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CEM in the House!

John Herold, Project Manager, is officially a Certified Energy Manager (CEM)! John is part of Bruner’s Performance Solutions Group, that works to optimize HVAC service plans, conduct energy master planning, and make efficiency improvements to client facilities.

The CEM designation, accredited through the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE), is the most widely recognized energy management certification in the world. Bruner currently employs three energy professionals that hold the CEM certification, with John being our newest CEM, and one professional that holds the Energy Manager In Training (EMIT) certification.

*The EMIT certification is for energy professionals that demonstrate the technical strengths needed to hold a CEM certification, but need more field experience. 

Energy professionals that pass the CEM exam have a high level of knowledge and experience within the energy industry. Herold, having over 15 years of experience in this industry, has always worked to provide efficient solutions for clients. We are very proud of his achievements and new certification—great job, John!

AEE has been a leader in developing Energy Managers for over 30 years and Bruner is proud to be a partner. AEE describes the CEM designation as “an individual who optimizes the energy performance of a facility, building, or industrial plant. CEM® is a systems integrator for electrical, mechanical, process and building infrastructure, analyzing the optimum solutions to reduce energy consumption in a cost effective approach. CEM’s are often team leaders and help to develop and implement their organizations’ energy management strategies. CEM’s have gained increased recognition within the energy industry and by companies looking to strengthen their competitive position by having a CEM on staff.”

Interested in learning more?

Attend the next Ohio Capital City AEE event:

OCCAEE sponsors a panel discussion on
Alternative Energy and Its Impact to Ohio’s Infrastructure

November 20, 2013

11:30 AM – Networking
12:00 PM – Panel Discussion

Nationwide & Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center

2201 Fred Taylor Drive
Columbus, OH 43210

*Event presented by Columbus SMPS Chapter (Society for Marketing Professional Services)

 REGISTER NOW

 

Preparing for an HVAC Emergency

It is 4 a.m., and the phone rings. The building’s boiler has failed, and it is 20 degrees outside. Technicians will not be able to repair the failure in a few hours. It will be days or weeks until repairs are complete or a new boiler is in service, assuming one is available for installation and delivery. Now what?

It is essential to have emergency-preparedness plans that include HVAC equipment failure. While many organizations have general emergency-preparedness plans designed, they must not forget about HVAC equipment failure! With a plan, the above situation could have been much easier to resolve and would have limited system downtime to just a few hours, minimized disruptions to building occupants and operations, and eliminated almost the entirely the risk of damage to the building and its systems.

What insight does Bruner have on this topic for you? We asked our operations manager for some tips on this situation and he suggests “Hopefully, you have a preventative maintenance program in place and as a result, already have the funds set aside for this inevitability. Your service provider should have noted the boiler’s condition on their last several maintenance summaries and during a quarterly meeting should have relayed that it was a major cause for concern that needed immediate attention. Preferably, your service provider and trusted partner should have identified the specific concerns and had contingencies in place so that this didn’t happen to begin with. Ideally, identifying redundancy or areas where it is missing should be a part of every comprehensive maintenance program so that you don’t find yourself in this situation.”

Boiler failures aren’t the only HVAC emergencies that can occur – don’t forget to address central chillers, individual-area HVAC systems, and also to be aware of temporary changes in the way occupants use a building which can create conditions where the existing HVAC system no longer can meet the needs of the application. As always, Bruner can help your organization develop a comprehensive maintenance program to avoid and prepare for an HVAC emergency.

10 HVAC & Energy Efficiency Fun Facts

A little knowledge doesn’t hurt anyone! We’ve been collecting fun facts about the HVAC industry over the past few months from various credible sources, and thought collectively they would make a masterpiece. So read on and you will probably find something out you didn’t know before!

1. Factors such as rightsizing, system updating, and types of refrigerant used can significantly affect HVAC efficiency.

2. An electronic air cleaner is 40x more efficient than a standard throwaway filter in removing unwanted particles from your home.

3. A variable speed heat pump can trim energy costs by as much as 40%.

4. You can increase the efficiency of your home by up to 30% by investing in proper insulation and sealing air leaks around windows and doors.

5. In NYC, it is estimated that poorly fitted air conditioners cost buildings $130 million to $180 million a year in extra fuel consumption!

6. An oversized HVAC system increases installation costs, wastes energy, and costs more in overall operating costs than a correctly sized system.

7. 75% of the electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off – so unplug and conserve!

8. The Romans were the first civilization to use any type of warm-air heating system.

9. The first air conditioner wasn’t for people’s comfort! The first modern air conditioner was invented by Willis Carrier in 1902 for a publishing company in Brooklyn. The machine kept temperature and humidity low so that paper didn’t expand and contract. Carrier never intended for his invention to be solely used for comfort!

10. The top 3 commercial energy uses in the US are: lighting, space heating, and space cooling.

Is it Greener to Retrofit than Build New?

We all know that building new green buildings is always a hot idea, but experts have been pushing the idea that retrofitting existing buildings with green upgrades provide more environmental benefits. Your first thought may be new = better however, there is now proof that these experts are correct from a report released earlier this year. The report found that it is unequivocally greener to retrofit an old building than construct a new green building, no matter how many high-tech bells and whistles are in the new construction. The report was drawn from “The Greenest Building: Quantifying the Environmental Value of Building Reuse” project which was commissioned by Preservation Green Lab.

Elizabeth Heider, chair of the board of directors at the USGBC said “The thought was in order to build green you have to build new.” However, the report numbers add up in favor of retrofits. The report states:

  • It can take between 10 and 80 years for a new energy-efficient building to overcome, through more efficient operations, the negative climate change impacts that come from construction.
  • Environmental savings from re-use are between 4 and 46 percent over new construction when comparing buildings with the same energy performance level
  • The negative environmental impact of retro green for human health was between 12 and 38 percent less than for new construction
  • When it comes to ROIs, retros showed a 19.2% increase in ROI versus 9.9% for new buildings

Case in point, retrofitting is the way to go! Bruner has a successful track record of helping our customers retrofit their mechanical systems for over 50 years. Let us assist you in developing a retrofit solution that works best for your building by contacting us today!

5 Ways to Reduce Your Energy Cost

Temperatures are high, but these techniques will help you keep your energy costs low:

  1. Reduce HVAC System Operations When Building or Space is Unoccupied
    1. Minimize direct cooling of unoccupied areas by turning off fan coil units and unit heaters, and by closing the vent or supply air diffuser
    2. Turn fans off
    3. Install system controls to reduce cooling/heating of unoccupied space
  2. Minimize Exhaust and Make-Up Air
    1. Keep doors closed when air conditioning is running
    2. Properly insulate walls and ceilings
    3. install thermal windows to minimize cooling and heating loss
  3. Implement a Regular Maintenance Plan
    1. Check fans for lint, dirt, or other causes of reduced flow
    2. Schedule HVAC tune-ups (with us!) – the typical energy savings generated by tune-ups is 10%
    3. Replace air filters regularly
  4. Upgrade Fuel-Burning Equipment
    1. Install turbulators to improve heat transfer efficiency in older fire tube boilers
    2. Install automatic combustion control systems to monitor the combustion of exit gases and adjust the intake air for large boilers
    3. Install electric ignitions instead of prior lights
  5. Evaluate Boiler Operations
    1. Investigate preheating boiler feed water
    2. Adjust boilers and air conditioner controls so that boilers do not fire and compressors do not start at the same time but satisfy demand
    3. Use hot water from boiler condensate to preheat air

 

source: http://infohouse.p2ric.org/ref/26/25985.pdf

Project Spotlight: Miranova Helicopter Lift

In the autumn of 2011, Bruner technicians performed routine maintenance on seven make-up air units at One Miranova Place in Columbus, Ohio.  The seven make-up air units providing fresh air to the kitchens of over one hundred condominiums were found to be unsafe for operation, due to cracks in the gas fired heat exchangers, which could allow carbon monoxide to enter the living spaces of the tenants.

To provide a temporary repair, Bruner welders sealed the leaks, allowing the units to remain operational until new make-up air units were available for installation.  These repairs, while temporary, allowed the Board of Directors at Miranova time to investigate several options for a long term solution.

After receiving several proposals, the Board decided to accept the solution provided by the Bruner Corporation.  With advice from Prater Engineering, the Board accepted the offer from Bruner to remove the aging make-up air units, and install seven new “Aaon” 100% fresh air make-up air HVAC units.  The new Aaon units, with technological advances not available 15 years ago, provide increased energy efficiency and extended longevity.

One of the major obstacles facing Bruner was the difficulty in removing the existing units and mounting the new units to the rooftop of One Miranova Place, nearly 340 feet above street level.  After consulting with several crane companies, it was determined that the most economical means of replacing the units would be to utilize the services of Midwest Helicopter, a company specializing in lifting equipment inaccessible to conventional hoisting systems.

In preparation for the helicopter lift, Bruner technicians, led by Bob Hoffman and Don McNeal, [John Magill and Brian Caton also] spent many hours to assure that all components were able to be safely and efficiently lifted to and from the building.  Their efforts paid off, as the total time required to remove seven units and mount seven new units was under one and a half hours, nearly a fifth the time required for conventional hoisting methods.

With an extreme focus of safety and customer satisfaction, Bruner has once again demonstrated our commitment to excellence.  Even during this potentially dangerous helicopter lift, the interruption of business to Miranova One (condominiums) and Miranova Two (office building) was negligible.

Hats off to the Bruner team for making this event run so flawlessly.

 

Discover the Value of HVAC Preventative Maintenance

In a way, HVAC preventative maintenance can be compared to that of your car. If you spend $30 on an oil change in your car, you would save $3,000 on a new engine. If you don’t change the oil and replace belts and filters, the engine will lock up and the vehicle won’t operate. Proper preventative maintenance for HVAC equipment will basically do the same thing. Maintenance isn’t expensive compared to what you might need to spend if your system degrades, and therefore ultimately fails. An example is provided by Anthony Shaker, vice president of operations at UNICO Newton, MA:

If you have a piece of equipment that costs $10,000 to maintain and has a forecasted life of 10 years if properly maintained, you will spend only $20,000 from first cost to replacement cost at the 10-year mark, assuming it would cost $10,000 again to replace it at the end of its lifecycle. However, if you did not properly maintain the unit and it failed at the 5-year mark, you would need to spend $10,000 to replace it after 5 years and then replace that same unit again in another 5 years if you continued to not perform maintenance. Your total cost would be $30,000.

Bruner agrees there are a few key concepts to pay attention to. First, HVAC system maintenance isn’t expensive compared to what you might spend if your system degrades. Second, the first place to turn when building a successful HVAC maintenance plan should be the manufacturer’s operating and maintenance manual. Don’t overlook these maintenance manuals because they provide a concrete blueprint for the steps you need to take to maintain chillers, boilers, motors, air-handling units—every piece of equipment in a building’s HVAC system! Next, by tracking different system indicators such as oil temperature, RPM speed, etc. you can pick up on many emerging problems before they reach a crisis situation. Finally, it’s important to do a life-cycle cost analysis when determining if you should repair or replace an aging HVAC system component. Ideally, the ratio of spending for HVAC systems should be 70% preventive maintenance and 30% corrective maintenance.

Bruner’s planned, predictive, and preventive approach to HVAC system maintenance results in your ability to control costs, extend the life of the facility and its systems, thereby improving operations and cash flow.

Ready to get started? You can trust Bruner, the #1 Heating and Cooling company in Central Ohio, to get the job done.

 

 

Source: http://www.buildings.com/tabid/3334/ArticleID/3183/Default.aspx#top

Tips from Contractors for Long Compressor Life

In order to keep an air-conditioning system running efficiently, it is crucial to keep the compressor in tip-top shape.  There are a few vital areas to take into consideration when focusing on the life of your compressor– troubleshooting, maintenance, and tools. Be sure to follow these tips to keep your air-conditioning system running efficiently, especially in the up-coming warmer weather:

Troubleshooting Tips:

  • Keep your condenser oil clean. A dirty condenser will cause higher than normal head pressures, which creates heat and will cause your saturated suction temperatures to be warm, causing compression failures.
  • Check superheat settings. Too low of superheat may cause liquid flooding, which is bad for the compressor.

Maintenance Tips:

  • Test electrical integrity. If you question any readings- get to the terminal to retake the readings. However, before you go and pull wires off, carefully inspect the terminals and the surroundings for any burn or fatigue signs. If an area is showing signs of terminal failure or burns, proceed with extreme caution.
  • Be sure to check: the capacitor, superheat, subcooling, crankcase heater, contractor voltage drop, and the disconnect condition
  • Lubrication is Key. Be sure to have enough oil to make sure the system is not flooding back and diluting the oil. Test the oil safety control, if there is one, by verifying the pressure setting and checking the timing.
  • Well-Trained Technicians

Tool Tips:

  • Measure compressor winding insulation integrity using a megohmmeter
  • Measure refrigerant pressures and compare them to factory data
  • All measurements need to be done with an instrument! Your hand is not a thermometer, and simply saying “it feels cold” is not correct data!

 

Source: The NEWS “Contractor Tips for Long Compressor Life”

There’s an App for That

Smartphone market leader Apple has transformed the way people access data, with 98% of iPhone users using the data features on their phones. Even though Apple has made it consistently harder to publish an app over time, the HVAC industry was lucky enough to launch two iPhone apps in the past three months!

The most recent app is the “Ideal Gas Flow Rate Calculator” which helps installers by timing the gas flow and processing the formula.  Complicated conversion charts are needed no more, all you have to do is choose the type of meter, and follow the simple steps. Features within the app include:

U6 Meter Function:

  • A start/stop timer which automatically converts the time taken to burn 1ft3 of gas into a flow rate in ft3 and m3
  • Automatically converted heat input in kW and BTUs/hr

E6 Meter Function: All you have to do is type in the meter reading, start the two-minute timer, enter the new reading when prompted, and the results just simply pop up.

This is the first time that heating engineers can be provided with access to such an accurate measurement, and the best part is the app is free to download! http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/ideal-gas-flow-rate-calculator/id507399951?mt=8

The predecessor of the Ideal Gas Flow Calculator is the “Ideal Boiler Sizing Guide” app which over its lifetime has already averaged around 500 downloads per month! Sizing a modern condensing boiler is a vital part of any central heating quote and is essential to the efficiency of the boiler. As the accuracy of sizing increases, so does the efficiency rating.  The Ideal Boiler Sizing Guide will make this task a lot easier by accurately calculating the boiler output required for a property in just a couple of minutes after entering project details. Entering the property type and measurements, location, window, and wall and roof type of the project are the details needed to complete the calculation. The app also conveniently stores customer details and the corresponding boiler output required for access wherever it is your job may take you. You can download it here: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/ideal-heating-boiler-sizing/id440553445?mt=8

So now for any need you may have, even carrying over into the HVAC industry– there’s an app for that!

Boiler Replacement: Start to Finish in 4 Days

On Friday, February 17, around noon, Service Technician Steve Haag received a call from the Kroger regional office in Westerville indicating that they had a leak into the first floor offices below the mechanical room. Haag’s immediate action was to find the leak and identify its cause. Once at the Kroger office, he found that the leak was coming from their thirty-year-old Ajax fire tube boiler.

Project Engineer Chip Neville was contacted to come up with options for which to rectify the situation. “A repair of that style boiler requires special certification welding that only a couple of people in central Ohio have,” Neville said. “Unfortunately, our certified technician was out of town on another service until late the following week.” By the time he arrived at the Kroger office at about 2:30pm, Haag had the system opened and they found more than just a few tubes were leaking.

The two deduced that a repair was not an option and turned their focus toward a new system. Neville had checked options on his way over with Kevin McGovern Associates and Herbert & Conway, and while on site, he received pricing from both. With those costs in mind, the Bruner team discussed options with Kroger representatives with regards to equipment availability, efficiency, cost, and timing.

By 5:00pm that day, Neville presented firm budgets and a recommendation to Kroger’s Senior Engineer, Eric Wagonknecht, with a target of having the new boiler in place by the end of the following week.

Wagonknecht asked the Bruner team to proceed with a modular boiler option called EVO by Hamilton Engineering. Thanks to Kevin McGovern and the late night put in by the Hamilton Engineering team, the boiler was ordered and its assembly started by 6:00pm.

After tremendous effort by the entire Bruner team, the system was ready to be started by the end of the day Thursday – less than one week after discovering the problem. By 10:00am on Friday morning, the Bruner team had the heat back on in the building just as outdoor temperatures dropped. The replacement even managed to increase system efficiency from 76 to 95 percent.

Thanks to the Bruner team for their incredible diligence and efficiency in delighting our customer with excellent service: Steve Haag, Larry Carver, Don McNeal, and Rocky Carr, with assistance from Kevin McGovern Associates and Hamilton Engineering.

If you’re worried about your mechanical systems, check out our e-book for 9 tips to keep them in tip-top shape!