ES mobile app

Coming Soon...our new mobile app!

Columns / Letters

Pharmaceutical projects

January 2, 2013

I am writing this email in response to Howard McKew’s “Tomorrow’s Environment” column titled, "Pharmaceutical Projects Are Different?" in the October issue of Engineered Systems (page76).

I really enjoyed reading your article and feel you made your point clear. You did an excellent job of comparing two extreme situations and pointing out the flaws in each of them.

I agree with pharmaceutical engineers that their projects are different but then again all projects are. The reason they are different does not match the way they invest their money, though. What makes them different is that they are simple compared to others.

If they are simple, they should not be spending a great amount of money in building projects and O&M because it is unnecessary.

Their projects seem to be very effective, but they need to focus on being efficient with their investments.

On the other hand, K-12 HVAC systems seem not to be efficient or effective. Without the proper funds, they will be unable to produce an optimum HVAC system. These projects are obviously more complicated because they are required to perform multiple functions. Unlike pharmaceutical companies, K-12 HVAC systems need to invest more in building projects and O&M. This is necessary to set up the HVAC systems and keep them running correctly.

Companies really need to focus on efficiency and effectiveness. Following the ASHRAE handbook is a good start and it is a shame that more companies do not take advantage of the information it provides.

Tabitha Larsen


Polytechnic Institute of NYU


McKew responds:

There are several other equally stringent applications such as health care and data centers, and certainly pharmaceutical design engineering is not more sophisticated than those HVAC systems.

O&M is important with any HVAC systems, so I don’t have a problem with investing in O&M, but quite honestly, maintenance is not as stringent as they would like you to believe.

State energy codes have made these systems be more energy-efficient than in the past, but unfortunately the O&M for these systems are not adequately budgeted, and the personnel doing the maintenance may not be adequately trained to keep the systems fine-tuned.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

ES Gallery: Snapshots & Systems

Check out highlights from projects featured in our magazine this year!
3/27/14 11:00 am EST

How to Calculate Backup Power Supply Requirements for Your Facility

On-Demand This webinar reviews how to determine power requirements of facility loads; electrical characteristics and impact of different types of loads such as large motors and UPS systems on power supply sizing; acceptable power sources and other constraints applied by building codes; and how software tools can be used to simplify the process of calculating backup power requirements.  


Engineered Systems Magazine

ES April 2014 cover

2014 April

Check out the April 2014 issue of Engineered Systems, with features on backup power supply requirements, cyberattacks, and much more!

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Design Flaws

Following up on Howard McKew's April "Tomorrow's Environment" column: Have you ever thought twice about reporting problems with another firm's design? What did you do?
View Results Poll Archive


The Green Energy Management Book

Learn from our experts how to evaluate job opportunities, market your services, sell a Walk-through Survey, target areas for an Energy Audit, calculate energy savings, do retrofit work, and win continuing contracts for retrofit work.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas Research ImageWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

Tomorrow's Environment Podcast

This series from longtime columnist and chronic forward-thinker Howard McKew covers a lot of ground -- from retrocommissioning to systems training, on toward checklists for drawings and tips for meeting minutes. Click HERE to be taken to the podcast page!


new Facebook icon Twitter icon YouTube iconLinkedIn icon