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Annual MEP Supplement

April 2019


April 2019 Annual Supplement :

Building Energy / MEP

Design of a project generated using Revit paired with proprietary add-ins. Rendering software is third party / image courtesy E.M. Duggan / page 4

Featuring: William F. Lynch Mechanical Contractors Celebrates 100 Years INDUSTRY EXPERT ARTICLES


Gina Rae


Ed Dalton


Hani Mardini


Jerry Alverson


David Anderson


Geoff Wilkinson Jr.


Arthur Levine


Charlie Romano


Annual MEP Supplement


April 2019

Wireless Telecom: The Often Forgotten Utility

by Gina Rae The worlds of construction and commercial real estate are about to change with regard to wireless telecommunications infrastructure, but not many people know it. Gone are the days when telecom carriers paid for in-building solutions, as the demand for wireless connectivity has become too much for the moguls to keep up with financially. Responsibility now lies with building owners and developers, but in my efforts to connect the community of Boston with this fact, I have discovered that there is very little knowledge about this significant problem. There are over 6 million large buildings in U.S. metropolitan areas that are in need of internal wireless coverage. We telecom professionals refer to this market as the “enterprise” or “middleprise.” Cellular carriers no longer have unlimited capital to implement the network solutions needed resulting in subscriber dissatisfaction. Henceforth, at some point in the near

future, we can expect developers and building owners to begin to incorporate the wireless solutions into their designs, but we can also expect tenants to absorb a lot of the cost. The problem is that not enough attention is delivered to the issue on the construction and commercial real estate sides of things. Thus, tenants continue to experience poor connectivity and first responders continue to have issues for safety and rescue operations.

Telecom professionals project that, by 2020, there will be over 50 billion devices communicating across all networks, requiring myriad hybrid solutions, and that the wireless aspect of such connectivity will be predominant. Ensuring internet and landline capability is very common when it comes to construction design, but it is rare that designers consider and incorporate an inbuilding wireless solution. In a world where the demand for connectivity now requires

global infrastructure for over 10 billion devices and where safety implications are at the forefront of connectivity concerns for first responders, it is increasingly imperative that building owners and developers offer and build structures that have in-building wireless coverage. Companies like Timberline Communications, Inc. (TCI) bridge the gap. TCI is one of two companies owned by Steven P. Kelly (the first being Timberline Construction), and after 17 years of traditional tower building, the company observes the wireless industry is changing at a significantly rapid pace. Today’s telecom world has an emphasis on small cells and in-building solutions instead of traditional towers solely. TCI has deemed it necessary to perform a partnership with general construction to commence delivery of in-building wireless infrastructure and improve Boston’s “WiredScore” — a commercial real estate rating — and its safety response capabilities. The company now has a new market for clientele: landlords and developers. The issue is that said market is not yet cognizant of the implications of the exponential technological leaps of the wireless telecom industry and that it is integral to subscribers and the community as a whole from a safety perspective to start implementing solutions as early as

the design stage. Certifying a building project can happen at any stage of the development process, though. According to www.wiredscore.com, “More than 1,700 properties — totaling 460 million square feet of office space in over 158 cities, including New York, London, Toronto, Paris, and Berlin — have achieved wired certification by providing superior tech capabilities for their tenants.” Achieving certification and incorporating this solution into the design phase is beneficial for many reasons: enhance the reputation of your building, prevent future retro-fit costs, increase building safety, and attract tenants. The demand for such coverage will not subside over time because our requirements for connectivity are only increasing. Telecom professionals project that, by 2020, there will be over 50 billion devices communicating across all networks, requiring myriad hybrid solutions, and that the wireless aspect of such connectivity will be predominant. Landlords and developers can be part of the trend-setting solutions and get ahead of the curve now by implementing the anticipated coverage needs within current and future buildings. Gina Rae, PMP, is senior program manager at Timberline Communications Inc.

Boston’s New Center for Fabrication, Industry, and Design


Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park www.high-profile.com

Annual MEP Supplement

April 2019







Annual MEP Supplement

April 2019

How E.M. Duggan is Overcoming the Limitations of Technology by Emily Langner High Profile’s Associate Editor With new technology comes the ability to capture more information than ever before, allowing for increased automation and efficiency. But in the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) fields, many third-party software programs and applications often have limitations or don’t provide solutions specific to a particular company or specialization. As a result, the advantages of capturing all of that data can quickly disappear. Jeff Elwell is the construction technology manager for E.M. Duggan Inc., a fifth-generation, family-owned business specializing in plumbing, HVAC, and fire protection in the Boston area. Elwell has been with the company for two-and-a-half years. In that time, he has helped the company successfully approach the challenge of utilizing the increasing amounts of data available with applications like Revit and AutoCAD and has created ways to rely less on these third-party applications to get things done. Elwell and the E.M. Duggan team began by identifying their goals. They decided they wanted to take a more holistic

approach to the way they executed each project. The biggest reason for this was to be able to create the products exactly as they, the designers, envisioned them to be, or as Elwell puts it, “We didn’t want to be changing so that we can use technology, but we wanted to be advancing because we’re using technology.”

Design of a project generated using Revit paired with proprietary add-ins. Rendering software is third party / image courtesy E.M. Duggan

Jeff Elwell, construction technology manager at E.M. Duggan, meticulously reviews point clouds from laser scans comparing them to their models. / photo courtesy of E.M. Duggan

That goal started the team on a journey to overcome the limitations presented by third-party software and tools by relying more on themselves. The result was, as Elwell explains, “a happy medium with having our own customization and our own proprietary software internally, along with using solutions that are already on the market that other people are building.” Elwell says, “We’ve made tools to

both make up for the shortcomings of the software and to utilize all of its strengths for our own applications.” This includes designing new tools to aid in the fabrication and modeling process, as well as creating add-ins for Revit that better allow for the delivery and utilization of information to the fab shop and out to the field. Elwell believes the resulting increase in efficiency, along with the investment in laser scanners to scan jobsites before they begin a project, has made the whole process safer by allowing more to get done and on time in fabrication, and

Construction Technology Specialist Jesse Wong beta tests new tools in Revit. / photo courtesy of E.M. Duggan

less out in the field. He emphasizes that it’s important to never use technology “for technology’s sake” but to have the right reasons, and to make sure a need is being addressed with the introduction or creation of any new technology.

At the end of the day, Elwell says, the goal remains the same. “It all comes down to improved communication all the way around. We’re improving the user experience, but we’re also improving the amount of information and the quality of that information that is going everywhere else.” Elwell says it is no doubt the team of capable, creative, and industrious people at E.M. Duggan that make it possible to accomplish such an ambitious undertaking , and notes that, for something like this to work, there absolutely has to be buy-in from the top down. In addition, he says, “There are no better people to have an opinion on how to change or develop something than the people who are using it every day,” so everyone is given a chance to have their voice heard during the process. By empowering and relying more on the team at E.M. Duggan and the original tools and software they have created, Elwell believes they’re well on their way to achieving the holistic approach they had envisioned. The result is a significant positive impact on their clients, including increased customization of the final product. He says, “The clients get better efficiency, costs stay down, they get their stuff done on time, and they’re happy with the final product, and you can’t ask for more than that.”

Building Energy /MEP A supplement to High-Profile Monthly ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Thomas D’Intinosanto P.O. Box 7, Pembroke, MA 02359 Phone: 781-294-4530 Send comments to tom@high-profile.com Online at: www.high-profile.com


Annual MEP Supplement

April 2019


Data Center Environmental Control

by Ed Dalton and Hani Mardini Data centers serve a critical function in both the professional operation (think about the location of your company’s server) and personal needs (think about where you archive and store family photos) of our current digital lives.

CFD modeling

The transition to cloud-based services by a vast majority of companies and the need for more and more data storage on

the cloud continues to grow year after year. The number of buildings and the power densities in each data center continue to increase on a hyperscale. It is important to properly design electrical distribution and mechanical systems, and critically important to properly design and install the control systems for the environmental systems in the data center. Environmental control systems are comprised of several components. The large equipment, such as chillers, pumps, air-handling units, and computer room air conditioning (CRAC), are utilized to distribute conditioned air and/or water through the system for cooling. The distribution systems include ductwork and piping to distribute air and water throughout the building. Control systems help to connect the operation of these systems in order to work efficiently together. The HVAC controls react to changes in setpoint and parameters, to adjust for deficiencies, and to provide alerts for events. The capital expenditure and operational expenditure will vary depending upon the size and level of complexity and configuration of the system, and which type of control system is chosen to meet the data center program requirements. Typical terminology used to identify

Quality ● Reliability ● Integrity

Data center control room

control systems includes: building management system (BMS), direct digital controls (DDC), programmable logic controller (PLC), energy management system (EMS), building automation system (BAS), and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA). Each of these terms connotes different levels of functionality, but they serve a similar intent, which is basically to properly maintain control of the building’s automated systems. We would typically describe options to our clients as being either a full DDC system, a PLC system, or a combination of both. DDC systems are frequently used

in commercial applications and consist of microprocessors, control wiring, and control/measurement devices (thermostats, damper, valve actuators). The system collects information by monitoring analog and digital I/O signals (temperature, humidity, pressure differential) and develops an output signal to control end devices (actuators and on/ off device activation). The output signal can be derived by instructions or control sequences and can be as simple as time of day or by utilizing proportional/integral/ derivative (PID) control algorithms. DDC continued to page 6

● Power Plant Piping ● Utility Distribution ● High Pressure Systems

● High Quality Welding ● Process Piping Systems ● Equipment Rigging & Setting ● Chilled Water Plants & Cooling Towers ● Boiler Installations & Repairs ● HVAC ● Piping Fabrication

45 INDUSTRIAL DRIVE CANTON, MA 02021 (617) 364-9008 WWW.BEACONPIPING.COM www.high-profile.com

Annual MEP Supplement


April 2019

University of Connecticut Gets More-Efficient, Flexible Chiller Plant

by Jerry Alverson The University of Connecticut’s main campus in Storrs includes some 400 buildings on 450 acres. Chilled water generated at the central utility plant (CUP) is distributed to about 30% of the campus. However, the 1997 chillers were underperforming, even as demand grew. Working closely with UConn’s plant operations staff, BVH designed a streamlined system that draws on multiple fuel sources for maximum operating efficiency and flexibility, then devised a phased approach to keep service active while the major system modifications were implemented. The plant was built in 1997 with two 1,100-ton electric centrifugal chillers plus two 940-ton natural gas engine-driven chillers, which could no longer perform to specifications while still meeting emissions requirements. An adjacent cogeneration facility built in 2006 houses three gas-turbine generators and the associated heat recovery steam generators (HRSG).

View of chillers looking north

Each turbine/HRSG produces 20,000 pounds per hour of high-pressure steam, while generating 7,500 kW of electrical power for campus consumption. Steam from each HRSG is paired with four 2,100-ton steam turbine-driven centrifugal chillers to provide cooling to the campus from the “waste” heat, to minimize the cost of energy production. The 1997 plant was configured with constant-speed, primary-chilled water pumps associated with each chiller, and

Data Center Environmental Control continued from page 5

systems can be provided by the equipment manufacturer or can be provided by a separate controls manufacturer. PLC systems are typically used in industrial applications. In a data center, they are often used to control large central utility plants that provide cooling and

In summary, there are differences between HVAC systems serving data centers vs. other building types. The biggest differences revolve around meeting reliability requirements, capturing functions and scale/number of input/output points, and ensuring proper server cooling requirements. power for multiple buildings on a campus. PLC controllers are mostly industrial grade, flexible for programming, and provide increased reliability. PLC systems are typically more expensive than DDC systems. DDC/PLC hybrid systems are usually


recommended for a campus environment where there’s a central utility plant (CUP) serving multiple buildings. The building HVAC systems are typically controlled via a DDC system. The CUP will be controlled via the PLC systems due to the industrial nature of large cooling equipment. Generally, designers and owners of data centers lean towards DDC systems for noncritical spaces and towards PLC for critical systems. This results in an overall hybrid BMS system. There are benefits and challenges associated with each system, which can include items such as costs, programming flexibility, and reliability of the system distributors. In summary, there are differences between HVAC systems serving data centers vs. other building types. The biggest differences revolve around meeting reliability requirements, capturing functions and scale/number of input/output points, and ensuring proper server cooling requirements. The net result of implementing these systems is to obtain a properly controlled environmental system that meets the client’s requirements. Ed Dalton, PE, LEED AP, is principal, and Hani Mardini, LEED AP, BD+C, is associate principal, at Vanderweil.

variable-speed secondary pumps for campus distribution. The cogeneration facility chillers use variable speed primary pumping and are tied to the same campus distribution pumping. Campus cooling loads on this plant have grown to 8,400 tons in recent years and are projected to reach 10,000 tons. The revised combined plant provides N+1 redundancy of 10,000 tons. Upgrades to the cooling plant include four new 400-ton gas-enginedriven chillers, new cooling towers, and reconfiguration of the plant into a common piping and pumping system that results in a seamless integration of CUP and CoGen chilled water systems. Removing the primary-secondary pumps in the CUP and extending the 30-inch-diameter chilled water headers from the CoGen plant into the CUP allow the CUP chillers to be connected in the same manner as the CoGen chillers, creating a more efficient variable-primary pumping arrangement. New taps off the 30-inch supply and return headers feed each of the 20- and 18‑inch campus distribution loops, eliminating the need for subfeeding the smaller loop from the larger one. New plate-frame heat exchangers provide up to 2,000 tons of “free cooling” capacity during the winter using only

TEAM: Civil, Structural, MEP/FP Engineer

BVH Integrated Services Construction Manager Bond Brothers District Energy Group Instrumentation & Controls Tucker Mechanical McPhee Electrical Array Systems

the cooling towers. By reconfiguring the condenser water piping to allow two of the CUP cooling towers to feed the heat exchangers independent of the other two, one condenser water loop can operate at 40°F for free cooling, while the other pair of cooling tower cells operate at 65°F for stable chiller operation. This eliminates the troublesome issue of switching from free cooling to running chillers while condenser water temperatures are being reset. Another equipment upgrade is designed to achieve more operating hours at optimized temperatures. A plate-frame heat exchanger with a separate glycol loop obtains free cooling from the gas turbine inlet coolers. The turbine inlet coolers lower air inlet temperature during hot weather, making the turbines more efficient and capable of higher electrical output. This new heat exchanger allows the inlet coolers to operate as another free cooling source when it is below freezing, as well as raising the turbine inlet temperature for improved operation of the gas turbine generator. The multiphase implementation plan relies on seasonal fluctuations, starting with the two winter months (Jan./ Feb.) with low enough loads to supply the campus with temporary cooling. Connecting two rental chillers to the campus distribution piping at each end allowed us to shut down the cooling plant for modifications to the main headers. Phase 2 focused on installation of the new gas-engine chillers, which allowed the CUP chillers to service campus loads during the cogeneration plant’s annual maintenance shutdown. The final phase — replacing the CUP cooling towers — will be completed once the campus load is reduced in the fall. The new gas engine chillers will be operational in May 2019, and the overall project will be completed in early 2020. Jerry Alverson, PE, is a project manager at BVH Integrated Services, P.C.

Annual MEP Supplement

April 2019


Medford Awards Solect Contract

New England’s Biomass Boiler System Specialists

The City of Medford’s Department of Public Works’ 235kW PV solar array installed by Solect Energy through their partnership with PowerOptions. The PV system will be paired with 100kW/255kWh NEC Distributed Storage Solution (DSS) and an emergency generator to create an energy management microgrid.

Medford, MA – Solect Energy has been awarded a competitive RFP contract to engineer, procure, install, and service a microgrid energy management system at the city of Medford’s department of public works (DPW). The system includes a 235kW PV solar array, which has already been installed by Solect through their partnership with PowerOptions, a 100kW/255kWh NEC Distributed Storage Solution (DSS), and an emergency generator. The city of Medford applied for and was awarded a Mass. Department of Energy Resources (DOER) Community Clean Energy Resiliency Initiative Grant of $833,000. The grant funds the comprehensive microgrid and energy storage system demonstration project and is one of several that the commonwealth is supporting to prove the value of distributed renewable energy technologies for municipal preparedness in extreme conditions. The project will result in a resilient and highly efficient operations center to serve the city and its residents in any conditions, including loss of grid power. An added benefit of the microgrid’s

solar plus storage combination is the ability to lower expensive demand charges that are based on a customer’s monthly peak load, and in many cases (in Massachusetts) can account for up to 70% of a commercial customer’s electricity bill. In addition, the city can take full advantage of the storage capacity to more effectively participate in a range of demand response programs to further reduce operating expenses. “The microgrid system will enable us to make great strides in our goal of highly efficient and resilient buildings,” said Mayor Stephanie M. Burke. “We salute Mayor Burke, Alicia Hunt, and the city of Medford for the attention and emphasis they are placing on resiliency planning for their city buildings and harnessing solar plus storage to deliver high efficiency, energy stability, and cost savings,” said Kenneth Driscoll, president and CEO at Solect Energy. “We applaud their vision and have high expectations that the system will deliver on those goals, while also allowing the city to reduce their expenses over the next 20 years.”

Registration Now Open for WiMI Chicago – MCAA and MSCA will be hosting the first Women in the Mechanical Industry Conference, bringing together women leaders from across the country. The conference will be held June 24 to 26 in Chicago. All women employed by an MSCA or MCAA member company are encouraged to join the conference. The program will feature several speakers, including Nicole Malachowski, who was recently inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame. Through networking and roundtable discussion sessions, attendees will be able to share ideas, challenges, and solutions

The University of New Hampshire is now burning PDCs in a high efficiency biomass boiler to heat 5 classroom buildings and 10 greenhouses in the Thompson School area.

UNH biomass boiler

John Stark High School

Whelen Engineering

Modern Biomass: Clean Heat at $5.65/MMBTU* in Massachusetts and New Hampshire burning Froling Energy’s PDCs** Biomass boilers make economic and environmental sense for heating buildings in New England. Froling Energy designs and installs wood chip and pellet boiler systems for commercial buildings, schools and manufacturing plants that meet all state particulate emissions regulations. No other organization in the Northeast has more experience with the design, installation and operation of modern, high efficiency biomass boiler systems.

with other women who have faced similar experiences and situations in the industry. Attendees will gain a better understanding of the opportunities available to them in the mechanical and service industries and how to get outside their comfort zone to ensure continued success.

Call us today! 603-924-1001

FrolingEnergy.com Serving Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont * PDCs at $120/ton burned at 84% efficiency with Thermal RECs/AECs at $16 net **PDCs are screened 25% moisture content wood chips delivered by blower truck


Annual MEP Supplement


April 2019

William F. Lynch Mechanical Contractors Celebrates 100 Years

William B. Lynch

William F. Lynch

Founded in 1919 by our company namesake, William F. Lynch Company has evolved from a one-man shop operating out of a three-decker house on May Street in Worcester, Massachusetts, into a full-service mechanical contracting leader that provides superior design-build, prefabrication, construction, installation, repair and maintenance, and 24-hour emergency service. Today, our company is run by Mac Lynch, the grandson of William B. Lynch, and the son of William F. Lynch. He is joined by his sons, Brian and Scott Lynch. With 100 years of experience, William F. Lynch Company prides itself on our uninterrupted family leadership, a team of skilled in-house engineers, employee longevity, a strong culture of quality, honesty, and hard work. We combine traditional values of integrity and value with a contemporary approach to innovation, flexibility, and responsiveness. William F. Lynch is proud


Mac Lynch

Scott Lynch

Featured Projects:


to meet the challenges of our customers time and again.

University of Massachusetts Medical Center

The medical center is served by 24” diameter chilled water. The existing system installed in the mid 1970s with portions under ground and under buildings has developed inaccessible leaks. The solution involves installing additional chilled water loops from and through the existing occupied hospital/school areas back to the central plant and tapping into the mains in both the plant and in the hospital. These live taps will allow the plant to operate while construction is completed. When completed, the new loops will be energized and the underground loop piping will be disconnected and abandoned. In order to minimize disruptions in the occupied areas, William F. Lynch fabricated piping assemblies off site and delivered these to the site for installation when required.

Innovative solutions William F. Lynch is a leading provider of mechanical contracting services throughout Massachusetts. Our design and mechanical teams are equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and specialize in the following market sectors: • Educational • Hospitals • Institutional • Pharmaceutical • Technology

Brian Lynch


College of the Holy Cross – Hart Center


Nypro Medical Devices

Plumbing and HVAC for phased multi-year project. Project included renovations to basketball, hockey, support areas, and main entrance. New work includes new field house for varsity and mechanical rooms. HVAC, plumbing, and process piping for plastics manufacturer of medical devices. Design-build project consisted of revamping existing facility to house offices and 25,000sf of ISO class clean manufacturing space.

April 2019

Annual MEP Supplement






Annual MEP Supplement


April 2019

Freezing Pipes Can Be a Good Thing!

by David Anderson In a region of the country where the words “frozen pipes” are the sounds of terror and panic, it has become the words of stress relief and problem solving for many. Cryo Tech Pipe Freezing was established in 2017 by owner David Anderson who had a passion to create the safest and most reliable option for pipe freezing. Since then, Cryo Tech has continuously delivered exceptional service and has been voted the No. 1 pipe freezing specialist of the Northeast. So what exactly is pipe freezing? Pipe freezing provides temporary isolation in piping systems for repairs or renovations. With the use of liquid nitrogen, combined with custom-made specialty equipment, Cryo Tech is able to safely freeze pipes up to 36 inches in diameter on lines that are full of liquid and have no flow. Pipe freezing allows repairs and modifications to be made without shutdowns and draining of piping systems. This greatly reduces product loss as well as time and manpower that is needed to complete projects. When you avoid draining a system for repair, you will also eliminate the issues associated with air entering the system. By minimizing draining, it makes pipe

Building a brighter future for Worcester and Central Massachusetts.

freezing the much more environmentally friendly option. Cryo Tech works with industrial and commercial facilities daily. They proudly service hospitals, power plants, universities, high rises, stadiums, schools, government buildings, pharmaceutical, manufacturing facilities, and mechanical contractors across the Northeast. Recently, Cryo Tech completed a project in Providence, R.I., for BOND and National Grid, on a 32-inch cast-iron pipeline that was originally installed in 1910.

With the use of thermal imagining and extensive knowledge, Cryo Tech was safely able to freeze and isolate a section of the pipeline that allowed modifications to be made. Make sure to come see Cryo Tech in person at the NEBFM19; The Northeast Buildings and Facilities Management Expo taking place on June 12 and 13 at the DCU Center in Worcester, Mass. Cryo Tech can be located at booth 337 and is excited to meet you and answer any questions. If you can’t make the expo, remember, if you need isolation, don’t stress — call Cryo Tech Pipe Freezing and “chill” out! David Anderson is CEO of Cryo Tech Pipe Freezing, Inc.

New Digs for Pipefitters Local 537 Dorchester, MA - On March 30, Pipefitters’ Local 537 held a dedication ceremony and open house at the new training facility, union office and benefits funds building at 40 Enterprise St in Dorchester from 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Boston Mayor Martin Walsh was on hand

to “cut the pipe” for the grand opening ceremony of the new building. Various signatory contractors and industry affiliates attended the family-friendly event. The Boston City Singers were also at the ceremony, along with face painting, a photo booth, and food.

Scholastic Scholarship Now Available For your next project, make the bright choice... IBEW Local 96. Call Business Manager Thomas J. Maloney at 508-753-8635

UMASS Medical Center, Worcester

Brilliantly powering the future of Worcester

242 Mill Street, Worcester, MA 01602 508.753.8635 www.ibewlocal96.org



College of the Holy Cross, Hart Center

Boston – The SMA 2019-2020 application for this year’s Scholastic Merit Award Program is now available. Sons and daughters of management employees in your company who are planning to attend college in the fall and/or son or daughter whose parent is an active journeyman member of a participating local union, and on whose behalf contributions are currently being made by an employer to the New England Mechanical Contracting Industry Improvement Fund are eligible

to apply for a Scholastic Merit Award of $1,000. This application should be distributed to all employees who have children who are high school seniors and are planning to attend college, as well as freshman, sophomore, and junior year college students. If you need additional copies, please feel free to make copies. The application is also available on our website under the members only section at www.nemca.org. or click here for application. The deadline for filing applications is April 13.

Annual MEP Supplement

April 2019


Why is Water Quality Important?

by Geoff Wilkinson Jr. With the surge of high-efficiency condensing boilers comes the responsibility of water quality: internally and externally. Water quality, along with specific boiler preventive maintenance, is paramount in ensuring the health of a condensing boiler regardless of heat exchanger material. As an owner, operator, or engineer, everyone must be cognizant of a system’s needs. Unfortunately there is an assumption that if a hydronic system is operating on natural gas, then system maintenance and water treatment are unnecessary. That assumption could render premature boiler failure during the coldest winter day. Condensing boilers have changed the way we provide heat to our homes, apartment buildings, and even large commercial/industrial facilities. Regardless of its application, all condensing boilers are supposed to condense, thus the name. That doesn’t

always occur, but that is a topic for another time! When boiler return water temperature drops below 135°F (dew point) and the supply vs. return water temperature is greater than 20°F, condensing occurs, thus water will exit the bottom of the boiler’s flue collector and into a building drain. Unfortunately, condensate is extremely acidic and contains a PH level between 3 and 5 (think orange juice). Pouring any type of acidic product down a drain is quite corrosive, and the piping will deteriorate over time. In order to mitigate the acidity, a

condensate neutralizing tank must be installed in the condensate line prior to entering the drain. These condensate neutralizers are relatively inexpensive as they are constructed of PVC and lime chips. The lime acts as the agent which brings the PH back up to a neutral level (7). Please note the lime must be inspected a few times a year and will need replacement. On the flip side of external water quality, and even more critical, is internal water condition. A condensing boiler can and will fail prematurely without

the necessary precautions taken from appropriate water treatment. Whether it’s hard water which causes scaling or soft water which is corrosive, it must be checked periodically. It doesn’t stop at hard or soft water, either! Within a heating system are a lot of dissimilar metals. Ferrous metals wouldn’t harm a cast iron boiler system, but in a condensing boiler it is toxic and the reason for an early demise. Dissimilar metals create iron oxide (turns into sludge), which finds its way into the base of the boiler and is extremely difficult to remove. This decreases the boiler’s overall efficiency, as it must work harder to overcome the built-up sediment. Condensing boiler passages are quite small, thus it doesn’t take long to collect and eventually harden. It’s not just the boilers that are failing due to poor water but also circulator pumps, seals, and zone valves which are getting hung up. As we enter into a time period where some of the original condensing boilers are starting to fail, it behooves your organization to perform system water quality tests. Contact us today to assist with your water quality needs. Geoff Wilkinson Jr. is president of The Wilkinson Companies. This article appeared in the March 7, 2019 Wilkinson newsletter.

Froling Boiler System Saves School $50,000

John Stark High School students painted this mural on the outside wall of the school. The above-grade steel silo that stores 42 tons of screened dry wood chips, delivered by blower truck

Weare, NH – John Stark High School (SAU 24) is now being heated by a dry wood chip boiler system installed by Froling Energy of Peterborough. At the new heating system’s core is a 1.7 million BTU/hour Schmid UTSK biomass boiler. It is being fed screened semidry wood chips (Froling Energy’s PDCs) from a steel 42 ton above-grade silo, that is key to the cost-effectiveness of this concept. The vertical wood chip silo is refilled by a blower truck. In the system’s first heating season the school consumed over 300 tons of dry wood chips which cost $36,000. This is the equivalent of over 28,000 gallons of No. 2 fuel oil, which at $2.30 a gallon would cost $64,400. The estimated first-year fuel

savings should be $36,000, compared to oil. They will save even more with the generation of about 900 NH Class 1 Thermal RECs, which should net at more than $16 each, creating $14,400 in income. Total first-year savings from the new system should be over $50,000. Because the boiler system was commissioned in mid-December, savings are expected to be even better in future years. The general contractor for the project was Energy Efficient Investments, an energy performance contractor based in Merrimack. Froling Energy was the project’s mechanical contractor that completely renovated John Stark High School’s boiler room.

An auger in the base of the silo feeds wood chips directly into the boiler

The Swiss Schmid biomass boiler with 1.7 million BTU per hour output


Annual MEP Supplement


April 2019

Plumber vs. Doctor: Who Brings in More Benjamins?

by Arthur Levine This article recently appeared in “The Pipeline” and is courtesy of Local 12 Plumbers & Gasfitters and the Greater Boston Plumbing Contractors Association. Let’s compare plumbers and doctors

They both perform vitally important jobs. They both diagnose and repair ailing systems. One works in operating rooms at hospitals, while the other helps build operating rooms by outfitting them with life-saving medical gases. Only one makes house calls any longer. One gets to have a fancy title in front of his or her name. Here’s a question you may not have considered when comparing plumbers and doctors: Which one of them generates more wealth? The answer may surprise you. A number of newspapers, magazines, and online outlets have published articles pondering the relative moneymaking abilities of plumbers and doctors, including the Wall Street Journal, Yahoo Finance, and The Economist. Not to spoil the suspense, but in the long run, doctors do eventually rake in more benjamins than plumbers. However, it takes a really

long run for them to get there. Plumbers outstrip doctors for many years in their respective careers because plumbers hit the ground running and bring home paychecks right away (and decent paychecks at that), while doctors toil away for a long time studying — and amassing massive amounts of student loan debt — before they can generate a dime. In that respect, plumbers would compare favorably against any profession that requires a college degree, although the contrast is especially stark for doctors because of their extensive and costly training period. “The cost of college is a huge burden,” says Jeremy Ryan, executive director of the GBPCA. For many recent graduates, he notes, student loans are their biggest expense and sometimes exceed their rent and car combined. “There seems to be a renewed interest in the building trades from guidance counselors, parents, and the students themselves,” Ryan adds. “People are not as afraid to recommend a career in the construction industry or to pursue it.” The numbers are even better for union plumbers

For this article, we use data provided in an online story published by Student Loan Planner. (Ironically, the company specializes in helping people manage student debt.) It established baselines for undergraduate and medical school tuition, a plumber’s salary at various career stages, the interest rate on a doctor’s debt

payments, the amount of money that both the doctor and lawyer invest annually, and other criteria. Real-world numbers may vary, obviously. But no matter how you slice it, the general principles remain the same. In a side-by-side comparison, a plumber would have a higher net worth than a doctor for many years. Union plumbers would fare even better than the average plumber depicted in the Student Loan Planner article. They are typically paid more than their nonunion counterparts. Local 12 provides comprehensive training for all of its apprentices at no additional charge (hence, no student loan debt) and offers ongoing learning opportunities throughout members’ careers. The union offers a full range of benefits, including medical and dental insurance, to all of its members. And unlike nonunion plumbers — and most doctors — Local 12 members receive pensions. “People are rethinking their career goals and taking a hard look at what they might have to pay for a very expensive college education,” says Harry Brett, business manager at Local 12. “We offer an honest living. Yes, it’s hard work. But over the past few years, Local 12 has opened a lot of opportunities in different sectors of the plumbing industry.” Crushing debt vs. prudent savings: In our illustration, the doctor would receive no income and rack up debt over the first eight years, while the cautious plumber

would squirrel away a portion of his or her earnings. In year eight, the doctor would owe over $300,000, while the plumber would have amassed over $240,000 in savings. For the next seven years, the doctor would earn a stipend while in residency and as a fellow, but would still be paying down massive student loans. During that time the plumber would become a master plumber and see a spike in his or her annual salary. In the 15th year of our side-by-side comparison, the doctor would still owe almost $150,000, while the plumber would have a net worth of more than $825,000. The doctor would finally be free of loan payments at the age of 33. At that point, the plumber would be closing in on $1 million in savings. The doctor wouldn’t catch up to the plumber’s net worth until they were both 41 years old. Granted, after that age, the doctor would have more life savings, but the plumber’s net worth wouldn’t be too shabby. If the plumber belonged to a union, he or she could look forward to a retirement free of financial stress. “After finishing a five-year apprenticeship and training, which we provide for free, a Local 12 member could make around $90,000,” says Brett. “That’s a pretty good return on an education that they didn’t pay for.” Who generates more wealth, a plumber or a doctor? Arthur Levine, on behalf of Plumbers Local 12 and the GBPCA

Looking for a union? Below is an abbreviated list of MEP unions in New England: Mechanical

New England Mechanical Contractors Association https://www.nemca.org/ NEMCA Calendar of Events: April 24 MCA Membership Meeting Newton Marriott April 25 Education Seminar-Woody Woodall Quincy Marriott May 16 MSCA Membership Meeting Top of the Hub, Boston June 6 Education Seminar-David Ashcraft Marriott Hotel, Quincy September 9 Golf Tournament Blue Hills Country Club, Canton


September 26 Education Seminar-Jim McCarl Marriott, Quincy October (tbd) MSCA Membership Meeting November 5 Education Seminar-John Koontz Quincy Marriott November 6 Vendor Night Newton Marriott December 13 Holiday Party Seaport Hotel

Connecticut Chapter NECA http://www.necact.org/ Rhode Island and Southeast Massachusetts Chapter https://www.necanet.org/chapter-site/ risem-neca/ Western Massachusetts Chapter mgmneca@outlook.com Plumbing

Central Massachusetts Chapter NECA mgmneca@outlook.com

Maine: Local 716, State of Maine New England States Pipe Trades New Hampshire: Local 131 Concord-Manchester Local 788, Portsmouth New England States Pipe Trades


Boston Chapter NECA bostonneca.org

Massachusetts: Local 12, Boston Local 537, Boston Local 550, Boston Local 104, Springfield Local 4, Worcester New England States Pipe Trades

Rhode Island: Local 51, Providence United Association: Union of Plumbers, Fitters, Welders and Service Techs Connecticut: Local 777, State of Connecticut New England States Pipe Trades

Vermont: Local 693, Barre / State of Vermont New England States Pipe Trades

Annual MEP Supplement

April 2019


Massachusetts Has a New Elevator Code …and it Could Affect Your Project in Construction What does it mean?

by Charlie Romano What’s new?

As of January 1, 2018, Massachusetts adopted the 2015 International Building Code (IBC) with amendments, also known as the Ninth Edition. Among other changes to the international code, this update eliminated the need for hoistway ventilation in elevators. However, Massachusetts published the following amendments to Chapter 30 of the Ninth Edition, which references elevator building code: • Section 3001.2 was changed to conform with 780 CMR and 524 CMR. • Section 3001.3 was changed to conform with 780 CMR and 521 CMR. • Section 3001.4 was changed to conform with 780 CMR and 524 CMR. • Section 3001.5 was added to clarify, when 780 CMR and 524 CMR conflict or are duplicated, which code applies over the other.

Essentially, the Massachusetts amendments to the ninth edition of the IBC were published to conform with 524 CMR, which incorporates ASME A17.1-2013/ CSA B44-13, which, as of December 1, 2018, requires (in Part 2, Section 2.1, paragraph 2.1.4) control of smoke and hot gases. The only way to comply is to ventilate the shaft of the elevator.

If a gravity drain cannot be installed, a pump will now be required in elevator pits… Therefore, for projects that are in construction, elevator installers in Massachusetts are being required to submit a ventilation plan with their elevator permit application. We feel the best way to comply is to refer to 780 CMR Eighth Edition, Chapter 30, Section 3004 which outlines hoistway ventilation design. In addition to hoistway ventilation

changes, 524 CMR by inclusion of ASME A17.1-2013, Section 2.2, paragraph, requires that “permanent provisions shall be made to prevent accumulation of ground water in the pit.” If a gravity drain cannot be installed, a pump will now be required in elevator pits if the elevator is equipped with Firefighters’ Emergency Operation, per Pumps shall have a capacity of 3,000 gallons per hour and shall be provided with a positive means to prevent water, gases, and odors from

entering the hoistway. Drains and pumps must comply with applicable plumbing code. Most jurisdictions will require an oil minder pump to prohibit the pump from operating when oil is present (hydraulic oil). For the complete Code of Massachusetts Regulations (CMR) 524, check out the Massachusetts Law Library website. Charlie Romano is manager of MEP services at Windover Construction.

Encourage Today’s Youth To Be Tomorrow’s Manpower

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Annual MEP Supplement


NECA Boston Conducts

Revit MEP Electrical Training and BIM Boston – Building information modeling (BIM) is among the most important technological advances transforming the way in which construction projects are planned, designed, and built. The Boston Chapter of National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) conducts several series of Revit MEP Electrical Training and BIM workshops each year to ensure its

The BIM Coordination Workshop will be held April 17. Another BIM series is being planned for fall 2019 and details will soon be announced. member contractors’ design and project management teams are up-to-date with the programs and processes that are making construction projects more efficient than ever, including Revit, Navisworks, and BIM 360. The workshops first teach the fundamental features of Revit MEP and BIM, and then progress through schematic design, system analysis, construction documentation, and design visualization. Topics covered include: • Building Information Modeling (BIM) • Revit MEP overview • Drawing tools •


Editing elements • Modifying tools • Starting a Revit MEP project • View creation and modification • Spaces and zones • Color schemes • Performance analysis • Electrical systems • Electrical components • Cable trays and conduits • Panel schedules • Construction documents • Annotation tools • Tags and schedules • Detailing Workshops were held on March 26 and 27. The BIM Coordination Workshop will be held April 17. Another BIM series is being planned for fall 2019 and details will soon be announced.

April 2019

CMTA Expands into Boston Market Natick, MA – Engineered Solutions, Inc. (ESI) of Natick has been acquired by CMTA Inc. of Louisville, Kentucky, a leader in zero energy engineering design. This acquisition increases CMTA’s number of offices to 10 and employees to over 300. ESI Principal Jack Nelson has been named a partner in CMTA and will continue to manage the Boston office. All ESI employees are being retained in the acquisition. CMTA President Ken Seibert commented, “ESI and CMTA have a strong focus in the healthcare and higher education markets. This acquisition expands our geographical reach and brings our zero energy expertise to the Boston market. “When we had narrowed our search, I called several of ESI’s clients,” he said. “Not only did every single person call me back right away, everyone had great things to say about the firm. “We finalized the deal in January but waited to make an official announcement until we’d met with ESI’s clients. Client communication is key to having a smooth transition,” Seibert added. In the past 10 years, CMTA has experienced explosive growth. Seibert says that the progress is tied to its decision to diversity into performance

CMTA President Ken Seibert

contracting and focus on zero energy. In 2017 and 2018, the firm was ranked as the second fastest growing architectural/engineering/construction (A/E/C) company in the country on the Zweig Group’s Hot Firms list. Also in 2018, CMTA was ranked by Consulting Specifying Engineer magazine as the 23rd largest mechanical/electrical/engineering firm in North America. Founded in 1968, the company has offices in Washington, D.C., Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Ohio, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. The firm provides MEP engineering, performance contracting, zero energy engineering, technology design, and commissioning.

Annual MEP Supplement

April 2019


RELIABLY POWERING GREATER BOSTON AND EASTERN NEW ENGLAND. NECA and IBEW set the standard for excellence in electrical, telecom, and renewable energy projects throughout Eastern New England.

Wentworth / Engineering, Innovation & Sciences

MFA Boston, The Art of the Americas Wing

Center for Life Science, Boston, MA

New Balance World Headquarters, Boston, MA

Dana-Farber Yawkey Center

UMASS Boston, Integrated Sciences

In the world of construction, quality and safety are critical to every project. Which is why leading architects, general contractors, building owners, and facility managers throughout Eastern New England rely on the skilled union electricians of Local 103 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the professional electrical contractors of the Greater Boston Chapter of the National

Electrical Contractors Association (NECA). For more than a century, IBEW and NECA have literally helped build our region. From our most cherished historical sites and renowned educational institutions, to major transportation projects, leading technology companies, community schools, and libraries, our landmarks shed light on a century of electrical construction unsurpassed in quality.

Take a close look at just a few of the recently completed projects by NECA Greater Boston Chapter members. It will tell you where to turn for the highest standards in electrical, telecom, and renewable energy construction. Rely on the power of quality electrical work. Call 877-NECA-IBEW for a complete directory of NECA Greater Boston Chapter Members, or visit us at www.bostonneca.org

The future of renewable energy and green buildings is here. P R O U D PA R T N E R S


(877)NECA-IBEW (632-2423)



Annual MEP Supplement


April 2019

Working Together to Build Boston for More than 30 Years.

American Plumbing & Heating 1000 Cordwainer Drive, Norwell, MA 02061 Tel: 781.347.9200 Proud Member of the U.S. Green Building Council www.amerplumb.com Fire Protection • Biotech • Pharmaceutical • Educational • Sports & Entertainment • Medical www.high-profile.com AmerPlumb HP Mechanical Issue Full Page Ad Mar19.indd 1

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High-Profile: Building Energy/MEP Supplement 2019  

This is HP's 4th annual supplement focused on the mechanical, engineering, and plumbing trades and firms serving New England, including any...

High-Profile: Building Energy/MEP Supplement 2019  

This is HP's 4th annual supplement focused on the mechanical, engineering, and plumbing trades and firms serving New England, including any...