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Walking and Talking Sustainability: What’s your building saying?

4/5/21 2:08 PM / by Joshua Gerlock

At Melink, our mission is to change the world one building at a time. To do this, we focus on helping decision makers implement sustainable solutions. Sustainability has many faces; renewaSustainability-stockble energy, water conservation, waste reduction and management, economic sustainability, and energy efficiency to name a few. For me, one of the most enjoyable aspects about the projects I work on is seeing the electric usage go down like a clearance sale on Cyber Monday or seeing the natural gas usage cut down like a wrestler trying to drop weight classes (or even consumption rates on a utility bill for that matter).

At Melink, we know a thing or two about sustainable buildings. One of our corporate offices is Net Zero and our other office is LEED Platinum. Not only do we talk the talk, but we walk the walk in buildings that use far less water and energy than your typical commercial buildings. Though our buildings were created like this by design, we continuously seek new ways to be more efficient and we strive to help others do the same.

To start down a path towards any sustainability goal, the first step for any building owner or manager is to take inventory on their current state and figure out a baseline. And since you cannot improve what you do not measure, taking an honest look at what you currently have is key to reaching your goals.

Did you know that HVAC systems are responsible for 40% of energy usage? It is an effective place to start when it comes to your building HVAC systems. The opportunities for savings are abundant… but so are the opportunities for waste. Negative building pressure alone can be responsible for up to a 20% premium on your HVAC energy costs. However, the beauty of it is that negative air pressure can often be corrected by adjusting existing equipment. A proper test and balance can often fix these issues and at the very least, a comprehensive test and balance report can provide insights to deficiencies. This is just one example of when a simple HVAC issue is corrected it can make your building more comfortable, less humid, and more energy efficient.

Some of the even simpler issues we have found in buildings are often attributed to lack of regular maintenance, improper installation, or even poor design. We have found air filters that are not the right size for their units, filters that are clogged from not being changed, outside air dampers in the wrong position or even blocked, fans running the wrong direction, missing volume dampers, duct work not connected, frozen coils, and the list goes on. All of these issues lead to buildings being less comfortable, less efficient, and more costly to manage in the long run.

Let Melink Help

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For a new building, it starts with sustainable designs. A critical step is ensuring the architect and design engineers are on the same page. Then when your building is built, we recommend using an independent test and  balance contractor that is not hired by the mechanical  contractor. Using an independent contractor ensures there is no conflict of interest between those who install the HVAC equipment and those who verify that the systems are working as they were designed. This way you can be sure to avoid some of the simple, yet costly snafus like duct work not being connected. For existing buildings, ideally there are meticulous records of the existing equipment and as-built drawings have been updated over time. In this case, a proper test and balance can help make sure your systems are operating as designed and areas in need of attention can be easily identified.

Melink’s expert HVAC teams deal with every type of building and almost every type of HVAC equipment you can think of. In many of the existing buildings we work on, it is not uncommon to run into facilities that do not have any original building plans to reference. Commercial facilities often change hands of ownership, equipment can change as buildings are updated, and building usage can change. This means finding that baseline can be really tricky.

Our in-depth HVAC assessment and investigation services can tell you everything about your HVAC systems. From tracing all the duct work to taking air flow measurements of equipment like air handling units and performing assessments of equipment, our services are flexible to fit your needs. Aside from the physical changes our team will make on site like correcting airflow of an air handling unit, all the information we collect has endless uses for a building owner or manager. To name a few, our reports can be used as a preventative maintenance plan. They can help identify and correct energy deficiencies, used to plan renovations, and they can often help identify the root cause of a lot of issues that building owners and managers face like organic growth (aka the dreaded m-word, mold).

To learn more about how Melink can assist you with your building assessment needs,

Contact Melink

for a free consultation.

Let us get to work for you today!

 

 

Tags: Energy Efficiency, HVAC Test & Balance, Building Health

Joshua Gerlock

Written by Joshua Gerlock

Joshua Gerlock joined Melink Corporation in 2017 and currently serves as Business Development Manager for Intelli-Hood®. Joshua is responsible for Intelli-Hood® sales and partnerships nationwide that are part of Energy Service Performance Contracts. He is a Certified Manufacturing Specialist through the Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering.