systems Designed to
Water and Energy
at New Facility
Reinventing Fire Detection in Industrial
Electric Garage Heaters for a Warm
Volume 84 · Number 2 | 1
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VOLUME 84 • Number 2
Official Magazine of
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Cooling System Designed to Save
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A new cooling system for a massive cleanroom at New
England BioLabs, Inc., in Massachusetts demanded a
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Working in the Chicago winter can be a severe experience.
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Reinventing Fire Detection in
Advanced fire detection technology detects smoke at
the earliest possible stage, while reducing false alarms
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Rentals and Sales
Portable Air Conditioning and Heating
John J. Fanning
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2 | Chief Engineer
Volume 84 · Number 2 | 3
INVITES YOU TO THE
115 BOURBON STREET
3359 W 115TH Morgan ST, Park Sports Center
MERRIONETTE PARK, IL 60803
11505 S Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60643
event sponsored by
Meeting & Happy Hour Event
Presenting On Powers Digital
Thermostatic Mixing Valve
Bring your family and friends and join The Chief
Engineers Association for a family fun event!
FREE skate rental, food and drinks. Contact
the office with any questions at (708) 293-1720
Alex Boerner at
Alex Boerner at SIGN-UP ONLINE
SIGN-UP ONLINE www.chiefengineer.org
or call 708.293.1720
Board of Directors | OFFICERS
This month the board will
meet for our annual planning
retreat. At this time, we discuss
plans for the remainder of the
year, status of the organization
and suggestions of how to
move the needle forward as an
association. Committee chairs
also make their presentations
and recommendations at this
time for their respective areas.
I’m excited to see what the
board comes up with at this
meeting, and am confident we
will have a successful 2019. I
already anticipate a busy year
with our upcoming Vendor Fair
on April 17th at The Geraghty. More information will be coming out
shortly about this event, but this is always a great venue to show off our
vendor’s products and services to our membership.
Don’t forget about our annual Skatefest event scheduled for Feb. 16th
at Morgan Park Sports Complex on the South Side. This is a great event
for family and friends, so bring your crew and lace up those skates! We
appreciate the time our members give to the organization, and we want
to share our gratitude with your families as well. This is a free event for
all members! There will be food, games and prizes for all who attend. I’ll
see you on the ice!
I would like to remind everyone about our new website and member
portal. We are upgrading our systems to make it easier for you to
facilitate your membership. There is a one-time set up process when
you create your account to gather all of your information. While this
may seem like a long process, it’s to ensure we are capturing all of your
information at once to make it easier for you in the future. You can pay
your annual dues, stay up to date on organization news and register for
monthly events! Your account will save your data, making it easy for
you to sign up each month. Visit chiefengineer.org to complete if you
haven’t done so already.
For our Chief Engineer members, I trust you are following proper
procedures for coil cleaning, vibration analysis and infrared scanning
at this time of year. As always, this is a friendly reminder to utilize our
expert Associate members when doing any work in your building or if
you consultation and their expertise. It’s your partnership that keeps this
association alive and well.
I hope to see everyone at the upcoming events.
Daniel T Carey
4 | Chief Engineer
Volume 84 · Number 2 | 5
Southern Indiana City Plans Solar Farm
to Power Sewage Plant
BOONVILLE, Ind. (AP) — A southern Indiana city is
aiming to hold down future increases in sewer bills by
building a 4-acre solar farm.
Boonville officials are moving ahead with an estimated
$1.7 million project for the field of nearly 2,000 solar
panels to power its new sewage treatment plant.
The city expects to sell excess electricity that’s generated
to the utility company Vectren. Projections are that
the city will save about $17,000 a month or $6 million
over the next 30 years.
Mayor Charles Wyatt says he’s glad the city about 15
miles northeast of Evansville can use green energy to
reduce expenses for the sewage plant.
Fermi Two Nuclear Plant is Back Online
FRENCHTOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A nuclear
power plant in southeastern Michigan is back online
after being shut down last month for repairs.
The Monroe News reports DTE Energy’s Fermi 2 plant
in Monroe County was synchronized to the electrical
grid on Jan. 1.
DTE Energy spokesman Stephen Tait says the plant
“was maintained in a safe, stable condition throughout
the outage.” The plant was taken offline Dec. 6 as
operators looked into an electrical issue on the plant’s
main generator, which is on the non-nuclear side of
the plant. The issue was traced to a ground fault.
The Detroit-based utility’s plant is located along Lake
Erie in Frenchtown Township, near Michigan’s border
Rock Falls Planners Object to Proposed
Community Solar Farm
ROCK FALLS, Ill. (AP) — Planning officials in a northwestern
Illinois community are opposing a proposed
community solar farm just outside its city limits.
Sauk Valley Media reports that the Rock Falls Plan
Commission recommended that the city object to the
project, saying it is incompatible with comprehensive
plans of the city and Whiteside County.
The proposed project site is in an agricultural area. The
city contends the site should continue to be used for
farming until it can be developed for more traditional
Minnetonka, Minnesota-based Sunrise Energy Ventures
has applied to the county for a special-use permit for
the project. Rock Falls has a say in the matter because
the site is within a 1.5-mile radius of its borders.
Rock Falls is about 115 miles (185 kilometers) west of
Michigan’s $52M for Lock May Speed
Construction, Save Money
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s commitment of
up to $52 million toward construction of a new Great
Lakes shipping lock could accelerate the project’s completion
by a year and save taxpayers $30 million.
Gov. Rick Snyder and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
released the figures Dec. 26 while announcing a memorandum
Michigan’s funds will be used to pay for design work
and a portion of a channel deepening project that will
be an important step toward building a second largesized
lock at Sault Ste. Marie to accommodate freighters
that haul iron ore and other bulk commodities. The
federal government is spending $32 million on the
Congress has authorized funding for the second large
Soo Lock but must appropriate funds over numerous
years to pay for the $1 billion project.
Cleanup Set for 200,000 Waste Tires
Left at Indiana Business
ANDERSON, Ind. (AP) — State environmental officials
are stepping in to clean up nearly 200,000 shredded
tires left at a former central Indiana recycling business.
The Indiana Department of Environmental Management
estimates cleaning up the Green Tire Reclamation
site in Anderson could cost up to $262,000 and
will take about a year. The (Anderson) Herald-Bulletin
reports the tires have been cut into 2-inch chunks and
stacked in massive piles on the property that appears
The business opened in 2012 with permission to store
5,000 waste tires it would shred for uses such as being
burned in power plants or as construction fill. But business
owner Dan McKenzie said in 2014 he hadn’t been
able to find buyers for the shredded tires. McKenzie
didn’t return phone calls to comment on the cleanup.
3 Firms Eye Building Wind Energy Turbines
off New Jersey
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — At least three firms are interested
in building offshore wind energy projects off
the coast of New Jersey.
The state Board of Public Utilities says it received three
bids Friday, Dec. 28, from firms interested in building
wind projects, but it wouldn’t identify any of them.
A Danish wind company, Orsted, said it had submitted
one of them.
The state is seeking companies to build projects that
would generate at least 1,100 megawatts of electricity.
Orsted estimates that amount could power more than
a half-million homes.
Another company, Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind, says
it’s interested in developing a project that could provide
up to 2,500 megawatts.
It was not immediately known whether that firm,
which is a joint venture between Shell and EDF Renewables
North America, has formally applied.
— Wayne Parry
DTE Energy Agrees to $840,000 Fine in
DETROIT (AP) — A mess over billings and improper
shutoffs has led to an $840,000 fine for DTE Energy.
State regulators approved the settlement early last
month. Sally Talberg of the Michigan Public Service
Commission says the commission has “great concern
when utilities violated consumer protection rules.”
The investigation began a year ago, months after DTE
began using a new billing system. The commission
received complaints that power was being improperly
shut off. More than 4,000 customers did not receive a
proper shut-off notice for nonpayment.
DTE has agreed to refund all deposits and reconnection
fees. The utility also will be audited over its shutoff
procedures until 2020.
A group known as the Residential Customer Group
watched the case and objected to the settlement. Michelle
Rison says the fine isn’t high enough, especially
when some shut-offs occurred during cold weather.
Illinois EPA Offers Grants for Wastewater
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Environmental Protection
Agency is offering grants to public wastewater
treatment plants to improve energy efficiency.
The agency has announced $3 million in grant funding.
Grants ranging from $5,000 to $1.5 million will
reduce energy consumption at treatment plants.
EPA Director Alec Messina says the department has
worked with 15 Illinois municipalities for no-cost
efficiency assessments. The grant program uses U.S.
Department of Energy funds to upgrade plants where
the most cost savings will be.
Applications for the grant are available online from
the EPA. Applications are due by Feb. 12, 2019.
The applications will be ranked according to energy
savings per dollar invested, energy rate paid by the
facility and the energy cost to treat one million gallons
of water at the plant.
Renovation to Preserve Courthouse
Once Visited by Lincoln
THEBES, Ill. (AP) — A historic southern Illinois courthouse
once visited by Abraham Lincoln is getting an
$83,000 renovation with help from a private donor.
The Old Thebes Courthouse overlooking the Mississippi
River was built in the 1840s and is listed on the National
Register of Historic Places. Dred Scott, the slave
whose fight for freedom became a landmark Supreme
Court ruling, was held in its jail.
The Southern Illinoisan reports the structure fell into
disrepair after the county seat moved in 1860.
Goins says it “will look like new” when it’s done this
6 | Chief Engineer
Volume 84 · Number 2 | 7
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offered his inspirational soaring achievement as a tribute to
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The climbing effort propagated other veteran funding
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purification products were better technology than what we
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veteran Adam Keys, a former U.S. Army paratrooper who lost three limbs
in Afghanistan in 2010, via Robert Saunders, president of the veterans
charity, Warrior Events, Annapolis, Md.; and Bill Williams, executive vice
president at HVAC contractor, B&B Air Conditioning & Heating Service
Co., Rockville, Md. (Photo courtesy of Jennifer Queen, B&B Air Conditioning
& Heating Service)
Triplegic injured warrior Adam Keys completed his bucket-list
by trekking the 19,341-foot-high peak of Tanzania’s Mt. Kilimanjaro
this year thanks in part to donations from Fresh-Aire
UV and its Patriot IAQ program to veterans charity Warrior
Events, Annapolis, Md.
Patriot IAQ is an indoor air quality (IAQ) equipment dealer
program created by Fresh-Aire UV, Jupiter, Fla., where a portion
of each sale’s proceeds are donated to veterans charities.
Fresh-Aire UV presented a check Dec. 15 to Warrior Events
(www.warriorevents.net), which helps partially fund veterans
events such as Keys’ five-day mountain-climb and the incurred
costs for Tanzanian trail guides, an EMT, supplies and
travel. Keys, 26, was the sole survivor when a truck transporting
U.S. Army paratroopers was blown up by an Afghanistan
roadside bomb in 2010. More than 100 surgeries later, Keys
“Our passion is to make sure everyone at our events feels
special and that it feels like a ‘bucket list’ event,” said John
O’Leary, chairman, Warrior Events, which funded 60-percent
of Keys’ climb and co-hosted 55 other events in 2018 that
brought injured veterans together with each other, friends
“Patriot IAQ only donates to veteran charities that have
little or no administrative costs, so that all the money gets to
the people who need it,” said Ron Saunders, vice president,
Fresh-Aire UV, which also sponsors other organizations such
as the veteran hub, Ma Deuce Deuce (Ma22), Toms River,
N.J., www.ma22.org. Ma22 is a non-profit, veteran advocacy
group that raises awareness of the “22 daily veteran suicides”
For more information on Fresh-Aire UV or Patriot IAQ, please
visit www.freshaireuv.com, call 1 (800) 741-1195 or email:
8 | Chief Engineer
Volume 84 · Number 2 | 9
Texas Training for Wind Power Jobs
Literally Has Ups, Downs
By Andrea Leinfelder | Houston Chronicle
In addition to studying hydraulics, welding and electrical
theories during the seven-month program, MIAT students
must learn to safely climb the roughly 300-foot towers and
to rescue their colleagues should something go wrong.
“That way, when they go out in the field, I’ve personally
verified that they can actively protect themselves at height,”
said David Moriconi, lead wind instructor at MIAT.
So Snoddy attached his harness to a cable in the center of
the ladder. He climbed to the top and transitioned to a platform,
which involved unclipping from the cable at his chest
and then clipping a dual-shock-absorbing lanyard to his back.
He then attached a self-retracting line — a yo-yo-like
contraption that would catch Snoddy should he fall — and
unclipped the shock-absorbing lanyard.
All of that had to be done before setting to work, with hand
signals from below indicating that he needed to lift or lower
a set of tools. And then Snoddy climbed back down the ladder
in an equally safe fashion.
He passed with flying colors.
The test earned students a climb and rescue certification
required by many employers.
Tony Robinette, field operations manager for renewable
energy and construction at the staffing firm System One, emphasized
the importance of this climb test, saying the most
catastrophic injuries often come from climbing.
He also applauded MIAT, saying the students are well prepared
when they graduate. It helps that MIAT has a longer
training period than some other programs.
“They definitely come out and hit the ground running,” he
And to make the training more fun, MIAT held a competition
on the eve of its official climb test. Moriconi clocked how
quickly students could climb the ladder five times. That’s
roughly the height of a single section on a wind turbine tower
— and most towers have four sections.
The fastest time was 1 minute, 30 seconds. The slowest time
was around 4 minutes, 30 seconds.
Snoddy came in second place at 1 minute, 56 seconds. Good,
but not entirely satisfying.
“I’m an ex-athlete,” he said, “so I wish I came in first.”
MIAT College of Technology Wind Turbine Instructor David Moriconi, third from right, gives Anthony Snoddy, second from right, instructions before a
ladder exercise in Houston. MIAT College of Technology has a seven-month wind power technician career training program. (Steve Gonzales/Houston
Chronicle via AP)
HOUSTON (AP) — Anthony Snoddy was first to climb the 18-
The Houston Chronicle reports as the kid who found the tallest
trees and front-flipped off buildings, Snoddy, 36, wasn’t
worried about the height. He knew it would be part of his
job maintaining and repairing wind turbines.
“Just make sure you do everything correctly,” Snoddy told
himself as he approached the ladder.
In 2018, the MIAT campus in north Houston saw a 60 percent
enrollment increase in its wind power technician program,
which averaged 25 to 30 students. The U.S. Bureau of Labor
Statistics expects that the field will grow to 11,400 wind turbine
technicians in 2026, up from 5,800 in 2016.
Instead, he was focused on the safety clamps and procedures
for climbing the ladder. These weren’t part of his riskier
youthful forays, but they were essential in graduating from
MIAT College of Technology and entering a workforce expected
to grow 96 percent between 2016 and 2026.
Many of MIAT’s graduates could be employed in Texas, a hot
spot for wind power. The state leads the nation in wind power
production and has more installed wind power capacity
than all but five countries in the world, according to the U.S.
Energy Department. The American Wind Energy Association
said that in 2017, Texas had up to 25,000 wind industry jobs.
10 | Chief Engineer
Volume 84 · Number 2 | 11
Electric Garage Heaters for a Warm
Workshop By Jim Herring
Most garages are not connected to central heating, making
them a large cold spot in most home heating systems. When
winter comes, an unheated garage can be a cold and unappealing
place for home maintenance, tinkering and other
One way to keep a garage workspace toasty even in the
harshest winters is choosing a top-notch electric garage heater.
Electric heaters offer several benefits over other heating
systems — they don’t require venting like gas heaters and
can be more cost-effective.
Electric Heater Benefits
One factor to consider when heating a garage is safety. Electric
heaters do not pose the same risks as propane or natural
gas heaters. Along with a car, truck or other gas-powered
vehicles, people also store gas, oil and other flammables in a
garage. Because there are no open flames or exhaust fumes
with electric heaters, they’re safer to use around gas vehicles
and lawn tools.
Electric heaters also offer efficiencies that other heaters do
not. With an electric garage heater, every bit of electricity
used is converted into heat. With propane, on the other
hand, only 80 percent of its fuel is used for heat while the
other 20 percent is lost by-products. That fuel loss translates
into inefficiency and can mean higher costs for homeowners.
Electric garage heaters also provide the flexibility to provide
warmth without taking up floor space or creating a tripping
hazard. They can be mounted on the wall or ceiling, and angled
to push warm air horizontally, vertically or in any other
desired direction. These installation and airflow options are
much harder to achieve with a gas garage heater.
Choosing the Appropriate Heater
Whether using the garage for random hobbies or a regular
hangout, there are several electric heating options to choose
from including radiant electric, portable heaters and fanforced
• Radiant electric heaters are designed to target a specific
area with heat, typically using infrared technology to heat
the objects in the room instead of the air.
• Portable heaters are easy to move around the garage, targeting
heat to the necessary spots where one is working.
• Fan-forced heaters move warm air throughout an entire
garage for balanced, all-over heating.
Consider how the heater will be best used in your garage
before making a selection.
Garage Heater Installation Tips
How best to install an electric heater varies depending on
the type. Some models may need to be wired by an electrician
or trained professional, while others are portable and
can be easily mounted and simply plugged in.
Before hooking anything up, be sure to check the voltage
requirements. With a plug-in 120V electric garage heater,
Electric garage heat offers advantages that gas heated garages don’t —
ventilation isn’t a problem, and costs can be lower than for gas heating
for example, all that’s needed is an outlet. An electric heater
that runs at a voltage higher than 120, however, will need to
be wired in. This will require some electrical work.
Also, make sure that the model of heater is sized appropriately
for the space. To ensure a heater is generating enough
When variable speed is
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heat to warm a designated area, match the wattage level of
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12 | Chief Engineer
Volume 84 · Number 2 | 13
High-Speed Rail From St. Louis to
Chicago Faces More Delays
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Railway commuters traveling between St.
Louis and Chicago have yet to see faster rail journeys, despite
most of the Amtrak corridor’s $1.95 billon upgrade concluding
a year ago.
Delays in installing and testing new GPS-related safety technology
kept Amtrak trains from hitting high speeds of 90
mph during 2018, as the Illinois Department of Transportation
originally projected, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Trains are not allowed to travel faster than 79-mph on
The Illinois agency projects that 90-mph speeds will be in
place for Amtrak by the summer from Alton to south of
Springfield. Most of the remainder of the route is expected
to implement 90-mph speeds by the end of this year.
The top speeds will be used only in the more open expanses
of the route outside the St. Louis and Chicago metropolitan
Contractors and crews from Union Pacific Railroad work both above and
below the Wood River Creek railroad bridge Tuesday, May 16, 2017, just
east of the Homer Adams Parkway extension railroad bridge in Alton, Ill.
Workers are replacing the old steel bridge’s deck and working in the creek
below. Pre-assembled sections of concrete railroad ties and track are being
pulled into place to run across the bridge when the deck is finished. The
work is for the new high-speed rail line between Chicago and St. Louis
which is scheduled to be in service by this fall. (John Badman/The Telegraph
The Illinois Transportation Department had previously said
speeds of 110 mph would be reached by 2019, but the agency
has stopped offering predictions on when that will happen.
The 110-mph speed would shave about an hour off the
typical 5½-hour Amtrak trip between St. Louis and Chicago.
The project was funded in 2010, largely by federal economic
stimulus dollars allotted under then-President Barack Obama.
Jessie Decker, an Illinois Transportation Department spokeswoman,
said in an email to the St. Louis Dispatch that an
early version of the safety technology, named positive train
control, is in service on most of the 215-mile stretch of the
284-mile corridor owned by Union Pacific.
Decker noted that Amtrak is upgrading software on its trains
to communicate with the positive train control system, which
helps monitor trains’ position and speed. If a train engineer
were to fail to respond to an upcoming signal, the locomotive
would take over control and slow or stop a train to avoid
14 | Chief Engineer
Volume 84 · Number 2 | 15
Missourians Want Action Over Too-High
Illinois Levee By Jim Salter
action if the Sny Island Levee District in Illinois fails to reduce
its levee height. FEMA didn’t respond to the alliance but told
The Associated Press it is working to resolve the issue.
Missouri residents have complained for years that the Sny
has been built several feet too high in some spots. The 60-
mile (96.5-kilometer) system is north of St. Louis and protects
roughly 115,000 acres of fertile Illinois farmland.
The upper Mississippi River is lined with levees that protect
towns, businesses and hundreds of thousands of acres of
agricultural land. But in times of flooding, water that would
naturally flow over a flood plain is boxed out and forced
elsewhere. Such redirecting of floodwater is especially
concerning given the increasing volatility of the river, which
has seen damaging flooding far more frequently in recent
Crews check out the 54 mile long Sny Levee that protects 125,000 acres of
prime farmland as the Mississippi River continues to rise south of Quincy,
Ill. Some Missouri landowners as well as environmentalists are urging the
Federal Emergency Management Agency to take sanctions against the Sny
Island Levee District in Illinois for raising its levee to unauthorized heights.
The Missourians say the too-high levee worsens flooding on their side of
the river. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green File)
(Continued on page 18)
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Missouri landowners and environmentalists
are urging a federal agency to sanction a levee district on the
Illinois side of the Mississippi River, arguing that the earthen
barrier has been built above its authorized height, worsening
flooding for its neighbors.
Great Rivers Habitat Alliance, a river conservation organization
based in St. Louis, sent a letter to the Federal Emergency
Management Agency in October urging the agency to take
16 | Chief Engineer
Volume 84 · Number 2 | 17
“These levees have a maximum height because in some
instances they’re supposed to be topped,” said David Stokes,
executive director of the Great Rivers Habitat Alliance. “You
don’t want to sacrifice a city to keep the farmland dry.”
A study by the Army Corps of Engineers in 2017 found that
40 percent of the 205 miles (330 kilometers) of levees from
central Iowa to St. Louis were built above their authorized
heights. Missouri, Iowa and Illinois all had levees in violation.
The Sny is the longest of those systems and, some Missouri
residents say, the biggest violator. The Corps has said the Sny
is up to 4 feet (1.2 meters) above authorized levels in some
In January 2016, FEMA’s Mitigation Division asked leaders of
the three Illinois counties responsible for the Sny — Pike, Calhoun
and Adams counties — to show permits proving that
raising the levee was authorized.
Three years later, it remains unclear if any permits were
Mike Reed, superintendent of the Sny district, said in an
email to The Associated Press that the levee district is working
with FEMA “to clear up questions that may remain as to
the authorized levee elevation.”
FEMA spokeswoman Cassie Ringsdorf said in an email that
the agency “has been working with the state of Illinois and
the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to determine the best
course of action to address those issues.”
In the Oct. 8 letter to FEMA Mitigation Division Director
Mary Beth Caruso, Stokes urged FEMA to cut off availability
of insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program
to Illinois property owners behind the Sny unless the levee
height is reduced.
“It’s time to crack down,” he said.
Local farmer Nancy Guyton agreed. Guyton and her husband
grow corn and soybeans on 1,500 acres in the flood plain of
Pike County, Missouri, directly across from the Sny. She said
the too-tall Illinois levee means more significant damage to
the family farm as the murky and often-toxic water sticks
around longer during a flood.
“It’s just a real mess and FEMA can do something about it,”
Guyton said. “They’re dragging their heels. They should have
taken care of this matter several years ago.”
Maryland Board Votes Against Natural
Gas Pipeline Project By Brian Witte
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A board of
high-ranking Maryland officials on Wednesday,
Jan. 2, rejected a proposed pipeline
across the western part of the state that
would carry natural gas produced in Pennsylvania
to West Virginia.
The Board of Public Works voted 3-0 against
an easement for TransCanada’s pipeline. It
would run under the Potomac River near
Hanover, Md., and extend about 3 miles
(4.83 kilometers) from Columbia Gas’ network
in Pennsylvania to Mountaineer Gas’
distribution system in West Virginia.
Comptroller Peter Franchot, a Democrat, cited
testimony that the pipeline could bring
Maryland environmental problems without
economic benefits. The board also includes
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican,
and Treasurer Nancy Kopp, a Democrat.
Environmentalists and residents have been
vocal in opposing the pipeline.
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Scott Castleman, a spokesman for TransCanada,
said the company would consider its
options over the coming days to keep the
project on track.
“For nearly two years, our project has been
studied and scrutinized by groups including
the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission,
the Maryland Department of the Environment
and the Maryland Department
of Natural Resources,” Castleman said.
“This extensive process has confirmed that
through proper design and construction our
project can be completed in an environmentally
responsible and safe manner.”
The board’s vote came after more than 60
lawmakers sent a letter urging board members
to reject the proposal. The lawmakers
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Volume 84 · Number 2 | 19
Solar Energy Project Divides Rural
Opponents of a proposed natural gas pipeline that would run through Maryland and under the Potomac River hold signs at a rally in Annapolis, Md., urging
Gov. Larry Hogan to reject the project. The bottom line reads: “No Potomac Pipeline.” A board of high-ranking Maryland officials rejected the pipeline
Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019, that would carry natural gas produced in Pennsylvania to West Virginia. (AP Photo/Brian Witte, File)
noted that Maryland approved a law, which Hogan signed in
2017, to ban the hydraulic fracturing drilling process known
as fracking in Maryland. The process is used to extract natural
gas. Maryland was the first state where a legislature voted
to bar the practice that actually has natural gas reserves.
“Given that Maryland has banned fracking, it defies our
state’s existing energy policy to bring the same public health
risks to our residents by way of a pipeline,” the letter said.
“Moreover, enabling fossil fuel production runs counter to
our state’s goals of increasing renewable energy production.”
The letter, which was sent the week of the meeting, also noted
that the pipeline would affect at least 10 wetlands and 19
streams, in addition to the Potomac River.
While the board delayed a vote on the easement at its last
meeting, Hogan said the unanimous vote would have happened
without the letter from lawmakers.
“It had nothing to do with any letter from the legislature,”
Hogan said at the Jan. 2 board meeting.
Anne Havemann, an attorney for Chesapeake Climate Action
Network, said she hopes the board’s vote marks an end to
“We’ll see if (the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission)
gets involved or the courts get involved, but for now it’s a
welcome delay and we hope a permanent end to this pipeline,”
Havemann said shortly after the vote.
DODGEVILLE, Wis. (AP) — Residents in a rural Wisconsin
county are split over a Chicago developer’s plan to work
with two Wisconsin utilities to build a solar farm that would
include more than 1 million solar panels.
The Wisconsin State Journal reports that the Badger Hollow
Solar Farm proposed by Invenergy would cover 2,700 acres in
Iowa County and could power more than 70,000 homes. The
project is seeking a permit from the Wisconsin Public Service
Ken Wunderlin, a southwest Wisconsin farmer, said he
agreed to have part of the solar farm on his land because
it’s a good financial move. He believes it’s also a chance to
get involved in a more environmentally friendly source of
“I’m a firm believer in the science on global warming,” he
said. “We need to be taking steps to get away from coalfired
power. This is my small opportunity to be a participant.”
Renewable energy advocates have hailed it as a way for utilities
to produce low-cost, clean energy within the state while
providing some $1.8 million a year in rents for hard-pressed
sharecroppers like Wunderlin.
“We think of it as a complete win for the state of Wisconsin,”
said Michael Vickerman, policy director for Renew
Wisconsin. “We’re talking about renewable generation
completely located within the state of Wisconsin. It is clean.
It is quiet. It yields a great deal of financial benefits to the
landowners and the surrounding communities.”
But not everyone in Iowa County is welcoming the development.
Richard Jinkins, a southwest farmer who lives just east of
Wunderlin’s land on a 400-acre farm, said he’s worried that
the farm will destroy the area’s scenic beauty, take up valuable
farmland and cause the county’s 23,687 population to
Jinkins, along with two other nearby farmers, are leading the
charge against the project as it goes through the permitting
process with the Wisconsin Public Service Commission.
“In the best case (it’s) going to make a solar panel wasteland
where nobody’s going to live,” said Jinkins, a computer programmer
who also raises cash crops. “It’s not going to be the
Driftless area. It’s going to be the utility district of southwest
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Volume 84 · Number 2 | 21
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North Dakota Bill Seeks to Discourage
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A North Dakota legislator wants to
increase the legal consequences for people who tamper with
pipelines and any groups that help them, following a 2016
pipeline protest that shut down oil flow for several hours.
Republican Sen. Janne Myrdal of Edinburg is sponsoring the
bill, The Bismarck Tribune reported.
The legislation would more clearly define that it’s illegal to
damage energy facilities and other critical infrastructure,
such as refineries, electrical power generating facilities or
natural gas processing plants.
It also would increase maximum fines from $10,000 to
$100,000 if an organization is found to have conspired with
individuals who tamper with infrastructure.
The bill wouldn’t prevent the “lawful assembly and peaceful
and orderly petition for the redress of grievances.”
“We worked hard on it to make sure that no First Amendment
rights are trampled on whatsoever in this bill,” Myrdal
Myrdal said the bill was inspired by the October 2016 pipeline
protest involving TransCanada’s Keystone Pipeline, when
activists turned an emergency valve and shut down oil flow.
Seattle resident Michael Eric Foster, who served jail time for
turning the pipeline valve during the protest, said a more
stringent law wouldn’t have stopped him.
“What I did, I did to protect my family because everything
else is failing. I owe it to my family tree and yours to do
whatever we can think of to stop destroying this place for
our kids,” Foster said.
Foster said the bill is an attempt to “silence and intimidate
and harass people who are looking out for the public good.”
Learn more at
© Commonwealth Edison Company, 2018
22 | Chief Engineer
Volume 84 · Number 2 | 23
The ComEd Energy Efficiency Program is funded in compliance with state law.
Masonry Gives Construction Students
Hands-On Training By Andrew Wind | Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier
WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — Students in Wayne Lidtke’s sustainable
construction and design class have learned about house
building by doing it.
They’ve framed walls, hung drywall, installed windows and
doors, and done minimal wiring while building small scale
houses at the Waterloo Career Center. The students will be
working on some other skills, like roofing, in the Waterloo
Community Schools’ program before the semester is over, the
Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reported.
Though, the nine high schoolers put down their hammers
and picked up trowels. Iowa Masonry Institute members
taught them lessons on mixing mortar and building a number
of structures with cinder block and brick.
Their task was to construct a pier. The column-like structure
can support a beam in a building, an overhang on an entryway
or have a more decorative use at the end of a driveway.
Students shoveled mortar out of wheelbarrows onto plywood
platforms. They scooped up the substance with their
trowels, depositing it on the edges of a pair of cinder blocks
before adding another layer of blocks.
“You put a lot of mortar there so you have a lot of contact,
just so in a couple years it doesn’t fall apart,” said Hunter
Pierce, a West High School senior.
Chris Busch, overseeing the students’ efforts, emphasized the
importance of getting the right amount of mortar between
“That joint is an integral part of the unit,” noted the Marshalltown-based
Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers union
training director. Ideally, he said, the mortar level will be
about three-eighths of an inch.
Without the right amount, “it’ll start to lose considerable
integrity,” said Busch. “Three-eighths is kind of that sweet
Students Jaylon Sallis, left, and Austin Norberg with Seedorff Masonry check the level of a pier during thevsustainable construction and design class at the
Waterloo Career Center. Students in Wayne Lidtke’s sustainable construction and design class have learned about house building by doing it.(Jeff Reinitz/
The Courier via AP)
Students were building the piers five blocks high. “Then,
they’re going to veneer it with brick,” he explained.
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As one of the students got several blocks high, Busch offered
a bit of advice: “You can use your level to check that, check
for level (horizontally) and plumb (vertically)” to ensure
everything is straight and level.
“It’s fun, it’s something to do,” said West High junior Nathan
Elliott, of learning the skill. “Better than sitting in there on a
computer. I like the hands-on stuff.”
Pierce also likes learning this way and said he would consider
working in construction.
Those are the sorts of responses Busch hopes for from his
training sessions at schools.
“This is basically part of our recruitment,” he said. Students
started with basics like learning how to spread mortar, lay
brick and use a level. They also built a low wall earlier.
Busch doesn’t expect everyone in the class to end up as a
bricklayer. But bringing the program into schools is important
to finding the next generation of workers — and the
amount of time they’ve had at the career center only helps.
“This is great having a whole week in here to present masonry
to kids,” he said.
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24 | Chief Engineer
Volume 84 · Number 2 | 25
Reinventing Fire Detection in Industrial
The cost of a fire in a warehouse goes far beyond the loss
of the building and goods. The consequential loss caused by
downtime, operation interruption, business reputation and
goodwill can be significant.
Modern goods also tend to have increased flammability, in
addition to the presence of large amounts of packing materials
such as plastics, cardboard, wooden crates and pallets.
There are various possible ignition sources in warehouses including
smoking, lighting, electrical equipment and heaters.
Although sprinklers are typically installed in warehouses, the
lack of an appropriate early warning smoke detection system
can not only compromise the safety of the facility but also
that of adjacent buildings.
Fortunately, protecting life and inventory is much easier for
even the largest warehouses as aspirating smoke detection
(ASD) technology becomes more widely adopted. The process
draws in air samples through durable piping to detectors and
tests it using sophisticated laser-based technology, imaging,
and photodiodes. Far from new, the core technology
has been used for decades in sensitive applications such as
cleanrooms and data centers where early smoke detection is
ily diluted. This makes detection difficult for conventional
detection technologies where smoke must build up to certain
levels before the alarm sounds. Furthermore, before sprinklers
are triggered, sufficient heat needs to be generated by
the fire — by which time, it is well underway.
Because of these concerns, traditional spot smoke detectors
are usually considered unsuitable for warehouses with high
ceilings. The installation, wiring, testing, and maintenance of
such spot detectors make them inconvenient and costly.
For instance, regularly testing the smoke detectors requires
having an inspector introduce smoke into the devices. This
requires safely lifting the inspector to the level of the detector
on a scissor lift, cherry picker, or other access equipment,
which adds to inspection costs. Maintaining and repairing
the smoke detectors is similarly costly.
Compared to traditional spot smoke detectors and other
technologies, this approach dramatically improves warehouse
facility safety by detecting smoke at the earliest possible
stage via numerous sampling points, while reducing false
alarms and maintenance.
Industrial-Sized Smoke Detection Challenges
Warehouses come in a wide range of sizes and contain a wider
range of goods. Most large warehouses have high ceilings
of over 40 ft. (12 m), with some modern automated high rack
storage facilities having ceiling heights over 130 ft. (40 m).
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The situation is even more challenging in facilities that
operate 24/7, where maintenance is only allowed during a
planned maintenance period.
Linear heat cables and flame detectors are sometimes suggested
offered as a solution and might be tempting from a
maintenance point of view. However, their detection point
(i.e. the flaming stage of fire) is too late to be truly considered
as early warning or adequate detection.
Optimizing Warehouse Smoke Detection
The problem is that in these conditions any smoke is heav-
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Volume 84 · Number 2 | 27
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Instead, as an alternative, ASD technology is a more effective,
early detection option that does not require physical
maintenance to access warehouse ceiling areas above high
Because of such flexibility, ASD smoke detection accommodates
irregular ceiling structures. Moreover, the technology
is not affected by forklifts, robotic gantries, and internal
business operations. Finally, it can even provide detection
within storage racks for the fastest possible response to a fire
As an example, one system, called VESDA-E VEU, by Xtralis,
a global provider of aspirating fire detection equipment,
draws air samples in a continuous process through holes in
long runs of durable industrial pipe mounted along the walls
While some ASD products use an LED light source and one
or more photo receivers, the VEU utilizes a flair detection
chamber that uses a short wavelength laser, a CMOS imager,
and multiple photodiodes.
Direct imaging of the sampled particles using the CMOS
camera allows data regarding its size, color and shape to be
derived. Additional data from five photodiodes allows measurement
of light scatter in different directions.
With more detailed information to analyze, the unit is able
to differentiate smoke from other factors that could cause
disruptive false alarms. For warehouse environments where
airborne dust particles may also be present, which can be
confused as smoke by some systems, the unit’s dust rejection
and data analytics minimize nuisance alarms by at least 3
times compared to similar technologies.
Compared to even other aspirating technologies, the system
significantly saves on maintenance costs by allowing long
pipe runs up to 1,310 ft. (400 m) and branched pipe networks
up to 2,625 ft. (800 m) to extend detector coverage. This
reduces the number of detectors required to protect a single
fire zone in a warehouse facility.
Unique Warehouse Challenges
Certain types of warehouses in difficult environments may
still require a high level of fire protection, while posing
unique challenges to smoke detection systems.
Freezers & Refrigerated Storage
While most warehouses with freezers or refrigerated storage
have some form of automatic doors or plastic barrier curtains
to limit warm air ingress, it is inevitable that warm air will
enter the room. This often creates condensation within the
room, which causes icing on ceiling-mounted equipment and
structures close to the entry points.
Even though ASD technology is generally accepted as the
best solution for refrigerated storage facilities, there are
some typical problems associated with its application in such
Over time, ASD sampling points and pipe within the sub-zero
area can become blocked causing air flow issues and inoperative
detection of smoke. In some instances, the only solution
is to remove the iced up section of the ASD pipe network
and fit a new pipe.
To combat this issue, some providers offer a unique sampling
arrangement that is specifically designed for refrigerated
For example, Xtralis enables ASD air sampling pipe to be
installed, inspected and maintained outside the refrigerated
environment (i.e. within roof space). This makes it less prone
to blockage due to icing, easier to inspect, and provides a
more robust, longer lasting installation.
Certain warehouses are very dusty or highly contaminated
environments such that the performance, longevity and
maintenance of the detection equipment are a real concern.
For these environments, ASD systems exist that are design to
withstand the harsh environments in industrial applications,
have superior dust filtration and are enclosed in NEMA 4
The Xtralis’ VESDA VLI system, for example, comes in an
International Protection Marking IP66 enclosure that provides
total protection against the ingress of dust and strong
water jets. The unit also is designed with a patented intelligent
filter that significantly reduces the amount of contaminants
entering the detector. An integral secondary filter and
sub-sampling probe also rejects larger dust particles, which
further safeguards against nuisance alarms and extends
Protecting the Warehouse Bottom Line
Some managers of warehouse facilities may be inclined to
use spot smoke detectors or other traditional devices because
of their familiarity with such systems.
However, those who take advantage of the superior capabilities
of ASD systems will protect lives and inventory to a degree
not previously possible in warehouse settings. This level
of protection will also prevent serious supply chain disruption
as well as liability and litigation in worst-case scenarios.
For more information, contact Xtralis at 175 Bodwell Street,
Avon, MA 02322, call: +1 (619) 252-2015; email: rsandler@
xtralis.com or visit: www.xtralis.com/vea.
GOT A STORY
HAVE YOU BEEN PART OF A PROJECT MAKING A
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28 | Chief Engineer
Volume 84 · Number 2 | 29
Michigan Roadwork to See Increased
Risks, Costs in Winter By Shawn D. Lewis | The Detroit News
DETROIT (AP) — The pushing of Michigan’s roadwork into
the colder months comes with great costs and risks for two
of the area’s biggest projects.
MacDonald said the cost for heating and enclosing concrete
pavement is approximately 30 to 50 percent of the cost of
the material and labor, “depending on a number of factors.”
Work laying concrete has continued on Interstate 696 in
Macomb County and Interstate 75 in Wayne County despite
temperatures below or at 40 degrees, which, according to
the American Concrete Institute, is the temperature for
which measures to prevent freezing must be addressed.
Costly precautions must be in place, including protecting
fresh concrete from freezing by placing heaters along a
route to ensure the concrete will take.
“Nobody wants to build roads in the winter,” said Kevin
MacDonald, a principal engineer with Minnesota-based Beton
In other words, he said, for every dollar spent on a road project
conducted in July, it will cost between $1.30 and $1.50 in
“Modern highway construction in cold, wet climates requires
highly durable, as well as high-strength concrete,” he told
The Detroit News. “This can be achieved in cold weather, so
long as precautions are taken to ensure that the concrete has
But MacDonald noted taxpayers usually are not footing the
bill for the higher costs.
“Typically, these types of costs fall into means and methods
over the contractor,” he said. “As such, the contractor will
bear the cost.”
A Michigan contractor working on one of the major road
projects said his employees are using necessary precautions,
and they are being closely monitored by the Michigan Department
of Transportation to minimize the risk.
Westbound traffic on I-696 in Roseville, Mich. Pushing roadwork into Michigan’s winter months elevates the cost as well as the risks. (AP Photo/Detroit
News, Robin Buckson, File)
Joe Goodall, vice president of Dan’s Excavating Inc. in Shelby
Township, which is working on the I-75 project, said yes, contractors
are working to prevent the ground from freezing.
Goodall said workers are “covering the concrete when temperatures
look to be dropping below freezing overnight or
throughout the following days. The specifications for cold
weather protection are being met on the project.”
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They also running heaters on the ground to keep it from
freezing, he said.
“We are keeping the concrete within the specifications for
cold weather paving by any means needed,” Goodall said.
( Continued on page 32)
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30 | Chief Engineer
Volume 84 · Number 2 | 31
The construction work is happening later in the season
because the projects were delayed in September when the
Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association
instituted a work stoppage after multiple failed attempts to
bargain a new contract with the Operating Engineers Local
324. A prior, five-year deal expired in June.
The construction rift prompted the shutdown or partial halt
of 89 Michigan Department of Transportation projects and
75 local projects.
“We are bound by contract with MDOT to complete the project
in a time frame, with the lockout and inclement weather
after the lockout, we are continuing to complete the project
in a timely manner.”
MDOT spokesman Jeff Cranson said state inspectors perform
quality assurance on all contractor efforts throughout a
“So among other things, the inspectors will ensure the heating
and housing is correct,” he said. “Ultimately, the contractor
is responsible for the work completed, and a job is not
accepted until MDOT engineers are confident in the quality.”
And so far, Operating Engineers 324 spokesman Dan McKernan
said he has not heard any complaints from contractors
about corners being cut to get the jobs done.
“Certainly, there is frustration from the workers for having
to work through the winter when it didn’t have to be
this way,” McKernan said. “But I talked to the agent who
oversees the road workers, and there haven’t been any complaints.
At the end of the day, MDOT oversees everything,
and they are very strict.”
The American Concrete Institute recommends specific measures
in its “Guide to Cold Weather Concreting,” noting that
“the necessary degree of protection increases as the ambient
Cold weather concreting “results in extra costs because of
potentially lower worker productivity and additional needed
products such as insulating blankets, tarping and heaters.”
But it adds that these measures also most likely will allow a
project to stay on schedule.
Detroit averages highs of 36.1 degrees and lows of 24.1
degrees in December, according to date from the National
Weather Service in White Lake Township.
Daniel DeGraaf, executive director of the Michigan Concrete
Association, said placing heaters is a major element of
keeping the ground warm. A hydronic heater is used to heat
frozen ground or concrete surfaces by pumping heated fluid
through closed-circulation tubing and a heat exchanger.
“The ground cannot be frozen when building a road on top
of it,” he said. “It can be very expensive.”
He presented an analogy.
But Cranson acknowledged risks when concrete is worked on
in the winter.
He released details that noted: “The top couple inches
(estimated) of the concrete below the exposed surface could
potentially act as a sacrificial layer, protecting the inner concrete
mass from frost-related structural damage. But, if not
protected from the cold weather exposure, this top exposed
surface could undergo irreversible damage as it freezes. Over
time, this damaged concrete surface will erode and scale
away, ultimately resulting in loss of the pavement surface.”
Additionally, the details noted, “Placing concrete pavement
on a frozen base could result in significant loss in structural
support as the base begins to thaw in the spring. As the base
freezes, the moisture within it will expand, thus, causing the
base to heave up (water expands approximately nine percent
in volume as it freezes). When the base thaws, it returns to
its original elevation. This will, in turn, take the pavement
downward with it.”
Cranson summed up the lengths being taken to ensure quality
work on roads during the winter by saying: “Contractors
and the MDOT engineers overseeing their work continue
to work very hard to ensure a commitment to quality while
they also work as quickly as possible to make travel lanes
accessible to the public.
“It is a difficult balancing act in ideal conditions, let alone
in inclement weather. Please keep in mind that the people
fixing and building our roads are our sisters, brothers, friends
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“Imagine running a furnace with the doors and windows
wide open,” he said. “Not only do they have to heat the
ground, but you can’t go as far with the work as you can on
a fall day because you’re limited by how far the equipment
Meanwhile, Cranson said state inspectors will hold contractors
accountable for the quality of the concrete.
“All materials must meet specifications,” Cranson said.
“Inspection to ensure specification compliance; and enforcement
based on significant research and testing.”
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Volume 84 · Number 2 | 33
New Mexico May Reconsider Decision
on More Natural Gas Wells By Morgan Lee
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico oilfield regulators
announced Friday, Jan. 4, that they may revisit a decision to
ease restrictions on natural gas well locations for a Texas-based
company operating in the northwest corner of the
The announcement came as state oversight of wells shifts
to the Democratic administration of Gov. Michelle Lujan
The state’s Oil Conservation Commission scheduled a public
meeting the following week regarding the approved application
from Hilcorp Energy to increase potential well density in
the San Juan Basin area from four wells to eight per 320-acre
tract, or about half a square mile (1.2 square kilometers).
Environmentalists estimate the density decision could concentrate
patterns of oil well development across hundreds of
square miles (square kilometers) of territory.
In a statement Jan. 4, Hilcorp said it would defend the state’s
ruling last year on well densities and highlighted the related
opportunity for new jobs and investments in an economically
depressed region of the state.
“Hilcorp prevailed in this matter by presenting a scientifically
sound case in accordance with all laws and regulations,” it
Hilcorp has said longstanding density limits have prevented
the company from tapping more of a formation called the
Blanco-Mesaverde gas pool.
The approval of the company’s application to increase well
densities late last year prompted an outcry from conservationists
and a rebuke from the state’s independently elected
land commissioner who left office Dec. 31.
Upon taking office last month, Democratic Land Commissioner
Stephanie Garcia Richard urged the state to take up her
agency’s request for an appeal that was rejected by oilfield
regulators as termed-out Republican Gov. Susana Martinez
left office on Dec. 31.
“It is imperative that we make a decision in the region that
ensures long-term sustainability and production that is fair to
every producer in the state,” Garcia Richard said in a statement
The State Land Office oversees 14,000 square miles (36,000
square kilometers) of land and additional underground
resources that are used to help fund schools, universities,
hospitals and other public institutions.
The membership of the Oil Conservation Commission is determined
by the governor, a Cabinet secretary and the state
New Mexico’s first female state land commissioner, Stephanie Garcia Richard,
speaks after taking the oath of office on Jan. 1, 2019, at the state Capitol
in Santa Fe, N.M. Women including newly inaugurated Gov. Michelle
Lujan Grisham helped Democrats consolidate control over all statewide
offices and New Mexico’s congressional delegation in November elections.
The land commissioner oversees oil and gas drilling, renewable energy
projects and other development across millions of acres of state trust land.
(AP Photo/Morgan Lee)
The San Juan Citizens Alliance, an environmental advocacy
group, also has sought a rehearing of the well-density
decision, arguing that it was unfairly shut out of application
proceedings where it hoped to provide testimony about
public-health and environmental impacts.
Erik Schlenker-Goodrich, an attorney for the Alliance, called
the planned meeting a positive development.
“There’s an opportunity to rebuild the credibility of the Oil
Conservation Commission and to ensure that the public has a
voice in oil and gas regulation,” he said.
34 | Chief Engineer
Volume 84 · Number 2 | 35
Meeting & Happy Hour Event
Thanks to everyone who came out to make the January 2019 meeting at 115
Bourbon Street a success. In particular, we would like to thank our presenting
sponsors, Powers (A Watts Brand) and ComEd, as well as our co-sponsors
Air Comfort and The Moran Group. It was an enlightening evening with
thoughtful presentations, good food, and as always, a good group of Chiefs
February, as you may recall, there will be no meeting, but we will be hosting
the annual Skatefest at Morgan Park Sports Center in Chicago, sponsored
by Air Comfort. This will be a family event, so bring the kids and enjoy some
time out on the ice!
As always, the Chief Engineers appreciate the sponsorship of our monthly
meetings and events throughout the year. If your organization is interested in
sponsoring an event, please contact Alex Boerner at
36 | Chief Engineer
Volume 84 · Number 2 | 37
designed to save
both water and energy
at new facility
Behind the scenes of the most cutting-edge genetic science
lies the work and expertise of companies like New England
BioLabs, Inc. based in Ipswich, Mass.
Since the 1970s, New England BioLabs has provided enzymes
for use in molecular biology research and clinical trials, serving
a network of customers internationally.
The enzymes produced at New England BioLabs are used
in applications like cloning, DNA modification and protein
analysis — applications which are highly precise, requiring
Plans are reviewed and Decco riggers
complete cooling tower installations
at New England BioLab’s new facility.
An EVAPCO cooling module is lifted into place.
components that are predictable, repeatable and of the
To better serve the ever evolving needs of their customers,
New England BioLabs (NEB) has recently completed the
construction of a 40,000 square foot cleanroom production
facility in Rowley, Mass.
The Right Construction Team
Pulling it all together was the project management firm,
Columbia Construction Company, a Boston-based company
with over 90 years’ experience in multiple sectors: academic,
life sciences, corporate, healthcare and hospitality.
Neal Swain, project manager, explained, “Columbia was
involved with the construction of NEB’s new facility for the
entire process, from design review to final commissioning.”
Columbia worked with AHA Consulting Engineers, Inc.
(AHA) for building’s engineering infrastructure, including
the plant’s process cooling mechanical system. AHA’s clients
include companies such as Vertex, Takeda, Merck, and NEB
itself, as AHA served as the design engineers for its main
As is customary in the industry, AHA worked with suppliers
to find the right equipment to meet the NEB’s specific
requirements. Manufacturer’s rep firm, Fluid Equipment
Solutions of New England (FES), provided technical assistance
for the cooling system at this new facility.
Tight Tolerances for Cooling
Accurate and robust temperature control of the equipment
and environment is critical to the success of the tightly-controlled
A key component of the cooling system that meets the
stringent cooling needs at NEB’s facility is its fluid cooler,
a 1.6 million BTU closed circuit cooling tower designed
to provide cooling to process water for a wide variety of
sophisticated plant processes.
“The fluid cooler provides condenser water to one side of
a heat exchanger,” said Thomas Joyner, partner, and AHA
project manager. “The process water on the other side of
the heat exchanger serves several pieces of plant equipment
as well as a process chiller to provide chilled water for
For such a large, yet critical piece of the cooling puzzle,
AHA considered several options for the fluid cooler. With
the rising cost of energy and concern about water consumption,
the amount of electricity and water used was
an additional factor in deciding which cooling system to
Ben McLaughlin, sales engineer at FES said, “We compared
the performance of multiple evaporative fluid coolers in
terms of meeting the required temperature as well as energy
and water use.”
(Continued on page 40)
38 | Chief Engineer
Volume 84 · Number 2 | 39
This tight control is what gives NEB the level of utility savings
as well as the consistency and predictability needed for their
The other key evaporative cooling system components are
the water treatment, and the quiet fan, also selected by the
design team. Although water treatment is necessary to maintain
evaporative cooled equipment during wet operation,
a substantial benefit to a primarily dry cooler is that scale
cannot form when the unit is operating in dry operation.
To prevent scale buildup or corrosion from deposits when
water is evaporated in the cooler, the water must be treated.
In order to maintain an environmentally friendly manufacturing
facility, a non-chemical treatment system was provided
for this evaporative water.
Expert hands bring together the cooling tower assembly at New England
BioLab’s new facility.
After careful analysis, EVAPCO’s eco ATWB-H series hybrid
fluid cooler was selected. The system is specifically designed
to optimize both the evaporative (latent) and dry (sensible)
modes of cooling simultaneously — combining the advantages
of an evaporative cooler and a dry cooler into one unit.
A Balancing Act
McLaughlin explains, “There were three aspects of the fluid
cooling system that were critical for this application. The first
was the cooling tower’s wet and dry performance.”
The hybrid fluid cooler has both wet and dry operation with
the ability to handle full capacity in “dry mode” up to an
ambient dry bulb temperature of 50oF. This reduces water
consumption for every hour of operation below 50o when
the water is turned off and the fan alone is doing all the
“In addition to water savings, the five-horsepower spray
pump is turned off during dry cooling, and that results in
energy savings when compared to the standard fluid cooler
using evaporative cooling only,” said McLaughlin. “So we
have about 60 percent less water used and a 30 percent
reduction in electricity consumption.”
Process water first enters the dry coil which is outside the
evaporative water spray stream. This coil serves to pre-cool
the high-temperature water. The cooled water then enters
the coil, just below the spray stream. Depending on the dry
bulb temperature, the spray pump may be on or off.
A key benefit of the dry coil, piped in series with the wet
coil, is that the evaporation rate off of the wet coil is maximized
because a significant portion of the heat load from
the process has already been rejected by the dry coil before
entering the wet coil. This means that water is always saved,
even when spray pumps are required for full load.
The additional dry coil also allows for reduced water vapor
leaving the cooling tower, which happens because of
efficient transfer of heat from the process water to the moist
air leaving the cooling tower. Increasing the temperature of
the air leaving the tower, without adding moisture, reduces
its relative humidity from a saturated state (at 100 percent),
which greatly reduces the visible plume.
In order to get the most out of this hybrid system, the fan
and spray pump operation are controlled to maximize
savings. The SAGE® control system provided with the cooler
plays a key role in optimizing water and energy savings.
“The controller leverages outdoor or ambient conditions,”
explained McLaughlin. “Specifically, the wet bulb and dry
bulb temperatures are used to best meet load requirements
while reducing water and energy consumption. This sophisticated
operation is handled in stride by the SAGE control
“We included the Pulse-Pure® non-chemical water treatment
system with the fluid cooler,” McLaughlin explained. “This
system uses a high-frequency electromagnetic pulse to take
care of the corrosive or scale-forming solids that would otherwise
concentrate on the cooler’s components when water
evaporates. It also takes care of anything biological that
we’re usually concerned with because it renders microorganisms
incapable of reproduction.”
In addition to reducing chemicals used on site, the unit itself
produces less sound pollution. The super-low sound fan
selected boasts a 9- to 16-decibel reduction in sound when
compared to the standard fluid cooler fan.
“The reduction in sound is concentrated in the low-frequency
octave band, which travel further distances and penetrate
structures,” explained McLaughlin, “so these are the fans
specifically designed for applications that are sound-sensitive
With EVAPCO’s hybrid fluid cooler serving the manufacturing
process, New England BioLabs’ new cleanroom production
facility achieves both high-quality product and lower water
and energy consumption.
“We took the shell of a building and turned it into a 40,000
square foot cleanroom production facility,” said Swain,
“and the process cooling system assures utility savings while
delivering predictable outcomes for NEB’s customers, both
existing and those we expect to serve in the future.”
1. Neal Swain, EIT, Assistant Project Manager, Columbia
Construction. Tel #: 781-606-4467, email: NSwain@columbiacc.com
(provided info from engineer, who I did not
talk to directly. Engineer’s quote is from notes sent by
Neal, to be approved by engineer. Thomas Joyner, AHA
Engineers, email: Thomas_Joyner@aha-engineers.com
2. Ben McLaughlin, Sales Engineer, Fluid Equipment Solutions
of New England (FES). Tel #: 781-941-0300, email:
40 | Chief Engineer
Volume 84 · Number 2 | 41
A WiFi thermostat
for fan coil units
3 Fan Speeds
Com-Ed Rebate Eligible
Remote Access Phone App
Line Voltage Conversion Kit Available
Connecticut Taps Nuclear Plants to
Generate Clean Energy
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Nuclear power plants in Connecticut
and New Hampshire made the list of electricity producers
selected Dec. 28 to generate the clean energy needed to
help meet Connecticut’s goals for reducing greenhouse gas
Department Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner
Robert Klee and Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy
announced the state also chose bids submitted from nine
solar projects and one offshore wind project. Final regulatory
approval of power contracts, which still need to be negotiated,
are still required.
“The selection of this diverse portfolio of zero-carbon resources
ensures that Connecticut is doing its part to address
climate change,” Klee said. A 2017 state law required DEEP’s
commissioner to solicit proposals for up to 12 million megawatt-hours
of clean energy annually to meet the state’s
renewable energy goals.
Virginia-based Dominion Energy had sought for months
to have its Millstone Nuclear Power Station in Waterford,
Connecticut, included in the clean energy procurement. Dominion
had argued that the plant faced closure due to rising
expenses and competition from natural gas.
“We look forward to executing the contract with Connecticut’s
utilities shortly,” he said.
State regulators recently determined Millstone was at risk of
early retirement, a move that ultimately allowed the plant to
be part of DEEP’s clean energy auction.
DEEP also selected nine solar projects, including three in
Connecticut, four in Maine and two in New Hampshire.
Additionally, DEEP announced plans to expand upon its June
selection of 200 megawatts of energy generated by the Revolution
Wind offshore project being developed by Rhode Island-based
Deepwater Wind. DEEP said the state will procure
an additional 100 megawatts of power from the wind farm,
located in federal waters, about halfway between Montauk,
N.Y., and Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.
“Offshore wind is fast becoming a centerpiece of Connecticut’s
renewable energy future,” said Jeffrey Grybowski, Co-
CEO of Ørsted US Offshore Wind, which acquired Deepwater
Wind in October. “We’re proud that our Revolution Wind
project will now deliver even more clean energy to Connecticut
A top Dominion executive said Dec. 28 that the company is
pleased Millstone is part of the portfolio. DEEP selected a 10-
year bid for about 50 percent of the entire nuclear facility’s
output. DEEP also selected a bid from the Seabrook Nuclear
Power Plant in New Hampshire.
“DEEP’s decision is good news for Connecticut’s economy and
the environment,” said Paul Koonce, EVP, president and CEO
of power generation at Dominion Energy. He said Dominion’s
“zero carbon offer brings at least $670 million in net
benefits to Connecticut customer” and “welcome holiday
news” for the power plant’s 1,500 employees.
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42 | Chief Engineer
Volume 84 · Number 2 | 43
Announcing a New
SIGN-UP ONLINE @ www.chiefengineer.org
Create an Account
Dakota Access Pipeline Developer Slow
to Replace Some Trees By Blake Nicholson
In order to streamline the event registration and dues-paying
processes, the Chief Engineers Association of Chicagoland
has migrated its member database to a new and
much more flexible online system. If you’re an Active or
Associate member, you will now be able to conveniently
register for monthly meetings and events online from your
phones or other devices.
What does this mean for you?
The new system enables you to manage your Chief
Engineer account and your entire online experience.
You will be able to register on your phone or other device,
in real time, right up to the start of — and during — the
event, shortening event registration lines.
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The developer of the Dakota Access
oil pipeline missed a year-end deadline to plant thousands
of trees along the pipeline corridor in North Dakota, but
the company said it was still complying with a settlement of
allegations it violated state rules during construction.
Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners, which built the $3.8
billion pipeline that’s now moving North Dakota oil to
Illinois, is falling back on a provision of the September 2017
agreement. The provision provides more time should the
company run into problems providing 20,000 trees to county
soil conservation districts along the pipeline’s 359-mile
(578-kilometer) route across North Dakota.
The deal with North Dakota’s Public Service Commission
settled allegations that ETP removed too many trees in some
areas and that it improperly handled a pipeline route change
after discovering Native American artifacts. The artifacts
were not disturbed.
The agreement required the company to replant trees and
shrubs at a higher ratio in the disputed areas, along with an
additional 20,000 trees along the entire route. ETP filed documents
in October detailing efforts by a contractor to plant
141,000 trees and shrubs, but the PSC asked the company
a month later to provide more documentation that it had
complied with all settlement terms.
tricts due to several factors, including equipment and staffing
issues, difficulties finding willing landowners and poor
planting conditions, according to Perennial Environmental
Services, which ETP hired to handle the work.
A soil conservation district in one of the seven counties
refused to participate at all because it didn’t feel any of the
15 tree species identified in the settlement agreement were
suitable for the county.
The agreement allows for the work to continue into 2019 if
there are problems with the tree supply “or other market
conditions.” Soil conservation districts in six counties have
committed to planting about 16,800 more trees in 2019, for
a total of more than 25,500, according to Perennial Environmental
PSC officials weren’t available at press time for comment on
whether the state thinks ETP is justified in prolonging the
plantings into the new year.
Under the agreement, ETP also was directed to develop an
industry handbook on properly handling pipeline route adjustments
and to conduct training. In return, the PSC didn’t
require the company to admit wrongdoing and scrapped a
proposed $15,000 penalty. The agency has the power to levy
up to $200,000 in fines.
Auto-renewal of your annual membership is now available
and easily managed from your phone or other device.
What do I need to do?
Company attorney Lawrence Bender recently submitted a
report from contractor KC Harvey Environmental further detailing
the replanting efforts in the disputed areas. He noted
that in some areas where landowners refused trees, the trees
were reallocated to other landowners “who had the space
and desire to accommodate more plantings.”
Bender in December detailed training that he said surpassed
what was required during the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference
in May, the North Dakota Petroleum Council annual
meeting in September and the Colorado Oil and Gas Association
annual meeting in November.
To take advantage of the convenience of the newly streamlined
system, and to register for all upcoming events, you must
create a new account at the chiefengineer.org website. Log
on to www.chiefengineer.org/home/help and:
Only about 8,800 of the required 20,000 additional trees
were planted in 2018 through county soil conservation dis-
Follow the instructions to CREATE a new account.
Once you have created your account and clicked on
SUBSCRIBE, you may, if you choose, enroll in automatic
annual membership renewal.
Once you've subscribed to the new system, don't forget to
REGISTER for the next meeting or event, typically held on
the 3rd Wednesday of the month!
44 | Chief Engineer
Volume 84 · Number 2 | 45
Mortenson’s Greg Werner Receives
Highest Honor from City of Hope
ing in 1992.
Motion Industries Names New President
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Motion Industries, Inc., a leading distributor
of maintenance, repair and operation replacement
parts and a wholly owned subsidiary of Genuine Parts Company,
announced the promotion of Randall (Randy) P. Breaux
to President on Dec. 12, 2018.
Pictured from left to right: Andy Stapleton, Greg Werner, Dan Johnson
(Credit: City of Hope)
CHICAGO — Greg Werner, senior vice president for national
builder and developer Mortenson, has received the
2018 Spirit of Life® Award for his service to City of Hope, a
world-renowned research and treatment center for cancer,
diabetes and other serious diseases. The annual award, the
City of Hope’s highest honor, recognizes philanthropic leaders
who make important contributions to their profession
and to the communities in which they live and work.
Werner, an active member of the City of Hope Chicago Construction
and Real Estate Council for more than a decade,
was honored at the annual Chicago City of Hope gala on
November 8. Werner also led the Chicago council’s 2018 City
of Hope fundraising campaign, along with co-chairs Dan
Johnson, Mortenson president and CEO, and Andy Stapleton,
general manager of Mortenson’s Chicago office.
The Spirit of Life dinner raised $452,000, including an alltime
record for the Fund-A-Need auction. The group has
raised more than $12 million for City of Hope since its found-
“Greg is a leader in both the construction industry and in his
commitment to giving back to the community. He exemplifies
professionalism, integrity and stewardship,” said Joe
Cushing, president of the City of Hope Chicago Construction
and Real Estate Council and executive vice president of Cushing
Werner’s community involvement is part of a long tradition
of philanthropy at Mortenson, a private, family-owned business
based in Minneapolis that has given 5 percent of annual
pretax profits to its communities for more than 25 years.
“I have had the pleasure of working closely with Greg for
over two decades. His unwavering commitment to serve our
customers and our communities with passion and energy
have been hallmarks of his success as a business leader,” said
David Mortenson, chairman of Mortenson.
Werner joined Mortenson’s Milwaukee office as a project
engineer in 1990. He spent five years in San Francisco as
construction executive before moving to Chicago to open
a new office for Mortenson in 2000. He was promoted to
senior vice president in 2016 and now oversees the company’s
Chicago and Milwaukee offices. Werner holds a Bachelor
of Science in construction management from the University
of Wisconsin-Madison. In addition to serving on the Chicago
Construction and Real Estate Council for City of Hope, he is a
board director of the Harper College Educational Foundation
and Barrington Children’s Charities.
“I am honored and humbled to receive the Spirit of Life
award. I’ve spent time at City of Hope’s medical and research
campus, and I’ve seen first-hand how vital and life-changing
the work is. I am proud to be able to support their mission
through the Chicago construction council,” said Werner.
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“Randy has an impressive history, having served in numerous
management roles during his career,” Genuine Parts Company
President and CEO Paul Donahue said. “His extensive
experience in both industrial manufacturing and distribution,
which includes his sales, marketing and corporate
background, make him and excellent choice to lead Motion
Industries. We feel confident that we will continue to see
great things from our talented and experienced Motion
team under Randy’s leadership.”
Mr. Breaux was most recently Executive Vice President of
Marketing, Distribution and Purchasing for Motion Industries,
and has nearly four decades of experience in the industrial
manufacturing and distribution markets. At Motion
Industries, he has played a key role in setting corporate direction,
strategic acquisitions, growing supplier relationships,
advancing marketing activities and most recently overseeing
corporate operations. He joined Motion Industries in May
2011 following 21 years with ABB/Baldor Electric Company,
a leading manufacturer of industrial electric motors, drives,
and mechanical power transmission components based in
Fort Smith, Ark.
Mr. Breaux joined Baldor in 1989, and held various sales and
marketing positions in the company. Just prior to joining
Motion, Baldor was acquired by ABB. At that time, he was
promoted to Vice President of Integration by ABB, tasked
with bringing the Baldor and ABB electric motor businesses
together in North America. He served as Baldor’s Vice
President of Marketing from 2001-2011, played a key role
in Baldor’s acquisition of Dodge and Reliance Electric from
Rockwell Automation n 2007, and served as an officer of the
company for more than 11 years.
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46 | Chief Engineer
Volume 84 · Number 2 | 47
Taco Names Merchant as New President
Cranston, RI — Taco Family of Companies CEO and owner,
John Hazen White, Jr., recently announced that Cheryl
Merchant joined the company on Jan. 1, 2019, as President
of Taco Family of Companies, North America. Ms. Merchant
has spent the last 19 years as the President and CEO of Hope
Global Industries, based in Cumberland, R.I.
“Cheryl’s addition to our senior leadership team will ensure
Taco’s continued success as a high-performing, customer
focused company,” Mr. White told his Cranston-based workforce
this week. “Cheryl’s track record at Hope Global speaks
for itself and we are fortunate to have her join the Taco
Luca Bolcati, formerly Vice President of Taco International,
was named President of Taco International, effective Jan. 1,
2019, as well.
CHIEF ENGINEER MEMBER INFO AND REMINDERS
• Here are a few things to keep in mind about your membership and Chief Engineer events.
• Members are invited to monthly meetings that take place once a month October – May
• Events vary in location and activity from holidays and socials to education meetings
• Meetings begin at 5:30PM
• We understand many of you end your day before 5:00PM, however to allow for proper set up
and to provide a well-executed meeting, we ask that you honor the start time of the event
and arrive after 5:00PM.
• Members are welcome to bring one guest, one time, who is considering membership into the
organization to the meetings
YOU CAN VIEW, DOWNLOAD AND PRINT PHOTOS
FROM CHIEF ENGINEERS ASSOCIATION OF
CHICAGOLAND MEETINGS ONLINE.
JUST VISIT HTTP://WWW.FLICKR.COM/-
CHIEFENGINEER.ORG AND CLICK ON THE
IMAGES ON THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE.
• Membership dues are good for one year. If not renewed, your membership becomes Inactive
and you will need to renew before or upon entering events
2 0 1 9 A N N U A L M E E T I N G
Festivites Begin 5:30PM
I r i s h A m e r i c a n h e r i t a g e C e n t e r
4 6 2 6 N . K n o x | C H I C A G O , I L
TO RSVP YOU CAN:
Sign up online at www.ChiefEngineer.org or call (708) 293 -1720
E-mail Alex Boerner at firstname.lastname@example.org
48 | Chief Engineer
Volume 84 · Number 2 | 49
Army Looks for a Few Good Robots,
Sparks Industry Battle By Matt O’Brien
CHELMSFORD, Mass. (AP) — The Army is looking for a few
good robots. Not to fight — not yet, at least — but to help
the men and women who do.
These robots aren’t taking up arms, but the companies making
them have waged a different kind of battle. At stake is a
contract worth almost half a billion dollars for 3,000 backpack-sized
robots that can defuse bombs and scout enemy
positions. Competition for the work has spilled over into
Congress and federal court.
The project and others like it could someday help troops
“look around the corner, over the next hillside and let the
robot be in harm’s way and let the robot get shot,” said Paul
Scharre, a military technology expert at the Center for a New
The big fight over small robots opens a window into the
intersection of technology and national defense and shows
how fear that China could surpass the U.S. drives even small
tech startups to play geopolitics to outmaneuver rivals. It also
raises questions about whether defense technology should
be sourced solely to American companies to avoid the risk of
tampering by foreign adversaries.
Regardless of which companies prevail, the competition
foreshadows a future in which robots, which are already familiar
military tools, become even more common. The Army’s
immediate plans alone envision a new fleet of 5,000 ground
robots of varying sizes and levels of autonomy. The Marines,
Navy and Air Force are making similar investments.
“My personal estimate is that robots will play a significant
role in combat inside of a decade or a decade and a half,”
the chief of the Army, Gen. Mark Milley, said in May at a
Senate hearing where he appealed for more money to modernize
Milley warned that adversaries like China and Russia “are
investing heavily and very quickly” in the use of aerial, sea
and ground robots. And now, he added, “we are doing the
Such a shift will be a “huge game-changer for combat,” said
Scharre, who credits Milley’s leadership for the push.
The promise of such big Pentagon investments in robotics
has been a boon for U.S. defense contractors and technology
startups. But the situation is murkier for firms with foreign
Concerns that popular commercial drones made by Chinese
company DJI could be vulnerable to spying led the Army to
ban their use by soldiers in 2017. And in August, the Pentagon
published a report that said China is conducting espionage
to acquire foreign military technologies — sometimes
by using students or researchers as “procurement agents and
intermediaries.” At a December defense expo in Egypt, some
U.S. firms spotted what they viewed as Chinese knock-offs of
The China fears came to a head in a bitter competition
between Israeli firm Roboteam and Massachusetts-based Endeavor
Robotics over a series of major contracts to build the
Army’s next generation of ground robots. Those machines
will be designed to be smarter and easier to deploy than the
remote-controlled rovers that have helped troops disable
bombs for more than 15 years.
The biggest contract — worth $429 million — calls for
mass-producing 25-pound robots that are light, easily maneuverable
and can be “carried by infantry for long distances
A Centaur robot rests on a carpeted floor between desks at Endeavor Robotics in Chelmsford, Mass. The Army is looking for a few good robots. These
robots won’t fight — at least, not yet. But they will be designed to help the men and women who do. The companies making them are waging a different
kind of battle. At stake is a contract worth almost half a billion dollars for 3,000 backpack-sized robots that can defuse bombs and scout enemy positions.
(AP Photo/Steven Senne)
without taxing the soldier,” said Bryan McVeigh, project
manager for force projection at the Army’s research and
contracting center in Warren, Michigan.
Other bulkier prototypes are tank-sized unmanned supply
vehicles that have been tested in recent weeks in the rough
and wintry terrain outside Fort Drum, New York.
A third $100 million contract — won by Endeavor in late
2017 — is for a midsized reconnaissance and bomb-disabling
robot nicknamed the Centaur.
The competition escalated into a legal fight when Roboteam
accused Endeavor, a spinoff of iRobot, which makes Roomba
vacuum cleaners, of dooming its prospects for those contracts
by hiring a lobbying firm that spread false information
to politicians about the Israeli firm’s Chinese investors.
(Continued on page 52)
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50 | Chief Engineer
Volume 84 · Number 2 | 51
A federal judge dismissed Roboteam’s lawsuit in April.
“They alleged that we had somehow defamed them,” said
Endeavor CEO Sean Bielat, a former Marine who twice ran
for Congress as a Republican. “What we had done was taken
publicly available documents and presented them to members
of Congress because we think there’s a reason to be concerned
about Chinese influence on defense technologies.”
The lobbying firm, Boston-based Sachem Strategies, circulated
a memo to members of the House Armed Services Committee.
Taking up Endeavor’s cause was Rep. Seth Moulton, a
Massachusetts Democrat — and, like Bielat, a Marine veteran
— who wrote a letter to a top military official in December
2016 urging the Army to “examine the evidence of Chinese
influence” before awarding the robot contracts.
Six other lawmakers later raised similar concerns.
Roboteam CEO Elad Levy declined to comment on the dispute
but said the firm is still “working very closely with U.S.
forces,” including the Air Force, and other countries. But it’s
no longer in the running for the lucrative Army opportunities.
Endeavor is. Looking something like a miniature forklift
on tank treads, its prototype called the Scorpion has been
zipping around a test track behind an office park in a Boston
The only other finalist is just 20 miles away at the former
Massachusetts headquarters of Foster-Miller, now a part of
British defense contractor Qinetiq. The company did not
respond to repeated requests for comment. The contract is
expected to be awarded in early 2019.
Both Endeavor and Qinetiq have strong track records with
the U.S. military, having supplied it with its earlier generation
of ground robots such as Endeavor’s Packbot and Qinetiq’s
Talon and Dragon Runner.
After hiding the Scorpion behind a shroud at a recent Army
conference, Bielat and engineers at Endeavor showed it for
the first time publicly to The Associated Press in November.
Using a touchscreen controller that taps into the machine’s
multiple cameras, an engineer navigated it through tunnels,
over a playground-like structure and through an icy pool of
water, and used its grabber to pick up objects.
It’s a smaller version of its predecessor, the Packbot, which
was first used by U.S. troops in Afghanistan in 2002 and later
became one of soldiers’ essential tools for safely disabling
improvised explosives in Iraq. Bielat said the newer Scorpion
and Centaur robots are designed to be easier for the average
soldier to use quickly without advanced technical training.
“Their primary job is to be a rifle squad member,” Bielat said.
“They don’t have time to mess with the robot. They’re going
to demand greater levels of autonomy.”
It will be a while, however, before any of these robots become
fully autonomous. The Defense Department is cautious
about developing battlefield machines that make their own
decisions. That sets the U.S. apart from efforts by China and
Russia to design artificially intelligent warfighting arsenals.
A November report from the Congressional Research Service
said that despite the Pentagon’s “insistence” that a human
must always be in the loop, the military could soon feel compelled
to develop fully autonomous systems if rivals do the
same. Or, as with drones, humans will still pull the trigger,
but a far-away robot will lob the bombs.
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52 | Chief Engineer
Volume 84 · Number 2 | 53
Computer Scientists Study Security
Threats to Smart Homes By Tamara Dietrich
And you’re none the wiser — until you get home and discover
your home’s been hacked. And burgled.
This is just one scenario demonstrating one of many inherent
flaws that computer scientists at the College of William and
Mary discovered in internet-connected smart home devices
during tests they conducted over the summer.
This particular flaw allows hackers to attack a smart home’s
low-security device — a light switch or thermostat, for instance
— and use that access to attack a high-security device
they could not otherwise access.
It’s one example of what’s called lateral privilege escalation,
and experts warn that such smart home hacks are easier than
you might think. They can lead to all kinds of potential mischief,
if not outright harm, from switching off your security
system to cranking up your smart oven until it overheats and
burns the house down.
“The possibilities are limitless,” said Adwait Nadkarni, lead
investigator and assistant professor of computer science.
“There are so many devices in the home that affect your
security, affect the integrity of your home.”
Experts say that in just two years there will be 20 billion
smart home products in use.
William & Mary computer science associate professors Adwait Nadkarni and
Denys Poshyvanyk and their students have identified security vulnerabilities
in smart home devices. Weaknesses in the security of a Web-enabled light
bulb could give hackers access to Web-enabled cameras and security devices,
allowing them to be disabled. (Rob Ostermaier/The Daily Press via AP)
WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (AP) — Say you’re on your laptop at
Starbucks, minding your own business, when an acquaintance
of yours across the room isn’t minding his.
Unbeknownst to you, he’s using the same store Wi-Fi as you
to conduct a virtual invasion of your smart home: accessing
your light switch app and using it to disable your home’s
security camera so real thieves can break in — or walk in, if
he’s disabling the smart lock, too.
“You can imagine the possible combinations of these kinds
of attacks will obviously increase as we’ll have more interconnected
devices,” said associate professor Denys Poshyvanyk.
“At this point, it’s hard for us to imagine what else people
Nadkarni and Poshyvanyk co-authored a paper on their work
that they’ll present at the 9th annual ACM Conference on
Data and Application Security and Privacy in Dallas in March.
Student co-authors include Kaushal Kafle and Sunil Manandhar
and post-doctoral fellow Kevin Moran.
In the paper, they lay out the potential misuses of the computer
routines or portions of code that control smart home
products and offer 10 key findings with “serious security
“The diversity of these products is staggering,” the paper
states, “ranging from small physical devices with embedded
computers such as smart locks and light bulbs to full-fledged
appliances such as refrigerators and HVAC systems.”
And the risks, it states, can be rather alarming.
“Because many of these products are tied to the user’s security
or privacy (e.g., door locks, cameras), it is important to
understand the attack surface of such devices and platforms
in order build practical defenses without sacrificing utility.”
For their research, Nadkarni and Poshyvanyk focused on
two of the most popular smart home platforms — Google
(Continued on page 56)
54 | Chief Engineer
Volume 84 · Number 2 | 55
Nest and Philips Hue — that implement home automation
Routines are the interactions between smart home devices
and the apps that control them. They are becoming the heart
of seamless home automation.
According to the paper, there are two broad categories of
routines: one that allows users to “chain together” a variety
of devices using a third-party app interface, and one
that uses a “centralized data store” as a sort of switchboard
where devices and apps can communicate with each other
over the internet.
Both are intended to make smart home automation more
seamless for the user, and both were found to be vulnerable,
giving hackers the ability to attack all the internet-connected
devices in the home.
For the centralized data store platform, for instance, when
you use your mobile app to communicate with a low-security
device — say, a light switch — the device accesses your smart
home using an authorization token.
“Anybody can steal that access token,” Nadkarni said, and
use it to, say, make your smart home think you’re inside and
turn off the security camera.
The scientists insist it’s not that hard.
“You don’t need any specialized education,” said Poshyvanyk.
‘You just need to know how to run certain programs.
Even a high schooler could do that.”
They blame the vulnerabilities on consumer demand and the
headlong rush to meet it.
“Manufacturers race to release these systems without having
a good understanding of how they will be used in the wild,”
After the researchers identified the security flaws, they contacted
platform vendors Google and Philips and app developer
and manufacturer TP Link to report what they found.
TP Link fixed the flaw in its latest Kasa Switch light dimmer
app, which prevents the type of theoretical lateral attack
outlined earlier. Philips is expected to roll out a fix to its platform
and Google is working to address vulnerabilities.
But the issue is bigger than one company — it’s the industry
overall that needs to get smarter.
“We’re basically arguing that we need a systemic effort in
terms of properly designing these systems with security in
mind,” Poshyvanyk said.
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Trelleborg Sealing Solutions adds to its already extensive
range of apps and online tools with the introduction of the
Fluid Mechanics Calculator App. Free of charge to download,
the app boasts more content, formulas and calculations than
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Including more features than any similar paid for app, the
Fluid Mechanics Calculator has over 130 formulas and 360
plus different calculations. It provides fast and convenient
calculation of results along with unit conversion support. Users
can mark favorites to quickly access them and seamlessly
switch between metric and inch units.
The app can be downloaded for iPhone or Android by
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The Fluid Mechanics Calculator is just one of a number of
best-in-class tools Trelleborg Sealing Solutions offers to make
it easier for engineers to specify seals for their applications.
It joins the ever-popular Unit Converter and already well-established
O-Ring calculator, electronic catalog, CAD service
and e-learning modules. All are available free of charge via a
registration area on the Trelleborg Sealing Solutions website.
Go towww.tss.trelleborg.com to find out more
“Because these problems will get worse with time. More devices
will be added. (If) they’re not thinking about designing
in security in the first place, we’re going to be having even
bigger problems down the road.”
The new app covers a wide variety of topics in the field of
fluid mechanics and serves as a reference for the analysis,
design, maintenance and operation of fluid related systems.
It provides results for different fluid mechanics equations, including
those used in civil, structural, pipe flow and general
Claude Kornelis, Director Digital Business Development at
Trelleborg Sealing Solutions, says: “The Fluid Mechanics Calculator
is designed to support fluid thinkers, whether they
are students, engineers, analysts or researchers, working in
the automotive, aerospace, biotechnology, fluid power, mining,
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56 | Chief Engineer
Volume 84 · Number 2 | 57
Delta-Q Technologies Launches RC1000
DALLAS — Delta-Q Technologies (Delta-Q) recently announced
the addition of a 1,000-watt battery charger to its
RC Series for use in battery-powered floor care machines, the
RC1000. Available in a 24-volt model, the company will debut
the new RC1000 charger at ISSA 2018 in Dallas this week at
Delta-Q’s RC Series includes the RC900, RC1200 and now the
RC1000. The RC1000 is a high-frequency charging solution
capable of charging both lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries.
The new charger also offers Controller Area Network (CAN
bus) communications for seamless machine integration.
Designed with floor care and maintenance original equipment
manufacturers in mind, the RC1000 is suitable for use
in battery-powered scrubbers, sweepers, and burnishers. Similar
to its family series, the RC1000 has an IP66-rated ingress
protection to seal out dirt and fluids, while its mechanical
design and component selection resists vibration, shock and
Delta-Q’s new charging solution provides superior reliability and charge
quality for electric floor care machines.
“Delta-Q continues to evolve our product lines to provide
the best charging solutions for our customers. The inclusion
of the RC1000 was a natural step to provide our floor care
customers with the products needed to meet their demand,”
said Trent Punnett, vice president of sales, marketing, and
product management at Delta-Q Technologies.
Fujitsu Introduces RGLX Large, Circular
Flow Ceiling Cassettes
Fujitsu General America introduces the new Halcyon circular
flow ceiling cassette system.
Built to replace the RCLX Large Cassette Series, the new
RGLX Series features circular airflow for more consistent air
distribution. Through the use of a DC twin rotary compressor,
DC fan motor and optimal refrigerant cycle control, the RGLX
line also offers improved energy efficiency. The completely
redesigned units achieve up to 21.4 SEER.
By using 360-degree louvers, the circular airflow design
allows conditioned air to reach every corner of a room. Each
louver can be programmed individually to customize airflow
for maximum occupant comfort and room layout.
With the new airflow structure and four-speed fan control,
sound levels are dramatically reduced. When in Quiet Mode,
indoor noise levels are as low as 28 decibels.
Fujitsu’s new RGLX Series features circular airflow for more consistent air
The new units work with wired or wireless controls (2- or
3-wire controls), and Fujitsu’s Human Sensor Kit, which automatically
saves energy by detecting occupancy. Integration
with a third-party thermostat is also simple, with the use of
Fujitsu’s thermostat adapter.
Five sizes are available, from 18,000 to 42,000 BTUH, two of
which meet Energy Star qualifications. A 48,000 BTUH unit
will be available in early 2019. Black or white grilles are available
for all sizes.
Delta-Q’s products provide premium “charge quality” for
lithium-ion and lead acid batteries using charge profiles
developed in Delta-Q’s battery lab. These high-performance
profiles balance battery life, longevity and charge time
requirements. Delta-Q has commercialized more than 200
charge profiles, ensuring that users experience better performance
and battery life for their battery pack choices.
Delta-Q is now accepting RC1000 sample requests, with full
commercial production available now.
58 | Chief Engineer
Volume 84 · Number 2 | 59
EVAPCO Water Saver Provides
Pre-treatment for Evaporative Cooling
EVAPCO Water Systems has introduced the Water Saver, a
device that substantially reduces water use for evaporative
cooling equipment — whether new, or as a retrofit.
Just recently, an Indiana school with a 1,200-ton HVAC system
reduced water consumption by 1.5 million gallons/year
with the technology.
Water Saver is a capacitive deionization pre-treatment
system to improve the efficiency of heat transfer and water
efficiency for evaporative cooling systems. The capacitive
deionization technology reduces dissolved ion concentrations
to lower makeup water conductivity prior to use in evaporative
cooling systems. Dissolved ions are removed from makeup
water as they are attracted to the charged capacitors.
Water Saver improves water efficiency by increasing operating
cycles of concentration; this reduces blowdown and the
use of treatment chemicals. Water Saver lowers cost of ownership,
provides a 75-90 percent recovery rate, and improves
a facility’s LEED rating. The technology is available in nine
Simple, Economical Residential Fresh Air
WHITE BEAR LAKE, Minn. — An effective, affordable way to
supply fresh outside air to dilute trapped pollutants and replace
air vented by exhaust fans and fuel-burning equipment
in residential structures is available from Minnesota-based
Tjernlund Products, Inc. Called “Fresh Air In-Forcer,”
the system consists of a fan and exterior hood that can be
installed through a 4-inch round exterior wall opening. Operating
control options include manual operation by plugging
into to 115 VAC switched outlet, plug-in timer operation for
a desired schedule or dehumidistat control operation. Standard
4-inch flex or metal duct may be used for ducting. The
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EVAPCO Water Systems’ Water Saver is designed to reduce water consumption
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Tjernlund’s Fresh Air In-Forcer presents an affordable solution where fresh
outside air is needed to disperse pollutants or to displace air vented by
exhaust fans and fuel-burning equipment.
60 | Chief Engineer
Volume 84 · Number 2 | 61
National HVACR Educators and Trainers
March 3-5, 2019
South Point Hotel
Las Vegas, NV
You are cordially invited to the 2019 National HVACR Educators
and Trainers Conference. This is the only conference
created exclusively for HVACR instructors. Instructors can
attend knowing that the sessions are conducted by professionals
who are involved in many aspects of the HVACR
industry, including teaching, manufacturing, designing and
This conference helps HVACR instructors to improve their
understanding of the physics and theories needed for teaching,
incorporate emerging technologies into the classroom,
gain the knowledge to improve student outcomes, learn
about new educational delivery methodologies, understand
regulatory changes, and to network with peers to discuss
approaches for incorporating these technologies, methods
and concepts into their own programs back home.
• Professional development for HVACR instructors.
• 50+ sessions to attend.
• Gain the knowledge to improve the training you offer.
• Test your knowledge with free educator credentialing
• Exposition showcasing new technology, equipment, tools
& teaching aids.
• Put your skills to the test in the instructor competition.
• Three plated meals and three continental breakfasts are
• Earn continuing education units/hours.
• Meet instructors who share common goals.
• Network and exchange ideas.
• Stay an extra day for VRV Training on March 6th.
The conference is open to anyone involved in training
current or future HVACR workforce. This includes but is not
limited to: HVACR instructors, utility trainers, technical service
advisors, manufacturers, corporate trainers, and administrators.
More Reasons to Attend
Professional development is an ongoing process where
instructors learn about technological advancements, educational
delivery systems, and critical issues that directly relate
to the curriculum they teach.
For HVACR instructors to receive professional development
that keeps them appraised of emerging technologies and
regulatory updates necessary to align their program with industry
needs, they need continuing education that is created
exclusively for them. The HVAC Excellence National HVACR
Educators and Trainers Conference offers this and much
Instructors can participate knowing that the sessions are
conducted by professionals who are involved in many aspects
of the HVACR industry, including: manufacturing, designing,
engineering, or teaching.
This conference offers professional development specifically
designed for HVACR instructors by HVACR instructors, to
meet the continually changing needs of the HVACR industry.
• Attend knowing that the sessions offered were created
with the instructor in mind.
• Immediately feel confident to incorporate concepts from
sessions into one’s training program.
• Learn how to incorporate emerging technologies into the
• Discover new educational delivery systems to connect with
Generation Z, as each generational change comes a pedagogical
• Network with peers from across North America to share
ideas, gain new skills and become a better instructor.
• Discover innovative approaches to teaching the same
• Improve your knowledge of the subject matter required to
teach your curriculum.
• Learn new teaching techniques that can improve student
• Earn continuing education units that directly relate to the
curriculum you teach.
• Take educator-credentialing exams specifically designed
for HVACR instructors free of charge.
The HVAC Excellence team has worked hard to bring you the
industry’s best presenters and speakers. Our speakers will
inspire and motivate you while our slate of over 50 sessions
will bring you knowledge and skills you can begin implementing
For more information or to register, visit www.escogroup.org
and click on “Conference.”
2019 HPC National Home Performance Conference & Trade
Sheraton Grand Chicago
301 E. North Water St., Chicago
Hosted by ComEd and Franklin Energy and in partnership
with The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Weatherization
Assistance Program (WAP), the Home Performance Coalition
(HPC) presents the 2019 HPC National Home Performance
Conference and Trade Show coming to Chicago, Ill., April 1-4,
2019. This premier event brings together residential energy
efficiency professionals from across the nation to come together
to learn, collaborate and relax. Attendees can expect
an exciting experience, from the best educational agenda
in home performance and weatherization to networking
opportunities like none other. Look to be inspired by fascinating
educational sessions from industry experts, top-notch
trade show exhibits, and networking with your peers and
industry leaders for four days of home performance educational
excellence. This conference offers over 125 sessions/
workshops, of which you can potentially earn 21.5 CEUs! HPC
is a continuing education service provider, and many sessions
offer credits for advancing attendees’ professional careers
through educational opportunities from allied organizations.
For more information or to register, visit www.homeperformance.org/conferences/HPC19
1074 W. Taylor St. Suite 169
Chicago, IL 60607
CALL 773-807-4989 FOR AN ESTIMATE
62 | Chief Engineer
Volume 84 · Number 2 | 63
ASHRAE Publishes Updated
Residential, Construction Standard
ATLANTA – ASHRAE has released an updated edition of ANSI/
ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.2-2018 Energy-Efficient Design of
Low Rise Residential Buildings. The standard establishes
minimum whole-building energy performance requirements
(design, construction, and verification) for energy-efficient
The 2018 revision of Standard 90.2 outlines cost-effective
residential building energy performance measures that are
at least 50 percent more efficient than those defined by the
2006 International Energy Construction Code (IECC).
“Standard 90.2 provides a mechanism by which any residential
building design can be easily evaluated against performance
objectives,” said Theresa Weston, Ph.D., chair of
the Standard 90.2 committee. “This update to the standard
offers better alignment between this standard’s requirements
and marketplace product availability as well as some
revisions to improve the document’s clarity and internal
The 2018 edition of Standard 90.2 provides:
• Clarification for modeling software requirements
• Guidance on the use of international climate data presented
in ASHRAE Standard 169
• A new normative appendix on proper installation techniques
for critical thermal resistance building components
• Improved prescriptive envelope performance data tables
• New performance specifications for ground-source heat
• Minimum lighting efficiency provisions for single-family,
large single-family, and multifamily homes
• Guidance on pool heater pilot lights, pump motor efficiency,
and exterior de-icing systems
• Clarifications to multi-zonal building air-leakage testing
The cost of ASHRAE Standard 90.2-2018 is $94 for ASHRAE
members ($110, non-members). To order, visit www.ashrae.
org/bookstore or contact ASHRAE Customer Contact Center
at 1-800-527-4723 (United States and Canada), 404-636-8400
(worldwide) or fax 678-539-2129.
ASHRAE Presents Awards
and Honors at 2019 Winter
ATLANTA — ASHRAE recognized the outstanding achievements
and contributions of members to furthering energy
efficiency in the heating, ventilation, air conditioning and
refrigeration industry during the 2019 Winter Conference. A
partial list of the honorees follows:
Fellow ASHRAE is a membership grade that recognizes members
who have attained distinction and made substantial
contributions in HVAC&R such as education, research, engineering
design and consultation, publications and mentoring.
The Society elevated 17 members to the grade of Fellow:
• Fred S. Bauman, P.E., Life Member, project scientist, Center
for the Built Environment, University of California, Berkeley,
• Alexander S. Butkus, P.E., Life Member, retired president
and senior principal, Grumman/Butkus Associates, Evanston,
• Charles Eley, P.E., BEMP, architect/engineer, Eley Consulting,
San Francisco, Calif.
• Kenneth M. Elovitz, P.E., engineer, Energy Economics,
Foxboro, Mass., and, adjunct teaching professor, Worcester
Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, Mass.
• Paul W. Francisco, senior research engineer, Indoor Climate
Research & Training Group, Applied Research Institute,
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, Ill.
• Hwataik Han, Ph.D., P.E., professor, Kookmin University,
Seoul, South Korea.
• Yunho Hwang, research professor, University of Maryland,
College Park, Md.
• Arthur A. Irwin, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
• James Kamm, Ph.D., P.E., Life Member ASHRAE, professor,
University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio.
• Kathleen Owen, owner and air pollution control engineer,
Owen Air Filtration Consulting LLC, Cary, N.C.
• Gary Phetteplace, Ph.D., P.E., Life Member, president, GWA
Research LLC, Lyme, N.H.
• Elbert (Bert) Phillips, P.Eng., Life Member, president, UNIES
Ltd., Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
• Michael A. Pouchak, P.E., systems architect, Honeywell,
Golden Valley, Minn.
• Dharam V. Punwani, president, Avalon Consulting, Inc.,
• M. Ginger Scoggins, P.E., president, Engineered Designs,
Inc., Cary, N.C.
• James R. Tauby, P.E., chief executive engineer, Mason Industries
Inc., Hauppauge, N.Y.
• Philip C.H. YU, Ph.D., C.Eng., environmental and applications
engineering director, Trane Pacific, Hong Kong.
The ASHRAE Technology Awards
The ASHRAE Technology Awards recognize outstanding
achievements by ASHRAE members who have successfully
applied innovative building designs. Their designs incorporate
ASHRAE standards for effective energy management
and indoor air quality and serve to communicate innovative
systems design. Winning projects are selected from entries
earning regional awards. First place recipients are:
Dwight Schumm and Timothy Lentz, P.E, design engineers,
new commercial buildings category, Indian Creek Nature
Center Amazing Space, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The building is
owned by Indian Creek Nature Center. The building representative
is John Myers.
• Hiroki Kawakami, Hiroaki Takai, Kazuki Wada and Koji
Tanaka, P.Eng., existing commercial buildings category,
TAKENAKA Corporation Higashikanto Branch Office Renovation,
Chiba City, Chiba, Japan. The building representative
is Hiroshi Suzuki.
• John E. Tsingas and David S. Eldridge, Jr., P.E., ebcx commerical
buildings category, 801 Grand, Des Moines, Iowa.
The building is owned by Principal Financial Group.
• Michael P. Sherren, P.E., new educational facilities category,
Wilde Lake Middle School, Columbia, Md. The building is
owned by Howard County Public School System.
• Morgan B. Heater, existing educational facilities category,
Westside School, Seattle, Wash. The building is owned by
• David J. Meyer, P.E., Jaimeeganleong Wilson, Ph.D., P.E.,
BEMP, BEAP, Eric J. LePore, P.E. and Alfred Rodgers, CPMP,
new other institutional buildings category, Koffman Southern
Tier Incubator, Binghamton, N.Y. The building is owned
by Koffman Southern Tier Incubator.
• Sarah E. Berseth and Scott A. Lichty, P.E., new public assembly
category, Ramsey County Library, Shoreview, Minnesota.
The building is owned by Ramsey County Property
• Dominic Desjardins, Eng., Maurice Landry, Eng. and André-Benoît
Allard, existing public assembly category, Montréal
Olympic Park’s Integrated Performance Contracting
Project, Montréal, Québec, Canada. The building is owned
by Montréal Olympic Park.
Building Controls &
Building Automation Systems
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64 | Chief Engineer
Volume 84 · Number 2 | 65
American Street Guide
St. Cloud Wastewater Plant Fueled by
Beer, Byproducts By Anna Haecherl | Saint Cloud Times
ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) — Whenever you dump something
down the drain, it goes to the city of St. Cloud’s NEW (Nutrients,
Energy and Water) Recovery Facility, where nutrients
are recovered, waste is treated, and clean water is sent back
into the environment.
But large-scale beverage producers — who have high-sugar
waste filled with potential energy — get special treatment
when it comes to the byproducts created at their facilities.
“We can treat it in a different manner that uses a lot less
electricity, and that we can use to make a fuel,” said Pat
Shea, public services director for the city.
Beverage producers have been bringing what Shea calls
high-strength byproducts to the plant for two years, the
Saint Cloud Times reported. For example, Shea said, a beverage
company or brewery will brew a batch of product, and
once it’s done, the company will clean its production lines
and flush everything out to prepare equipment for the next
That first rinse will still have product in it, Shea said, and
producers can either put it down the drain, or collect it and
bring it to the NEW Recovery Facility.
Shea said the facility has arrangements with Beaver Island
Brewing, Viking Coca-Cola, Cold Spring Brewing and other
“Anything we can do to reclaim this product, recover energy
and use it to run the facility, the more efficient we are,” Shea
High-strength byproducts — like expired soda or beer, residue
left over from the brewing process, or a batch of product
that just didn’t turn out right — are put into anaerobic
digesters along with municipal solids from wastewater — like
A large engine runs on biogas at the Wastewater Treatment Facility in St.
Cloud, Minn. Whenever you dump something down the drain, it goes to
the city of St. Cloud’s NEW (Nutrients, Energy and Water) Recovery Facility,
where nutrients are recovered, waste is treated, and clean water is sent
back into the environment. (Dave Schwarz/St. Cloud Times via AP)
human waste, food waste, and solid residue from cleaning
processes — to produce methane gas.
“We take that high-strength waste and we put it into an
anaerobic conditions, meaning without oxygen,” Shea said.
“Then micro organisms that are in those digesters ... will
consume that material for their respiration. It’s a biological
process, and, as they use it for their processes, they create
The gas is used to power an onsite generator or run boilers
that heat the digesters converting the byproducts into
It’s a win-win, Shea said. Instead of dumping the waste and
using more energy to have it treated at the plant, the byproducts
are being used to power the NEW Recovery Facility.
At Beaver Island Brewing, co-founder Nick Barth said waste
wasn’t such a big issue when they first started at their downtown
brewery. But when they opened their new facility in
May 2017 near St. Cloud Regional Airport and started brewing
at a scale four or five times greater, the decision to bring
byproducts to the NEW Recovery Facility instead of putting
them down the drain was an easy one.
“That’s cool because we’re making energy for the city,” Barth
said. “But what’s even cooler is that we’re drastically reducing
our carbon footprint.”
Barth said the brewery captures and harvests its yeast slurry
and trub — a sugary substance and hop remnants left over
after the brewing — to bring to the NEW Recovery Facility.
“It almost looks like a cream-of-wheat-meets-gelatin (substance)
if I could describe it as anything,” Barth said of the
yeast slurry. “Now instead of sending things down the drain
and having them have to be processed at the wastewater
treatment facility ... we’re bypassing that entire process and
they’re making energy from it.”
About a year and a half ago, Barth said Beaver Island brewed
a batch of beer that just didn’t come out as expected.
“There wasn’t anything technically wrong with it,” Barth
said, but it just didn’t smell and taste exactly like what he
was looking for.
So instead of dumping it down the drain, Beaver Island loaded
up the beer and brought it to the NEW Recovery Facility.
“Pat probably loves when we have a beer go in the wrong
direction, because it generates a lot of energy for them,”
Barth said with a laugh. “But for us, we want to do it as little
It takes about 5.7 million killowatt-hours to power the NEW
Recover Facility each year, according to Assistant Public
Utilities Director Tracy Hodel. In 2018, the facility produced
roughly 85 percent of its energy demand onsite through
solar and methane conversion.
Hodel said 7 percent of that 85 percent of needed energy
that is produced onsite comes from solar arrays at the
facility. The rest (about 80 percent of the plant’s total energy
demand) comes from the methane produced in the facility’s
“There’s still some (power) that we’re buying,” Hodel said,
but there are plans to add a second generator and have the
facility running completely on energy produced on site by
the end of 2020.
“With adding an additional generator, we will be able to
produce exactly, if not a little bit more, of our total demand.
We’re looking at adding a second generator... and we’re also
looking at adding more solar arrays onsite,” Hodel said.
The second generator could be installed as early as fall of
2019, Hodel said, but the facility expects to have it up and
running by spring of 2020.
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66 | Chief Engineer
Volume 84 · Number 2 | 67
Boiler Room Annex
You Might Be an Engineer If …
• The “fun” center of your brain has deteriorated from lack
• You’ll assume that a “horse” is a “sphere” in order to make
the math easier.
• The blinking 12:00 on someone’s VCR draws you in like a
tractor beam to fix it.
• You bring a computer manual/technical journal as vacation
• The salesperson at Circuit City can’t answer any of your
• You can’t help eavesdropping in computer stores... and
correcting the salesperson.
• You’re in line for the guillotine... it stops working properly...
and you offer to fix it.
• You go on the rides at Disneyland and sit backwards to see
how they do the special effects.
• You have any “Dilbert” comics displayed in your work area.
• You have a habit of destroying things in order to see how
• You have never backed up your hard drive.
• You haven’t bought any new underwear or socks for yourself
since you got married.
• You spent more on your calculator than on your wedding
• You think that when people around you yawn, it’s because
they didn’t get enough sleep.
• You would rather get more dots per inch than miles per
• You’ve ever calculated how much you make per second.
• Your favorite James Bond character is “Q,” the guy who
makes the gadgets.
• You understood more than five of these jokes.
Every Friday afternoon, a mathematician goes down to the
bar, sits in the second-to-last seat, turns to the last seat, which
is empty, and asks a girl who isn’t there if he can buy her a
The bartender, who is used to weird university types, always
shrugs but keeps quiet. But when Valentine’s Day arrives, and
the mathematician makes a particularly heart-wrenching plea
into empty space, curiosity gets the better of the bartender,
and he says, “I apologize for my stupid questions, but surely
you know there is NEVER a woman sitting in that last stool.
Why do you persist in asking out empty space?”
The mathematician replies, “Well, according to quantum
physics, empty space is never truly empty. Virtual particles
come into existence and vanish all the time. You never know
when the proper wave function will collapse and a girl might
suddenly appear there.”
The bartender raises his eyebrows. “Really? Interesting. But
couldn’t you just ask one of the girls who comes here every
Friday if you could buy HER a drink? Never know — she
might say yes.”
68 | Chief Engineer
Volume 84 · Number 2 | 69
Abron Filter and Supply 12
Addison Electric Motors & Drives 63
Admiral Heating & Ventilating, Inc. 50
Advanced Boiler Control Services 31
Aero Building Solutions 58
Affiliated Customer Service 57
Affiliated Parts 42
Affiliated Steam Equipment Co. 29
Air Comfort 24
Air Filter Engineers
Airways Systems 65
Altorfer CAT 57
American Combustion Service Inc. 28
American Scrap Metal 43
AMS Mechanical Systems, Inc. 51
Anchor Mechanical 45
Atomatic Mechanical Services 54
Automatic Building Controls 11
Inside Back Cover
Beverly Companies 66
Bullock, Logan & Assoc. 47
Chicago Corrosion Group 53
Citywide Elevator Inspections 65
Citywide Pool & Spa 52
ClearWater & Associates 34
Competitive Piping Systems 23
Courtesy Electric 18
Core Mechanical 45
Dar Pro 58
Dreisiliker Motors 33
Door Service, Inc. 62
Dynamic Building Restoration 66
Dynamic Door Service, Ltd. 11
Earthwise Environmental 55
Eastland Industries 23
E/C Vibration 60
Energy Improvement Products 61
Environmental Consulting Group 50
Exelon Energy ComEd 22
Falls Mechanical 20
F.E. Moran 29
Fluid Technologies 59
Garratt Callahan 18
Global Water 54
Grove Masonry 64
Hard Rock Concrete 43
Hayes Mechanical 60
Hill Mechanical Group 47
HOH Water 30
Hudson Boiler & Tank 46
Imbert International 8
Industrial Door Company 19
Infrared Inspections 56
Interactive Building Solutions 64
J & L Cooling Towers 48
Just In Time Pool & Spa 17
Kent Consulting Engineers 61
Kroeschell, Inc 26
Litgen Concrete Cutting 32
M & O Insulation Company 48
Midwest Energy 62
MVB Services 14
National Security Window & Filming 31
NIULPE, Inc. 12
Olympia Maintenance 26
Preservation Services 67
Q.C. Enterprises, Inc. 56
Reliable Fire Equipment Co. 25
Rotating Equipment Specialists 34
Inside Front Cover
Share Corp. 17
Sprinkler Fitters Local 281 15 & 16
Steiner Electric Company 27
Synergy Mechanical 32
10-1 Insulation 63
United Radio Communications, Inc. 52
USA Fire Protection 20
Western Speciality Contractors 27
W.J. O’Neil Chicago LLC 23
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70 | Chief Engineer
Volume 84 · Number 2 | 71
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