Case Studies

National Design Build Services LLC

Heating up the LEED HVAC Market

National Design Build Services, LLC (NDBS) is a St. Charles, Mo.-based mechanical design/build firm specializing in heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration systems (HVACR). NDBS excels at projects that focus on Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) as it applies to mechanical systems and whole building automation integration. The firm offers experience in healthcare, warehouses, office buildings and refrigerated warehouses.

“NDBS’ low-overhead approach to a traditionally high-overhead marketplace allows us to compete in markets across the country,” states Principal and co-founder Benjamin Vacca, adding, “We focus on first-cost, innovative product offering, energy-efficient designs and true hands-on customer service to guarantee our clients a successful project.” By strategically partnering with experienced contractors, NDBS has established methods that ensure clients receive the very best of both the design-bid-build and design-build construction processes. This approach allows for single-source responsibility, yet promotes competitive bidding.

NDBS has been involved in energy-efficient projects across the country that depend on expertly attuned whole building systems integration. This uniquely focused company has thus far been involved with projects in over 12 states – Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Kansas, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana and Arkansas, as well as in Missouri – and has successfully completed an average of $5 million in annual activity.

NDBS was founded in 2007 by Benjamin Vacca and James Vineyard and draws on their considerable experience and expertise in the industry. With 30 years tenure in the industry, Vineyard, a LEED Accredited Professional (AP), has worked on various projects ranging from schools to hotels/motels. With Vineyard’s experience in both retrofit and start-up work partnered with the controls and engineering experience of Benjamin Vacca, P.E., NDBS has assured its clients that the company can lead local subcontractors through the intricate design and installation of LEED and energy conservation projects, refrigerated manufacturing and storage, and large facility ventilation, heating and air conditioning systems.

First Design-Build Project for the University of Missouri-Kansas City

A difficult project that Vineyard is proud of is the Oak Street West Residence Hall for the University of Missouri-Kansas City. For this project NDBS partnered up with Clayco Construction out of St. Louis for the design-build of an 82,000-square foot LEED-certified project that earned three points for optimized energy performance. The four-story building’s mechanical system incorporates dedicated outdoor air systems [DOAS] for continuous ventilation coupled with energy recovery wheels. Individual dormitories and the utility spaces are heated and cooled with closed loop water source heat pumps. Heat rejection is achieved via variable speed fans on dual cell cooing tower. Heat is added to the system with an 84-percent efficient hot water boiler. A campus-wide Honeywell building automation system monitors and controls the central plant. This project interior build-out was completed in three months, an astonishing construction schedule. Inclement weather had put the project nearly three months behind, yet owner occupancy was met on schedule.

45-Percent Reduction in Energy Usage

Vineyard has had the opportunity to work on several high-profile projects over the years, and he recounts the details of one of his favorites. This one, Vineyard explains, was a new Porsche Distribution Facility in Pennsylvania. “The owners asked us to design the project so that the building would obtain at least a LEED Gold rating, and we exceeded their expectations by nearly achieving a Platinum rating.

“We partnered with ARCO Design-Build out of Philadelphia for the 130,000-square foot office/warehouse with training facilities,” Vineyard continues. “The building’s energy cost savings achieved a 45-percent reduction in energy above the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers [ASHRAE] baseline, qualifying for 10 points in energy and atmosphere.

“We utilized high-efficiency heating and ventilation systems for the warehouse and a combination of variable air volume and variable volume-variable temperature systems to achieve this extraordinary level of performance measured by the USGBC,” states Vineyard.

LEED-certified Laboratory

Another fascinating project that NDBS has helmed is the Enterprise Center in the Arkansas Research and Technology Park, a research and incubator facility built in joint ownership with private equity firms and the University of Arkansas. The 64,000-square foot two-story building in Fayetteville, Ark., involves two clean rooms, nanotechnology labs and is a fast-track leader in high-temperature microprocessor chips.

To address the needs of this facility, NDBS installed two chilled water air handling units located in the penthouse, served by a high-efficiency air-cooled chiller. The air handling units incorporate outside air measuring stations to assure adequate ventilation for Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) and proper building pressurization. Each air handler serves a looped supply air duct system on each floor and is interconnected for redundancy in the instance of a fan failure to ensure heating and cooling at all times. The looped ductwork system allows flexibility for future tenant connection and zoning.

The building is equipped with two laboratory exhaust fans connected to a looped ductwork system serving both floors. Manifolded systems provide flexibility for duct layout changes and allow for the opportunity of greater energy savings with Variable Air Volume (VAV) control.

The Direct Digital Controls (DDC) system offers many features, such as night setback, tenant occupancy controls, energy saving strategies, tenant access and security capability, tenant energy monitoring and enhanced temperature and room pressure control. All buildings require a properly functioning control system to operate comfortably, safely and energy efficiently. This is especially true in laboratories, where there are complex HVAC systems and dangerous pollutants that must be kept away from the occupants to maintain health and safety.

NDBS has established its ability to use pre-construction analysis and estimating to assure owners that projects are delivered systems on time and on budget, and are given thorough on-site assistance, monitoring and preventative maintenance options. The firm expertly addresses energy and water efficiency, reduced emissions, and continued environmental quality across the building life cycle in its systems design.

Having reached many cost and construction goals, Vineyard is excited about the firm’s future, explaining, “We are relatively new, but we’re already making a name for ourselves on a national level with the quality of work we’re capable of here. With our low overhead and national reach, we see a great future in LEED projects and sustainable design.” In the future the company plans to go beyond working only through general contractors and to solicit work directly with project owners, as well.

National Design Build Services LLC may have only been around for a little over three years, but with the company’s commitment to responsible design and deployment – and with the recent estimate from the U.S. Green Building Council that LEED-certified HVACR projects will generate $12.5 billion in gross domestic product between 2009 and 2013 – the company’s future success is definitely heating up.

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Spring 2018



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