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Case Study: A Solution to that Drafty Feeling

The Business Review by Michael DeMasi, Reporter

Date: Friday, January 20, 2012

After spending $12 million on a new warehouse and corporate headquarters in Amsterdam, officials at Hill & Markes were dismayed in October when they started feeling cold drafts.

Andrea Packer, vice president of marketing and an owner of the janitorial supply company, called John Yost at MH Professional Engineering PLLC in Clifton Park.

Yost knows the building well.

As director of commissioning services at MH Professional Engineering, he had inspected the 130,000-square-foot building during construction last year.

Yost returned to the site and found that the control sequence for the heating and ventilation system needed to be fine-tuned.

“We had sharp, abrupt swings in the temperature,” Yost said. “We called the controls contractor. They looked at it, and in a matter of a couple hours, they fixed it.”

The adjustment was a small but important example of how commissioning helped Hill & Markes ensure the new buliding systems were operating as designed.

“John was watching our back,” Packer said. “Whatever he did to fix things was worth the money.”

Although Hill & Markes could have complained directly to the HVAC controls contractor, Yost said having the third-party advocate on the company’s behalf made a difference.

“We have experience with these contractors,” Yost said. “We proved to them they needed to do something.”

Hill & Markes did not intend on commissioning the new headquarters, but embraced the idea after being referred to Yost by the builder, Malone & Tate in Schenectady.

Hill & Markes will pursue LEED Gold certification frrom the U.S. Green Building Council. The application process, which can start after the facility has been open a year, will include another commissioning.

Going gree has already paid off for the company, which had $60 million in revenue in 2010 and employs 170 people. “Our building is three times the size of the building we left, and the energy costs are 20 percent less,” Packer said.

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