Case Studies

View our posted Case Studies of the completed and current projects, where you can sort by Service, Date or by Building Type to find the Case Studies that interest you. This is not a comprehensive list as we continue to build and update our website, so please Contact Us if you require more information or have questions of our project experience

Avord Tower
Office Building
Energy Management

Heating season data indicates much success with the new hot water heating system boilers at Avord Tower, an office tower located in downtown Saskatoon, SK.

Service completion: 2009
Scope of services: Auditing, Retrofit Project Management, Ongoing Monitoring of Energy Use, Federal and Provincial Grant Application
Size: 183,000 sq.ft.
Building system: Dual duct, constant volume system with reheat and perimeter hot water radiators fed by boilers.

Two 3,348 MBTU Saskatoon Boilers were replaced with a Viessman Hybrid hot water heating system configuration. One Vitocrossal CT3-57 condensing boiler (2,160 MBTU) and one Vitorond VD2-560 near condensing boiler (2,275 MBTU), complete with a low loss header, were installed.

A comparison to the average costs and consumptions for the 2007-2008 and the 2008-2009 heating seasons indicate that savings are over $12,000 for the 2009-2010 heating season.

A distinct reduction in the consumption per HDD is evident. In fact, in the first six months that the new boilers were operating, there was a 27.6% reduction in natural gas consumption. Full federal and provincial incentives were obtained.

"Thurston is dependable and resourceful. They have always been aggressive with Federal Grant applications through ecoEnergy and the previous programs, maximizing the amounts available to the building owners." - Property Manager, Colliers McClocklin Real Estate

Saskatoon Tower
Multi-Unit Residential Building
Energy Management

In 2004, the owners of Saskatoon Tower decided it was time to upgrade their mid-efficient hot water boiler system to something that was more energy efficiency, more environmentally friendly, with aim of lowering their overall operating cost.

Service completion: 2005
Scope of services: Auditing, Ongoing Monitoring of Energy Use, Federal and Provincial Grant Application
Size: 16 storeys plus parkade
Building systems: Hot water fan-coils and hot water convector baseboard heaters, dedicated domestic hot water boiler.

The existing system consisted of two copper fin tube boilers that were heating convector baseboard, fan coils and one copper fin tube boiler that was strictly dedicated to domestic hot water.

The heating system was replaced with a Viessman hybrid system, where the condensing Vertomat VSB-57 with a fully modulating Wieshaupt gas burner was designed to take care of the heating load until it got below -25 degC (at this point most boilers do not condense), and the Rondomat RMT-630 with a fully modulating Riello gas burner was to assist with the heating load at very cold temperatures. A mixing valve to maintain building setpoint while generating domestic hot water and a heat exchanger for make-up air was added to the heating system.

Thurston Engineering Services found that Saskatoon Towers decreased their gas consumption by 44% in only 4 months. This project allowed the owners to obtain their goals of higher energy efficiency and lower operating costs. They were also able to take full advantage of the SaskEnergy Commercial Boiler grant program.

Epcor Tower
Office Building
Energy Simulation

Epcor Tower in Edmonton, Alberta, was a hallmark project for many reasons, incorporating many advanced technologies and requiring much team communication and cooperation.

Service completion: Spring 2010
Scope of services: Schematic Design Building Energy Simulation, Minimum and Optimize Energy Performance Simulation (EAp2, EAc1) for USGBC LEED: Core & Shell 1.0, requiring modeling to ASHRAE 90.1-2004.
Size: $250,000,000 construction budget for 29 storeys plus 4 level parkade
Building systems: Advanced curtainwall envelope, 4 pipe fan-coil mechanical system with many advanced technologies described below, no lighting design in Core & Shell.

Advanced technologies modeled include 1) earth-tube preheat of ventilation air; 2) strainer cycle, which bypasses chillers and utilizes only cooling towers for cooling when possible, resulting in large savings; 3) boiler condensate recovery system requiring an increased boiler efficiency, but also manual calculations of additional pumping; 4) heat reclaim off chiller as a design iteration.

The Epcor model was challenging for reasons additional to technical challenges described above. The model was hovering around just meeting prerequisite requirements for much of the design, requiring careful and precise modeling to ensure that the reviewed results were not below prerequisite. One significant contribution of the model was flagging the pump sizing as a design issue, and the consultants revisited this to find gross over-sizing due to miscalculation. After a lot of work and collaboration, the model was successfully reviewed to exceed its energy target at 22% better than ASHRAE, for 4 points.

Thurston Engineering Services professionals "immediately demonstrated high competency in modeling our complex building and excellent communication skills in relaying the status and issues with the model to our design team." - Prime Consultant, Epcor Tower project

Winnipeg Mail Processing Plant
Industrial Building
Energy Simulation

As a demonstration project for Canada Post, Winnipeg Mail Processing Plant was a Design-Build industrial construction project with an accelerated project schedule, closely integrating the consultant and contractor parties into one team while answering to a duplicate set of consultants on the owner's team. Service completion: Winter 2009-2010
Scope of services: Minimum and Optimize Energy Performance Simulation (EAp2, EAc1) for CaGBC LEED: New Construction 1.0
Size: $50,000,000 construction budget
Building systems: Curtainwall, stone and insulated metal panel envelope, hydronic heating and cooling with a VAV system in office and multiple single-zone air-handling units in plant with high filtration and tight humidity requirements, fluorescent lighting, high industrial process load.

The owner had three unique demands in designing and building this facility: 1) utilize Design-Build method, 2) make all work available and transparent to their duplicate set of consultants (their contracted project manager, architect, mech/elec engineers, LEED and energy specialists), and 3) meet their required LEED credits, timeline and other requirements or suffer a fee penalty. So, in addition to gaining experience with an industrial building, team members gained experience in critiquing the design during construction (requiring very fast turnaround of results, or concrete may be poured over the potential solution!), in justifying fine details of work to owner's consultants while completing project within tight timeline, and in having an entire design and build team highly interested in the energy model outcome. In the end, the model was reviewed to exceed energy expectations.

Thurston Engineering Services personnel's "professionalism and capabilities are evident, and I can speak personally to their ability to collaborate within a team and work to meet the particular needs of a project." - Mechanical Engineer, Winnipeg Mail Processing Plant

Churchill Northern Studies Centre
Multi-Use Building
Energy Simulation

With the energy, water and future operating budget restrictions associated with this remote northern public project in Churchill, Manitoba, the model was an important part of the design process for the Churchill Northern Studies Centre. The entire team was creative in meeting these restrictions, resulting in creative modeling requirements.

Service completion: Spring 2010
Scope of services: Preliminary Minimum and Optimize Energy Performance Simulation (EAp2, EAc1) for CaGBC LEED: New Construction 1.0, Renewable Energy Simulation
Size: 27,800 sq.ft.
Building systems: Advanced envelope constructed complete above ground and featuring complex angles and constructions, mixture of mechanical systems described below, high efficiency lighting.

Many mechanical (and many renewable) design features were considered and modeled throughout various stages of design; all were not necessarily carried through to final design. These included lake-source heating and cooling, air source heat pumps in laboratory coupled with heat recovery, wood pellet boiler supplying hot water to radiant in-floor, solar wall to preheat dining room ventilation air, domestic hot water heat recovery, wind turbine renewable energy. In the northern remote location, a priority design consideration was the limited availability of water and fuel (propane, gas) and the energy modeling contributed to this consideration.

220 Wall Street
Office Building
Energy Simulation

220 Wall Street was a 3 storey plus 1.5 level parkade Core and Shell project in downtown Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Service completion: Ongoing commissioning, Fall 2012 completion for energy simulation
Scope of services: Enhanced and Fundamental Commissioning (EAp1, EAc3), Minimum and Optimize Energy Performance Simulation (EAp2, EAc1) for CaGBC LEED: Core & Shell 2009
Size: 93,500 sq.ft.
Building systems: Curtainwall and brick envelope, hydronic heating and cooling with demand control ventilation, high efficiency lighting with occupancy control.

As with many Core and Shell projects, a main objective of 220 Wall Street was to build a flexible building in its mechanical and electrical systems, able to accommodate any future tenant (office, retail or restaurant). A hydronic system was chosen for its flexibility, incorporating a design feature of using a dry cooler to more efficiently generate cooling when there was still a cooling demand (in interior zones) with cool outdoor temperatures. This was modeled by an hourly report analysis to calculate savings with the increased coefficient of performance, as the modeling software could not model the exact control algorithm. Along with low flow water fixtures, an aggressive tenant lighting and equipment agreement, demand control ventilation, high efficiency equipment and insulating envelope, the building model was reviewed to be 44% better than MNECB with respect to cost, equivalent to 14 points for EAc1.

While each project comes with its lessons, there were 2 that will be carried over to future commissioning projects: 1) manufacturer’s boiler controllers can be a huge headache and should be avoided, and 2) watch those approved equals in the addendum stage.  With boiler controllers, many are so proprietary that, if there is an issue, they can only be serviced by the manufacturer in the USA – this can be such a headache that, where possible, the controls contractor should be able to install its own controller.  In this case, the controller did not read its own boiler or the heating pumps accurately, which created failure in the entire heating system which took far too much time and headache to rectify with the manufacturer.  With respect to approved equals, a chiller was approved in the addendum stage which, shown later on, did not even have proper outputs to talk to building management control system as designed.

Beyond lessons learned, Thurston Engineering Services realized big operational headaches and savings.  Unfortunately, not one system (heat or cool) passed the first round of functional performance.  There was an instance where the AHU cooling coil valve did not close completely, causing simultaneous heating and cooling in the big unit (big cost!).  Thurston Engineering Services ensured all were properly resolved before anyone stepped away from the project.

Public Works East Yard Complex
Multi-Use Building
Energy Simulation

Public Works East Yard Complex is a combination office and industrial garage facility in Winnipeg, Manitoba, that incorporates a variety of mechanical system configurations to meet the needs of each space use and achieve energy savings.

Service completion: Fall 2012
Scope of services: Minimum and Optimize Energy Performance Simulation (EAp2, EAc1) for CaGBC LEED: New Construction 1.0 with addenda
Size: $50,000,000 construction budget
Building systems: Waffle concrete panel envelope, combination of mechanical systems including variable refrigerant flow heat pump system, single zone roof-top units, and simple radiant heaters with make-up air units, high efficiency lighting.

Public Works East Yard Complex is exactly that -- complex. With the different space uses and client requirements, the mechanical design was very creative. In the office areas, variable refrigerant flow heat pump systems were applied, where a bank of fan-coils are connected to an outdoor condensing unit such that a coefficient of performance is achieved when the fan-coils are heating and cooling. Further, heat can be pumped from hot to cold zones when there are differing needs (e.g. pump solar gains from south to cold north zones). Where electricity is cheap, this can be an efficient system.

The garages were more basic, using radiant heaters to meet minimal heating setpoints along with emergency exhaust fan and make-up air configurations; however, the use of heat recovery ventilators to provide minimum ventilation to these industrial spaces proved huge savings. Along with the variable refrigerant flow system and demand control ventilation in offices, an efficient boiler generating heating for ventilation air and hot water for the wash bays, the model was reviewed to be 53% better than MNECB with respect to cost, equivalent to 7 points for EAc1.

Thurston Engineering Services personnel's work was "amazing and thorough...." - Project Coordinator, Public Works East Yards

SIAST Wascana Parkway Centre
Multi-Use Building

SIAST Wascana Parkway Centre in Regina is a technical training institute with many complex requirements, systems, and renovations over the years. Thurston Engineering Services was asked to retro-commission the facility for energy savings and occupant comfort improvements.

Service completion: 2011
Scope of services: Retro-commissioning, HVAC Design, Retrofit Project Management
Size: $2,000,000 mechanical upgrade for 12 storey building
Building system: Dual duct air system; hot water radiators fed by steam boiler (through steam-to-hot-water heat exchanger).
With the Systems Manual in hand, Thurston Engineering Services inspected and tested the facility's many mechanical systems, looking for large deviations from the Systems Manual and opportunities for improvement. A number of adjustments and recommendations were made, including 1) adding perimeter radiation to meet setback temperatures during unoccupied hours, thereby allowing for large four-fan system to be shut down during unoccupied hours, 2) re-routed return duct to no longer dump into the cold deck, as this practice was raising cold deck temperatures and causing the chiller to run needlessly, 3) replaced cold duct only terminal units with hot deck -- cold deck units to improve occupant comfort, 4) broke up perimeter radiation into more zones and added terminal units so that each zone had its own thermostat and thermal control and 5) install perimeter radiant panels on the bottom two floors of the building.

The immediate result was reduced occupant complaints, and energy savings should be realized through shutting down fans at night and weekends, and shutting down chiller for 2 more months of year.

Pine Grove Provincial Correctional Centre
Correctional Facility
Energy Simulation

Pine Grove Provincial Correctional Centre is a two-level expansion to the existing facility in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.  The expansion is mainly living quarters, arranged into 4 pods.
Service completion: Winter 2014 commissioning, Fall 2013 energy simulation
Scope of services: Enhanced and Fundamental Commissioning (EAp1, EAc3), Minimum and Optimize Energy Performance Simulation (EAp2, EAc1) for CaGBC LEED: New Construction 2009
Size: $13,400,000 construction budget
Building systems: Insulated metal panel and concrete block envelope, radiant (floor, wall and ceiling) heating and cooling with hot and chilled water, demand control ventilation, high efficiency lighting with some occupancy sensor control

Pine Grove Provincial Correctional Centre’s new living unit has simple geometry but complex design: there are many small zones, many manifolds, a dual chiller and fluid-cooler strategy for generating chilled water, complex controls dealing with both space conditioning needs and a CO2 demand control ventilation strategy utilizing VAV boxes for ventilation but fan-coil units for actual air circulation.  This posed both modeling and commissioning challenges.  

The model was made with EE4 energy modeling software.  The radiant systems were sufficiently modeled, but the interaction of the chiller and fluid-cooler was independently assessed from the model’s hourly reports of cooling energy use along with wetbulb and drybulb temperatures.  Further, an occupancy analysis was done to determine an appropriate demand control credit for both outdoor air heating/cooling reduction and fanpower savings.  As members of the CaGBC’s Experienced Modellers List, Thurston Engineering Services modeled this facility to be 41% better than MNECB with respect to all costs, equating to 10 points.

Enhanced commissioning, as in every facility, helped avoid costly change orders in detecting inconsistent and missing elements in design documents: manifolds and tanks occupying the same space, missing fresh air supplies to fan-coils, missing balancing dampers, missing equipment on mechanical schedule, and motor specifications that did not match between mechanical and electrical drawings (causing improper breaker sizing, motor starter sizing, etc.).

In this correctional facility, commissioning activities during construction were invaluable: in such a facility, contractors returning after occupancy to fix issues would come at much cost and headache with moving and secluding inmates and with escorting contractors.  As such, the common air locks in radiant heating/cooling of cells, incorrectly programmed valves (heat command causes cooling and vice versa…most corrected on-site with controls contractor in less than 5 minutes!) and defective fan-coil controller boards signalling false alarms issues being rectified well before occupancy was crucial.