How to better reduce energy consumption

Keith Hammelman discusses the role of mechanical engineer and how energy consumption can be reduced.

By CannonDesign April 8, 2020

Keith Hammelman, PE, is our mechanical engineering discipline leader who oversees a large group of talented engineers throughout the firm. In celebration of Engineers Week, we asked Keith a few questions about energy, technology and more.

Question: How many mechanical engineers are on your team?

Answer: About 50.

Q: What is your favorite thing about your role?

A: It is really getting to know the groups and individuals within the different offices to better understand what drives them along with how they can grow within the mechanical group as a whole.

Q: Given the ever-present climate crisis, how is your discipline advancing solutions to combat climate change?

A: Since our systems are large energy consumers within a building, we are always looking for ways to reduce energy consumption across the board while staying within the overall project budgets. However, this does require earlier design collaboration in the development of the orientation and envelope of the building along with the lighting design of the facility to reduce the energy consumed by these components to acceptable minimums. By having these discussions early in the concept phases of a project. I believe that we will have the greatest impact on reducing our energy consumption footprint within buildings.

Q: What is your favorite hobby?

A: My hobby right now is my kids, but I also like to spend time in the backyard and garden during the summer months getting my green thumb going. It is actually a peaceful time where I can just put my headphones in and listen to some music.

Q: As we head into 2020, how do you see your discipline evolving in the next decade?

A: I believe the mechanical discipline will rely more heavily on technology to aid us in completing some calculations and design tasks, allowing engineers to focus further on how the systems will operate and be controlled. This evolution in technology will require us to change some of our current workflows and will shift us towards greater use of BIM in our design.

Q: If you weren’t an engineer, what career might you be in?

A: I would have been either an accountant or an attorney, which somedays I feel like I am both of those along with being an engineer.

What has gotten you really excited to see recently?

I was at the ASHRAE Winter Conference and one thing at the show which piqued my interest was the discussion about how we can better use BIM in our design efforts. Obviously, Revit is a great drafting tool, but we need to continue to push the envelope on the information we are providing in our models. This is as simple as continuing to develop strategies to use BIM to aid in coordination, create schedules, and complete calculations for us. We also need to look at ways we can use BIM in the design process to reduce our time spent during construction administration answering avoidable questions from the field.

This article originally appeared on CannonDesign’s websiteCannonDesign is a CFE Media content partner.