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Principles of Sustainable Design: Exploring Renewable Energy

The most significant component of sustainable building design is having a renewable energy source. Simply being able to create electricity from a renewable source is not only more energy efficient, but can save money over time. Plus, renewable energy sources are environmentally friendly and do not leave a big carbon footprint, if any at all. Below we will examine some of the more popular renewable energy sources.

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Principles of Sustainable Design: Solar Powered Water Heaters

Solar water heaters rely on the sun to heat the water provided to your home or building. These systems are reliable and relatively straightforward. At the core, a solar water heater is reliant on the solar collector and storage tank. The collector is an insulated box, usually with a dark interior, that contains tubes that allow for water flow. The solar collector catches the sun's rays and transforms them into heat. The storage tank simply holds the heated water. From here, the functionality of the solar water heater depends on the type.

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Ground Broken for New Government Service Center

The first shovels full of dirt were ceremoniously moved in May at the site of the new St. Louis County Government Service Center in Virginia, MN. Once complete, the 63,000-square-foot, $19 million facility will provide an ideal facility for County staff and taxpayers. Gausman & Moore, working with DSGW Architects, provided mechanical and electrical engineering services for the project.

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Principles of Sustainable Design: Understanding Photovoltaics

When energy from the sun is converted into usable energy, it is done through the science of the photovoltaic process. This process is what most people are referring to when they think of solar energy. Renewable energy sources are becoming more popular by the day as more buildings, both commercial and residential, are turning toward alternative energy. So what exactly are photovoltaics, and how does this science work?

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Getting Through Tough Design Decisions with Energy Modeling

Creating an aesthetically pleasing building with an energy-efficient mindset can sometimes be challenging. Often it feels as if you cannot accomplish both within the same building. If you start early enough in the design process though, both goals can be accomplished. Relatively new in the field of building design is a process called energy modeling. With energy modeling it is now possible to project what type of energy impact your building will have over a 30-year period.

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Understanding the Difference Between the Three Thermal Science Disciplines

Physics plays a crucial role in everything that encompasses mechanical engineering, and as a mechanical engineer, you must understand and be able to use the three thermal science disciplines in the work you do. The following briefly outlines each of these disciplines and touches on the importance of each in mechanical engineering work.

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Principles of Sustainable Design: Green Building Costs

When first developing design ideas for a building, it’s important to understand that everything has a financial value. And conducting a building performance analysis beforehand can help designers understand what decisions can yield a more valuable economic return. Because some building owners have more strict construction budgets, it’s important the design and building process remains within a firm financial budget throughout the project. But how, exactly, is this budget calculated? We’ll give you an inside look at the different cost analyses designers take into consideration when developing building plans.

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Principles of Sustainable Design: Indoor Thermal Comfort

Energy efficiency in buildings is almost always a top priority for building owners and contractors alike. However, it is not fully effective when occupants are uncomfortable with the indoor environment. If an occupant is too warm or too cold in a space, he or she will take alternative routes of heating or cooling their area, such as with space heaters, fans, or window-mounted air conditioners. And those could be substantially worse for the building’s efficiency than typical heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.

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Principles of Sustainable Design: Net Zero Energy Buildings

According to the State of Minnesota’s recently enacted building energy standard (B3 SB2030) that follows the federal government's Executive Order stating that all new buildings should be designed to achieve zero net energy by the year 2030. But what is “Net Zero Energy”? A Net Zero Energy building produces enough renewable energy to meet or go beyond its annual energy consumption requirements.

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Principles of Sustainable Design: Lighting and Daylighting

One of the best energy-saving features to go into a building is sustainable lighting. Lighting typically accounts for roughly 30 percent of a building’s total energy usage, therefore, our electrical engineers design the most sustainable lighting solutions in any commercial facility to ensure optimal energy savings. Our team members are the experts in transforming darkness to light in each of our projects by combining beauty, utility, and efficiency. Together they make something truly spectacular.

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Harnessing the Power of the Sun

Different methods for capturing the sun’s energy have been used as an energy source for years. A system that is becoming more popular in the Northland, the transpired solar collector, will be used at the St. Louis County Government Service Center (GSC) in Virginia, MN. This system will help heat ventilation air for this new 63,000 square-foot facility that is scheduled to open in 2018. Gausman & Moore is currently providing MEP engineering services for this project, including the implementation of the transpired solar collector, said Jude Homola (Duluth Mechanical Lead).

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