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Prioritizing Our Energy Needs

Name: Rob McAtee, PE
Title: Director of Mechanical Engineering / Vice President
Years of Experience: 22
Office Location: Glen Allen
Education:  BS / Mechanical Engineering / University of Virginia

Why do you think National Energy Awareness Month is important?
Anything that gets people thinking about their energy use is important and worthwhile since most of us don’t realize how much it takes to support our daily activities and our economy. Adding up energy use from transportation to buildings to food production and manufacturing can be staggering. Quantifying our energy demand highlights the importance of energy efficiency and clean power production. It also allows us to better prioritize our efforts and understand that we need to think big if we’re going to make a significant impact.

How does our Mechanical Department support energy sustainability? 
We're focused on the design and support of buildings. Given that buildings consume about 40% of all energy produced, we’re in a great position to make an impact. 

Throughout our history we’ve prided ourselves on creating efficient and robust mechanical systems. Over the past few years, our efforts related to sustainability and energy productivity have increased dramatically.  We now spend a tremendous amount of time at the beginning of a project analyzing the energy impact of shape, orientation, and glazing, meaning we work more closely with the architects and owners.  The analysis continues all the way through the design process as systems are selected and refined.  This attention to energy and sustainability has really changed our business. In fact, it’s changed much so that we’ve created specialty groups to bring the required level of expertise to our projects.

  • Our Building Sciences Studio provides the hard-core analysis and modeling necessary to evaluate and validate new design strategies.
  • Our Sustainability Coordinators keep track of the entire design process and ensure that all disciplines are working in unison toward the project’s ultimate sustainability goals
  • Our Energy Auditing and Commissioning Group is focused on existing buildings (new and old) and is dedicated to running them as efficiently as possible. Since there are more existing buildings than new, and existing buildings tend to be less efficient, any improvements in existing building performance can have a pronounced effect on our overall energy outlook.

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