Melink Corporation Newsletter
Fire & Smoke Damper Application Requirements- ASHRAE Engineer's Notebook, By: Stephen Duda
When it is okay to NOT balance an HVAC system, By: Leonard Maiani, NEBB Technical Director
4 Summer Restaurant Facility Symptoms That Show Cut Corners, By: Melink T&B Technicians
The Costs and Risks of Damper-Based Controls in Kitchen Ventilation, By: Steve Melink
The Future of Ohio Clean Energy after SB310, By: Steve Melink
Cincinnati Zoo spotlights solar energy, Midwest Energy News, 7/8/14
Melink Corporation Partners with Rexnord to Utilize Extra Space for Solar Facility, Press Release, Spring 2014
Author Stephen Duda, PE and ASHRAE Fellow, states that the International Building Cide and NFPA 90A stipulates that no dampers of ANY kind are allowed in Type 1 grease exhaust systems. This further supports our article on The Costs and Risks of Modulating dampers in Commercial Kitchen Ventilation Systems. The consensus of experts across the country is clear, and certain hood OEMs that defy this by installing modulating dampers inside their hoods/duct systems are risking their reputation.
“Green”-energy efforts in Ohio might not be in suspended animation after all.
All but one of Ohio’s regulated electricity utilities plan to continue with their green-energy programs despite a new state law that allows the companies to put a two-year freeze on the initiatives.
As a result, changes in that industry might not be as drastic as environmental advocates have feared.
American Electric Power and Duke Energy say they will stick with existing plans for energy-efficiency (programs that help customers reduce energy use) and renewable energy (investments in solar, wind and other renewable sources) that were in place before the law changed. Dayton Power & Light says it will keep its current plan through at least 2015.
That leaves FirstEnergy as the only utility considering a large pullback.
“It’s not Armageddon,” said Pablo Vegas, president and chief operating officer of AEP Ohio, in an interview. “We didn’t dive off the cliff as some of the opponents said we were going to.”
For AEP, current programs include incentives to recycle old refrigerators, rebates for businesses that upgrade to more efficient equipment, and discounts on energy-use audits.
Each of the four major electricity utilities were asked by The Dispatch recently about their plans, several months before the companies need to disclose their intentions to regulators.
During the legislative debate over the bill that resulted in the two-year freeze — Senate Bill 310 — many opponents assumed that utilities would use the law to completely stop their green programs during that time, leading to a loss of jobs and investment. Gov. John Kasich signed the bill in June.
But the key part of the law might be that each utility gets to choose its response.
FirstEnergy spokesman Doug Colafella said the company is reviewing its options and has not made any decisions.
Despite this public stance, FirstEnergy had advised some customers and vendors that it is likely to suspend its energy-efficiency programs, according to multiple sources, including John Seryak, CEO of Go Sustainable Energy in Clintonville. His company, which helps businesses improve their efficiency, mainly serves customers in AEP territory.
“(FirstEnergy) clearly doesn’t want to run their programs,” he said. He was one of many business leaders who urged lawmakers to reject the bill this spring.
FirstEnergy helped lead the push for the bill, joined by several large manufacturers and business groups. Other utilities supported the measure but were much less vocal.
“It’s really been about FirstEnergy from the get-go,” said Rob Kelter, senior attorney for the Environmental Law and Policy Center, an opponent of the changes. “The other utilities decided it wasn’t worth being involved in a legislative bloodbath when they could just continue with what they’re doing right now.”
Opponents remain concerned that the new law will harm the economy, and they want to see more details from the companies.
“It’s early, and we need to see how the new law is interpreted and implemented,” said Ted Ford, CEO of Ohio Advanced Energy Economy, a trade group for clean-energy companies.
AEP’s energy-efficiency programs, which cost $78 million last year, will keep the same levels of funding and staffing, Vegas said. Customers pay for this with an electricity-bill charge of about $3 per month for a typical household.
As for renewable energy, AEP has long-term contracts with solar arrays and wind farms that were designed to meet the old standards. Those contracts remain in place, even though the standards have changed.
The efficiency and renewable programs were developed to comply with a 2008 state law that required utilities to meet escalating annual benchmarks for conservation. The new law puts a two-year freeze on the benchmarks and makes a variety of other changes.
The new law applies mainly to investor-owned electricity utilities, the companies that serve the large majority of the state’s consumers.
FirstEnergy has about 2.1 million customers, or 43 percent of the total affected by the law. AEP is next with 1.5 million, or 30 percent, followed by Duke with 695,000, or 15 percent, and Dayton Power & Light with 573,000, or 12 percent.
“We believe that our portfolio of (energy-efficiency) offerings benefit our customers, the company and help the environment,” said Duke spokesman Blair Schroeder in an email.
Dayton Power & Light said it will continue with its current plan until the end of 2015 and is reviewing options for the following years.
AEP’s Vegas said his company was active behind the scenes during the debate, trying to preserve the programs that are popular with AEP customers but also trying to increase the utilities’ flexibility in complying with the law.
“We were very engaged in the conversation, trying to get a balanced approach,” he said.
To support the deployment of this infrastructure, DOE has launched the Workplace Charging Challenge, with a goal of achieving a tenfold increase in the number of U.S. employers offering workplace charging in the next five years.
It would be easy to get depressed about Ohio’s clean energy future after the recent passage of SB 310. This new law freezes our renewable portfolio standard (RPS) for two years, eliminates the in-state renewable requirement, allows sources that cannot be converted into electricity to count, makes the industrial opt-out of efficiency easier, and eliminates the 12.5% advanced energy requirement.
But we have a better vision for the future than our greedy utilities and politicians, and with continued passion and commitment, we will ultimately prevail. Our vision is to lead the emerging energy age and create thousands of engineering, manufacturing, and construction jobs in the energy efficiency (insulation, lighting, HVAC) and renewable energy (solar, wind, hydro, bio-mass) industries.
Our vision is to diversify our energy mix and create greater competition in a traditionally non-competitive industry. It is to become less dependent on coal and natural gas which are limited natural resources and thus prone to volatility and ever-increasing prices. It is to improve the health of our citizens of whom many are vulnerable to respiratory and heart-related diseases.
And it is to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem when it comes to climate change. Utilities can no longer pretend that dirty power is cheaper than renewable energy. The short and long term costs and risks of dirty power are mounting and the longer they wait to reduce their global carbon pollution, the more responsible and liable they become.
Therefore, given the truth and opportunities of our vision, and the potentially dire consequences if we fail, I suggest we learn from our temporary setback and become wiser and stronger for it. Rather than feel sorry for ourselves, we need to redouble our commitment. Let’s leverage our strengths – being grass roots and creative – and waste less time fighting the utilities on their terms in the statehouse.
Below are some strategies to consider:
1) Actively support the new federal EPA regulations to limit carbon pollution at the state level. Write op-eds for your newspaper, blog across the social media spectrum, and testify if/when necessary that you want carbon polluters to pay for their cost to society.
2) Initiate community aggregation programs with green power options. We are no longer lowly ratepayers subject to the dictates of the utility industry. As consumers we can take control of our energy future by issuing RFP’s and only giving our business to responsible electric providers. If the City of Cincinnati can opt for 100% clean energy, so can every city, township, school district, college and university, and business in Ohio.
3) Vote in the fall and throw out the bums. Find out whether your state legislators voted for SB 310 and hold them accountable. Again, you are the consumer and citizen with the power.
4) Explore alternative financing mechanisms for energy efficiency and renewable energy such as PACE (Property Assessment for Clean Energy). Though the market for SRECSs (solar renewable energy credits) is practically nil as a result of SB 310, we must find other ways to make up for it.
5) Help educate the ‘study committee’ that will recommend any changes to our RPS after the two year freeze. Energy efficiency and renewable energy are global megatrends. The facts and future are on our side. The utilities are clinging to a 20th century energy model.
6) Be willing to create a better world for future generations outside of Ohio. Though we would all prefer to make investments and create jobs in our home state, the fact is we may – sometimes - have to create good somewhere else to survive and thrive. We are in this for the long term.
In conclusion, we have only just begun to fight. And we hope you will join our grassroots energy revolution. We, the people, have the real power – both literally and figuratively!
Stephen K. Melink, PE
The question that should be asked is, "At what point do we NOT care about the performance of the single largest dynamic system in our building and the biggest user of electricity and gas?"
Leonard Maiani, NEBB Technical Director, expands on his experience in being asked by administrators to weigh the need of a balanced HVAC system in his article, When is it okay NOT to balance an HVAC system.
The following is an excerpt of The NEBB Professional, Spring 2014 (not available digitally):
"The independent TAB for many projects is usually one of the smallest contracts in the construction of a building (somewhere in the .5%-.75% of the total contract). For this addition to the contract, you get an independent report of the true condition of your mechanical system and, just as important, you will get solid information to approach your contractor and A/E team to rectify any shortcomings found in the systems. This seems like a very reasonable expense for what may be a very valuable resource.
I would encourage your firm to handle the TAB as a separate contract or to specify that the TAB agency report directly to you, which will put you in the driver's seat if and when performance issues arise.
Needless to say, there are good TAB firms and there are GOOD TAB firms. You must be aware that every TAB firm is just selling you time and integrity.
Low bid will get you the company who will spend the least time of the job. I, for one, would not recommend selecting a TAB firm on a low bid basis."
Are you contracting out your preventative maintenance? Unfortunately, we've seen a lot of restaurant managers be misled by their mechanical contractors into thinking their "building is balanced", but still notice misreported or never reported problems that are causing complaints from their guests. For example, you've been told that air filters and screens used for the outside air intake are clean, or that belts are tight, when they are in fact loose or cracking and ready to break. These facility problems would cost so much less if treated immediately. For example, a $10 fan belt replacement, if not replaced by your facility management when needed can cause irreversible damage to the rooftop RTUs, along with the cost of uncomfortable guests. These instances escalate in the summer and fall months, when outdoor weather threatens indoor comfort.
Be aware of these frequent summer/fall sick building symptoms, so you can call out the indicators, if necessary:
What issue(s) do you have at your facility? We can help you investigate the cause. Call 513-965-7300 or email your question to BalanceExpert@melinkcorp.com to speak to an NEBB Certified healthy building expert.
Congratulations to Steve for being recognized as an outstanding entreprenuer for energy cleantech!
Contact: Jeremy Chapman, General Manager Melink Solar
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – Melink Corporation recently developed and installed a solar energy system on property owned by Rexnord Industries that is estimated to produce more than 4 million kWh annually. The 3,102 kilowatt solar array, composed of 12,040 collection modules on approximately 13 acres of land, was installed adjacent to the Rexnord manufacturing facility on Rockville Road. Power began flowing on April 9, 2014.
The system supports Rexnord initiatives to be a good environmental steward. The solar facility will be connected to Indianapolis Power & Light Company’s (IPL) distribution system, making it part of the largest solar photovoltaic (PV) program for an investor-owned utility in the Midwest. The energy produced equates to providing electricity to power 360 homes and removing over 2,722 metric tons of CO2 from the atmosphere each year.
Cincinnati-based Melink was the developer of the project and performed the engineering, procurement, and construction services. Melink’s financing partners include U.S. Bancorp and Union Bank & Trust.
“Melink is very excited and proud to be the project developer of this large solar PV array, and to be partnering with Rexnord and Indianapolis Power & Light Company to expand solar generation in the Midwest,” said Steve Melink, President of Melink Corporation.
May 21, Milford OH --Ohio’s clean energy law was widely endorsed and passed into law in 2008. And after Governor Kasich was elected in 2010, he reaffirmed this law by declaring energy efficiency and renewable energy as major pillars of his energy policy. In 2012 the legislature and Governor reaffirmed clean energy again by signing into law Senate Bill 315 which strengthened and expanded the law.
The result of Ohio’s clean energy law has been the creation of thousands of jobs and the expansion of several industries here in Ohio – from solar and wind power to waste-heat recovery and energy efficiency. This in turn is making our state a national leader in the emerging energy age. And not only is this good for our economy, it is good for our security and environment.
However, the public utilities and several lawmakers are fighting this law. In fact, after several failed attempts, they have introduced new legislation that would virtually repeal our clean energy standards. And worse, they are now twisting fellow lawmakers’ arms to join their cause or else. So, the good bill (SB 315) they previously voted for is now at serious risk. And our emerging advanced energy industry is too.
The Ohio Senators behind the bad bill (SB 310) will deny there is any undue influence, but the fact is no industry holds sway over the legislature like the utility industry. It has the money, the paid lobbyists, the paid consultants, and the paid everything else to continuously shape state energy policy in its favor.
Why would the utilities be against our forward-thinking and long-term clean energy law?
1- They desperately long for the old days when it was a regulated monopoly and there was no competition. For almost a century utility investments in plant and equipment were subsidized by lowly ratepayers - and the idea that they now have to innovate and take risks is anathema to them. It is far easier for them to simply lobby and legislate their way to success.
2- Public utilities are against energy efficiency and renewable energy because they want to sell more energy, not less. Like the tobacco industry before them, they can only imagine making money by selling power the old way – by burning coal and natural gas. The idea of having to diversify their portfolio is more anathema to them than having to earn their business in an unregulated market.
3- Utilities are against solar and wind power, in particular, because these technologies represent an existential threat to their business model. The idea that their customers can go around them and invest in their own mini-power plants is the last thing they want. And the fact that the fuel source is forever free will increasingly become a driver as conventional rates start going up again and solar/wind costs continue going down.
4- They argue that solar and wind power doesn't work and costs too much. The utilities and their paid lobbyists argue that solar and wind power doesn’t work or costs too much, or the current law is a mandate - not a free market, or tens of thousands of jobs are at risk. But they are operating out of fear and ignorance. They invoke names like Solyndra and Al Gore because it appeals to a vocal minority, but this is bad politics trying to replace smart policy. Solar and wind power do work. And while it may cost hundredths of a penny more per KWH today when mixed with our larger energy portfolio, the increased competition of smaller and more efficient energy developers is actually reducing market prices. And energy efficiency is having an even bigger impact on reducing overall rates. This is evident by Duke’s decision to sell its coal and gas plants in Ohio.
Our current law is a market-based solution to diversifying our energy portfolio to reduce long term risks, increasing competition to lower energy rates, and creating jobs, companies, and industries. Giving the utilities more power and control would be the epitome of picking winners and losers.
But more importantly, solar power and other advanced energy solutions are the way of the future. The proof is in watching some of the largest and most successful economies like Germany and Japan, states like New Jersey and Colorado, companies like Wal-Mart and Google, institutions like the University of Pennsylvania and the U.S. Army, and investors like Warren Buffet and Elon Musk. Even utilities are starting to invest in solar and wind power.
So don’t let the public utilities tell you their Russian Gazprom model is the way forward. Ohio’s vision and commitment to clean energy is much better than that. Governor Kasich has said so. Thousands of employees say so. And based on continual surveys – including one just released April 15 - the vast majority of Ohio voters agree. A more diversified and competitive energy industry will make us safer, healthier, and stronger.
Email Gov. Kasich to tell him you support Ohio's clean energy law and do not want to move backwards and give more control back to the utilities!
This opinion editorial is in conjunction with Ohio Advanced Energy Economy's Public Poll on maintaining clean energy legistlation.
Steve Melink, PE
President of Melink Corporation
Cedarville University Solar Array
Steve Melink shares his expertise in an exclusive publication with Consulting-Specifying Engineer Magazine. Click here to view.
Melink has partnered with REC and Sonlight Power to help provide solar panels to rural communities in Panama where there is no electric grid. Last month, our Solar Senior Sales Engineer Colin Derhammer travelled to the country for a week long mission trip to install solar on rooftops in rural communities.
Though many of us take electric lighting for granted., there are many communities and even countries around the world that have little or no electricity.
Therefore, they have no lights, refrigerators, radios, TV's, and other basic appliances other than those powered by batteries or kerosene.
Sonlight Power plans and organizes these trips throughout Latin America to not only improve the quality of lives from a practical standpoint, but also from a faith-based perspective.
Melink is proud to work with SLP and make safety, health, comfort, and education for impoverished lives a part of its broader vision for a sustainable world.
2014 Green Business Award Winners
The Business Courier and the Cincinnati Regional Chapter of United States Green Building Council (USGBC) held the 5th annual Green Business Awards on March 6th.
Winners in the Green Advocacy category:
Cincinnati Public Schools’ Safe Routes to School program
Groundwork Cincinnati – Mill Creek
Greater Cincinnati Foundation
Winners in the Green Building category:
All About Kids Childcare
University of Cincinnati
Winners in the Green Product/Service category:
Sol Design + Consulting
Winners in the Green Practice category:
Mac’s Pizza Pub
MillerCoors – Trenton brewery
Cincinnati Public Schools’ recycling program
Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
Event Sponsors: Melink Corporation (Gold), Multi-Craft (Gold), Duke Energy (Silver), PNC Bank (Silver), Sharonville Convention Center (silver)
Initiative Makes CU leader among Ohio Universities
CEDARVILLE, OHIO - Cedarville University will dedicate its large scale solar power system that will convert sunlight into clean, electricity to help meet the campus’ growing power requirements on Friday, April 26, 2013 at 1 p.m. The 2,154 kilowatt solar array was built on the southwest edge of the campus by Cincinnati-based Melink Corporation, which was responsible for the development, engineering, construction, and operation of the system.
Since the completion of the installation, power has been flowing directly into the University’s distribution system. This energy is capable of supplying, on average, 10% of Cedarville University’s demand, making it the largest solar system directly connected to a university in Ohio.
In announcing the dedication, Steve Melink, President of Melink Corporation said, “Melink is proud to serve as the developer for this very significant solar array. We would like to acknowledge our partners; U.S. Bancorp, Union Bank & Trust Company, DP&L Energy, Yellow Springs Renewable Energy, TMI Electric, and the Village of Cedarville, who provided tremendous support. It is our hope that this success will inspire other schools and universities to consider clean and affordable renewable energy solutions.”
“Congratulations to Cedarville University and Melink Corporation for making this dream a reality,” said Tom Marchael, Vice President of Union Bank & Trust Company. “This is a fine example of a public-private initiative to benefit the University and community.”
Cedarville University has been using solar technology in its academic curriculum for many years. Engineering faculty have incorporated the technology to advance missions-minded projects in Liberia and throughout the world, while the University’s engineering students have won six World Solar Splash boat competitions.
“The completion of the solar array is significant for Cedarville University, as well as the Southwest Ohio region,” said John E. Gredy, Ed.D., Provost. “This project reflects the University’s commitment to implementing new initiatives that will strengthen our Christ-centered education. I’m happy to know Cedarville University has taken the initiative to lead in renewable energy among Ohio universities.”
“The wisdom of the University’s leadership to address renewable energy is encouraging,” said Robert Fudge, Mayor of the Village of Cedarville. “This is a great day for our region.”
Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University attracts 3,400 undergraduate, graduate and online students to more than 100 areas of study. Celebrating 125 years, Cedarville is a Christ-centered learning community recognized nationally for rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings and leading student satisfaction ratings. Visit www.cedarville.edu.
Melink Corporation is committed to sustainability and provides energy savings for their customers through HVAC commissioning services, demand ventilation controls for commercial kitchens and solar power projects. The company's headquarters is a LEED Platinum, Net Zero Energy facility designed to demonstrate that sustainability is good business. With full in-house development, design and implementation capabilities, Melink is a leading solar PV integrator of commercial projects.
The Melink Corporation developed, integrated and, with support from PNC Energy Capital, now operates a ground-mount solar photovoltaic array for Urbana University to help them reduce operational costs and reduce their reliance on non-renewable energy sources. Construction began in October 2012 and the system was commissioned in November 2012.
Located on the southwest edge of campus near the football and soccer stadium in Urbana, Ohio, the array consists of 2,128 solar photovoltaic modules which contribute approximately 15% of the school’s energy needs. Most important to the university is that the array serves as a visible example of the school’s commitment to sustainability.
Melink, Honeywell and PG&E, Oh My!
Melink, Honeywell and PG&E have gotten together to provide rebates on Melink's Intelli-Hood commercial kitchen ventilation control system for customers in their area. Learn more about the success of the program.
HVAC Installation got you down? Our team has put together a Top 10 Checklist you can keep handy to make sure your HVAC system is installed correctly - some of them you can actually fix yourself.
Melink has recently joined the Green Umbrella organization and is proud to be part of the Greater Cincinnati Green Business Council that recently released its Workplace Composting Kit for companies to use to set up composting at their own facilities. If P&G and Luxottica can do it, so can you!
Melink has recently added international reps to handle our Intelli-Hood product abroad and we are continuing to add to the list. If you need a rep in Canada or Europe, here's who can help you. If you'd like to rep for us internationally (must be based abroad), contact us. With 10,000 Intelli-Hood installations worldwide, we definitely keep busy!
Steve Melink was one of 25 Cincinnati business leaders invited to the White House to share their insight about job creation and the economy with members of the senior administration on March 30th. Given that Melink has doubled in size in the past two years despite a tough economy, Steve will have a lot of feedback on what is working for our company. Read More.
See Melink at these upcoming conferences and events and make an appointment to see our team at the show.
Steve Melink will serve on the panel of the Workplace Charging Workshop on April 29th, 2014 in Columbus, Ohio at Ohio State University. Hosted by Clean Fuels Ohio.