DBR Sustainability Report: 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.


Eddy Santosa, CBCP, LEED AP BD+C, BEMP
Director of Sustainability


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.


Eddy Santosa, CBCP, LEED AP BD+C, BEMP
Director of Sustainability

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.

About DBR – DBR provides mechanical, electrical and plumbing consulting services with a focus on energy-efficiency and building performance. Founded in 1972, DBR currently employs 120 people and is recognized as a forward-thinking firm by proactively identifying opportunities and investing in proper planning for the future.

For more information, contact DBR at (713) 914-0888 or visit our website at www.dbrinc.com.

DBR Announces Promotions

We at DBR would like to congratulate and thank these team members for their exceptional performance! Together they demonstrate their unwavering commitment to excellence and knowledge to our clients.

Applying Whole-Building Energy Modeling to Improve Energy Performance

January 10, 2018 by Kellie Darbonne, LEED® AP BD+C

Are you designing a new building, going through a measurement and verification process, attempting a green building certification, demonstrating compliance with code, or retrofitting an existing building? A whole-building energy model is a valuable tool for analyzing building performance data and assisting in the decision-making process for the building envelope or its systems.

A whole-building energy model can compare mechanical systems, evaluate energy conservation strategies, optimize sizing, and improve overall system performance. Simply put, an energy model is a physics-based software simulation that calculates building energy use. Modelers build a digital building by inputting various building attributes such as: envelope construction materials, HVAC systems, interior and exterior lighting, building orientation, process loads, water heating, just to name a few. Combined with local climate conditions and the building usage profile, this data is used to estimate building thermal loads and energy use and costs, while highlighting system interactions.

During early design application, referencing previous projects or using default values can serve as the input to gauge preliminary early design assessment, building loads, or system interactions. However, if the project requirements include demonstration of code compliance or green building certification, such as LEED, complete building components and information must be incorporated into the energy model before final submission.

While there are various approaches to modeling a building’s energy use, each software is unique and carries different strengths and weaknesses. To determine the best program for your needs, take into consideration key fundamentals, such as project scopes, user friendliness, cost, program flexibility, output reports, and calculation run time.

DBR Engineering Consultants, Inc. has experience in delivering optimized designs and high-performance buildings through estimating building loads and recommending optimal energy efficiency scenarios using both Trane Trace 700 and eQuest energy modeling software. For questions regarding the energy modeling process and how it could benefit your project, please contact Eddy Santosa, Director of Sustainability at esantosa@dbrinc.com or (713) 914-0888. The DBR Sustainability Department is also available for LEED Administration and is well-versed in MEP LEED documentation.

Battle for Texas: The Experience


The once dark basement of the historic Joske’s Building at Rivercenter Mall has been transformed into an interactive museum, Battle for Texas: The Experience.

While imagining a trip to a museum may conjure up images of quietly observing art or artifacts from a distance, Battle for Texas encourages the complete opposite and wants visitors to see, hear, and touch as many things as possible.

Battle for Texas uses 22,000 square feet to recreate the 1836 Battle of the Alamo and takes visitors through the 13-day battle using historic artifacts, hands-on exhibits, multimedia technology, and live re-enactments.

As visitors make their way through the maze-like attraction, they’re able to hear a soundtrack that corresponds with each exhibit, whether it be listening to the history of Texas’ early settlers or hearing the sounds of soldiers and gunfire that mark the end of the battle.

In addition to the carefully curated displays and exhibits, Battle for Texas uses technology to put a modern spin on the traditional museum. Visitors can design their own flags at a station that’s equipped with built-in tablets and a mobile app can be downloaded to view additional videos and content that correspond to each gallery as visitors walk through them.

DBR is proud to have provided mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering services for the core and shell building and the finish-out of this space. The collective work of the team helped bring this piece of Texas history to life for San Antonians and the millions of tourists who visit the city each year.

Star Of Hope’s Cornerstone Community

After nearly five years of development, the new Star of Hope campus opened its doors and heart to the Houston community. Supporting homeless women and families, the Cornerstone Community provides a range of intensive program offerings that provide stability and personal development.

DBR Engineering Consultants was thrilled to have worked alongside Star of Hope and Kirksey Architecture in support of homelessness needs in Houston. Comprised of nine buildings, the 48-acre campus combines low-income housing; a multipurpose campus community center; a 300-seat chapel; a family counseling center; a collection and retail center; and the House of Hope.

Kevin Pfeiffer, who represented DBR as the Partner in Charge, praised Star of Hope for their ability to convey their detailed vision of the Cornerstone Community by actively collaborating with the entire project team. To support Star of Hope’s needs, DBR focused on value engineering and energy efficient design solutions for the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems of the campus.

A particularly fulfilling project to DBR, the firm will continue to shine a light on this local charitable organization and its efforts to help those less fortunate. To learn more about Star of Hope and how you can become part of the Cornerstone Community, please visit www.sohmission.org/ways-to-give.

DBR Helps Bring Light to the Darkness of Cancer

DBR is proud to to have partnered with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Light The Night Walk. Our participation helped LLS’s mission: To cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.

Employees, coworkers and friends of DBR joined together to raise funds and attend this fun family event in Houston, Austin and San Antonio.

LLS is the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to finding cures for leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma and other blood cancers. To date LLS has invested more than $1 billion in cutting-edge research to advance therapies while providing support and advocacy programs that have helped millions of patients navigate their treatments and access quality, affordable and coordinated care. Thanks to research, survival rates for patients with many blood cancers have doubled, tripled and even quadrupled since the early 1960s.

Yet, despite these advances, about one third of patients with a blood cancer still do not survive even five years after their diagnosis.

Together, LLS and DBR are taking steps to end cancer.

Research Laboratory Classifications: A Design Requirement Guide

When your client asks you how he or she should classify the new laboratory space they are designing, how do you answer? Beyond the broad brush of wet chemistry, dry physics and electronics, or biology, is there more criteria available to identify the lab type?

Fortunately, there is. For biology, microbiology, and life science laboratories, the most common reference utilized for operational classification is the publication Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories1 (BMBL), 5th Edition. The BMBL describes the protocols, physical attributes, and safety measures for laboratories in an increasing order of criticality from Biological Safety Level 1 to Biological Safety Level 4. This classification is short-handed to BSL-1, BSL-2, BSL-3 and BSL-42.

For the laboratory planner or design engineer, the essential elements necessary for achieving safety in the laboratory are additive. That is, a BSL-2 laboratory must have all the criteria of a BSL-2, and so forth. It is also important to remember that as the BSL level increases, so does the cost and complexity. All levels must have common microbiological practices in place, and these administrative or procedural controls are backed up by engineered controls such as access limitations, air filtration, and other facility requirements.
Almost any space that is identified as “lab” can qualify as a BSL-1 lab. There are, in fact, no special requirements for a BSL-1 laboratory, other than good planning and common sense. Doors are required to limited access. A hand sink is required for hand washing. Floors and walls should be cleanable. Laboratory furniture and especially laboratory counter tops should be impervious to water and be able to be decontaminated3.

A BSL-2 laboratory must have all the requirements of a BSL-1 laboratory, plus significant special practices and substantial safety equipment and personal protective equipment. This may include Biological Safety Cabinets (BSC’s), chemical fume hoods, or other forms of primary containment as well as laboratory coats, safety goggles, and gloves. Doors must be self-locking, and an emergency eyewash station must be readily available.

The special systems and engineering and design features required for a BSL-3 laboratory are significantly more complex and sophisticated than for a BSL-2 laboratory. The major difference is that there must be a method of decontaminating all laboratory waste produced in the laboratory. This may be an autoclave, chemical disinfection, or other validated decontamination methodology.

A BLS-4 laboratory is one of the most complex buildings in use for modern research. There are a limited number of BSL-4 facilities in the U.S., most are owned and operated by the U.S. government, and all are highly regulated and controlled. In the movie “Outbreak” starring Dustin Hoffman, there is a depiction of a BSL-4 laboratory with all of the people in the laboratory wearing completely enclosed plastic suits with separate breathing air lines attached.

DBR Engineering Consultants have the technical expertise and experience to help our clients design and build state of the art laboratories. If you have any questions or need any guidance on lab types or systems design approaches, please contact K. Dan Milgrim, Director of Science and Technology at dmilgrim@dbrinc.com or (469) 992-4071. The DBR Science and Technology Team are ready to assist you with all your laboratory and healthcare needs.


  1. HHS Publication No. (CDC) 21-1112, Revised December, 2009. Published by the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institutes of Health. 5th Edition.
  2. There is also specific information and requirements for animal research facilities. The designations are similar in that these facilities are classified as ABSL-1, 2, 3, or 4.
  3. Section IV of the BMBL describes in detail the administrative, facility, and special engineering controls necessary to achieve the desired safety level.

DBR Promotes Kenny Roland to Branch Office Manager

DALLAS – DBR Engineering Consultants, Inc. is excited to announce the promotion of Kenny Roland, PE to Branch Office Manager for the Dallas office. In his new role, Kenny will be responsible for the oversight of daily operations, project management, and business development across North Texas.

“We have seen Kenny develop into an accountable and determined Project Manager and are eager to see him take on greater responsibilities,” Brian Uhlrich, DBR Partner, states. “His commitment to our clients will be beneficial in his new role to develop our North Texas office.”

Kenny joined DBR in 2009 and has proven to have a high-degree of professionalism. With nearly 10 years of experience in project planning, design, and management for K-12, commercial, and mixed-use sectors through-out the Gulf Coast and Central Texas region, Kenny has continuously shown ingenuity in his technical and project management performance. He has completed a variety of high-profile projects for clients such as Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District, Howard Hughes Corporation, and Thompson Hotels.

“I’m prepared to step out of my current role and embrace this new opportunity to grow and improve our relationships in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex,” states Kenny. “I feel very privileged to take on this challenging opportunity.”

Kenny earned a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering from Kansas State University and a Master of Engineering in Fire Protection Engineering from University of Maryland. He is a member of ASHRAE, ASME, ICC, NFPA, and SPFE.

About DBR – DBR provides mechanical, electrical, and plumbing consulting services with a focus on energy-efficiency and building performance. Founded in 1972, DBR currently employs 120 people and is recognized as a forward-thinking firm by proactively identifying opportunities and investing in proper planning for the future.

For more information, contact DBR at (214) 217-9505 or visit our website at www.dbrinc.com