Manufacturing and industrial building energy efficiency trends
Several new and retrofit manufacturing building projects show trends in speed to market and energy efficiency
- Brian Arend, PE, LEED AP, Electrical Engineering Manager, SSOE Group, Toledo, Ohio
- Shane R. Eckman, PE, LEED AP, Vice President, Industrial & Institutional Practice Leader, Stanley Consultants Inc., Minneapolis
- Kevin LaPlante, PE, LEED AP, Mechanical Group Leader, CRB, Medford, Massachusetts
- Sunondo Roy, PE, LEED AP, Director, Design Group, Romeoville, Illinois
Describe energy storage systems at an industrial or manufacturing facility. What have you designed recently?
Shane R. Eckman: Through the Austin Shines program as part of our work for Austin Energy, a large municipal utility in Texas, we have designed battery energy storage units for a number of Austin-area industrial and commercial facilities. From an engineer’s perspective, these are fun projects to work on because they are innovative providing both resiliency for these customers as well as providing relief on the Austin Energy grid during periods of low supply or high demand.
What types of renewable or alternative energy systems have you recently specified to provide power?
Shane R. Eckman: We have seen both solar and wind becoming part of the mainstream power solution we offer to many of our clients across the market sectors. This includes industrial, utility, federal, education and even the transportation markets. A significant challenge right now for renewable energy systems are working within the unpredictable regulatory conditions, which can significantly affect the pricing and availability of products, which in turn affects the viability of specific projects. In spite of these challenges, the main drivers we hear from our clients time and again are the need for resiliency, being fiscally responsible and being good stewards of our planet.
How have energy recovery products evolved to better assist in designing these projects?
Kevin LaPlante: Pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities often require energy recovery technologies that do not present a risk of cross contamination between supply and exhaust airstreams. Glycol runaround heat recovery systems are common for such applications. These systems have evolved from field-constructed components with simple control sequences to today’s pre-engineered offerings with purpose-built heat transfer components, robust PLCs and optimized sequences of control. In aggregate, these improvements have yielded significant increases in heat recovery effectiveness as compared to legacy systems. Ancillary benefits associated with off-site fabrication, including schedule compression, improved safety and enhanced quality control can also be realized.