Tag: MEP Design Services

Reducing Carbon emissions through insulations

How can we reduce carbon emissions during winter?

How can we reduce carbon emissions during winter?

You may either rely on combustion or electricity to heat a building during winter, and every choice has its advantages and disadvantages. Combustion heating is a lucrative choice for some structures, yet this implies you have to burn fossil fuels directly and release emissions. On the other hand, electric heating frameworks can possibly work with clean power. However, electric resistance heaters are costly to work because of their high wattage, while electric heat pumps have lower running expenses but higher upfront expenses.

A dependable space heating framework is needed during winter, particularly in places that see extremely low temperatures. Though, heating systems have a significant carbon impression when they don’t work efficiently. Boilers and furnaces will consume more fuel when a structure can’t hold the heat inside adequately. The older units tend to consume more fuel if their maintenance is not done regularly. An electric heating system relying on the power grid which uses fossil fuels for generating power will also release high emissions. Thus, most of the old buildings are increasingly investing in their HVAC Systems upgrade to reduce the consumption of fuels.

On December 16, 2021 Governor Lamont Signs Executive Order Directing Connecticut State Agencies to Implement Actions That Reduce Carbon Emissions and Adapt to Climate Crisis.

Connecticut is progressively encountering the impacts of the changing climate, and precious little time remains to make a move to moderate the effects the state will face in future. The state’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report shows that outflows from the transportation and building areas are expanding and that the state isn’t on target to meet its interim 2030 objective. Governor Lamont said the state should make a forceful move to decrease carbon emissions by directing the whole of government to approach EO 21-3.

Here, let’s talk about certain procedures to give more affordable warming and cooling for inhabitants and organizations, lessen carbon emissions from private and business structures and industrial processes, and work on the strength of the state’s energy area to outrageous climate conditions, fuel price spikes, and other disruptions.

Insulation and Air Sealing

Having an efficient building envelope is incredible since you save energy the entire year. Heat is kept inside more efficiently during winter when you really want it, while outside heat is caught up during summer when you don’t. This implies a proficient building envelope diminishes your space warming expenses, yet in addition your cooling costs.

There are two significant prerequisites for an ideal building envelope: insulation and air sealing. This lessens heat flow through your walls, windows, rooftop and floor slabs. For instance, assuming a building envelope redesign decreases the heat loss by 100,000 BTU/hour, that sum is deducted from the workload of your space heating framework. To envision what this would mean for your emissions, see the below example.

  • For instance, you have a gas heating system that is 80% productive. To deliver those 100,000 BTU/hour, it needs a contribution of 125,000 BTU/hour.
  • On account of flammable gas, Local Law 97 of 2019 applies a discharges component of 0.00005311 tCO2-eq per KTBU. When saving 125 KTBU/hour, you’re likewise saving 6.64 kg of CO2 each hour.
  • Assuming this heating system runs 4,000 hours each year, the building envelope redesign is saving you 26.56 metric tons of carbon emissions.

For an exact estimation of your energy reserve and avoided emissions with a building envelope update, you want expert energy modeling to be executed. Every one of the BTUs saved by air-sealing and insulations are deducted from your heating bills, and this likewise cuts your yearly outflows.

Thermostat Settings

You can likewise decrease your space heating emissions by setting your indoor regulator appropriately. There is an exceptionally helpful guideline from the US Department of Energy: by setting your indoor regulator 7°F to 10°F during 8 hours out of every day, you can set aside to 10% in cooling and space heating.

Since building outflows rely upon energy utilization, you can likewise lessen them by setting your thermostat appropriately. Assuming the gas utilization of your space heating system is cut by 10%, the related emissions will likewise drop by 10%. Simply remember that the importance of “setting your thermostat” changes relying on the season.

You save energy by reducing the temperature setting during winter and increasing it during summer. If not, you will accomplish the contrary impact: a higher energy utilization, more discharges, and over-cooling and overheating.

HVAC Systems Upgrade

HVAC systems represent the biggest portion of energy utilization in private and business structures. By completing a profound energy retrofit that includes a HVAC system upgrade, you might be able to cut down your utilization and emissions by more than half. In any case, a structure retrofit is a complex project that requires cautious preparation and significant capital which implies proficient MEP Engineering Design Firms are critical.


Buildings are accountable for both operational and embodied carbon emissions, and various techniques are required to combat each kind of emission. However, there is less opportunity to decrease embodied carbon as the building opens, these discharges have already been released.

Operational carbon emissions can be resolved with a mix of energy efficiency measures, transformation to cleaner sources, and on-site renewable generation. Embodied emissions should be limited during the plan and development process while reusing the materials would be prudent.

Multi-Family Housing Project_Notting Hill Gate_RD


Multi-Family Housing Project_Notting Hill Gate_Russell and Dawson

Developers who construct multi-family housing projects face a lot of obstacles: complex funding programs, costly labor and materials, cumbersome land-use guidelines, and, obviously, local community resistance. Adjoining inhabitants frequently worry that affordable housing will be ugly looking with cumbersome, square-shaped constructions with cheap facades. Although the developers have a limited budget, there are strategies that can be adopted to develop visually appealing and healthy houses, with comfort, conveniences, and safety within budget.

Below are the strategies or methodologies to save cost on three building components: exterior facade, interior, and services. Let us see how advancements in design and development can lessen the expenses of multifamily housing projects.

Methodology 1: Simplify exteriors along with creating large variations through large moves, tones, and materials.

The exterior facade of a structure is basically public identity, alluding to life behind the windows. The shell and design—including the structure’s exterior, windows, and entryways—address around 25% to 30% of all hard costs.

The exterior is the greatest thermal barrier in a structure, characterizing how air moves in and out and driving spending on HVAC systems playing an important environmental role. Moreover, there are hardly any excesses that could be reduced or eliminated from the shell and design to reduce cost. All things considered, focusing on the economy of form and choice of materials offers the best chances for adjusting expenses and executing targets.

Exterior materials should be strong, visually attractive, and steady of environmental impacts. Design guidelines frequently require a blend of materials or encourage bays and different types of facade manipulation to make variations. However, these elements often add construction costs since it adds length to the façade. (To put it plainly, more bays mean more corners where materials need to meet).

A more economical approach to make dynamic exteriors is to match simple, regular facades with a couple of large “moves” and a combination of high-and cheaper materials. An inviting passageway or an angled exterior wall makes it more visually appealing without increasing exterior intricacy and length. In certain projects, materials not generally connected with residential development (like corrugated metals) have saved costs. In other projects usually, a cheaper material is utilized for the majority of the facade area, while the ground floor or another key component has another material to distinguish it.

Methodology 2: Modular construction and new materials should be explored however they are not silver bullets

There has been a great buzz around off-site construction which is often termed modular housing and flat packed elements such as insulated panels. Modular construction often gives a great advantage in terms of reduced costs, shorter timelines, and high-quality construction; however, this methodology is not used much in multi-family housing projects in the US.

Apartment designers have pointed out few difficulties in utilizing this procedure. Firstly, adjusting and shifting to new methods from tried and tested ones is often difficult and the architects anticipate learning costs in their first project. Secondly, off-site construction work can only be given to local vendors, moving or sub-contracting it to distanced vendors is costly. Third, Modular construction is more significant for smaller units or studio apartments or dorms. Lastly, if an architect engages in modular construction, it is vital to figure out space for cranes at the construction site which is often difficult in urban areas.

In order to us the off-site construction method, there is likewise an increasing interest in utilizing alternative timber products like cross-laminated timber (CLT), which is an engineered wood product made by sticking a few perpendicular layers of timber sheets together. The 2021 version of the International Building Code is expected to extend the utilization of timber products to taller structures. Models from different nations propose that utilizing timber products could reduce the construction timelines since they can be pre-fabricated and decrease interior finish costs. Given current expenses, advancement in the market-rate housing sector might precede before huge utilization of timber products in market-rate multi-family housing projects.

Methodology 3: Design unit layout and measurements for adaptability and productivity

A progression of little changes can be consolidated to make more productive units. Regions inside the units that have various utilizations can supplant space committed to circulation. Studios and one-room units can be arranged without passage corridors or lobbies. Spaces ought to be adaptable—furnishings, as opposed to dividers, can be utilized to separate spaces. Kitchens and restrooms can adjust to a solitary “wet” wall where plumbing is concentrated. Doors and walls can be reserved for isolating spaces that require privacy, like washrooms and rooms. Whenever the situation allows, the number of interior corners can be decreased to streamline and speed up interior framing.

Deciding on the amenities to be provided inside the unit apartments depends on the local guidelines and local market conditions. For example, apartments in Manhattan have in-unit laundry facilities or even building laundry units since the space is too expensive. In more affordable urban areas, in-unit clothing is standard. In some housing facilities, some developers may be able to distinguish between the amenities to be provided in-unit and common areas. This allows a modest reduction in unit sizes.

Methodology 4: Reuse and rotate floor plans

Designers have a practice of using repeated layouts to make design and construction work easier. They believe that repetition gives uniformity and eases the work of contractors however developers and architects can collaborate and use repetitive units more creatively which provides more utilization of space and reduced complexity. Mirroring and rotating techniques can also be used to reduce variation and cost.

Methodology 5: Stack and Standardize

A building’s basic services such as lifts, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing—are unglamorous however fundamental. They are additionally costly. Engineering Design Firms can help to infuse best practices for plumbing, (for example, stacking and standardizing kitchens and restrooms), and creating building formats that utilize lifts productively can assist with controlling the expenses of administrations.

Choices of services have implications on capital expenses. Green building performance norms may at first be expensive however they can possibly decrease long-term working expenses. They additionally sway inhabitants’ wellbeing and personal satisfaction—significant results for mission-driven developers who build affordable housing. Choosing systems requires a tradeoff between cost, quality, and environmental execution. The challenge is to track down a suitable arrangement of systems given project expenses and needs.

Clinging to fundamentally accepted procedures for plumbing can assist with controlling expenses. When planning a unit, stacking “wet” walls for kitchens and washrooms back-to-back decreases plumbing intricacy and cost.

Lifts, as well, are a costly line items in a building project. Building codes and guidelines direct when lifts are required; ordinarily, structures higher than three stories as well as more than 12 units. Sometimes, the advantages of building a bigger building with lifts will justify the extra expenses. For some smaller buildings, it would be more feasible and budget-friendly to eliminate lift and still create an accessible building. For instance, in a single staircase building, four units circulating around a single staircase.

Methodology 6: Long-term investments by creating green buildings.

Many non-profit affordable housing developers want to invest in high-performance envelope, HVAC, and plumbing systems which reduce the long-term operating cost. Usually, state or government-funded buildings can encourage this. Developers are usually in a fix while deciding to go for a high-performance building or not. Building a high-performance structure usually increases the upfront cost by 3-5 percent however it reduces and sets off the operating cost in the long run. High-performance buildings are encouraged and have great economic benefits in the long run however the residents and the building managers have to behave differently.

Methodology 7: Making houses more affordable

Firstly, close coordination and collaboration across the project teams are necessary to reduce clashes and miscommunication. It reduces the project timelines and allows smooth flow of the project allowing everyone to be on the same page. Architecture Design Firms also have limited ability to improve affordable housing given the local codes and regulations that architects and engineers have to comply with. Requiring fewer off-street parking spaces allows for reducing construction costs. In cities where there is reliable public transportation, reducing parking requirements should be the top action item Local buildings and codes should allow zoning rules to make houses affordable. Usually constructing a 100-unit building is cheaper than building a 20 unit building as it distributes the fixed cost by each unit.

All these methodologies and strategies can be adopted to reduce the cost of affordable housing and making the construction, designing processes easier, cheaper, and affordable to residents.

Top Patient Centered Elements to be considered while Designing Hospitals_Infographic_Russell and Dawson

Top Patient Centered Elements to be considered while Designing Hospitals

Today, the patient’s experience is perceived as an instrument for improving healthcare facilities. As architects, we should focus on these patient-focused components to make positive responses for all the people inside a medical facility. For patients, these design elements have the ability to guarantee a comfortable visit for patients and their families, quicker recovery and improved results.

The Architectural Designs Firm working on the layout of a healthcare facility can improve the lives of patients. The objective is to improve internal processes in which different spaces of the emergency clinic participate to bring higher efficiency and better quality services perceived by patients.

Top Patient Centered Elements to be considered while Designing Hospitals_Infographic_Russell and Dawson