Monday, November 10, 2014

OHSU Center for Health and Healing

Team Delta from the CE111 Introduction to Civil Engineering class visited OHSU Center for Health and Healing at 3303 S.W. Bond Avenue on Wednesday, November 05, 2014.  The purpose of this visit was for students to learn the different types of facilities the building incorporated into their energy savings plan.  Our host was Scott Germeshausen, Chief Operating Engineer.    The visit lasted approximately one hour.  Travis gave us a tour of the build.  His tour focused on power plant, solar panel, green roof and the water treatment system.        

Observations and Information

Scot began the tour in the lobby.  The OHSU Center for Health & Healing is a 400,000 square foot 16-story medical office building.  The building achieved double-platinum certifications for LEED New Construction (LEED-NC) in 2007.  The Center for Health & Healing is currently the only building of its kind nationwide.  With a unique mix of medical offices, research labs, outpatient surgery as well as a full service retail gym, pharmacy, optical shop and restaurant, the Center for Health & Healing was the first non-residential building to open in Portland's South Waterfront district.  

The floor is heated by hot water tube and cooled by the constantly opened lobby door.  The thermal expansion of the floor caused cracks in the terrazzo floor.  This was only a cosmetic problem, not structural problems.  The design lacked sufficient expansions in the terrazzo.  More expansion joint was added which fixed the problem.  This was one of the many lessons learned.    

The building is 61% more energy-efficient than required by Oregon code.  The south-side façade on the 15th and 16th floors form a 6,000 square foot trombe wall which is a giant solar air heater, warm air from it is circulated through the building in winter.  This idea takes advantage of the basic properties of heat which rises to the top floor.  Scot pointed out that it’s technically not a trombe wall.  The architect was concern that the interior light behind the glass façade would leak light and cause light pollution at night.  However, it was discovered that the light did not emit much lumen.  The dark glass could have been clear to gather more of the sun’s energy and heat.  It was too expensive to change out the dark glass. 

Scot showed us the chilled beams that combined convective cooling systems with displacement ventilation.  This technique cuts energy use by 20-30% under conventional Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems.  The difficulty with this system is the condensation that could collect and drip from the chill beam.  The technicians put a system in place to maintain the correct temperature to prevent condensation.       

The sunshades on south façade double as a solar electricity generator.  Scot pointed out that the solar panel does not generate much energy.  It works more as a passive solar shading device that blocks out high angle summer sun while allowing low angle winter sun to light the interior space.  The building system also includes an integrated day-light system, naturally ventilated stair towers.  The stair tower has louvers and dampers that automatically open and closes, adjusts to allow the heat to escape and block the cold air from entering. 
The gas-fueled co-generation system powered by five 60-kw microturbines is the first of its size to be installed in Oregon.  It is located nearby, outside of the building.  Heat and power production on site saves roughly 9 million points of CO2 carbon emissions per year (equal to operating 900 cars.) 

An onsite waste-water treatment plant keeps 15,000 gallons of waste-water a day from reaching the city’s overburden sewer system and a special engineered bio-swale filters and cleanses rainwater before it flows into the Willamette River.

The eco-roofs had some interesting challenges as well.  The sedum could not be installed because the construction of the roof was not finished.  Sedums had to be transplanted on a farm green house.  The technicians believe that clovers from the farm contaminated the sedum.  Clovers are a problem because they can take over the sedums grows.  Because clovers require more water from the irrigation system than sedum, the browning shows against the green sedum.  The rain water is recycled and green roof reduces the heat island effect and is the overall storm water strategy.  Walker Macy led the design of the roof gardens.  The building is topped off with an non-accessible eco-roof on the 17th floor.  The total area of extensive green roof  is 7,802 sf and intensive green roof is 6,970 sf, not including walking surfaces.


There are problems and challenges in any innovative building project.  Because it is the first to be down, OHSU Center for Health and Healing was an experiment.  The owner and the architects took risk which later benefits the environment.  The success of this building also encouraged other building project and raises the public’s attention.  There are improvement and revisions to change in hind site.  For example, the waste water treatment plant was small and it’s reaching it’s capacity to serve the building already.  The building used more water because it is a lab and sterilization equipment uses much more water than anticipated.  The possibility for a larger waste treatment plant to serve the whole campus would have been more efficient. 

Developer Dennis Wilde, a principal at Gerding Edlen, posed a challenge:  Reduce the capital costs for the building’s mechanical system by 25% but make it outperform the Oregon energy code by 60%.  The mix of swimming pools, surgery suite, research lab each with cooling and ventilation demands far beyond the norm made Wilde’s challenge more difficult.  Wilde believes that we habitually building building full of mechanical equipment that’s seldom used.  Why not get creative and make the parts serve more than one function.  For example, a roof that provides beauty collects rain water and reduces heat.  Another example is plumbing system that recycles its water and filters the waste water on site.  The Center for Health and Healing is a lesson in the architecture of integration.             


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Contech lab

Field trip to contech.  


To:                   Tom Szymoniak
From:                Duc Ly
Date:                October 23, 2014
Subject:           ConTech Office Visit

Team Delta from the CE111 Introduction to Civil Engineering class visited Contech Engineered Solutions at 11835 NE Glenn Widing Drive on Wednesday, October 23, 2014.  The purpose of this visit was for students to learn the different types of work civil and environmental engineers do in a company.  Our host was Travis, a civil engineer project manager.  The visit lasted approximately one hour.  Travis presented a Power Point presentation.  His presentation focused on Contech storm water products and services,  The engineering team behind the business and the education of a well-rounded engineer.  We then briefly toured the lab with lab manager Debbie Beck and Jim Lenhart.  Observation and discussion are presented below.       

Observations and Information

Travis began the presentation with the hydrological cycle.  Contech Company produces pumps, storm filters, and other items to control flooding in parking lots, housing developments and a variety of different sites.  The company makes green-water harvesting apparatus, “tree in a box”, storm filter, hydro trash separator.  Their focus is on hydrodynamics, treatment and detention.  Multiple products work together on the same site to control, recycle, and mitigate environmental impacts.  Contech also provides field monitoring. 

Contech engineering team does product research and development, testing of products; invent new machines to perform the job more efficiently through value engineering.  Their engineers provide a resource to potential clients to help them select the right product for the right job.  The engineers often work with the city to improve or upgrade the code for stricter environmental regulation.  The office has a few scientist, three or four environmental engineers and geotechnical engineers. 

Travis showed two slides of skills not learned in school that he saw lacking in recent graduates and interns.  He emphasized written and verbal communication, presentation, time managements and teamwork.  He sees business these essential skills are just as important as engineering skills.  Jim also express hands on experience such as construction, operating and logistics as an important part of a project completion, installation, and maintenance of products used to mitigate the water resource. 


One main theme of Travis’s presentation was the diverse set of skills that is necessary to succeed as an engineer.  Even though Contech’s emphasis is on selling products and improving profits, there is an engineering team behind the product doing research which in turn provides a better and more innovative storm pump to help clean up the environment. 

Jim Lenhart demonstrated his invention for a storm pump which uses basic fundamental knowledge of hydro static pressure to create a more efficient pump.  It is refreshing to see that not all engineering work is codes and calculations.  To be a well-rounded engineer requires business skill as well and creative vision to make better products.  Debbie Beck pointed out that because Contech is a private company, she doesn’t have to write grant proposals for research and development like some public and academic institutions.  Business is the driving force behind the research and the environment can benefit.  Business and sale has had a negative connotation in the engineering field.  Both Jim and Travis commented that as a consultant engineer, they both engage at a sale and service level.      


Overall, the visit to Contech office was very useful for increasing my understanding of how business, sales, and product intertwine in the engineer’s profession.  I also learned more about other skills sets that I would need to succeed as an engineer in the business world.  The trip would have been even more educational if I had learned more about what an intern or a recent graduate daily work routine. 


Concrete mix

PSU green house

Sunday, October 5, 2014

SE Division


This memo describes the ASCE Geotechnical Meeting that took place at the Crown Plaza on October 1, 2014

This memo describes the ASCE Geotechnical Meeting that took place at the Crown Plaza on October 1, 2014.

Meeting Description          
Bruce Macdonald from Tre Canada presented a lecture about InSARTM technology his firm uses to measure surface Deformation.  Interferometric synthetic aperture radar, abbreviated InSAR or IfSAR, is a radar technique used in geodesy and remote sensing.  He began the lecture with a image of a satellite that orbits the earth.  The satellite is position at one place, a point on the earth’s meridian.  It gathers information.  The earth rotates. 
DInSARTM is differential InSARTM.  DInSARTM has a precision in Centimeters.  It is capable of gathering information of a 3m x 3m earth surface.  Previous image provides 2321/Km2 points density.  The new image provides 17,000/Km2 resolution.  As advertised on the website, SqueeSARTM has identified many more ground points.  This increases the overall understanding of surface displacement occurring in an area of interest.  SqueeSARTM uses algorithm that offers significantly increased coverage of ground points especially over non-urban areas.   

Tre Canada mines the data from different government agency satellites.  The satellites are not their own.  However, obtaining the data and correlating the data to the specific client need is a highly time consuming and technically difficult task.  Deformation of the earth surface is a serious issue for the environment and the safety of the community.  Oil companies have to be monitored by the government to meet the safety standards as they mine the surface of the earth which causes deformation.  This technology is also used
to monitor landslide activities hazardous areas.  The whole country of Italy has been monitored by satellites for their frequent and ongoing land deformation, inventory of existing cases of landslides and stabilizing program monitoring.            

Lessons Learned
I learned a great deal of information during Bruce’s presentation.  Improvements are rapid.  TRE introduced SqueeSARTM in 2010.  There are companies that mine these free satellite data to make a great profit.  The cost for monitoring a small plot of land of 3m x 3m can in as much as $100,000 USD.  The data needs to be processed.  Alogorithms are used to make sense of the data and organized into coherent presentations that are useful to the client.   

The field of GIS and satellite imaging is fascinating.  The presentation display multi disciplines and techniques.  There is a bit of math in the algorithms, a bit of geography, surveying, environmental, geotechnical and business.  Engineering field is comprehensive and complex.  Computer technology has provided new techniques to better understand the planet earth.  The future will benefit more from these improvements and hopefully lower the costs of these satellite monitoring to provide us information for studying the earth’s surface and provide a safer living environment.        

Attachment A – Figure 1

Attachment A.  
Figure 1 shows a schematic representation of the PSInSAR approach. 


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Plane survey

This mark is done by the city of Portland.  The crew was moving on moving the street car track near PSU Campus. 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Shear Soil

The only thing to fear is shear itself.
Don't fear the shear.  Soils lab from yesterday.  The shear line is almost a perfect example of what is suppose to happen.   
We are getting into Mohr-Coulomb_theory .,%20Das%29/311-363.PDF

Direct shear lab: homework 8:

Text book examples:  tex book .PDF