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Energy System Engineering

While we are talking about ourselves, (which is what a website is for) we tend to pay a lot of attention to our cogeneration work, Tru-Use™ services, and some of our more innovative projects. These specialties all have a foundation in Energy System Engineering, which is what we like to call the mainstream Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing (MEP) engineering. Almost any Low Carbon related project and service will be an energy system project, because most of the systems in a facility are energy systems. The exception here is possibly the sewers and plumbing systems, which we do work on, but there’s not much carbon footprint reduction to be found in plumbing (maybe there is, but we won’t get into that here).

Energy System Services

DSMEA does not live by Low Carbon alone, but we like to make sure at some point in each effort we are reducing energy use or costs. Some of our Energy System Engineering services include:

Converting the fuel source used by a boiler to meet the thermal demand of the building is primarily done because of the economic benefit natural gas holds over oil. Aside from being a cleaner burning fuel, the availability of domestically extracted natural gas provides a reliable fuel source not subject to the same political issues that plague foreign oil. Conversions are also performed as required by law; “dirtier” oil types, like No. 6 Oil, are no longer allowed to be used in NYC residential facilities, so conversion to natural gas has been in high demand.
For many facilities, especially those in metropolitan areas, using electricity as the main fuel source for heating and cooling is not economical in the long run. Converting these electrical based systems to a hydronic based system, that only consumes natural gas, presents an economical, as well reliable, alternative to utility electricity.
Increasing demand on the utility electrical grid, as well as increasingly dramatic weather patterns, has sparked significant interest in the installation of standby generation capacity. Implementation of standby generation in a facility greatly reduces the impact of a utility power outage and ensures systems remain operational in an emergency.
For a facility using district steam to provide heating, installing on-site boilers can be a much more economical alternative depending on the facility needs. Upgrading existing boilers also yields economic savings; old boilers burn less efficiently, so a facility needs to burn more fuel to yield the same amount of heating capacity. Newer technology has also increased boiler efficiency, therefore upgrading can yield a system with better capacity than the original system had.
Adding mechanical cooling capacity to a facility eliminates any electrical costs currently associated with decentralized air conditioning, like window air conditioning units. Hydronic based cooling is also significantly more efficient at providing cooling within a facility than air-based central cooling. Like upgrading a boiler, upgrading the various components of a chiller plant decreases operating costs by increasing efficiency.
Emergency lighting and alarm systems are critical to building occupant safety, but they are one of the few systems that consumes power constantly; there is no peak or downtime when it comes to emergency systems. Converting existing emergency lighting, like “Exit” signs, to LED lighting will yield electrical consumption savings.
Lighting within a facility can prove to be a massive consumer of electricity, especially if the lighting currently used are is composed of older bulbs and fixtures. Upgrading old interior and exterior lighting to LED lighting significantly reduces electrical consumption and required maintenance. Various sensors, such as photosensors and occupancy sensors, can also be incorporated into a lighting system to prevent electricity being used necessarily.
Leaky windows and cracked door seals will very quickly consume heating in the winter and cooling in the summer, so the facility has to use more fuel to keep up with what is being lost to the outdoors. Upgrading the thermal envelope of the building will prevent these undesired losses, and can even help the facility retain more thermal energy than it originally could thanks to better envelope materials.