Jordan & Skala Engineers Inc.
Founded in 1953, Jordan & Skala Engineers Inc. (Jordan & Skala) is a leading national full-service MEP and structural engineering firm. From Atlanta to Las Vegas, Washington, D.C., to Charlotte, Dallas to Houston and now Austin, Jordan & Skala’s multidiscipline teams also offer expertise in energy services backed by the foresight to plan ahead and avoid pitfalls in the process of LEED design and construction.
“Most building engineering firms don’t offer the energy services component or LEED consulting Jordan & Skala does, so they contract that out to a third party, which in that case would be us,” explains Mike Brown, mechanical and energy services designer for the Atlanta-based firm. “We then step in and do all of the LEED documentation, consulting and other services they cannot provide.”
This model has been a means for rapid growth for Jordan & Skala as the company now resides in seven locations across the U.S. “Our expertise helps us identify and resolve issues clients cross based on our previous project experience in the energy services side,” expands Brown. “We have the insight to see particular conflicts between disciplines in the design and construction phase and especially through the commissioning process.”
The one-stop-shop for architects and developers
Jordan & Skala offers extensive in-house services, including the full scope of MEP engineering to BIM and REVIT design, structural engineering, communications systems design, audio-visual systems design, as well as security systems. On the energy front, Jordan & Skala specializes in LEED management and coordination, building commissioning, energy modeling and auditing and sustainability consulting.
“The company really began to dive into the energy services side in 2002 and 2003, starting in Dallas,” details Brown. “The division came from clients asking our design team to act as a resource in understanding, energy codes, water consumption standards and compliance.”
What started mainly with LEED guidelines, evolved over the last decade into a plethora of specialized certifications and understanding among Jordan & Skala’s leading team. “We are now fluent with standards, such as Green Globes, Austin Energy Green Build (AEGB), Energy Star, the National Green Building Standard (NGBS), International Green Construction Code (IGCC), Earth Craft, as well as local codes,” says Brown. “We currently have about seven team members based in Dallas that work in this department.”
This specialized team is so adept in green energy standards across the board that Jordan & Skala now offers green-exam prep services and private consulting for engineers seeking LEED-AP certification. “There are not many firms out there doing this,” considers Brown.
Close to home for Jordan & Skala’s specialized Dallas energy services division, is the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA), one of the company’s most significant undertakings to date. “DMA is the first project in the existing buildings category for Jordan & Skala to earn LEED Silver certification by the USGBC,” details Brown.
Established in 1903, DMA is among the 10 largest art museums in the country located in one of the nation’s largest arts districts. At the heart of the museum and its programs is its global collection, which encompasses more than 22,000 works and spans 5,000 years of history. DMA welcomes more than 650,000 guests annually and is a focal point of community creativity, diverse programming, lectures, literary events and more.
“Over its history DMA has performed retrofits to conserve energy but this is the largest, by far,” says Brown. As the prime LEED director for the Silver certification process, Jordan & Skala was a driving factor in sustainability consulting, management and coordination between the facility manager and owner. “Everything from upgrades to chillers to a mass lighting retrofit and plans for maintenance – everything needed to be tracked for LEED Silver certification,” says Brown.
DMA achieved LEED Silver certification for energy use, lighting, water, material use and more. On the inside, DMA optimized energy performance, hitting the 24th percentile, above the national median, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star portfolio manager.
The facility also took steps to reduce mercury in lamps, reduce potable water consumption and high performance green cleaning standards to reduce the exposure of visitors and staff to hazardous contaminants. Outside, DMA covered 94 percent of parking area surfaces to reduce the heat island effect, as well as a LEED compliant building exterior and hardscape management plant.
The sky’s the limit
Jordan & Skala has also stepped up to the plate as the lead sustainability consultant for a range of residential projects designed to comply with Energy Star’s new Skyhouse Multi-Family High-Rise (MFHR) program.
“Thus far, there are four projects completed and many more coming down the line, all 20-plus-story multifamily, mixed-use buildings with retail components,” reveals Brown. “For all of these buildings, we’re delivering a performance path and energy model, tracking the savings based on design changes.”
One of such ultra-efficient high-rises is the 23-story Skyhouse apartment building in Atlanta. “Located at 1084 West Peachtree Street, in the center of trendy midtown and a short distance from the Old Forth Ward District in Atlanta, the new, 23-story apartment building offers 320 units, luxury amenities, a parking deck and retail space on the ground floor,” details Brown. “Designed to comply with the MFHR program, the building is at least 15 percent more energy efficient than multifamily high-rise buildings built to current, ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2007.”
Jordan & Skala designed the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems which feature the following energy efficient components: high-performance exterior windows and doors with thermally broken frames, a high-performance building envelope using increased continuous wall and roof insulation, high efficiency heat pump HVAC systems, Energy Star appliances, low-flow water-sense plumbing fixtures and premium efficiency motors on domestic water pumps. Also, high efficiency fluorescent-LED lighting was installed throughout the building, occupancy lighting sensors in all public spaces and continuous ventilation in all living units.
“To ensure designs and systems perform as specified, the building’s systems and exterior envelope underwent commissioning and testing conducted by the energy services’ team to ensure the client’s objectives were met,” explains Brown. “With units ranging in size from 557-square-foot studios to three-bedroom apartments, the building also offers a rooftop pool, an amenity deck, spacious clubroom, a first-class fitness center and breathtaking views.”
The Atlanta Skyhouse is just one of many in the MFHR program; other projects from Houston to Dallas and Orlando to Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina, are in the works. Brown notes the company also had the honor of participating in a special project in October 2014 in New Orleans at the industry’s largest convention -Green Build. “We helped build a LEED-certified learning center in New Orleans,” he tells. “I’m involved locally with the Emerging Professionals Chapter of the NTX USGBC and this was an event for us to gather volunteers to put together a LEED retrofit for a community center in the city.”
“It’s rewarding to not only see the energy savings in a model, but also verify them out in the field and see how it all comes together—full circle in a holistic approach,” adds Brown.
That’s where Jordan & Skala Engineers Inc. shines, bringing everything from Energy Star to LEED-certified projects full circle in complete MEP, structural and energy consulting and commissioning.
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