Having our Say: Where We Share What We Learn in the Field

Playing with Fire: Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) for Fire Protection

by Mike Lehner, P.E.

This article is part of Wood Harbinger’s newsletter series.

Fire is a chemical reaction that can take on a life of its own, growing and spreading wherever it can. It symbolizes different things in our lives, with its ability to provide warmth and light as well as its power to destroy. Its presence can change in an instant from positive to negative. Movies have capitalized on this, to make things more dramatic and, of course, provide another excuse to play with fire (instant action, just add explosion!).

Fortunately in real life, scientists, engineers, and others have dedicated years of study in order to devise more effective ways to harnessing fire’s unpredictable nature. Many equations have been developed that help anticipate and control the behavior of fire and its byproduct, smoke. Read More…

To Insure or Not to Insure: A Question for Fire Protection Projects

by Mike Lehner, P.E.

This article is part of Wood Harbinger’s newsletter series.

Fire sprinklers are in the insurance business. How? They are a tool that helps reduce the chance and severity of a fire in a building. Many property insurance companies are on the hook to repair or replace buildings that have been damaged or destroyed by fire. It follows that many of them have a vested interest in the performance of the fire sprinkler system, and therefore may offer reduced rates for building owners that add and maintain fire sprinkler systems in their building(s). Read More…

Wood Harbinger Wins Gold and Silver at 2017 ACEC Engineering Excellence Awards

Wood Harbinger is honored to have received Best in State Awards from the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) for our work on the WSDOT State Route 520 Evergreen Point Floating Bridge and the Bellevue School District Enatai Elementary School. Our electrical and fire protection engineering as well as commissioning services for the SR-520 Bridge earned a Gold Award for “Complexity,” and our mechanical and electrical expertise for Enatai Elementary received a Silver Award for “Unique or Innovative Applications.” The 50th Annual ACEC Washington Engineering Excellence Awards ceremony was held on Friday evening, January 20th. Read More…

New Marysville-Pilchuck High School Cafeteria Opens

Students at Marysville-Pilchuck High School came back from winter break to their new Food Commons, a cafeteria and gathering space opened Wednesday, January 4, 2017. The school’s existing cafeteria had been closed since October 2014, after a deadly shooting occurred in the space. The new Food Commons creates a revitalized environment to help the school move forward after this tragic event.

Marysville-Pilchuck High School Food Commons

Students gather in the new Marysville-Pilchuck High School Food Commons, opened January 4, 2017. Photo credit: The Marysville Globe

Read More…

The Goldilocks Effect: Getting Sustainable Systems “Just Right”

by Matt Woo, P.E., RCDD, LEED AP BD+C

This article is part of Wood Harbinger’s newsletter series.

A sustainable or green building designation means that the structure and the systems within it are designed to be environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout the building’s entire life-cycle: from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition. Whether new construction or a renovation project, sustainable buildings should include systems that are long-lasting; flexible for future additions and use changes; applicable to the facility’s function; and correctly sized to meet current and future demand; and avoid wasted cost, under-utilization, and inefficient operation. A “right-sized” approach finds the correct balance between building use, system performance, and environmental responsibility in order to meet building demand requirements, while not affecting user productivity and comfort or creating negative impacts on the environment. Read More…

An Active Approach to Passive House Design

by Shaun May, EIT

This article is part of Wood Harbinger’s newsletter series.

Back in October 2016, the AIA Seattle’s Committee on the Environment (COTE) gathered for a “Sustainability Slam,” which I attended. The evening featured many informative presentations. Two of them, by NK Architects, caught my attention. They both focused on Passive House building design. Passive House is not a new concept but it seems that it has not yet “been discovered” in our local area. As a commissioning provider, I have been exposed to myriad building designs and facility types, yet I have not come across a single Passive House project. I think if more building owners and designers knew about it, we’d see these methods integrated into every building design! Read More…

Nancy Brown is a WSSHE Associate Member of the Year

Wood Harbinger Project Manager Nancy Brown was awarded Associate Member of the Year by the Washington State Society for Healthcare Engineering (WSSHE) Puget Sound Chapter. Congratulations Nancy on this well-deserved honor!!

Wood Harbinger Project Manager Nancy Brown Read More…

When Halloween Lights Help Prevent Winter Holiday Lighting Problems

by Dee Thierry and Matt Woo, P.E., RCDD, LEED AP BD+C

It was lunchtime and Electrical Engineer Matt Woo and Engineering Production Specialist, Charlie Nelson had volunteered to string up the festive orange and Tarantula studded lights in preparation of our Halloween costume party and potluck. We discovered that what was once a full string of orange and a full string of Tarantulas, when paired together, broke down to produce a dark corner. Try as they might through trial and error to find and replace the bad bulb(s), more than a sigh could be heard as the effort seemed to be greater than the reward, especially when Halloween was a single day.

While our party lights were meant to add festivity to our brief lunchtime affair, there are important lessons learned about strand lighting and safety! Read More…

Price v. Preparation: The Growing Importance of Qualifications-Based Selection

by Shaun May, EIT

This article is part of Wood Harbinger’s newsletter series.

Highly tuned building systems offer the promise of energy efficiency and conservation. This often results in cost savings to building owners through reduced energy consumption and capitalized utility company incentives as well as contributes to meeting building codes, benchmarking policies, and green building certifications like LEED. High-performance systems are often highly complex, with control sequences and programming that must be integrated and optimized in order to realize their benefit.

That is where building commissioning comes in. Whether for new construction or existing buildings, commissioning is the quality-focused process through which an owner verifies that building systems achieve project requirements and work to their full potential. Read More…

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