Research: Mechanical engineers value energy-efficient projects

In a recent research study, mechanical engineers indicated improved energy efficiency has grown in importance for mechanical systems

By Amara Rozgus February 28, 2023
Courtesy: CFE Media

Mechanical system insights

  • Mechanical engineers spend about a quarter of their time (26%) writing the specification for a project.
  • On average, about a third (36%) of billable hours is spent researching or specifying mechanical systems.

Consulting engineers specify several different types of mechanical systems into commercial buildings, and they provided feedback on these specifications in the recent “Specifying Considerations for Mechanical Systems Survey,” completed in February 2023 by Consulting-Specifying Engineer.

Respondents to the study indicated the designed or specified the following:

  • Pumps: 84%
  • Heating and cooling: 84%
  • Ventilation: 79%
  • Plumbing, piping: 64%
  • Refrigeration: 54%
  • Electrical: 48%
  • Elevators/escalators: 13%

These survey respondents, who have spent an average of 28 years in this industry, specify new construction and retrofit/renovation projects evenly at 35% each. They tend to work with several other experts, with the mechanical engineer having the most input on these systems (62%).

True to most of the HVAC industry trends, improved energy efficiency was listed as the top feature that has grown in importance for mechanical systems (62%). Close behind was availability from the manufacturer (58%), pointing to continuing supply chain issues.

When looking toward the future, the top 10 technologies and services these respondents anticipate are:

  • Heating and cooling: 52%
  • Air handlers: 49%
  • Chillers, chilled water systems: 47%
  • Energy recovery (enthalpy/heat/desiccant wheels; runaround loops; injection loops; EVAP coolers): 41%
  • Variable refrigerant flow (VRF) systems: 41%
  • Pumps, pumping systems: 40%
  • Fans, air movement: 39%
  • Ventilation: 37%
  • Plumbing, piping: 35%
  • Boilers, domestic hot water: 35%

Survey methodology

A survey was emailed to Consulting-Specifying Engineer audience members and information was collected in February 2023. A total of 163 qualified responses were returned, with a margin of error of +/-7.7% at a 95% confidence level. Participants frequently had the option to select more than one response, thus totals do not always equal 100%.

To view complete findings, register for the Specifying Considerations for Mechanical Systems Report here.

In February 2023, Consulting-Specifying Engineer released data on specifying mechanical systems. Respondents provided details about the types of facilities they designed. Typical to other studies, office buildings were the No. 1 building types in which engineers designed or specified systems. Courtesy: Consulting-Specifying Engineer

Author Bio: Amara Rozgus is the Editor-in-Chief/Content Strategy Leader