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Eco-Holdings Engineering (F-7395)

Civil & Structural Engineering with Revit 3D Design

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Energy Consulting
Providing engineering behind alternative energy
When you see a large solar array or a wind energy farm, we know that it did not just grow in that location.
First a Solar Panel company needs to apply design, test, manufacture, and distribute each solar PV panel. \
Then other companies to do the same for each electrical array supporting component.
Then a Solar Provider company works to market, purchase, finance, distribute, and install each system.
The last pieces of this process is for an engineering firm like ECO to help design the connections or to design a structure to hold the solar array, and then to monitor the installation.
In the above photos ECO designed a 12 panel array pole mounted structure called a 'Solar Flower' installed in central Houston. 
In the below project, we applied our structural engineering services for the Solar Array now installed on the City of Houston's own permit office adjacent to downtown Houston, just off of Washington Avenue.
If you combine such smart onsite energy installations in just the right way with a design of a very energy efficient structure, you can sometimes get to a 'net zero' energy basis on an annualized basis. 
'Net Zero' projects attempt to operate at a net zero annual energy requirement.
The above is just one of several ways to describe a 'net zero' energy project. That's because energy usage can be defined in different ways - by current cost, by future cost, by kWh, or by carbon emissions. There is also the difficulty to define where to draw the line between on-site power production, off-site energy production, energy transmission losses, and embodied energy, and finally on the actual energy consumption.
Definitions aside, the best approach will be to design land based or roof mounted multi-family projects that will use the minimum amount of energy. This will allow efficient combination of natural gas power combined heat and power ('CHP') solutions to be coupled with dense areas of solar PV capacity to produce a surplus of energy.
Windy City?  Not hardly, but...
If you are in the right local, wind power can be added. The following 'Urban Turbine' wind generators (Honeywell) were added to the City of Houston's Planning Department building on Washington Avenue in combination with Solar Arrays. This mini-wind installation has an adjacent weather station so it will collect real-time wind speed versus kW output data collection.
Instead of electricity as an expense, each unit's energy production will provide a positive cash flow for the owner(s).
How can a multifamily development be designed to achieve net zero energy?
By applying the latest in integrated design with building information modeling practices. Modeling confirmed that an aggressively designed super insulated mutifamily dwelling complex limited to a nominal 15% window area could be designed to operate at below 3 kWh/sf-floor area per year. This means that a 1000 sf apartment would on average require 3000 kWh per year.  The 1000 sf roof top solar array in Houston would make enough energy (12,000 kWh/yr) for four levels of 1000 sf stacked dwelling units. The HVAC system was determined to consume about 50% of this annual total 3000 kWh unit energy, so HVAC geothermal wells became part of this design.
ECO used 3D solar design to create this concept model. Site 3d models like these are used to support development discussion as the first step to make a Net Zero project become reality.

Combined Heat And Power - Also An Important Part of a Net Zero Project
While ideally we would like to be able to rely only on solar and wind power, the reality of our energy needs will often require some type of combined heat and power (CHP) device to manage both peaks loads and to provide power when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing. A small natural gas fueled microturbine or fuel cell based CHP charging station for a building's base load electricity, heat, and cooling. In most cases around the world these CARB certified microturbine or fuel products are much cleaner than the local utility.
Are you are involved with the design or development of a building in Texas?  If so read the attached Texas House Bill summary from the State Energy Conservation office - "Energy Security for Critical Buildings" summary PDF link here.
Building electric vehicle charging stations into a multifamily project is just as easy as combining arrays into roof structures for office parking developments.
CHP would also augment the charging of electric vehicles each night. Such compact sub-megawatt generation units would also provide grid-independent charging to overcome grid overloading should plug-in electrics become widely popular.Commercial or residential electric vehicle charging stations with both solar PV and wind power charging assistance can be engineered by ECO for a high wind areas
The below residential system concept combined a nominal 10 kW solar array with two 600 watt wind generators supported in a single free standing awning structure.