Matt Napolitan

Recent Posts

More Tech, More Energy Loss – A Shift in the Wrong Direction

Posted by Matt Napolitan on Sep 30, 2015 6:00:48 AM

Technology and innovation have brought us great advances in energy efficiency. As examples, just look at the shift from incandescent lights to fluorescent lights and now to LEDs, or the move to variable air volume (VAV) air distribution systems from constant volume during the energy crisis of the 1970s. Those two evolutions alone have probably saved yotawatt[1] hours of electricity since they were introduced. The trend continues today with things like advanced building lighting controls and energy recovery air handlers.

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Topics: Energy Efficiency

Battle of the Office Thermostat – Fanger Who?

Posted by Matt Napolitan on Aug 12, 2015 6:00:00 AM

It’s that time of year again – summer – season of vacations, sunscreen (for me at least), mowing the lawn and (queue ominous music) the dreaded “Battle of the Office Thermostat.” We all know what this is. You go to work in an office and, if you’re a woman, when the man sitting next to you is perfectly comfortable you are teeth-chattering freezing. If you’re a man and the woman next to you is comfortable, you feel hot and stuffy. Disclaimer – I am a man. Second disclaimer – I don’t wear skirts and sandals to work, even if it’s 90 degrees outside.

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Topics: Workplace & People, Building Performance & Technology

Building Commissioning: Whose Role is it Anyway?

Posted by Matt Napolitan on May 20, 2015 4:00:00 AM

Whether your project is new construction, a retrofit, a major renovation, or a focused building upgrade, my success as a commercial building commissioning provider relies heavily on the active participation of other team members. Despite having clear specifications, providing a thorough building commissioning plan, and explaining the process at a kickoff meeting with the owner and affected contractors, we often find that due to the complexity and fast pace of contemporary construction, team members are unclear as to their role in quality assurance and the commissioning process.

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Topics: Building Cx & Design Review

How to Retrocommission Fan Systems for Sweet ROI

Posted by Matt Napolitan on Mar 4, 2015 5:00:00 AM

A good retrocommissioning (RCx) project will result in at least one of the following:

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Topics: Building Cx & Design Review, Building Performance & Technology

Functional Performance Testing Done Right: Details Matter

Posted by Matt Napolitan on Jul 2, 2014 6:00:00 AM

Introduction

End users of a building want to inhabit a space that provides, among other things, a comfortable environment with respect to ventilation and thermal comfort. Thermal comfort is typically comprised of two things: temperature and moisture content (aka relative humidity). Ventilation comfort is derived from providing enough outdoor air to a space to satisfy peoples’ need for oxygen, and mitigate buildup of odors as well as other air borne irritants and contaminants. HVAC systems can easily achieve these goals while simultaneously being energy hogs and maintenance nightmares.

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Topics: Building Cx & Design Review, Energy Efficiency

Communication Frustration

Posted by Matt Napolitan on Apr 16, 2014 11:00:00 AM

We live and work in an age where communication can happen in an instant. Emails circumnavigate the globe in a couple of seconds, text messages ding on our phones as soon as they’re sent and usually expect an immediate response, and our cell phones can be called no matter where we are or what time of day it is. While this hyper connectivity does have the potential to streamline how we interact and do business and make our lives easier, I am finding effective communication to be more and more difficult. From what I’ve observed, people are simply overwhelmed by the volume of input they are receiving. This results in their inability to respond to requests in a timely fashion or, if they do respond, it is often incomplete, misses the point, or is unclear because of a misunderstanding of the original request (likely due to the fact that they didn’t think they had the time to listen to the entire voicemail or read the whole email).

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Topics: Workplace & People

The Economics of Building Energy Efficiency

Posted by Matt Napolitan on Mar 5, 2014 5:00:00 AM

Energy savings opportunities can be difficult to implement at times because of the perceived financial impacts they may have on a project. All too often a short-sighted view is taken with regard to a marginal increase in project cost vs. the long term cost reduction impacts that marginal cost will achieve.

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Topics: Standards and Metrics, Energy Efficiency

Design vs. Installation: Small Details Have Big Impacts

Posted by Matt Napolitan on Dec 12, 2013 5:00:00 AM

I have been involved with hundreds of projects in one capacity or another where I’ve designed or commissioned HVAC systems. With only a few exceptions, it’s been my experience that ductwork is never installed exactly as drawn. Most of the time it’s close. Usually, this is due to a lack of coordination during design requiring in-field modifications or a lack of detail when it comes to equipment hookups. We all expect design engineers to have their designs perfectly coordinated and their equipment details to be exact. I was on the design side for more than 10 years and I can tell you that there is never enough fee or enough time in the design schedule for that to be a reality. Until that changes, we’d all better expect field modifications.

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Topics: Energy Efficiency, Building Performance & Technology

Tips on Developing an Effective Building Commissioning RFP

Posted by Matt Napolitan on Sep 18, 2013 1:45:00 PM

Introduction

We receive dozens, probably closer to a hundred commissioning requests for proposals (RFPs) every year. The quality, content and requirements are as varied as one might expect. Jennifer Chiodo posted some thoughts on how one can identify quality commissioning services and I’d like to take this opportunity to suggest how one might develop an RFP for commissioning services.

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Topics: Building Cx & Design Review

The Building Controls Are (Not) Done - Part II

Posted by Matt Napolitan on Aug 7, 2013 6:00:00 AM

Introduction

In my last post I cited three examples of incomplete or incorrect control programming that all would have had negative effects on building operations or equipment life expectancy. In this post, I want to focus on one piece of equipment, a rooftop ERU (energy recovery unit) and, more specifically, on the graphic page for that ERU. This is another prime example of the controls not being done even though the contractor had said they were complete.

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Topics: Building Cx & Design Review

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