By Stephanie Davis | Photo by John Goldy
Everything changed after the ’70s oil ordeal, when energy and its consumption landed in the spotlight, according to Larry Thomas, the founder and president of TES Engineering, a mechanical engineering/design solutions company founded in 1993.
“Those who design buildings have a significant role in what impact the building has on the environment,” Thomas says.
Over time, various organizations that write codes and standards have upped requirements on all developers/builders to design energy efficient buildings.
“If you’re a building owner, you have to follow minimum codes,” Steve Chase, the executive vice president of TES Engineering, says. “Those minimum codes today are much more stringent regarding energy efficiency. We’ve been strong energy-conscious engineers from the get-go.”
TES Engineering is a consulting engineering firm, seeking to help engineer well-designed energy-efficient buildings, which better complement a sustainable environment. The company offers input into the fundamental design of the mechanical infrastructure for commercial building applications, developing designs of A/C, heating, and electrical systems. Then it oversees the building process, according to Thomas.
Shortly after forming, the company became a full-service MEP (mechanical, electrical, and plumbing) consulting firm. Not long after, Chase and Thomas began working with Dick Jacobs and his properties, providing engineering consulting work. “As Jacobs began selling their properties, the owners continued to call us, asking us to work for them. It was a big explosion for us,” Thomas says.
Adds Chase, “That’s what took our business to 50 states. It was part of our growth trajectory.”
TES Engineering does work with local architects and developers and also delivers consulting engineering services across the country, licensed in 49 states.
TES Engineering offers as a distinction certified LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) engineers, working with interested companies to pursue LEED certification.
“Not all buildings are designed to these standards,” Thomas says. “It’s a function of the owner.” For those who are certified, their building can earn a U.S. Green Building Council plaque, noting they meet the standards of USGBC protocol.
According to Thomas and Chase, the certification involves a point system that addresses 35 different areas, such as collection of rainwater, shading walkways, design of a building’s parking lot, how A/C is designed, how much water is consumed, whether lights are turned on/off appropriately and more. Buildings get points pertaining to sustainability on each of these criteria.
“There are all these cool and efficient ways to help save energy to make a building more sustainable,” Chase says. “Based on the design of these systems, we affect the utility bill at the end of the month. Our systems consume energy though we are consuming less through electrical production and less gas consumption.”
Although they may not seek the USGBC mark of distinction, it may not matter, because, according to Thomas, architects and building engineers are designing very efficient buildings to meet current building codes with or without the certifications.
Thomas cites the retail sector as an example of implementation of current sustainability.
“Working with national retail tenants you’ll find the most effective sustainability measures,” he says. “In new stores lighting is big as it is a very steady source of energy use. We help find alternative LED lighting for the back of the stores. We’ve helped design energy-efficient A/C and started incorporating energy recovery units that extract heat or cool by bringing in new air and not adding more energy to the process.”
Chase adds: “In the energy area, we’ve started talking to owners of buildings and developers who recognize that energy is an important commodity. There are a large percentage of buildings designed to be energy efficient that don’t achieve their design effect. Our intention is to help building owners achieve the energy efficiency that was initially designed and improve on that.”
Generally speaking, Chase says, “Anybody who owns or operates in NEO, here’s the message: Your building is not operating as efficiently as it could or should. Everybody has an opportunity to improve their building efficiency.”
For more information: tesengineering.com
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