DBR Aims for Child Protection

June 19th, 2018 by Kat Phelps

The 8th Annual Austin Founder Lions Club Clay Shoot-Out benefiting the Center for Child Protection was on June 8th in Austin, Texas. DBR was a Silver Sponsor and won 1st place on the Red Field.

Teams of four shot at 10 stations at the 8th Annual Sporting Clay Shoot-Out, and prizes were awarded to the top two teams from each field. A new event this year was a Flurry Competition where pairs of shooters tested their skill and received a chance to win exclusive prizes.

Thanks to the NFL Alumni – Austin Chapter, participants had the opportunity to rub shoulders with NFL legends Raul Allegre who played for the New York Giants; Matt Anderson, Pittsburgh Steelers, Miami Dolphins, and Houston Texans; Doug English, Detroit Lions; William Graham, Detroit Lions; John Haines, Minnesota Vikings and Indianapolis Colts; Dan Neil, Denver Broncos; Jerry Sisemore, Philadelphia Eagles; and many more.

South Texas College Mid-Valley Campus Expansion

May 18th, 2018 by Jeanette Scarsdale

What started as a single project for DBR to upgrade the parking lot lighting for the South Texas College’s campuses has grown into a close working relationship that’s resulted in nine additional projects over the last four years.

In May of 2015, DBR’s McAllen team began working on two STC projects simultaneously. The team started off with the design of a new $4.4 million Central Thermal Plant that would be the start of STC’s Mid-Valley Campus’ expansion in Weslaco, TX. DBR served as the Prime consultant to consolidate three independent systems into a single water-cooled thermal plant and chilled water distribution system to serve multiple building expansions and one new building.

In that same month, design started on a new $14 million Health Profession and Science Building. DBR worked with ROFA Architects to create a new home for the nursing and health science programs, with nearly 70,000 sq. ft. of classrooms and laboratories. Later that summer, DBR and ROFA joined forces again to kick off a third project. The $3 million expansion of the Student Services Building added 20,000 sq. ft. of space for a new cafeteria, staff offices, and a new enrollment center.

The new central thermal plant was completed in November 2017 and serves the new building and the new addition, which both wrapped up construction in early 2018. South Texas College held a ribbon cutting ceremony and a tour open to the public to celebrate the completion of the Mid-Valley Campus expansion on April 26th.

DBR has had the opportunity to lead projects and work directly with STC’s leadership and work collaboratively alongside architects as a sub-consultant to help transform the Mid-Valley Campus. The projects that have been completed over the last four years are expected to result in greater energy efficiency and lower operating costs for the campus, and more importantly, better learning environments and educational opportunities for the surrounding communities.

DBR is a Registered AIA Continuing Education Provider

May 2nd, 2018 by Eddy Santosa, CBCP, LEED AP BD+C, BEMP

DBR is pleased to announce we are now a registered AIA Continuing Education Provider for the design and building industry to assist AIA members needing continuing education to stay at the top of their field. At this time DBR offers two presentation opportunities for continuing education and we are ready to provide lunch and learn opportunities to you and your staff!

Integrative Design Process and Early Modeling for Designing High Performance Envelope
Envelope design is a key component to creating sustainable, high-performing buildings. There are many strategies and design methods for buildings that can be applied from design through construction to improve envelope design. The presentation will discuss specifically, the implementation of an Integrative Design Process using LEED and new ASHRAE 209. Better envelope design will have a direct impact on occupant performance by providing better thermal comfort, daylight and a healthy overall environment conducive to learning. The presentation will first describe the integrative design process, including the requirements of this process and various performance simulations that can be conducted to assess overall building performance. The presentation will also showcase the important strategies and key components that designers and performance modelers must focus on to develop a better envelope design. The implementations and case studies will be presented to illustrate how to improve envelope performance using energy model and daylight simulation.

Learning Units:
1 LU|HSW

Learning Objectives:
• Understand integrated design process requirement in LEED and ASHRAE 209.
• Discuss collaboration between disciplines and building systems that affect envelope performance.
• Implement early design energy model and how the result can influence the design.
• Apply “simple box” modeling in energy model and daylight simulation to design ultra low energy efficiency or net zero ready buildings.
• Differentiate simulation tools that can help to enhance building performance.

Download Flyer Below:
Integrative Design Process & Early Modeling for Designing High Performance Envelopes

 


 

Greening & Delivering High Performance Buildings
Delivering and designing sustainable and high-performance buildings are becoming a norm and necessity in each project. It is not only because of code requirements but due to the benefits for the building owner and occupants over the long term. To develop sustainable and high-performance buildings, there are 3 core values that we need to implement to develop successful sustainable projects such as an integrative and collaborative approach; innovative and creative solutions; and cost and environmental impact. These core values will optimize and enhance building performance delivery and design. To implement core values, the presentation provides some case studies and examples. The implementations consist of three major steps. The first step will focus on early design impact and the second step will be during construction document and administration. The last step will discuss implementation or strategies in existing buildings.

Learning Units:
1 LU|HSW

Learning Objectives:
• Apply sustainability approaches during the design process.
• Discuss collaboration effort to achieve successful sustainable buildings.
• Implement knowledge based design in the design process.
• Differentiate simulation tools that can help to enhance building performance.

Download Flyer Below:
Greening & Delivering High Performance Buildings

Contact:
Eddy Santosa, CBCP, LEED AP BD+C, BEMP
Director of Sustainability
Esantosa@dbrinc.com
713.914.0888

An Introduction to Laboratory Purified Water

April 25th, 2018 by Dan Milgrim, PE, Director of Science & Technology

“Water, water everywhere/Nor any drop to drink” is a quote by the sailor lost at sea in a derelict ship from “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coloridge. This was his frustration at being literally in an ocean of water but having no drinkable water with him.

When considering laboratory purified water, the issue is not having water available, but having the right quality of water available for scientific work. There are many types of water designations for laboratory work and many different institutions and agencies defining water quality. The most successful approach for the laboratory systems planner and engineer is to work with your laboratory client to understand the water quality requirements and create a purified water system that meets the minimum needs of the client.

What is lab grade water? This typically refers to reagent grade water (RGW) which is water that has been sufficiently processed and filtered to allow its use in a scientific procedure so that it will not interfere with accuracy or precision associated with the procedure.

The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) refers to Type I, Type II, Type III and Type IV water, but all testing agencies and standards bodies do not use the same terminology. Older designations might include CLRW (Clinical Lab Reagent Water) or SRW (Special Reagent Water). The CLSI (Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute) uses the same designation as ASTM, but the actual criteria are not identical. In all cases, however, there are limits for microbial content, total organic compounds (TOC’s), resistivity measured in megohms, and particle size and content.

The most typical designation for lab water is by stating the resistivity, with higher values denoting more purity than lower values. Type I water is typically in the 18 MegOhm range, while Types II – IV are lower numbers. The actual end use of the lab water will determine the detailed parameters that must be met. For example, pharmaceutical grade water may have much lower endotoxin allowances that electronics grade water, but both are designated as Type I water and are at 18 MegOhm resistivity.

Producing lab grade water typically includes several steps, each providing filtration or conditioning to feed the next step. Typical steps include filtration for particulate, adsorption for organic compounds, UV oxidation for removal of microorganisms and deionization (DI) for ion removal.

Water may be treated by several methods. Distillation is a well known and reliable method but is slow and may produce inconsistent water quality. Filtration methods, including reverse osmosis (RO) are probably the most common method in use. Deionization (DI) is the only method that will produce the high resistivity required for Type I water.

For large laboratory applications, a combination of methods is usually utilized, beginning with some pre-treatment such as water softening followed by reverse osmosis filtration, UV treatment and deionization for higher grades. The higher the quality of water, the costlier it is to produce, so designing the system for the minimum requirements will save both capital and operating costs. Often an RO system as the central system, resulting in 2 to 4 MegOhm water, is sufficient for the general lab. Local final filtration and process units, known as “polishers” can provide higher grade water at the point of use.

Highly purified water is aggressive in that after the processing steps to adjust ion levels, etc. the water is “hungry” to return to the earlier base state and will accept ions and from piping materials and system components. Specific materials must be used for high purity systems, such as unpigmented polypropylene piping or electropolished stainless steel piping. The system should be recirculating, as stored water will degrade over time.

At DBR, we work closely with laboratory planners and clients to understand specific needs which enables us to design appropriate water treatment systems and distribution. Please call us with your questions about high purity laboratory water systems.

Contact:

K. Dan Milgrim, PE
Director of Science & Technology
Dmilgrim@dbrinc.com
713.914.0888

Landmark Awards 2018 Recap

 

April 24th, 2018 by Sarah De Ita, CPSM, Director of Marketing

More than 500 business-people joined the Houston Business Journal in celebrating the 2018 Landmark Awards, recognizing the city’s top commercial real estate projects of the previous year. Projects are recognized for excellence in land planning, design, construction, economics, marketing and management. Nominations were open to all real estate activity occurring in the greater Houston area from Jan. 1, 2017, through Dec. 31, 2017. This year’s judges were Catherine Callaway, senior associate at Kirksey; Doug Coenen, principal at Walter P Moore; Douglas Demiano, senior vice president at PMRG; Susan Hill, senior managing director at HFF; James E. Springer, vice president at Gilbane Inc.; and Ann Taylor, senior vice president at Midway Cos. Entries were judged on impact to Houston, such as job creation, innovation, best use of land, site plan, development of surrounding neighborhoods, visual plan, amenities and being environmentally friendly.

The awards ceremony event was held April 19 at the Hilton Houston Post Oak by the Galleria where HBJ named winners in each of the 16 categories. DBR was thrilled to have contributed to 7 project finalists with three projects receiving Landmark Awards. “DBR is extremely proud to have helped build these Landmark projects, and we look forward to seeing their impact in Houston for years to come,” said Randy Curry, PE, Principal and CEO of DBR Engineering Consultants, Inc.

 

Daikin Texas Technology Park
Category: Industrial
Size: Over 4 Million sf
Project Value: $450+ million

 

Star of Hope Cornerstone Campus
Category: Community Impact
Size: 206,975 sf
Project Value: $36 million

 

The Houston Zoo Elephant Barn & Yard
Category: Special Project
Size: 7,000 sf
Project Value: $7.8 million

How to Design Zero Energy Buildings for School Projects

April 12th, 2018 by Eddy Santosa, CBCP, LEED AP BD+C, BEMP

Recently, many K-12 school facilities have been designed and constructed to achieve zero energy building goals. Investing in zero energy buildings for school developments is a logical approach, as school districts typically own and operate the facility for a long period of time. While there is a premium initial cost related to achieve the target, the long-term life cycle benefits can offset the initial investment. Life cycle cost and return on investment analysis shall be part of the design process starting on day one to achieve optimal value within the project budget.

From a design and technical point of view, the school’s zero energy building goal can be achieved if the buildings are approximately four stories high, with an assumption that the photovoltaics can only utilize roof space area. If the photovoltaics system can utilize space outside the building roofing area, Net Zero energy buildings can be achieved in even taller school buildings. With advancements in building system and photovoltaics technologies, the implementation of zero energy buildings for school projects will also progress. Graphic 1 shows the feasibility calculation for zero energy buildings by using ASHRAE Achieving Zero Energy AEDG and ASHRAE 1651 RP for primary school and secondary school projects in Houston.

Graphic 1

So, how do we design zero energy buildings for school projects? Many people think they will need to install photovoltaics and wind turbines as the first step to achieve zero energy building goals. Instead, we should focus on energy conservation inside the buildings prior to implementing on-site renewable energy. The cost of on-site renewable energy is relatively higher, and the payback period is much longer than any energy conservation strategies that we can implement inside the buildings. Therefore, the first goal shall be to design ultra-low energy buildings or zero energy ready buildings. For example, in Houston, both ASHRAE standards and research showed EUI from 18.6 kbtu/sf.year to 25.5 kbtu/sf.yr for zero energy ready for school buildings.

In the design process, while many may think there are special strategies that we need to implement, best practices and knowledge-based design approaches can address the net zero goal. Here are the three most important steps that should be implemented when designing zero energy buildings for schools:

1. Implement Integrative Design Process

While the integrative design process has been recognized to design green buildings, it also improves the overall design process. However, design teams are still overlooking this process which pushes design teams to work in a more collaborative way. For example, the mechanical engineer can design HVAC systems using the correct and optimal envelope assemblies designed by the architect, while validating its performance with the use of an energy modeler. While it may sound more complicated than the traditional process, if the design team embraces the integrative design process, the design team will see a difference and change of pace in the later stages of design.

The integrative design process is not only for large projects, as it can also be implemented in smaller scale projects. A small renovation project of approximately 1,500 square feet implemented an integrative design process and achieved an increase in energy savings of 18% and reduced the HVAC sizing unit by 25%.

2. Apply Performance Modeling and Knowledge Based Design Decision Making

Based on the AIA 2030 report, energy modeling is key to optimizing building performance and achieving zero energy building goals. During the design process, there are five ways to achieve high-performance buildings as described in the AIA report when designing zero energy buildings for schools.

Other performance modeling measures may be needed to optimize buildings beyond energy modeling. Daylight modeling and hygrothermal modeling are two other performance modeling tools that can provide better designs for schools. Daylight modeling will help optimize daylight when coupled with electrical lighting. Additionally, research shows that the availability of the daylight can enhance students’ performance. Hygrothermal modeling is very important too. It can ensure envelope performance and avoid potential molds that can affect the health of students and teachers.

3. Assess Energy Conservation Measures to Optimize Energy Reduction Impact

While designing zero energy buildings, the main questions deal with identifying the best energy conservation measures for a specific project. Although the energy code is getting stringent, there are many opportunities in applying different energy conservation measures in buildings. ASHRAE 1651-RP mentions there are 400 strategies that can be used to reduce energy usage.

To effectively identify the best energy conservation measures for a specific project, here are three steps that can be implemented. The first step is to look at the building site and condition and explore any potential passive strategies that can be utilized, such as availability of daylight and natural or mixed ventilation strategies. The second step is to analyze the building systems, such as the envelope and the mechanical and electrical system, and their interaction with one another. Using the performance simulations, optimal solutions during design are achieved. It is also highly recommended to involve cost estimators in this step, so that life cycle cost and long-term benefits can be explored. The last step is to explore new, cutting-edge strategies that can bring innovation and further reduction to the buildings. The strategies should be based on internal research or existing buildings for reference. At DBR, we have a zero-energy building committee that conducts research and explores different strategies to be implemented not only in zero energy buildings, but also in our typical design to provide the most effective approach for our clients.

By implementing these steps in designing zero energy buildings, school projects can achieve cost-effective, zero energy buildings. Leveraging the experience and expertise of each design team member when evaluating the interaction between and among building systems will be critical to a successful integrative design process. Additionally, the steps in designing zero energy buildings for schools can be implemented beyond zero energy building for schools. Typical school projects can reap the benefits with optimal design solutions within its current budget.

Contact:

Eddy Santosa, CBCP, LEED AP BD+C, BEMP
Director of Sustainability
Esantosa@dbrinc.com
713.914.0888

DBR’s Eddy Santosa to Speak at A4LE Conference

2018 Southern Regional Conference

Thursday, April 5th | 1:00–2:00 pm | Waco Convention Center | Waco, TX
For more details about this event visit A4LE for their schedule.

Designing & Constructing High Performance Envelope for Schools

Eddy Santosa, CBCP, LEED AP BD+C, BEMP; Joe Fong, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C

Envelope design is a key component to creating sustainable, high-performing buildings. There are many strategies and design methods for schools that can be applied from design through construction to improve envelope design. The presentation will discuss specifically, the implementation of an Integrative Design Process and an Envelope Commissioning Process to meet the LEED requirements for K-12 schools. Better envelope design will have a direct impact on student performance by providing better thermal comfort, daylight and a healthy overall environment conducive to learning. The presentation will first describe the integrative design process, including the requirements of this process and various performance simulations that can be conducted to assess overall building performance. The presentation will also showcase the important strategies and key components that designers and performance modelers must focus on to develop a better a better envelope design. Per current codes and LEED requirements, Building Enclosure Commissioning (BECx) enhances the process of reviewing design documents, specifications, and submittals; makes recommendations for enclosure testing procedures, performing site observations and creating reports for any new construction and major renovation of K-12 projects with the goal of optimizing building performance. The presentation will also provide an interactive discussion with the audience to assess different types of sustainability strategies and envelope details. At the close of the presentation, there will be a Q&A session to address any final questions from the audience.

Learning Objectives:

  • Determine envelope performance parameters in early design that affect School’s envelope design
  • Apply different strategies in order to improve envelope performance in School Projects
  • List the typical steps of Building Envelope Commissioning and understand the roles and responsibilities of a Commissioning Agent
  • Discover tools and techniques for addressing critical issues for building envelope case studies that are cost effective and support permitting and approvals

Contact:

Eddy Santosa, CBCP, LEED AP BD+C, BEMP
Director of Sustainability
Esantosa@dbrinc.com
713.914.0888

DBR Sustainability Report: 2017 Year in Review

2017 Year in Review

Since the inception of the Sustainability Department at DBR, our firm has diligently worked to encourage and partner with clients on building and operating sustainable, efficient buildings to improve environmental performance.

Additionally, we have joined the AIA 2030 Commitment in 2018 to show reinforce our endeavors and to encourage our clients to participate in the commitment as well.

To read more about DBR’s accomplishments you can read the full 2017 Sustainability Report here.

Contact:

Eddy Santosa, CBCP, LEED AP BD+C, BEMP
Director of Sustainability
Esantosa@dbrinc.com
713.914.0888

 

DBR Announces Firm’s Commitment to Carbon Neutrality

DBR Engineering Consultants, Inc. (DBR) is excited to announce that we have signed on to The American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2030 Commitment program and its goal of carbon-neutral buildings by the year 2030. To meet this challenge, DBR will further the application of energy modeling and integrative process design in our projects.

The built environment and the places where we live, work, and play represent the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as the largest opportunity for making a positive impact in reducing building-related emissions. As engineers, we understand the need to exercise leadership in creating a sustainable built environment. We believe we must improve our profession’s practices and encourage our clients to join with us in advancing the course of the planet’s future.

“Together with our clients and many architecture firms, DBR took a step forward by adopting The AIA 2030 commitment,” states Eddy Santosa, Director of Sustainability. “To support this commitment, DBR has expanded our sustainability services beyond LEED consulting and Energy Modeling and will now provide one-stop service solutions to our clients.”

By signing The AIA 2030 Commitment, DBR acknowledges the critical need for accurate, consistent, and rigorous metrics related to actual building performance and will use this framework to further advance the green building industry and its impact on decreasing greenhouse gas emissions.

 

About the AIA 2030 Commitment

The mission of The AIA 2030 Commitment is to transform the practice of architecture in a way that is holistic, firm-wide, project-based, and data-driven, so that AIA and participating firms can prioritize energy performance and carbon reductions in the design towards carbon neutral buildings, developments, and major renovations by 2030.


About DBR Engineering Consultants

DBR provides mechanical, electrical, and plumbing consulting services with a focus on energy-efficiency and building performance. Founded in 1972, DBR currently employs over 115 people and is recognized as a forward-thinking firm by proactively identifying opportunities and investing in proper planning for the future.


Contact:

Eddy Santosa, CBCP, LEED AP BD+C, BEMP
Director of Sustainability
Esantosa@dbrinc.com
713.914.0888

DBR Hires Director of Sustainability

DBR Engineering Consultants, Inc. (DBR) is pleased to announce that Eddy Santosa, CBCP, LEED® AP BD+C, BEMP will serve as Director of Sustainability and support the firm statewide.

“Eddy brings a wealth of experience to DBR that will broaden our depth of capabilities in sustainable design, leading to more energy efficient project design,” said Ayman H. Ashkar PE, LEED® Green Associate, Vice President of DBR.

Santosa has over fifteen years of experience practicing sustainable design in the A/E/C industry and holds a Master of Science in Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Science in Building Science from the National University of Singapore.

Santosa has been involved in establishing sustainable design strategies, energy conservation strategies, and passive design analyses for projects in the US and around the world. His works range from developing master plans and conceptual design strategies for net zero projects to providing project management and energy simulation calculations for LEED certifications.

He is a CBCP (Certified Building Commissioning Professional) and a LEED AP BD+C, BEMP (Building Energy Modeling Professional). He serves as a USGBC Energy and Atmosphere Technical Advisory Group Member, a BEMwiki Editor at IBPSA US, and USGBC pro reviewer.

Santosa’s works have been widely published in articles, books, and research journals. He is also a frequent speaker and has spoken at many conferences including Greenbuild, ASHRAE conferences, IBPSA conference, and Autodesk University. His primary interest area is integrated design and the implementation of building performance assessments, especially daylight and energy performance, in the early design stages.


Contact:

Eddy Santosa, CBCP, LEED AP BD+C, BEMP
Director of Sustainability
Esantosa@dbrinc.com
713.914.0888