June 2016 Newsletter

Summer is almost here and it is already very hot and humid in Arkansas.  Despite the heat, we have been busy at Forward Engineers and have a few exciting announcements:

New Website:  I am happy to officially unveil our new website.  It’s been available for a few weeks now, but I wanted to iron out any kinks before advertising it.  Please visit our site to learn more about us, our services and to see some of our past projects.  We periodically post updates and interesting articles to our news page so be sure to check that out.  If you prefer, our posts are also available on our Facebook and LinkedIn pages.

Design Services:  We love energy consulting and we feel that the next logical step is to not only make recommendations but to complete the designs as well.  Therefore, we are seeking to grow the design side of our business.  If you have MEP design needs, please contact us and we’ll put together a quality design at a great price while keeping construction and future energy costs low.

Energy Consulting:  Our specialty continues to be making energy efficiency recommendations and completing incentive certification/applications.  If you have recently completed a facility or a renovation and are curious about what incentives are available, be sure to contact us and we’ll review your project for free.


Improving Window Efficiency

Windows are notorious for being a weak link in a building’s envelope (its exterior) in terms of energy usage.  Even the most efficient windows are poor insulators when compared to the walls around them.  When a building has older windows the losses are even higher.  Unfortunately, the savings from replacing windows are often not high enough to offset the initial costs.

According to the Department of Energy, you may soon not have to replace the windows to see increased savings.  The DoE recently announced $31 million in funding for 14 projects as part of the Single-Pane Highly Insulating Efficient Lucid Design (SHIELD) program.  This program seeks to develop innovative window coatings and windowpanes that could significantly improve the energy efficiency of existing single-pane windows in commercial and residential buildings.

One example of a new product is a flexible, transparent window film based on liquid crystalline phases of nano-cellulose aerogel that have low-emissivity properties.  Another project is working on a transparent, nanostructured film that features unique nanoshell structures tightly packed to create a strong thermal barrier.  Both technologies, applied to an existing single pane window would help prevent heat loss.

These products are most likely a few years out from being available for your building.  If you would like to see what you can do now to improve your energy efficiency, please contact us and we will be happy to evaluate your existing (or proposed) structure and let you know what can be done to increase its efficiency and lower its costs.

If you are interested in reading more about these upcoming technologies, the entire article can be found  here.


Energy Modeling

Whether for a new building design, 179d certification or a rebate application, computer energy modeling is a big part of what we do here at Forward Engineers.  ASHRAE recently featured a fantastic article in their most recent issue of ASHRAE Journal (May 2016) entitled ‘Modeled Performance Isn’t Actual Performance.”  The best part of this article is that it describes what an energy model can do and what it cannot do.  An energy model is not designed to estimate real world energy usage but instead to calculate relative savings between design alternatives or to compare a proposed design against a standard benchmark.

A final point made in the article is one we agree with entirely.  Models are only as good as the person doing the modeling.  We have over 10 years of combined experience in modeling many different sizes and types of buildings.  We are also skilled at taking the output of the simulation and putting together a well polished report describing the findings, options and recommendations.  If you have modeling needs or are interested in what modeling can do for your business, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

If you would like to read the entire article, it is available here.