the United States.

How is this possible? The right equipment

maintained by the right team. As Building
Project Manager Scott Hawkins puts
it: With Data Aire, you have less cost,
less grief, less downtime. As long as the
maintenance is done, its a top-notch
unit. Its built like a Sherman tank.

Read the entire story including

interviews with key personnel at

input #19 at

The benefits and
challenges of wireless
fire alarm systems
Although designers should consider wireless fire alarm systems for
their portability, easy installation, and flexibility, they must also consider
cost-effectiveness for each application.


hen provisions for have to get involved, like drywall, fram-
Learning wireless alarms were ing, etc.
objectives in their infancy, most While the advent of 3-D modeling
 Explore the fundamentals of wire- authorities would allows design teams to coordinate equip-
less fire alarm technology. not permit their ment locations more accurately, owners
 Understand how to use wireless installation due to reliability concerns and designers still may not get the feel
fire alarm technology and its advan- and the fact that manufacturers had not for a space until it is built. Mock-ups are
tages for nonresidential applications. actively sought development. Architects often used, but it is not cost-effective
 Realize the benefits of fire alarm and interior designers complained that if to mock-up an entire building. Fortu-
technology and its current develop- they, or the owner, did not like the loca- nately, for those designers dealing with
tion of a fire alarm device or appliance, last-minute locations for fire alarm
it would require multiple trades to relo- devices, wireless technology has come
cate the device or appliance, a long way in the past 20 years, and the
even if it was just a foot or future looks bright.
two away from the original
location. An electrician Defining wireless fire alarm
would have to come out to technology
relocate the conduit, back- In its present state, wireless technology
box, and wiring, and the is not the be-all and end-all that allows
fire alarm technician would designers to put devices and appliances
have to reinstall the device wherever they want. The spacing crite-
or appliance. In many cases, ria of NFPA 72: National Fire Alarm and
other trades would also Signaling Code still applies. Designers
must meet the minimum standards set by
Figure 1: A wireless fire NFPA 72 for locating equipment on walls
alarm annunciator near the and ceilings. The locations of devices and
main entrance to Casa de appliances must meet the performance
Shenandoah. All graphics objectives for either detecting fires or
courtesy: NV5 notifying occupants, as applicable. Most

46 Consulting-Specifying Engineer JULY 2017

important, wireless does not mean that
there will not be any wires. Just like your
Wi-Fi connection at home, there will be
transmitters and receivers that must be
wired and powered.
Residential detection and notifica-
tion are specifically known in NFPA
72 as single- or multiple-station smoke
alarms. Smoke alarms that are installed
in new homes are generally required to
be connected to 120 V ac power along
with a battery backup. New installations
also require the alarms to actuate in mul-
tiple rooms if smoke is detected in only
one room. That technology is wired or Figure 2: A wireless fire alarm repeater panel was installed in a pantry located just beside
wireless depending on the type of system the main kitchen in the Casa de Shenandoah. Conduit for wires is still required for notifica-
installed. tion appliances. Inside the main kitchen to the right, a wireless smoke detector is located
Ultimately, though, what designers and on the ceiling.
owners have been yearning for is wire-
less fire alarm systems for commercial two-way communication systems are with equipment to evaluate their signal
applications. being prescribed by building and fire strength throughout areas of the building
Wireless fire alarm technology is codes requiring two-way radio communi- or property where they will be installed.
referred to in NFPA 72 as low-powered cation systems and eliminating the tradi- There are instances where the use of
radio (wireless) systems. That specifi- tional firefighter phone jacks in buildings. wireless fire alarm systems may not be
cally refers to the use of wireless signal Two-way radio communication systems effective. As with most radio frequency
transmission via radio wave signals. The are being enhanced within buildings with transmission, building materials or other
frequencies and modulation types are all the similar type of repeater technology environmental aspects may impact the
regulated by the Federal Communica- used in wireless fire alarm systems. Both ability to install wireless fire alarms. In
tions Commission (FCC), but the low- technologies also follow similar principals some cases, concrete construction may
power frequencies for fire alarm sys- for distributed antennae systems (DAS) limit signal strength and even metal
tems are typically outside of thresholds that are provided in buildings to enhance buildings may interfere with signals.
requiring licenses. mobile telephone signals. Cores of taller buildings, like concrete/
The term low-powered radio also masonry elevator cores or stair cores,
indicates that signals are not able to be Implementing wireless fire may reduce signals due to their construc-
transmitted over appreciable distances. alarm technology tion. Prior to installing, the designer and
Manufacturers of wireless fire alarm Similar to what is required by the Inter- installer should conduct a thorough RF
systems will clearly indicate the maxi- national Fire Code for two-way radio survey with their equipment. If the build-
mum distance between transmitting and communications, designers and install- ing is new construction, designers should
receiving devices. ers of the available wireless fire alarm evaluate construction materials with the
Some manufacturers have developed systems must determine if the site and design team and still conduct an RF sur-
technology that uses fire alarm devices building are suited for wireless technol- vey after construction. For new build-
as a transmitter and a receiver to create ogy by conducting a radio frequency (RF) ings, there should be mitigation measures
a mesh that allows the network to com- survey. For emergency two-way radios, in place in the event that the RF survey
municate in multiple directions rather heat maps often can be used by identify- determines wireless fire alarm system
than just bi-directionally. However, the ing the emergency broadcast frequency- communication may be questionable.
distance limitations still apply, and often signal strength at various locations and Where are the best places for wireless
the groups of transmitter/receivers must identifying when the signal falls below fire alarm systems? While most manufac-
still be within range of a repeater or a pri- acceptable levels. In-building repeaters or turers would like to answer with every-
mary network panel. DAS would be used to boost the primary where, they are also honest enough to
Historically, authorities have been wary signal. For wireless fire alarm systems, state in their literature that not all facili-
of wireless fire alarm systems, primarily the approach may vary but generally ties may be appropriate for wireless fire
because of their reliability. These days, requires that actual wireless fire alarm alarms. If you paired one of the greatest
however, even in-building firefighter transmitters and receivers be onsite advantages of wireless fire alarms with Consulting-Specifying Engineer JULY 2017 47

Wireless fire alarm systems
one of their strongest detractors, existing impacting historical finishes. While the most popular markets for wireless fire
construction or retrofits would be where fire alarm panels and repeaters required alarms: residential hotels, motels, and
wireless fire alarms are most advanta- wiring for power, they could be strategi- dormitories, since NFPA 72 requires
geous. Since there are significantly fewer cally located to limit the impact to aes- low-frequency audible alarms in sleep-
wired pathways, and RF surveys can be thetic finishes. Since not all parts of the ing areas.
conducted at any time, existing buildings mansion were open to the public, the The biggest issue associated with wire-
are key markets for wireless fire alarm fire alarm panel and repeaters could be less notification appliances is the power
systems. placed such that they could easily trans- consumption they require. Fire alarm
mit and receive yet were not in plain sight system designers know from battery
Casa de Shenandoah: Renovating a of the public. and voltage-drop calculations that the
private residence into a museum However, one aspect became clear: A power-hungry notification appliance
While Las Vegas is known for its bright wireless fire alarm is not truly wireless. is the primary driver of battery size. In
lights and pizzazz, there are actually sites The notification appliances required their quiescent state, notification appli-
that locals and tourists agree are histori- wiring both for monitoring and power. ances consume very little power. When
cal. Mr. Las Vegas himself, Wayne New- Fortunately, the installation of notifica- the alarms sound and the strobes flash,
ton, formerly owned Casa de Shenandoah, tion appliances was limited to areas that the alarm appliances can and will drain
a 52-acre property with eight homes. The were directly accessible to the public. In batteries quickly.
property now serves as an attraction with this case, it was possible to group appli- Technology in both sound and light is
the main house, a 9,000-sq-ft mansion, ances in strategic locations near repeat- continually improving such that wireless
serving as a museum showcasing his lav- ers and panels to limit the impacts to the notification appliances should be devel-
ish lifestyle. building. oped long before automated flying cars.
Today, thousands of visitors visit Casa de Improvements in consumer-use wireless
Shenandoah each year to marvel at the life- home speaker technology may assist with
style Mr. Las Vegas was able to accrue. For further development of audible fire alarm
the owners and authorities, they know notification appliances.
the public is afforded more safety than Developments in LED technology and
the previously private residence allowed. its low-power consumption will inevita-
The case study demonstrates that bly improve visual fire alarm notification
wireless fire alarms are not truly wire- appliances. Even battery technology has
less because of the panels and notifica- advanced in leaps and bounds over the
tion appliances. However, with savvy past decade. However, further develop-
designers and installers, those obstacles ment of these products and technologies
Figure 3: The Casa de Shenandoah was orig- become simple workarounds. During the as applied to wireless fire alarm notifica-
inally provided with a fire alarm system. This RF survey, and working with the owner tion appliances will not happen quickly
annunciator panel located near the kitchen and architect, the designers and installers without consumer demand, authority
reported which building on the property was of the Casa de Shenandoah project were approvals, and appropriate standards
in alarm. able to identify locations for panels and development.
repeaters while simultaneously identify- One potential benefit of wireless fire
Unfortunately, changing a private ing how they could install the notifica- alarm notification appliances is making
residence to a museum does not happen tion appliances with minimal intrusion. them smart. Fire alarm notification
overnight. To make the private residence As noted previously, even a home appliances are not addressable on fire
accessible to the public, negotiations with Wi-Fi system is going to require some alarm systems. That is, depending on
authorities required that fire alarm detec- wires for power and a connection to the how the notification appliance circuits
tion devices be installed throughout the internet; its the same with wireless fire are installed, it may be difficult to deter-
mansion with notification appliances alarms. The additional challenge is that mine which in a series of appliances is
along the publicly accessible path of the most required notification appliances are dysfunctional since they do not have
museum tour. The most effective means not wireless. At least one manufacturer independent addresses like detection
to make this happen was to provide a has developed a low-frequency sounder devices. A wireless notification appli-
wireless fire alarm system. for audible notification, but speakers and ance would be required to be monitored
The benefits of a wireless fire alarm visual notification appliances (strobes) through the same means as a detection
system were immediately apparent. may require years more of development. device. It would have a physical address
Wireless smoke detectors could be To the developers of the low-frequency on a network so that if something were
installed throughout the building without sounders credit, they tapped one of the wrong with the appliance, a trouble

48 Consulting-Specifying Engineer JULY 2017

signal would be annunciated at the fire
alarm control panel. With an indepen-
dent address, it would be easily identifi-
able within the building.
Even though wireless notification
appliances are not fully developed, the
devices associated with initiating technol-
ogy are mostly covered. Smoke detectors,
carbon monoxide detectors, and manual
fire alarm pull stations have been fully
developed. Water flow switch monitor-
ing, valve tamper monitoring, and similar
technology will require a box wired for
power near the devices to be monitored.
Similarly, relay boxes for elevator recall,
HVAC shutdown, and other equipment Figure 4: Wireless fire alarm annunciator panel located between two main rooms in
interfaces will have a box requiring power the Casa de Shenandoah. While the panel stands out, it can be located so as not to
and monitoring. However, if your sprin- detract from the finer points of the building.
kler riser room is remote from your fire
alarm control panel or you need to retro- underground to each building. Similarly, wireless fire alarms. If you think chang-
actively implement elevator recall and do industrial facilities with multiple build- ing your batteries in your home smoke
not want to or cannot wire, wireless could ings separated from one another can ben- alarms is a hassle every time you move
be the way to go. efit from the wireless technology. Wire- the clocks forward or back, consider
For now, there are many projects that less fire alarm technology can be equally changing all the batteries in a 300-room
can take advantage of the existing wire- effective for common, but not often hotel/motel once a year, both for the
less fire alarm technology that is avail- thought-about applications like carnival smoke detectors and the low-frequency
able. One of the early users of wireless funhouses, zoos, or mobile exhibits. sounder. Some might argue that they
fire alarm systems were low-rise hotels In cities like Las Vegas, where con- should be doing that anyway if the prop-
and motels. While most existing hotels ventioneers descend upon the scene erties have single-station alarms, and
and motels have the minimum required frequently and in masses, authorities they would be right. However, upgrading
single-station smoke alarms, many are often regulate well to protect the public. to a wired, addressable smoke-detection
upgrading to addressable systems so Two-story convention booths, 5,000- system with low-frequency sounder
they know almost immediately if they sq-ft mobile exhibits, and 60,000-sq-ft bases wouldnt require the same battery
have problems with guests tampering or tents are not uncommon places where replacement, since the batteries are at the
disabling smoke detectors. fire departments have required fire detec- panel and not the detector.
Wireless smoke detectors, combined tion and alarms due to the unique hazard The required types of batteries and
with wireless low-frequency sounders, to the public. A wireless fire alarm system what they cost should also be considered.
become an easy choice for hotel and also is portable and more easily relocated Will the building maintenance person-
motel operators that want to upgrade from one event to another. nel be able to obtain the required battery
their systems with minimal downtime. With their portability, ease of instal- types off the shelf or are they a custom
With minimal wiring for power to panels lation, and flexibility, wireless fire alarm order? How long will it take personnel
and repeaters and the requisite Ameri- systems can be an easy sell for some. Cost to change the batteries? Most forward-
cans with Disabilities Act guest rooms, is also a factor. A wireless fire alarm sys- thinking manufacturers have developed
the installation is quicker and allows tem is going to be more expensive part- their products based on commercially
operators to turn over guest rooms with for-part than a traditional wired fire available batteries that are readily avail-
very little interruption to business. alarm system. Smaller systems are likely able either off the shelf or through bulk
Wireless fire alarm systems are partic- to cost more than larger systems. There purchase and are as simple as changing
ularly effective for campus-style hotels are cost savings in larger systems as a batteries in home smoke alarms. How-
or garden-style apartments. If each of result of the associated wiring, termina- ever, caution should be taken to confirm
the buildings is sprinklered and requires tions, and troubleshooting associated that this is the case; otherwise, the build-
fire alarm systems, wireless fire alarm with wiring. ing maintenance personnel and manage-
system panels and repeaters are much What generally is not on the sell sheets ment will forever question who made the
easier to install than trenching wiring is the long-term costs associated with decision to go to wireless. Consulting-Specifying Engineer JULY 2017 49

Wireless fire alarm systems

Figure 5: At the main entrance to Casa de Shenandoah, the finishes are visually stunning. A wireless fire alarm smoke detector
can be seen at the top of the stairs while a wireless manual pull station can be seen through the railing. The audio/video notifica-
tion appliance is not wireless, but can be seen at the top doorway to the left.

Though it may be obvious to con- that may evaluate fire alarm systems for consult with the manufacturers techni-
sulting-specifying engineers, designers specific installations. cal representatives as they should know
should thoroughly evaluate the prop- Since wireless fire alarm systems are their technology best.
erties of any fire alarm system and the subject to the requirements of NFPA The development of wireless fire
local installer prior to final engagements. 72, their data sheets should indicate the alarm systems is continually improving.
Commercial wireless fire alarm systems approved pathway-class designations that Advancements in wireless speaker and
must have the appropriate listings with the system can achieve. Wired-systems strobe technology must continue so that
a nationally recognized testing labora- pathway classes include A, B, C, D, E, or both detection devices and notification
tory. UL 864: Standard for Control Units X designations. Wireless systems might appliances may be considered truly wire-
and Accessories for Fire Alarm Systems include Class A, C, E, and X. Another less. Perhaps in the not-to-distant future,
applies to both wireless and wired fire benefit of wireless fire alarms is they are architects and interior designers will be
alarm systems and has specific provisions not subject to ground faults and open able to have even more flexibility with
for low-powered radio (wireless) systems. circuits. field-placing devices and appliances
Wireless fire alarm system manu- The technology, flexibility, and por- within the guidelines of NFPA 72, of
facturers may have their systems listed tability of wireless fire alarm systems course.
through Factory Mutual (FM) or UL, and are appealing for many reasons. To suc-
their listings may contain useful infor- cessfully incorporate the newest low- Gregory K. Shino is technical director of
mation concerning applicability and/or frequency radio (wireless) fire alarm sys- fire protection engineering at NV5, with
installation criteria. Some states, larger tems into a specific project, the first step more than 15 years of experience in design
cities, and other jurisdictions may have would be to evaluate the technology that and commissioning of fire suppression, fire
specific listing criteria or approval orga- manufacturers have to offer and consult alarm and detection, and smoke-control
nizations. The California State Fire Mar- with them. Local fire alarm companies systems. He is a member of the Society of
shal and City of New York Fire Depart- may have some experience and knowl- Fire Protection Engineers, NFPA, and the
ment are two examples of public agencies edge, but designers should definitely International Code Council.

50 Consulting-Specifying Engineer JULY 2017

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Assessing wireless
fire alarm systems
Fire protection engineers should assess the costs, benefits, history,
technology, and code-compliance aspects of low-power wireless fire alarm
systems and wireless smoke alarms.

BY WILLIAM E. KOFFEL, PE, FSFPE; Koffel Associates Inc., Columbia, Md.

ften considered new ondary source of power, the primary
Learning technology, commercial battery is permitted to be the sole source
objectives wireless fire alarm sys- of power for a low-power radio system
 Explain how NFPA 72: tems have now been in (NFPA 72-2016: 23.16.2). However, the
National Fire Alarm and existence for more than reliability of the battery power source
Signaling Code directs engi- 30 years. Prior to 1987, the use of wire- is enhanced by requirements that:
neers in their design of wire- less fire alarm systems suffered due to the
less fire alarm systems.
lack of listing standard criteria, absence  The battery must be capable of
 Review case studies that
of recognition in what is now referred to operating the transmitter/trans-
incorporate low-power
wireless fire alarm systems. as NFPA 72: National Fire Alarm and Sig- ceiver for a period of at least 1 year.
naling Code, and overall concerns with
performance features.  A distinctive, low-battery trouble
With the development of UL stan- signal shall sound at least every 4
dards for wireless fire alarm systems and hours, if the signal is silenced, for
requirements being included in NFPA 72 a period of at least 7 days prior to
in 1987, commercial fire alarm systems the battery not being able to oper-
as we know them today were born and ate the device properly. The trouble
started to become an acceptable technol- signal shall identify the specific
ogy. Before applications are discussed, transmitter/transceiver served by
lets first explore the requirements cur- that battery and each transmitter/
rently in NFPA 72. transceiver shall serve no more
than one device.
NFPA 72-2016
The application of the section origi-  Catastrophic battery failure shall
nally intended to apply to wireless fire result in a trouble signal, which
alarm systems has been expanded by again will sound every 4 hours if
referring to low-power radio systems. silenced.
As with more traditional fire alarm sys-
tem equipment and components, the  Battery failure in one transmitter/
standard states that equipment in low- transceiver shall not impact any
power radio systems shall also be listed other transmitter/transceiver.
for use as a fire alarm system (NFPA
72-2016: 23.16.1). Alarm signals from low-power radio
While traditional fire alarm systems systems shall have the same priority and
are required to have a primary and sec- response time as required for traditional

52 Consulting-Specifying Engineer JULY 2017

Figure 1: The CWSI wireless fire alarm system devices includes a control panel, remote annunciator, repeater, relay box, fire alarm
pull station, and several other integrated products. Courtesy: Johnson Controls Inc.

fire alarm systems. In addition, each CASE STUDY: Facility uses low-power radio system
transmitter/transceiver shall repeatedly

transmit alarm signals every 60 seconds he project involved an old building used as a hospital. As with many older buildings,
until the initiating device is restored to a many of the interior walls were solid, thick walls. The existing fire alarm system
non-alarm status. could not be maintained in an operational status, and the current location of initiating
The integrity of such systems is moni- devices and alarm-notification appliances was not acceptable based on current codes. Lastly,
tored by requiring trouble signals under the health care organization already had begun the design of a replacement facility, and the
the following conditions (NFPA 72-2016: existing building would no longer be used for patient care and treatment.
The facility considered three options:

 Within 200 seconds of loss of com- 1. Traditional fire alarm system. The primary concern expressed with this option was the cost
munication with a device and time needed to route cable to the location of new initiating devices and alarm-notification
appliances. Associated with the time factor was the disruption to providing adequate patient
 Immediately upon removal of a care and treatment in a relatively noise-free environment.
transmitter/transceiver from its 2. Low-power radio system. The primary concern expressed with this option was the time
installed position and cost associated with maintaining and replacing the batteries in each device.

 Reception of an interfering 3. Continue to use the existing system. The primary concern expressed with this option was
transmission. the ongoing challenges and costs associated with repairing the system and a concern that
the system was unreliable to the point that the accrediting organization would no longer
Lastly, when a low-power radio accredit the facility.
transmitter/transceiver is used to actu- Once the decision was made to use a low-power radio system, the facility continued to try and
ate remote devices, the performance is limit the cost of the system. The facility was able to negotiate an equipment-lease arrangement
required to be essentially the same as a with the manufacturer so that they did not pay the full purchase price for the equipment. Lastly,
traditional fire alarm system. the concerns regarding the cost of battery replacement were reduced due to the fact that the
NFPA 72 contains some additional system would only be in service for a few years, and therefore the cost was clearly less than the
requirements for the acceptance test- cost of installing wiring and cable.
ing of low-power radio systems, above
and beyond the requirements for all fire
alarm systems. These include the use of supplier or by the suppliers designated The alternative communications path
the manufacturers published instruc- representative. shall be confirmed between the wireless
tions and the as-built drawings pro- In addition, starting from the func- control unit and peripheral devices used
vided by the system supplier to verify tional operating condition, the system to establish initiation, indication, con-
correct operation after the initial test- shall be initialized in accordance with the trol, and annunciation. Lastly, the system
ing phase has been performed by the manufacturers published instructions. shall be tested for both alarm and trouble Consulting-Specifying Engineer JULY 2017 53

Wireless fire alarm systems
conditions (NFPA 72-2016; Table such, the choice to use low-power radio Another benefit of low-power radio systems rests with the designer of the fire systems is the reduced installation time,
The First Draft Report for the 2019 edi- alarm system. Common applications are especially in a retrofit project. Manu-
tion of NFPA 72 indicates that most of the those in which installing fire alarm cable facturers of such systems will often cite
above provisions will remain unchanged. is either costly or challenging. hotel retrofit projects in which one can
There is a new section proposed to address In a historical building, for example, install the detection devices faster than
situations in which two or more batteries a low-power radio system may be desir- the room can be serviced.
are used to power a device (FR 3009). able because installing cable in concealed Today, technology exists that allows for
spaces may adversely impact the histori- tandem smoke operation in residen-
Applications cal features of the building; installing tial properties that have multiple smoke
NFPA 72 does not limit the applica- surface-mounted raceway also is not alarms/detectors in a common apartment
tions of low-power radio systems. As desirable. or large hotel room. The installation of a
low-power radio system in such facili-
ties should take considerably less time
As with any fire alarm system, when properly designed, than a traditional fire alarm system with
reduced disruption to the residents or
installed, inspected, tested, and maintained, low-power guests in the facility.
radio systems provide the level of system performance
New and existing buildings
required and expected in those situations in which a code Low-power radio systems, or wireless
fire alarm systems, have been available
requires a building, or portion thereof, to be protected in the United States for more than 3
decades. The reliability and performance
with a fire alarm system. of such systems have improved due to the

Consulting-Specifying Engineer
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CASE STUDY: Multifamily-complex fire alarm system

his project involved a large, multibuilding residential complex system to connect to a fire alarm control unit unless changes were
in which the individual fire alarm control units in each building made to those devices as well. However, this option would result in
reported to one of two master fire alarm control units for the entire the supervising station receiving more specific information in that
site. The connection between the individual buildings and the master fire the individual initiating device could be identified.
alarm control units was by cable installed in underground conduit. In
3. Replace the existing underground conduit system with a low-
addition, some valve supervisory switches were connected to fire alarm
power radio system. This required interfacing the existing fire alarm
control units in nearby buildings using the underground conduit.
control units with low-power radio system transmitters. Due to the
The site was experiencing routine faults due to the condition of the
size of the site, additional transmitters also were required to properly
cables in the underground conduit and an ongoing presence of water in
communicate with the master fire alarm control units. As proposed,
the conduit. It should also be noted that the site had methane gas issues
this option would result in the supervising station receiving the specific
that needed to be addressed.
panel (building location) and the type of signal: alarm, supervisory, or
The homeowners association considered three options presented by the trouble. The isolated valve supervisory switches could also be con-
engineer: nected to a fire alarm control unit using low-power radio transmitters.
1. Replace the existing underground conduit system. Not only was
When comparing the costs of the cellular service option against the
this option costly and disruptive, but also the presence of methane
low-power radio system option, the initial cost for the low-power radio
gas at the site essentially precluded any new trenching for a replace-
system was about 170% of the cost of the cellular service option. When
ment system.
comparing the monthly costs, the cellular service was 700% of the cost
2. Connect the fire alarm control units in the individual buildings of the low-power radio system. In approximately a 2-year period, the
to a supervising station using cellular service. This option was cost of the cellular service option would be greater than the cost of the
actually the cheapest with respect to equipment costs, but the low-power radio system.
homeowners association would then be subjected to an ongoing Before committing to the low-power radio system, the manufacturer of
monthly cost for the cellular service. In addition, the individual valve the equipment conducted a site assessment to make sure that the signals
supervisory switches would still be using the underground conduit could be properly communicated.

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Wireless fire alarm systems
changes in the listing standards and the
SWIFT wireless product recalled requirements in NFPA 72.
As with any fire alarm system, when
NAME OF PRODUCT: SWIFT wireless gateway sold with fire alarm systems properly designed, installed, inspected,
HAZARD: The smoke detectors connected to the gateway can fail to activate properly when tested, and maintained, low-power radio
significant environmental contaminants are present, posing a risk that consumers will not be systems provide the level of system per-
alerted to a fire. formance required and expected in those
situations in which a code requires a
RECALL DATE: May 12, 2017
building, or portion thereof, to be pro-
RECALL NUMBER: 17-151 tected with a fire alarm system. While
DESCRIPTION: This recall involves the SWIFT the two case studies on pages 53 and 55
wireless gateway sold with fire alarm systems. address their use in existing buildings,
The gateways are round, white, and measure such systems are a viable option for new
8 in. in diameter. The gateways are the bridge buildings.
between the fire alarm control panel and the
detectors. These systems are used primarily
for indoor or covered areas in commercial
buildings, such as in office buildings, hotels,
William E. Koffel is president of Kof-
industrial facilities, and apartment complexes.
fel Associates. He is chair of the NFPA
The model number and date codes are
printed on the back of the gateway on a white Correlating Committee on Life Safety
Figure 2: The SWIFT wireless fire label on the circuit board. For specific details and a member of numerous NFPA tech-
alarm system was recently recalled. of the brand and model numbers involved in nical committees. He is a member of the
Courtesy: Honeywell International the recall, go to Consulting-Specifying Engineer editorial
advisory board.

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2016-CSE_NP4E_OneSixth.indd 1 3/31/2017 4:15:15 PM
60 Consulting-Specifying Engineer JULY 2017
MONTH Consulting
2017 Specifying Engineer
Issue: July 2017
Digital Edition
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DE-1 Replacing an EPSS

at a hospital
A health care facility requires an emergency
power supply system (EPSS). Its replacement must
be carefully planned to reduce any loss of electri-
cal systems.

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variety of research studies, including: research

 Electrical and power systems

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 Salary survey. Consulting-Specifying Engineer JULY 2017 61

Replacing an
EPSS at a hospital
A health care facility requires an emergency power supply
system (EPSS). Its replacement must be carefully planned to reduce
any loss of electrical systems.

BY SAM AWABDEH, PE, Peter Basso Associates, Troy, Mich.

n emergency power sup- Generator location
ply system (EPSS) is an To provide enough power to a signifi-
important component of cantly sized hospital, the engineering
health care facility opera- team, along with the hospitals facilities
tions. It is the lifeline of management staff and project manager,
every hospital. Replacement of these need to consider the locations of the gen-
systems while keeping the hospital fully erators and the paralleling switchgear.
operational can be challenging, therefore These systems should be moved from
critical steps must be taken to ensure that what might be a hazardous location.
the transition from one system to the One consideration would be to locate
next is flawless. the emergency electrical
Regardless of the size Learning system on the 1st floor (or
of the facility, an EPSS is objectives higher) of a powerhouse
required in every health to avoid any potential
care setting for the safety  Demonstrate how to avoid hazardous flooding con-
disruption to a fully opera-
and security of patients, cerns. In any case, the
tional hospital when imple-
staff, and visitors. Hav- menting a new emergency generator, switchgear, and
ing this standard in place power supply system. other required equipment
helps health care facilities  Understand why the loca- need to be located above
avoid patient evacuation tion of a new EPSS matters. the local floodplain. In
when faced with a natural areas exposed to seismic
disaster that has caused the electrical sys- activity, systems should not be located
tem to unexpectedly shut down. on rooftops or in basements in case of
However, even with mandatory laws an earthquake or other natural disasters.
such as NFPA 70: National Electrical
Code 517-25 requiring the implementa- Maintaining an N+1 system
tion of an EPSS, things can go terribly Due to the critical nature of emer-
wrong; as was the case for a prominent gency power in hospitals, implement-
Figure 1: Power from four generators hospital in New York City during Super- ing a system with the highest amount of
is fed to the paralleling switchgear and storm Sandy. When the hospitals backup reliability is preferred, especially as the
distributed to all transfer switches and generators failed or proved inadequate, last line of defense securing the safety of
emergency generators. All graphics the hospital was forced to evacuate nearly its patients, staff, and visitors. Adding
courtesy: Camille Sylvain Thompson, 1,000 patients. This is a risk that most a generator equal in size to the largest
Peter Basso Associates health care facilities do not want to take. existing generator provides the added

DE1 Consulting-Specifying Engineer JULY 2017

Figure 2: A panel monitors the statuses of each generator and the fuel
day tanks. It combines generators and substations into one monitoring
system. The monitoring panel activates when there is a loss of power,
and the paralleling switchgear signals the emergency generators.

reliability of an N+1 system, where N electrical system shall be

equals the actual electrical emergency transferred to the emergency
load of the hospital and +1 doubles that paralleling switchgear.
actual electrical emergency load to pro-
vide added security in case of un unex- Staying fully operational
pected shutdown. during transition
In larger hospitals, there typically is In most cases, imple-
more than one emergency generator in mentation of a new EPSS
place. For example, consider a major is designed and completed
health care facility in Troy, Mich. To sup- in multiple phases to avoid
port a major expansion at the hospital, disruption to the existing
three existing 745, 900-, and 1,200-kW emergency system in the
emergency generators were replaced hospital. Any changes to the
with two larger 2,000-kW generators. EPSS, including the replace-
The decision to move to larger genera- ment or modification of the
tors also was a result of the NFPA 110: existing emergency system,
Standard for Emergency and Standby will introduce the possibil-
Power Systems Table 4.1 code require- ity of losing the alternative
ments or the 10-second rule that states, power.
The life safety and critical branches Therefore, most of the
shall be installed and connected to the work would need to be scheduled around
alternative power source so that all func- the hospital staff and administrators
tions supplied by these branches speci- working schedules, therefore requiring
fied here shall be automatically restored temporary reallocation of usable spaces
to operation within 10 seconds after within the hospital. A temporary gen-
interruption of the normal source (NEC erator might be the solution to be able
517.31). to keep the availability of the alterna-
Typically, it is not recommended to tive power source while the permanent
design an emergency system that relies emergency generators are being replaced.
on synchronizing two or more genera- Special attention to the transfer switch-
tors together within 10 seconds or less. es control wires shall be considered to
Good engineering practice recommends assure the availability of emergency
that the emergency system design takes power when any of the automatic transfer
into consideration the capacity of one switches call for it.
generator, which shall exceed the life The bottom line in any health care
safety and critical emergency loads. The environment is the safety and well-being
other emergency loads in the hospital of patients, staff, and visitors. Following
shall be delayed until other generators these and other guidelines will assist the
are synchronized and connected to the design and construction team in creat-
emergency paralleling switchgear. ing a smooth transition between an
Loads requiring emergency power other existing and new EPSS that will make
than the life safety and critical branches are any growing health care facility better
permitted to be delayed based on NFPA equipped for handling an unexpected
70. 517.34 (A) (B). Once the transfer is loss of power.
complete, the remaining generators are
connected to the new emergency system. Sam Awabdeh is vice president at Peter Figure 3: One of four emergency genera-
Then the remaining loads of the essential Basso Associates. tors feeds the paralleling switchgear. Consulting-Specifying Engineer JULY 2017 DE2

Product & Literature Digest

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Future of Engineering
Page, Houston

Integrating teams for success

Integrate the architectural and engineering teams for project success.

lobalization of markets, social speed design and integrated buildings, Electrically, changing requirements
media, the Internet of Things, engineers continue to design in silos. in NFPA 70E: Standard for Electrical
sustainability, and global poli- Safety in the Workplace has introduced
tics all have a profound impact on an Architectural/engineering options such as arc-resistant switchgear.
engineers daily life. The rate of change team integration The required accessories significantly
of every aspect of life also results in Recently, an increasing number of impact mechanical and architectural
unprecedented volatility in an engineers projects are executed with a fully inte- design with blast panels and louvers.
work. Social media has created a new grated AE team from programming Transformers have increased in physical
level of transparency to the internal through to completion. This should size, again, to improve efficiency. Code
workings of corporate entities. This not be confused with an AE firm, as requirements relating to lighting design,
transparency, combined with the pres- sitting under the same roof does not lighting controls, and daylight require
sure from the instant gratification mean integral operation, nor should it unprecedented coordination between
generation to respond to any stimulus be assumed that separate architects and the architect and electrical engineer, not
immediately and resolutely, pushes cli- mechanical, electrical, and plumbing only to clearly explain options to clients,
ents to move more quickly than before. (MEP) cannot operate as an integrated but also to document the design for
With virtual reality, networking, team. This is about project approach permitting.
BIM coordination, and other available and team chemistry. If an integrated design approach is
tools, the ability to present questions One of the most critical decision used, it makes the process run more
and obtain feedback from clients has points early in a project is choosing smoothly. Through programming,
reached a new high. These tools allow the type of HVAC system. If involved architects and engineers can work out
engineers to not only convey questions during programming, engineering a space program and floor plan that is
more clearly, but also to review options can inform architecture on optimum viable from the day it is approved. By
and determine paths forward more equipment room sizes and locations. using BIM tools, engineers can locate
quickly. Increasing efficiency requirements have equipment while checking site lines to
There is, however, one link that rendered many rules for space allocation ensure it is not visible from certain loca-
traditionally eludes a large percentage obsolete. tions within a facility. But most impor-
of projects. While code officials and cli- Variable refrigerant flow systems tantly, by working as an integrated AE
ents push toward more integrated solu- dont have the same space require- team from start to finish, architects and
tions and faster delivery, all too often, ments as centralized air handling engineers can provide the owner with a
the architectural and engineering (AE) unit systems, which affects the pro- facility where the infrastructure melds
industry continues to operate under the gram dramatically. Improvements in into the design.
same process. The architect meets with acoustics have made centrally located
the clients, determines their goals (with equipment rooms less objectionable, John Gross is the principal /mechanical
a heavy emphasis on architecture), cre- giving architects more flexibility in engineering director at Page in Houston.
ates space plans, obtains client buy-in, space layouts. As there are far fewer With 13 years of experience in data cen-
and then engages the engineers to do exceptions for economizers, under- ter, green building, and large chiller plant
their part. This results in either multiple standing the options for economizer design and commissioning, Gross is Pages
revisions to an approved floor plan type, available exceptions, and archi- lead direct digital controls and forensic
(or worse, increase in building foot- tectural implications if an economizer analysis engineer.
print) or the popular make it work is used can play a key role in building Read the longer version of this online at:
scenario. In todays market of high- configuration.

64 Consulting-Specifying Engineer JULY 2017


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