Syska Hennessy Group’s sustainability engineering practice designs high-performance buildings that work with the earth’s resources instead of against them. The results are happy, healthy occupants; efficient and effective buildings, energy and water systems; the lowest cost of total ownership; and mitigation of the harmful impacts by buildings and communities.
We design sustainable building systems that:
- Meet client’s budget.
- Foster occupants comfort and enthusiasm about the new environment.
- Enable operations staff to successfully transition to new systems.
- Provide building space easily adapted to evolving usage patterns.
- Support and enhance the architectural concept(s).
- Equal or exceed design-phase performance projections.
- Achieve expected sustainability metrics and certifications, including LEED Platinum, zero net energy and water performance, and carbon neutrality.
Our approach is a performance-driven integrative process that begins with establishing the client’s quantifiable sustainability metrics and targets; tying them together with our design, analysis and simulation services; and tracking progress against them throughout the project’s life cycle.
- Performance benchmarking and validation: We work with clients to set achievable and quantifiable targets; evaluate benchmarks, including comparable buildings, green building rating systems, codes and other performance standards; and measure progress throughout the project, often validating through LEED certification and building operation.
- Master planning and sustainable communities: We help our clients develop scale-jumping sustainability strategies that ensure long-term, sustainable growth at system, building and community scales, and that work with the earth’s resources instead of against them.
- Energy and carbon planning: We help our clients plan and achieve zero net or ultra-low-energy, water and carbon projects. For instance, we recently helped Lawrence Public Library in Lawrence, Kansas, expand by 50 percent while reducing its energy consumption and carbon emissions by 50 percent.
- Life-cycle analysis: We quantify the long-term impacts of the building and systems strategies made during design and implemented during construction to preserve resources and achieve the lowest total cost of ownership.
Our approach to sustainability engineering design synchronizes sustainability criteria with conventional criteria for a balanced design that optimizes all criteria. Syska Hennessy Group’s sustainability engineering specialists possess the critical design attitudes, holistic and collaborative thinking, and critical communication skill sets necessary to achieve successful, sustainable designs for our clients’ projects.
- Low-energy systems design: Our designs encompass four broad components: resource efficiency, pollution prevention, indoor environmental quality and community enhancement. We utilize computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling, energy simulation and daylight modeling to determine the optimum engineering design solutions.
- Daylighting design: Our designed daylighting systems reduce lighting and cooling energy significantly, and improve the well-being of the occupants. For instance, we helped develop an orientation-specific approach to external and internal shading and daylight redistribution elements for the Environmental Protection Agency Region 8 headquarters in Denver, Colorado, that provides balance between building energy reduction and occupant visual comfort.
- Renewable energy generation: Our project solutions consider and incorporate a variety of solar thermal technologies, including hydronic-evacuated tube collectors, flat-plate solar collectors and passive-transpired walls for ventilation air preheating.
- Recycled and water-efficiency systems: To reduce, reuse and recycle, we design systems with low- and no-flow plumbing fixtures, and collect, treat and reuse wastewater streams wherever possible and practical.
- Hybrid ventilation: Hybrid ventilation designs improve the quality of the space and minimize mechanical cooling. For example, the headquarters of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in Santa Monica, California, incorporates manually operable windows that are interlocked to the building’s high-efficiency cooling system, allowing the occupants to control their local personal comfort and automatically shutting down the cooling system.
Analysis and Simulation
Syska uses an extensive suite of analytical and simulation tools—from simple energy analysis to very complex daylight simulation or CFD—to determine how the building will operate throughout a variety of conditions and interact with its users for occupant comfort and control.
- Site/climate analysis: Every project starts with a climate evaluation to protect/take advantage of solar, wind, temperature, humidity or rainfall.
- Daylight simulation: We use multiple solar mapping, building shading and light-simulation tools to understand the solar resource and how it specifically relates to the building form.
- Energy simulation: Our iterative energy modeling enables us to improve the performance of building and system components as well as optimize the interaction that the elements—envelope performance lighting and HVAC—have with each other.
- Air-flow simulation: We apply CFD and flow network modeling (FNM) inside and outside buildings to effectively evaluate natural ventilation opportunities, compare dilution versus displacement ventilation systems and investigate alternatives for ventilation and smoke control.
- Thermal comfort and pollutant dispersion simulation: We utilize CFD and FNM inside and outside buildings to analyze, evaluate and advise on occupant thermal comfort in buildings as well as heat and pollutant dispersion characteristics for an array of conditions, including generator exhaust and laboratory exhaust.