In addition to the firm's core commissioning, retro-commissioning and facilities assessment services, Engineering Economics, Inc. (EEI) remains committed to providing its clients with a full spectrum of mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) consulting services. Additional MEP services popular with our clients include:
- Budgeting - operational and capital
- Cost estimating
- Design and specifications
- Design alternatives
- Design criteria
- Design review
- Energy audits & efficiency measures
- Energy incentive programs
- Expert Witness services
- Facility maintenance management information systems
- Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) investigation/
- Integrated life safety testing
- Master planning
- Preventative maintenance/asset-tracking database development
- Specialty testing - HEPA filters, fume hoods, FDA
- System documentation
- System trending & seasonal performance evaluations
- Testing, adjusting and balancing (TAB)
- Troubleshooting/field engineering
- Value engineering
These services are further detailed as follows:
EEI provides its clients with detailed budgets for various programming, engineering, construction and preventative maintenance projects. EEI makes every effort to analyze the life-cycle costs associated with all its projects in an effort to help the owner understand both the short- and long-term ramifications of each project. Where needed, EEI will calculate project budgets using current costs, projected future costs, financing charges, immediate energy savings, future energy savings and estimated project paybacks. EEI also has the ability to prepare cost and budgetary projections with factors for depreciation and the time/value of money. The firm is also a big proponent of always including a contingency allowance.
EEI has extensive real-world experience with providing independent cost estimating as well as being part of a design and construction team. EEI has also worked on the behalf of owners in Change Order evaluation and consulting utilizing the latest resources in cost estimating reference data.
EEI provides design and specification packages for new, retrofit, renovation, repair and modification projects. Our design capabilities include computer-aided design (CAD) and Building Information Modeling (BIM) for fast and efficient design/specification packages. We provide design services to our clients in the following areas:
- Mechanical Systems: New, retrofit and renovation design and specification packages for HVAC, plumbing and piping systems for energy management, performance and maintenance improvements. Emphasis is placed on providing energy-efficient systems and equipment which represent cost-effective strategies for the owner. EEI also provides special mechanical design work involved in laboratories, data centers, research facilities, clean rooms, manufacturing facilities, educational campuses, and hospitals/medical centers.
- Electrical Systems: New, retrofit and renovation design and specification packages for electrical systems, including primary and secondary, distribution, substations, emergency generators, uninterruptible power supply (UPS), cogeneration and lighting systems. Lighting systems design incorporates efficient luminaries, lamps, ballasts, etc. Lighting calculations are performed using various computer programs such as Lumen Micro and Lumen Point.
- Regulatory Design Standards: We provide design services in a variety of highly regulated service areas. Typical regulatory groups include hospital standards such as the Department of Health in Washington. California design requirements also include adherence to Title 22 and Title 24 design requirements and significant seismic precautions.
- Utility Systems: New, retrofit and renovation plan and specification packages for utility and distribution systems and networks.
- Energy Production Facilities: New and retrofit design of central steam, hot water, chilled water, chilled water storage, ice storage, direct/indirect evaporative cooling, cogeneration and waste-to-energy plants.
- Automation/Control Systems: Design and specification packages for utility control centers, energy monitoring and control systems (EMCS), fire protection/detection systems, telecommunication systems and life safety systems for commercial, industrial, institutional and governmental facilities.
- Alternative Energy Systems: Design and specification packages for alternative energy systems such as solar, wind and waste-to-energy systems. Designs also incorporate daylighting systems with lighting and mechanical systems.
As part of the firm’s peer review services, EEI provides facility owners/managers with design alternatives to further increase operating efficiencies, decrease construction costs, lower maintenance expenses and/or otherwise better achieve the owner’s overall objectives for the project. In general, EEI is always focused on maximizing the value the facility owner receives for every construction dollar spent on any given project.
EEI provides design criteria development, review and documentation as part of its commissioning and design services; however, owners/managers may hire EEI to provide this as a stand-alone service. The design criteria or Basis of Design Document outlines the objectives in designing the MEP, building envelope, life safety, conveyance, communications, data and other such systems. EEI bases the design criteria on preliminary design assumptions including, but not limited to, occupancy, space and process requirements applicable codes/policies/standards, load assumptions, climatic assumptions, general performance metrics, indoor air quality requirements, special facility use requirements and how existing and new systems should be integrated.
EEI provides clients with design review services for HVAC, plumbing, fire protection and electrical systems. These services may be provided as a peer review during the design process, or as part of troubleshooting an existing system. Within the design review service area, we are particularly skilled in the review of HVAC systems with regard to indoor air quality and ventilation. Important considerations are materials, airflow rates, diffuser sizing and layout and the provisions for balancing, controlling and maintaining the system.
EEI opened its doors in 1984, specializing in energy conservation and retrofit engineering services. As a result, we incorporate energy-efficient designs and details into all of our projects. Some specific energy-related consulting services provided by the firm include:
- Comprehensive energy master plans, alternative energy evaluations (solar, wind and waste-to-energy), energy and cost studies and value-engineering analysis for clients in both the private and public sectors. These include the assessment of alternative fuels, environmental protection, operational modifications and equipment performance, as well as management and maintenance procedures.
- Incorporation of Building Automation Systems (BAS) into many new design and/or retrofit projects. Through the use of computerized control equipment, facility owners and managers realize increased energy savings by automating facility systems, such as HVAC, lighting, security, etc.
- Consulting on energy production through the use of cogeneration and waste-to-energy plants. These projects use the by-products of other systems to create primary, emergency and back-up energy and power.
- Energy audits provide a better understanding of how energy is used in specific buildings and identify opportunities for energy savings. “Energy audits” commonly refer to a broad spectrum of energy studies. In its basic form, the energy audit may be a quick walk-through of the facility, identifying and examining specific problem areas. In its long form, the energy audit may include a comprehensive analysis and study of the facility’s various systems with detailed recommendations for energy cost-saving measures. EEI works with clients to pinpoint their particular objectives and develop a detailed scope of services for the project, so that we can provide solutions that meet those objectives.
- EEI’s basic audit involves abbreviated interviews with site personnel, a brief review of facility utility bills (and other operating data) and a walk-through of the facility to become familiar with the building operation. EEI’s basic report will identify significant areas of energy waste or inefficiency and provide brief descriptions of corrective measures, including estimates of the implementation cost, potential savings and simple payback periods. Although this basic audit is adequate to prioritize energy projects, we typically recommend a more detailed energy audit.
EEI’s more detailed audit expands on the basic audit described above, collecting more information about facility operation with increased analysis of the energy conservation measures identified.
- Utility bills are collected for a 12- to 36-month period, allowing the auditor to evaluate the facility's energy/demand rate structures and energy usage profiles.
- Specific tests and/or metering of energy-consuming systems are performed to quantify performance and opportunities.
- In-depth interviews with facility operating personnel are conducted to provide a better understanding of significant energy-consuming systems and to gain insight into the variations in daily and annual energy consumption and demand.
This type of audit will identify most energy conservation measures appropriate for the facility. A detailed financial analysis is performed for each measure based on implementation cost estimates, site-specific operating cost savings and the customer's investment criteria. Sufficient detail is provided to justify project implementation.
Using the data collected from the audit/assessment, EEI’s energy professionals, many of whom are Certified Energy Managers, will analyze the data and formulate recommendations that increase system performance and create energy savings. Where system modifications are needed, EEI has the internal expertise needed to not only recommend but also design energy-efficient solutions. As part of its analysis, EEI may include the following additional services:
- Alternative Energy Source Evaluations: As part of its analysis, EEI will consider the use of renewable energy sources. EEI develops comprehensive energy master plans, alternative energy evaluations (solar, wind, geothermal and biomass) and value engineering analysis for clients in both the private and public sectors. These plans and studies include the assessment of alternative fuels, environmental protection, operational modifications, equipment performance and management/maintenance procedures. EEI also provides facility owners/managers with ideas on energy production through the use of combined heat and power systems and waste-to-energy plants. These projects use the byproducts of other systems to create primary, emergency and backup energy/power.
- Energy Modeling: EEI utilizes energy modeling to evaluate building energy consumption and opportunities for energy savings. Our analysis considers the thermal performance of the building envelope, the building size and orientation, building usage, occupancy and the local climate.
- Regardless of which simulation or comparative method is used, the results of the model must be interpreted properly. Generally, whole building energy simulation does not accurately predict energy use because a building’s energy usage is dependent on the quality of construction, system operation and maintenance and occupant behavior. It is more useful for comparing competing energy/system alternatives.
To analyze specific measures that cannot be efficiently or accurately modeled with commercially available software, EEI has developed an extensive library of spreadsheet analyses to predict energy performance. New spreadsheets are regularly developed to analyze unique situations and opportunities.
- Life-Cycle Costing: EEI and its staff are highly experienced in providing life-cycle costing – the analysis of the total cost ssociated with a building, system or device over its anticipated useful life. Life-cycle costing provides a more valid and consistent comparison of the present value of various system options to determine the approach that provides the lowest overall cost of ownership, with consideration of quality and function.
The life-cycle costs considered as part of the firm’s analysis include:
- First cost (purchase, acquisition, construction)
- Energy cost
- Operation cost
- Maintenance cost
- Repair cost
- Replacement cost
- Residual values (resale, salvage values or disposal costs)
EEI generally provides this analysis during the pre-design or design phases. Life-cycle costing is a recommended first step to guide value engineering decisions, basing design approach on the lowest overall life-cycle costs instead of lowest first cost.
- Economic Evaluation: In addition to life-cycle costing, EEI is very familiar with the use of many other common economic evaluation methods, including Simple Payback Period, Return on Investment and the Benefit to Cost Ratio. We utilize several computer programs that can perform multiple (simple to sophisticated) analyses, if required.
When our clients decide which projects to fund and the funding method to use, EEI is often asked to design the capital improvements, supervise installation and commission the final product. We employ licensed professional engineers and we are focused on providing the best long-term solution by taking into account the client’s budget, the appropriate systems for the application and the abilities and resources of the operations and maintenance staff.
- Energy Certification: As a leading provider of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) commissioning services and as an approved Energy Star Partner, EEI is very familiar with the program requirements associated with obtaining building certification through these programs. EEI has guided many clients through the process of obtaining Energy Star and LEED ratings from basic certifications through Platinum levels. In fact, many of the firm’s project managers are LEED Accredited Professionals.
- Implementation and Change Management – Due to the firm’s extensive facility management and construction experience, EEI can either assist the client team through the implementation process or manage that process on the client’s behalf. Once the system and procedural modifications have been completed, EEI can provide the client and its team with training on the new systems and/or procedures.
- Measurement and Verification (M&V) – Once completed, EEI can measure the energy performance of the completed project, collecting the data needed to demonstrate the energy savings achieved. As a building commissioning provider, EEI is uniquely qualified to test, measure, document and verify the functional performance of building systems.
EEI’s measurement and verification services generally consist of the following:
- Review information provided by the design team for familiarization with key energy and water use efficiency measures.
- Develop a detailed M&V plan in compliance with the LEED requirements to guide the process.
- Utilize BAS trending capabilities to perform the majority of the required monitoring and identify additional monitoring requirements for dedicated data loggers or periodic manual field measurements.
- Monitoring performance for one year (assuming this activity will consist of monthly site visits to download data trends into suitable storage media).
- Analyzing the energy and water use efficiency measures as well as the data collected to compare to a baseline and intended performance (as an alternative, whole building energy performance can be compared to a calibrated simulation of the building).
- Documenting results of the M&V effort in a concise report.
- Metering Services - EEI offers a full range of metering services for various building utilities, including electric, gas, water and/or steam. These services allow our clients to better understand load profiles; manage demand; allocate costs to tenants, regions, facilities, etc.; reduce consumption; negotiate with suppliers; and monitor improvements from energy conservation measures. As a building commissioning provider, EEI is able to quickly identify the most efficient and cost-effective means to measure system performance on a snapshot or continuous basis.
EEI has monitored energy usage through a variety of methods including, but not limited to, the use of utility interval data, utility billing data, specialized metering equipment, data loggers and the use of building automation system trending.
EEI is very familiar with the energy conservation and commissioning programs offered by local utilities and state agencies. We work with our clients in the identification, application and award of the incentives. We have been successful in helping our customers realize millions of dollars in energy efficiency and commissioning credits.
EEI and its key personnel have been hired to provide expert testimony in various legal actions throughout the United States. The firm’s credentials, as well as those of its key personnel, are impressive. All key employees possess strong systems engineering knowledge/expertise, experience in working on various engineered system, extensive field (practical) experience and professional certifications from leading industry associations.
EEI develops and refines technical information databases, computerized maintenance management systems and building management systems into comprehensive and integrated facility maintenance management information systems. This specifically includes:
- AutoCAD databases
- Building information modeling (BIM)
- Operation & maintenance documentation
- Work order packages
- Real-time data acquisition for routine operation & service requirements
EEI provides a broad range of proactive IEQ evaluation and IEQ problem-solving services. Our past experience indicates that most IEQ problems are complex combinations of ventilation and contaminant interaction. Rather than starting with expensive testing for numerous possible contaminants, we recommend a methodical, step-by-step approach starting with a qualitative evaluation. We have the capability to delve as deeply as necessary into HVAC system operation, contaminant sources and occupant response.
EEI provides comprehensive and integrated test procedures for the interaction of the following life safety and related systems:
- Fire detection & alarm systems
- Fire suppression systems
- Smoke control systems
- Building control & access systems
- Security systems
These procedures bring together testing requirements of building operator teams, jurisdictional authorities and contractors to simultaneously test all these systems for an efficient, one-time event.
EEI provides technical and economic planning, study and evaluation services for assessing energy management, performance, physical condition, maintenance, operations and the potential modifications and renovations of equipment and systems. We provide these services for both existing and new facilities in the form of various engineering studies. EEI's experience and capabilities provide facility owners with the resources to assess the most cost-effective alternative for each problem and solution on a life-cycle cost basis.
We perform planning and study services in the following areas:
- Mechanical Systems: Technical and economic evaluations of new and retrofit HVAC designs, renovations, modifications and the integration of mechanical systems with other systems; plumbing system repair and replacement and piping modifications. Development of comprehensive energy master plans, alternative energy evaluations, energy and cost studies and value engineering studies.
- Electrical Systems: Planning of, and technical and economic evaluations for buildings, facilities and the installation of electrical systems, including primary and secondary systems, distribution, substations and transformers, emergency generators, UPS, fire and life safety, and cogeneration systems.
- Lighting Systems: Evaluation of lamp types, ballasts and luminaries/system efficiency for new installation. Design of different lighting layouts and mock-ups for review. Cost/benefit analysis of different control strategies such as relays, occupancy sensors, daylight, responsive dimming, etc.
Commissioning a new addition is an excellent opportunity to begin or enhance a preventative maintenance system, integrating the new with existing in-house asset management programs. It is also a chance to bring added efficiency to the budgeting, procurement, warranty and scheduled service functions. EEI facilitates the development of common goals and processes for the accounting, engineering and maintenance disciplines.
EEI is qualified to provide specialty testing as required by clients with specialized systems. Such testing may include HEPA filter testing, laboratory fume hood testing and other testing required by governing bodies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
EEI provides “as-built” and system documentation services for MEP systems. We create these documents either by conducting a field review of existing Record Drawings, or by developing documents completely on the basis of field review.
In addition to the functional testing available through commissioning, EEI can track system performance and monitor or record unusual system occurrences. This leads to more effective troubleshooting and quicker system problem resolution. We also analyze the heating or cooling equipment during peak seasonal requirements, which allows for observation of on-line, real-time performance of the systems during peak conditions and events.
EEI's commissioning services often include TAB reviews. This is a spot-checking of the air and water system tests for compliance with the specified accuracy. EEI suggests a spot-check of 10% (minimum) of the contractor’s scope of work. In addition, EEI reviews TAB contractor problem reports as their work progresses, following up with the construction manager to ensure the resolution of any reported issues.
EEI offers training for building owners and facility managers. We introduce clients to the broad issues and opportunities driving sustainable buildings, which helps them focus on the specific strategies that will be most meaningful to their situation. EEI's services include the development of training manuals, operations and maintenance manuals and preventative maintenance programs to maintain HVAC system performance, improve energy efficiency and achieve acceptable IEQ.
Our training includes, but is not limited to:
- Facility management
- Automation/control systems
- Mechanical systems design & review
- Maintenance & operation
- Operational procedures & manual
- Documentation of building systems
- System optimization
- Energy conservation measures
- Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)
In addition to these courses, we can develop training material specific to our clients’ needs, including handouts, visual aids, video documentation, course curriculums, quizzes and tests.
Our field engineering services include troubleshooting, appraisals, observations, testing and the assessment of the physical condition, operation and performance of the facility equipment and systems. Our field engineering projects have included:
- Mechanical Systems: New and existing HVAC, special plumbing, piping and sanitary systems.
- Electrical: New and existing systems for buildings, facilities and installations including primary and secondary power, substations, distribution, UPS, emergency power, cogeneration, interfacing, switchgear, motor controls, fire alarm systems and lighting.
- Lighting Retrofits: Energy audits for existing buildings for retrofit of luminaries, lamps, or ballasts to reduce energy consumption while maintaining or improving lighting quality.
EEI provides clients with a depth of experience in analyzing proposed designs and their associated costs and developing alternative cost-effective design solutions. While understanding that there is rarely a right or wrong answer, we help our clients to make informed, objective decisions.