Thurston Engineering Services provides engineering services for commercial buildings, new and old. Also, we can help corporations by advising and certifying their energy and greenhouse gas initiatives.
While our services are grouped into four major categories, within those categories we provide primary services for LEED credit -- commissioning for EAp1 Fundamental Commissioning of Building Energy Systems and EAc3 Enhanced (formally Best Practice) Commissioning; simulation for EAp2 Minimum Energy Performance and EAc1 Optimize Energy Performance and EAc5 Measurement and Verification model calibration; and energy management for EAc5 Measurement and Verification. We also provide similar services for the Green Globes assessment and rating system.
We provide services to help clients obtain Federal and Provincial Energy Grants: energy management in auditing a building for its energy use, designing retrofit projects, managing the implementation of retrofit projects, monitoring ongoing building energy use, complete management of paperwork and the government process; commissioning of retrofit projects; and greenhouse gas inventory and documentation of reductions with projects.
Finally, we provide services that have an economic return on their own -- retro-commissioning a building that has never had a comprehensive system integration and operation check; energy management in auditing facilities so that you know where energy dollars are being spent and find the highest return projects; simulation to determine the most cost effective energy designs for your building; and greenhouse gas management in mitigating risk with potential legislation in this area.
Whether it is LEED Commissioning (Fundamental EAp1, Best Practice EAc3, Enhanced CI EAc3), Retro-Commissioning, Re-Commissionng or Commissioning of a new "non-LEED" project, commissioning is a vital and beneficial service for building owners.
Commissioning will ensure that your mechanical systems (HVAC) and the systems that control them (Building Management Systems, Energy Management Control Systems) function correctly before you, the Owner, take them over. In our decade of experience, there has not been a single job where all the systems worked the first time.
Benefits: Fewer call backs; minimized energy consumption; optimized indoor air quality and occupant comfort; fewer complaints to building operations staff
For new buildings, our services are often dictated by requirements of LEED or Green Globes. If your goal is to realize the benefits of commissioning without the green building certification, our services can be modified to meet your needs.
LEED Fundamental Commissioning of Building Energy Systems (EAp1) service includes:
- Be the 3rd Party Commissioning Agent
- Assemble the Owner's Project Requirements
- Assemble the Basis of Design
- Prepare a Commissioning Plan
- Verify functional performance of HVAC equipment
- Ensure building operations staff are trained on equipment
- Review O&M manuals for completeness
- Prepare Commissioning Reports
LEED Enhanced Commissioning (EAc3) service includes:
- Perform Design Reviews at various stages
- Review Contractor submittals (M&E)
- Provide a Systems Manual
- Review building operation with O&M Staff
For existing buildings, two terms are often used to describe the on-site and design document checks that tune your building to its designed potential:
- Commissioning of HVAC and control systems on a building that was not commissioned at the time of construction.
- Buildings that were not commissioned at the time of construction should realize an immediate reduction in occupant complaints, a 20% savings in energy consumption and improved thermal comfort.
- Commissioning of HVAC and control systems on a building that was commissioned at the time of construction.
- Buildings should be re-commissioned every 3-5 years.
- Buildings that are re-commissioned could realize a 10-15% savings in energy consumption.
Commissioning services follow ASHRAE Guideline 0-2005.
Some form of an energy management program is becoming a necessity for building owners as energy prices unpredictably fluctuate and buildings become older and are in need of a good renewal plan.
Our services often first involve benchmarking and auditing the facility to figure out where your energy dollars are being spent, resulting in a list of reduction ideas complete with budget numbers and estimated savings/return. After that, we can see your selected projects from design to implementation, from obtaining available funding to ongoing monitoring of systems to ensure you are seeing the benefits of your new energy management program.
Benefits: a reduction in your monthly utility bills resulting from knowledge of where your energy dollars are being spent and action on the biggest return retrofits; a smart and optimized capital plan of retrofits for your budget; financial help from federal and provincial programs to implement your projects; an inventory of greenhouse gas emissions.
Auditing: You cannot save what you cannot measure. Auditing involves performing measurements and calculating where your energy dollars are going. As a Professional Engineers and Certified Energy Managers (CEM), our services provide you with:
- Audit report/snapshot of current energy use
- List of potential projects/retrofits, complete with savings and cost estimates
- Estimate of grant dollars available to you
- Simple payback, net present value and internal rate of return on your potential retrofit investments, resulting in a smart capital plan.
HVAC Design: With our engineering and ASHRAE training, we can:
- Perform small scale heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system design
- Verify current airflows and heating/cooling capacities
- Create as-built drawings of retrofit
Retrofit Project Management: Applying our experience in working with contractors and getting energy projects done, we may manage the implementation of the retrofit and thereby:
- Get competitive estimates
- Provide our opinion of the estimates and work quality of contractor
- Coordinate contractor work with building owner/occupants
- Commission the major retrofit project to ensure it is working as intended before the contractors leave the site
Ongoing Monitoring of Energy Use:
- Obtain annual energy bills
- Monitor the energy use against heating and cooling degree days to gauge and confirm the success of your energy projects
- If there are unacceptable results, we will work with the Owner to troubleshoot the issue
Federal and Provincial Grant Applications: With our designations of Professional Engineers and Certified Energy Managers (CEM), our work in preparing the following have been 100% successful in obtaining available funding for retrofits of existing equipment (boilers, air handlers, motors control systems lighting) with the NRCan ecoENERGY program for commercial and industrial buildings, and SaskEnergy boiler program:
- Audit report
- One year benchmark of energy bills
- Breakdown of usage into lighting, fans, motors, pumps, heating, cooling and domestic hot water
- Estimate of savings associated with retrofits
- Estimate of costs to implement the retrofits
- Life Cycle Cost Analysis of the retrofits (Simple Payback, Net Present Value, Internal Rate of Return);
- Completion of the Incentive/Grant Application
Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory:
- Apply Greenhouse Gas Protocol, the Climate Registry, ISO 14064-1, or other pertinent greenhouse gas inventory program requirements in properly calculating and categorizing greenhouse gas emissions from all sources in your business
- Provide report of your greenhouse gas emission inventory, highlighting the high-emission sources
- Submit the results and other needed documentation to your greenhouse gas registry
- Design a program of calculation tools, report templates, and lessons learned fo ruse by your staff to perform inventory annually ongoing
- Recommend greenhouse gas reductions
- Document greenhouse gas projects in accordance with protocol
While design team members have their rules of thumb for energy performance of specific designs, computer programs can be applied to independently verify the designed energy savings against a minimum standard building, and to determine early in design if it is more cost effective to invest in highly insulating windows or in a high efficiency boiler, as examples. With experience in modeling many buildings in the prairie region, our energy simulation professionals can provide additional expertise to the design team in energy design. Further, adding daylight simulation early in design can help achieve that LEED credit and all of its intent in improving indoor environment quality, while optimizing energy use.
Benefits: determine most cost effective design alternatives; verify energy performance of your building; provide rough estimate of magnitude of upcoming energy bills; achieve an optimized indoor air quality through daylight use while balancing against energy savings.
LEED Minimum Energy Performance Simulation (EAp2):
- Distribute Model National Energy Code for Buildings or ASHRAE 90.1 checksheets for completion by design team to ensure minimum (not-modeled) requirements are met
- Create a model using EE4, eQuest, or EnergyPro to validate minimum energy performance and compliance with EAp2
- As an independent third party, review another consultant's model for compliance to EAp2.
LEED Optimize Energy Performance Simulation (EAc1):
- Provide a preliminary model (using EE4, eQuest or EnergyPro and comparing against MNECB or ASHRAE 90.1) based on the earliest design to catch any issues in meeting the credit goal
- Perform model iterations based on the debatable energy design features to estimate the magnitude of savings
- Update preliminary model with final design and assemble documentation to certify the level of energy performance and number of credits eligible for EAc1
- As an independent third party, review another consultant's model for compliance to EAc1.
LEED Daylight (IEQc8.1):
- Work with team early in design, applying computer simulation to determine daylight exposure to spaces, achieving adaquately lit spaces for energy savings and for overall optimized indoor environment quality.
LEED Measurement and Verification Model Calibration (EAc5):
- Apply the one-year monitored data and the year's weather data to calibrate the energy model
- Provide report of possible operational issues (i.e. flag any irregularities in the monitored data against the most accurate, calibrated model)
Renewable Energy Simulation:
- Use RETScreen or other appropriate software to estimate savings with renewable energy initiatives.
- Apply results to energy performance given by LEED EAp2/EAc1 model, if applicable.
Schematic Design Building Energy Simulation:
- Use EE4 Screening Tool or eQuest Schematic Design Wizard to create a model based on bare schematic information and run design iterations to gauge level of savings/impact
- Participate in Integrated Design Process, providing near instantaneous model results of design ideas
- Roll schematic model into a detailed model (eventually compliant with EAp2/EAc1) as design progresses
The norm is for a team of professionals to intensely focus on the functionality of a building while it is being designed, for qualified contractors to implement that design, and finally for the entire team to sign-off on the facility upon occupancy. But then what? An operator is usually left to run the building as per his/her experience and training, without the background of the design and construction discussions regarding the ongoing function and efficiency of the building. Measurement and verification bridges that gap between design, construction and ongoing operation such that measurements can be made to verify actual operation against the design intentions. The International Performance Measurement & Verification Protocol (IPMVP), Volume III (revised April 2003) is the governing protocol on this subject.
Benefits: have a plan for future operation complete with a quantified definition of a properly functioning facility (what energy bills should be, how much energy each system should use); enable troubleshooting of issues with the increased monitoring; engage owner and building operator in energy and water usage of a building
- Provide initial energy model, also for use to obtain EAp2 and EAc1 credits
- Provide Measurement and Verification Plan
- Work with design team to ensure that the required level of monitoring is in place
- Commission the building to ensure it is working as designed on day one, which also applies to EAp1 and EAc3
- After one year, analyze monitored data against estimates (calibrated model or design estimate calculations) and provide report
- Calibrate and provide revised energy model to match actual, verified operation