Tag Archives: LEED

The MEP Value Equation

David Hughes (MSCSI, MRICS, MAPM),
is a qualified mechanical engineer,
chartered quantity surveyor and
has 20 years experience in building
services (MEP) cost management.

Building services (MEP) are evolving at quite a pace, driven by continuous technological innovation, greater regulatory emphasis to improve building energy efficiency, and on-site project challenges. Heat pumps, sophisticated building controls, LED lighting, modular off-site construction, photovoltaics, building information modelling (BIM), Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), Building Energy Rating (BER) and Nearly Zero Energy Building Standard (NZEB) are all areas that have now become the new “business as usual”.

Innovations such as smart lighting and the Internet of Things (IoT) are also starting to make an impact so it can be challenging for clients to keep up to date. Many of the above innovations come at a capital cost premium but have the benefit of reduced operation cost. They can also bring additional benefits such as reduced space requirement, increased functionality, reduced CO2 emissions, increased safety, improved quality and construction programme benefits.

The value equation can be loosely defined as Benefit/Cost = Value. It can be challenging to establish value but this is what we at Rose Patrick specialise in. We were recently sub-consulted by a quantity surveying firm to carry out an exercise to compare the cost impact of fan-wall air handling units (AHUs) as proposed, versus a traditional single-fan AHU unit on a project at “developed design” stage.

We compared the two systems and how they interfaced with other elements of the building, both in terms of capital cost and over the whole life-cycle of the building. The real cost and benefit could not be fully assessed by comparing the AHU systems in isolation. In this case some of the less obvious impacts of the proposed AHU design solution were:
• Reduced space requirement – the units were half the length of the traditional AHUs so there was a significant cost saving to the build cost associated with GIA reduction to plant rooms;
• Increased point load meaning additional local structural load;
• Reduced electrical load – reduced electrical infrastructure (all plant had back generation – N+1 facility);
• Reduced operational and maintenance cost;
• Built-in redundancy via modular/ multiple-fan construction (if one out of the nine fans broke down the AHU could still operate at 90%+ capacity);
• Quieter operation, lower vibration. Once all the “externalities” were taken into consideration, we were able to substantiate that the proposed AHU solution, even on a capital cost only comparison, added more value to the project than the alternative It also had a significantly lower payback period over its life-cycle.

The new Irish Government forms of contract requiring the quantity surveyor (QS) to manage MEP cost to relying on the consultant engineer. We see this trend emerging in the private sector also. Consequently, we provide an independent specialist MEP cost management service that can fall between the two stools of the quantity surveyor (QS) and the MEP consultant engineer.

Our team provides support to:
• Professional quantity surveying firms who may not have the technical capability, or simply need
additional MEP QS capacity on an ad hoc basis;
• Consultant engineers who have been commissioned to take on the MEP cost management;
• MEP contractors with take-offs, pricing tenders and other commercial services;
• Data centre and pharmaceutical sector clients with commercial management where construction projects typically have a high MEP element (70%+).

The Rose Patrick team concentrates solely on MEP cost management, understands the technical information being reviewed, and has the experience to interrogate it. This is vitally important as it allows for a high-level root and branch logic check of each system prior to the detail measure. This ensures that any obvious inadvertent design omissions or errors can be flagged (mitigating costly post-contract variations). The quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) process applied acts as a de facto second layer of QA/QC on the design, prior to it going to tender.

There have been some huge developments in software used within the construction industry over the last five years and Rose Patrick’s cost estimating platform, CostX, allows the team to perform accurate and efficient measurement from 2D drawings. It also means that quantities from BIM or 3D models can be automatically generated using one of the most advanced electronic take-off systems available on the market. The platform also features powerful spreadsheet-based workbooks that are live-linked to the drawings in question, giving full traceability.

Typically, Rose Patrick benchmarks design, as well as cost, to build an intelligent MEP knowledge database. This allows the team to develop informed MEP cost models at a very early stage in the project cycle. Intelligence is the application of knowledge. See how Rose Patrick applies this principle at www.rosepatrick.ie.

Health & Well Being of Buildings

Mona Holtkoetter

The building services profession has long moved from pipe, ductwork and equipment sizing to a much broader and more complex role. Topics like sustainability, energy savings, renewable energy and BIM (building information modelling), just to name a few, have become a huge part of building services design, sales, manufacturing and construction. Renewable energy, for example, has been brought back to the top of our priority list through the recent release of Building Regulations Part L 2017 (NZEB), and sustainability rating systems such as BREEAM, LEED and the Home Performance Index are part and parcel of our daily jobs.

A new topic has recently entered the Irish market – building design and operation that focuses on the benefit of health and well-being of people. This “second wave of sustainability” is focused on providing the optimal working environments where people can thrive and fulfil their highest potential.

Why is this important?                                                                                                        There are multiple ways we, as building services professionals, can positively impact the health and well-being of people in buildings through our design and construction practices. Here are a few aspects to consider.

A ventilation system, designed and built for optimal indoor air quality, has the potential to reduce the negative effects attributed to asthma, headaches, hay fever and the flu. Recent studies have also shown that improved indoor air quality has the potential to enhance individual cognition by up to 61%.1 Attention to detail when selecting materials such as paints, ductwork sealants, glues, ceiling tiles, carpets and furniture can reduce the toxic off gassing within the first year of installation and with that, potentially reduce the risk of cancer.

Another aspect is the design of water systems. Legionella has been the key word in the design and construction of water systems within the last 20 years. While this is still an important topic that cannot be neglected, the design of water systems should also take other harmful contaminants into account. Project-based water quality testing and the design of a consequent filtration system that removes  all contaminants and optimises the testing of drinking water, should become part of our scope in the future. Providing employees with access to high-quality and good-tasting drinking water has shown to positively influence hydration and therefore concentration levels.

The lighting environment we design for the people inside our buildings, who spend 90% of their time indoors, can impact their visual, circadian and mental health. Presently, most spaces are fitted with lighting systems that meet the visual needs of individuals, but do not consider the effects of lighting on our internal body clock or mental health. Research and design provides huge opportunities in this area.

A building’s indoor thermal environment not only affects its energy use, but also influences the health, well-being and productivity of the people inside. Thermal comfort is ranked as one of the highest contributing factors that influence our satisfaction with our buildings. While designs typically meet thermal comfort standards on paper, there is limited on-site verification to ensure that the space actually performs as intended.

As landlords and tenants alike increasingly demand healthy workspaces, we would do well to shift the focus towards on-site performance testing when it comes to these design and construction practices. Certification programmes such as the WELL Building Standard™ (WELL) already require testing for air and water quality, thermal and acoustic comfort, as well as lighting levels, propelling the industry to integrate this practice into the commissioning process and the day-to-day working lives of building services professionals.

Companies have already started to investigate the financial value of health and well-being interventions. A recent study by the World Green Building Council outlines The Business Case for Health and Well-being in Green Building. The published study features Cundall’s London office at One Carter Lane, which has claimed £200,000 annual savings based on reduced absenteeism and staff turnover.2 This office is the first space to be WELL Certifiedin Europe and has seen huge benefits by focusing on human-centred design, construction and operations.

Arup’s office in Cork, the first WELL Certifiedspace in Ireland, has also generated significant interest in healthy office environments. IPUT’s headquarters at St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin is on track to become the first WELL Certified™ office in the capital.

With these and other exciting developments, building services professionals are now faced with their most important role … supporting the health of the people who use their buildings every day.

References

[1] Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 2016.

[2] Doing Right by Planet and People: The Business Case for Health and Well-being in Green Building. World Green Business Council, April 2018. www.worldgbc.org/news-media/doingright- planet-and-people-business-case-healthand- wellbeing-green-building.

Designing future-proofed buildings for next 50 years

Paul Martin, Chairman, CIBSE Ireland

In the intervening years the industry has learned from the many mistakes made back in the late 1960s and early 1970s in particular. Building stock constructed since then has shown marked improvement but, as we look to design buildings that will be here for the next 50, we should not be complacent.

According to an expert from Cambuild, buildings that are performing well now, and those currently being designed and built for the today’s climatic conditions, may become intolerable for occupants by 2068 (50 years time) unless we factor in concepts such as active cooling and associated high-energy usage. There is compelling scientific evidence that our climate is changing, and it is probable that average temperatures will increase by several degrees over the coming century.

These increases in temperature are expected to have a major impact on the indoor environment of buildings. It is essential that buildings being designed and built today are future-proofed so they can adapt to changes in external temperatures and humidity, light levels, energy usage and so on.

To be fair, the construction industry has already made significant steps towards tackling climate change through limiting the amount of carbon emitted – both in the materials used (embodied energy) and predicted energy usage – by using simulation programmes such as IES, along with BREEAM and LEED.

The energy message emphasis on heat-saving in winter using highly-insulated and airtight buildings also means there is a danger of overheating in the summer months. This presents a different challenge. CIBSE has produced quite a number of guidance documents in this respect, such as TM52 (The limits of thermal comfort: avoiding overheating in European buildings: Developed for “free-running” commercial buildings) and TM59 (Design methodology for the assessment of overheating risk in homes).

The health and wellbeing impacts of overheating (see Mona Holtkoetter’s article in October 2017 edition of Building Services News) can be significant for residents, resulting in stress, anxiety, sleep deprivation and even early deaths in heatwaves, especially in cases of vulnerable occupants.

Among the concepts now being embraced to combat these issues are highly-insulated pipework; insulated heat interface units; ventilated utility cupboards; LED lighting; and installing mechanical ventilation heat recovery units, with summer bypass and boost mode, to increase the ventilation rate when required.

Climate change is affecting how buildings will perform for occupants, both now and in the future. While overheating has emerged as a major concern, climate effects extend beyond the treatment of overheating. They also include flooding, drainage, water conservation and material durability. The CIBSE TM36: Climate Change & the Indoor Environment: Impacts & Adaptation (CIBSE, 2005) document again offers guidance and advice on these matters.

In considering the design of both commercial and residential buildings today we must address the known and anticipated challenges that lie ahead and consider, among other things, the following:

• To what extent will climate change increase the occurrence of summertime thermal discomfort and overheating in different types of buildings?

• To what extent will passive measures be able to improve summertime thermal comfort and ameliorate the increased tendency for overheating?

• How effective will different approaches to comfort cooling be?

• What are the energy-use implications of the various strategies?

While no one has all the answers, there is still a wealth of guidance freely available to all concerned in building services.

See www.cibseireland.org/membership/ for details, or contact CIBSE Ireland directly at contact@cibseireland.org

Enda Gilroy Joins Ethos Engineering

Enda Gilroy, Senior Mechanical Engineer, Ethos Engineering

Enda Gilroy, Senior Mechanical Engineer, Ethos Engineering

Enda Gilroy has joined Ethos Engineering as Senior Mechanical Engineer. Ethos Engineering is a highly-motivated and driven company, comprising a team of talented, commercially-aware engineers with excellent industry experience.

The Ethos Engineering working environment encourages all staff to approach projects with originality, creativity, common sense and enthusiasm, the objective being to produce designs that are detailed, innovative and practical.

The company prides itself on its “can do” philosophy, and on its in-house LEED, BREEAM, BER and sustainable credentials.

Its excellent client retention, coupled with an ever-expanding new-client portfolio, bears testimony to the importance of these strengths.