Changes in energy efficiency of manufacturing, industrial building market
Several changes regarding sustainable, energy-efficient design of manufacturing and industrial buildings are covered here by the experts
- David L. Cooper, PMP, Principal, Smith Seckman Reid Inc. (SSR), Memphis, TN
- Andrew David Hager, BASMA, PE, LEED AP, Senior Mechanical Design Lead, CRB, St. Louis
- Darren Rogge, Senior Associate, Jordan & Skala Engineers Inc., Norcross, Georgia
- Joe Schadt, Construction Executive, Industrial, Harris, St. Paul, Minnesota
What level of performance are you being asked to achieve, such as WELL Building Standards, U.S. Green Building Council LEED certification, net zero energy, Passive House or other guidelines?
Joe Schadt: Harris has seen some “entry level” LEED submissions, such as Certified or Silver. More often we see a need for speed of delivery, rather than meeting the needs of LEED or another rating tool. What we are seeing more and more of are elements of a sustainable process being considered based on the function of the process, such as high-efficiency systems, improved commissioning, etc.
Darren Rogge: Some of our industrial building developers pursue LEED certification and carbon-neutral or net-zero seems to be the current trend for certain clients. We designed a large industrial facility in Georgia that achieved LEED Gold certification. This facility implemented a number of MEP-related LEED credits including water use reduction, optimized energy performance, increased ventilation and light pollution reduction. The client’s goal was always to pursue LEED Gold certification. Throughout the design process the design team would review the LEED scorecard and review the credits being pursued to ensure that they were met.
Andrew David Hager: LEED is definitely being discussed on a regular basis with clients in the industrial and manufacturing and we are seeing more clients request WELL Building Standards.
What types of sustainable features or concerns might you encounter for these buildings that you wouldn’t on other projects?
Joe Schadt: Facilities are often being developed in areas with limited or unsuitable utility infrastructure for the processes being considered. Harris has recently worked on a number of facilities with issues regarding limited water supply, gas supply and/or power supply. This resource limitation often engages considerations for the design, which are usually associated around sustainable development practices such as water or energy conservation measures.
Andrew David Hager: For most industrial and manufacturing clients, the No. 1 concern is energy conservation/energy reduction. For some clients, the No. 1 is water use reduction and conservation. Industrial and manufacturing clients are big energy consumers. Industrial and manufacturing equipment are typically the largest users of energy followed by the HVAC system or lighting depending upon the space environment requirements. Equipment needs to be fabricated with higher efficiency motors and more efficient processes. HVAC and lighting system can implement high efficiency systems, however in some cases, the large energy consumption is equipment the client purchases for their process/manufacturing.
Describe energy storage systems at an industrial or manufacturing facility. What have you designed recently?
Andrew David Hager: Thermal storage systems are starting to be more common in areas/regions with high utility rates. Systems such as hot glycol storage tanks and chilled glycol ice tanks for off-peak generation and on-peak use. Challenges are space or volume to house such systems and first cost to implement these systems. Typically, in areas of high peak utility rates, the first cost expense it justified with a short payback period (less than 10 years) of which we see 30 to 40 years of system operation.
What types of renewable or alternative energy systems have you recently specified to provide power?
Darren Rogge: Due to the large roofs of the industrial buildings, they lend themselves to support photovoltaic system equipment. The main challenge is to provide a roof equipment layout that maximizes the quantity of solar panels to provide an optimized photovoltaic output while maintaining the necessary working access to the roof mounted equipment. The typical solution is to develop an HVAC equipment configuration in a repetitive pattern spacing layout that accommodates the specific solar panel array dimensions.
How has the demand for energy recovery technology influenced the design for these kinds of projects?
Andrew David Hager: It is not uncommon for CRB to design heat capture systems that recover heat from a process by routing hot water or steam condensate through a heat exchanger where the energy is used for other process systems or nonprocess use such as HVAC heating and domestic water heating. It is also common to capture cooling coil condensate for reuse to augment fresh water use such as flushing fixtures and water landscape. Clients with high exhaust rates are using energy capture to pretreat incoming outside air.
What value-add items are you adding these kinds of facilities to make the buildings perform at a higher and more efficient level?
Darren Rogge: At Jordan & Skala Engineers, we will work with the developer to make sure that we understand their goals and objectives. Energy-efficiency is a common topic. We typically will specify high or ultrahigh efficient HVAC equipment. We will design building controls to take advantage of free cooling during nighttime as a simple way to increase energy efficiency. These days, most everyone is using LED lighting and we typically include motion sensor controls with interim light reduction settings to reduce energy usage in areas with no activity for a preset time period.
How have energy recovery products evolved to better assist in designing these projects?
Andrew David Hager: Energy recovery products are becoming more available as a standard offering such as heat exchanger skids/packages, air-to-air and water-to-air systems.