Mechanical engineers can wear many hats and can have their talent and skills directed to several aspects of a building project. Looking at the bigger picture, there are many areas in sustainable design where mechanical engineers play a larger role. Below, let's take a look at three key areas where mechanical engineers are pivotal to creating a sustainable building design.
● Material Selection
The role of a mechanical engineer involves the manufacture and design of some mechanical systems in a project. The mechanical engineer must consider the production phases and what materials are consumed and potentially wasted.
Identifying what materials can be recycled, have a long lifespan, or could potentially end up in a landfill allows the engineer to play his or her role in a sustainable design and building. Being able to construct a new building or remodel an existing building with an informed use of materials and their applications will ultimately allow the mechanical engineer to design a better, and less wasteful product or building.
● Right Sizing
Ultimately, finding the right tool for the job can save tremendous time, energy, and resources. Having a mechanical engineer examine a design for a building can help determine that the right sized products are used for their intended applications.
Historically, buildings have been over designed resulting in wasted materials or energy loss throughout the structure. The engineer must determine what is necessary for the design and then find the right products to meet this need. This can include the analysis of structural and mechanical systems, such as HVAC and plumbing components, to ensure they are not over designed for the application. This results in the ability to use smaller structural elements such as lighter ductwork or thinner walled piping to save material costs while still meeting safety and performance margins.
● Energy Resources
The first step in this process for an engineer is to understand what resources are at a premium in the world and where resources are being wasted. Often in a commercial building, mechanical engineers will be able to define wasted energy sources such as electric, gas, or water. The role of the engineer in sustainable design is to create alternative sources for these valuable resources.
Our team at Gausman and Moore turns to alternative energy resources such as solar, geothermal, or wind power to generate energy. By examining a future design or retrofitting an existing building, mechanical engineers play a pivotal role in conserving resources.
Our team of mechanical engineers at Gausman & Moore is passionate about sustainable design and actively works together with the builders, contractors, and owners to create near net zero energy buildings.
To see some of our previous projects, take a look at our portfolio, or for more information about our mechanical engineering services, contact us today.