Posts Tagged ‘energy’

Throwback Thursday (TBT) – HMMH Offices Through the Years

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

by Mary Ellen Eagan

We’ve just gone through a renovation here at HMMH’s world headquarters (the major remaining punch list item is installation of a dart board for our Thursday afternoon beer crowd).  Here’s a look at HMMH’s Boston-area offices since the beginning.

HMMH’s First Office (1981-1983): Lexington, MA

HMMH’s First Boston-Area Office (1981-1983): Lexington, MA

HMMH’s Second Boston-Area Office (1983-1993): Lexington, MA

HMMH’s Second Boston-Area Office (1983-1993): Lexington, MA 

HMMH’s Third Boston-Area Office (1993-2005): Burlington, MA

HMMH’s Third Boston-Area Office (1993-2005): Burlington, MA

HMMH’s Current Headquarters (2005-present): Burlington, MA

HMMH’s Current Headquarters (2005-present): Burlington, MA



BRIGHT IDEAS! – How airports can obtain a rebate from the Federal Government for new construction or renovations – an EXCERPT FROM THE AAAE ENERGY FORUM, March 7, 2014

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

by Steve Barrett

I was at the AAAE Energy Forum in San Diego a few weeks back.  The forum is a lesser known gathering of the AAAE community every two years where participants focus exclusively on energy issues.  I was fortunate enough to moderate a roundtable segment of the program where funding of energy efficiency technologies was discussed.  Topics included experience with Energy Services Companies (ESCOs), utility rebates, tax credits, and potential funding from the FAA.  

One of the real gems from the conference was a discussion of the 179d Tax Deduction Program, which allows designers to file energy efficiency projects for as much as a 20% tax deduction.  Now your first reaction is likely that airports, as government entities, cannot take a tax deduction because they don’t pay taxes.  And you would be correct.  However, the Internal Revenue Service allows government entities, including airports, to formally assign the tax benefit to a private entity involved in the project construction that can take advantage of and monetize the tax deduction.  

So what type of work is eligible for a tax deduction? 

Answer: any new construction or major renovation completed within the past three years that included energy code improvements that are above the ASHRAE 90.1-2001 Standard.  A simple example is changing out all your traditional lighting in a parking garage with LEDs.  20% of the cost of that project can be returned to the airport and project consultant through the 179d Program.  A real world example is occurring at Miami-Dade International Airport which installed a new central power plant and will be receiving a $1.4m credit for the work.  If you are interested in learning more, please send me an email.

Solar Farm at Indianapolis International Airport

Monday, February 11th, 2013

by Steve Barrett

One of the largest solar farms at an airport in the world is being proposed at Indianapolis International Airport.  A recent news story publicized the project. The project, however, has been in the works for a few years and will likely be implemented in several phases.  Recent news is primarily related to the start of construction on Phase I which is proposed in the southwest area of the airport near the I-70 interchange.  In the summer of 2010 when the Indianapolis Airport Authority (IAA) was considering the solar opportunity presented by the local utility and private developers, IAA engaged HMMH to assess the potential impacts of the proposed project on airspace safety.  HMMH completed a study of reflectivity, communications systems interference, and physical obstruction with Part 77 surfaces.  Due to the project’s location southwest of the air traffic control tower, no glare impacts were predicted.  Based in part on our analysis, IAA proceeded with a procurement process to select a private developer who would lease airport land and own and operate the solar farm.  HMMH was also engaged by the project developer to conduct a more detailed analysis on impacts from a modified design on both the control tower and arriving aircraft.  The IAA filed a Form 7460 with the FAA and FAA issued a determination of no hazard in the summer of 2012.  HMMH has subsequently been engaged by IAA to evaluate the Phase II location.  The Indianapolis Airport Solar Farm is a great example of the potential financial benefits available to airports in leasing underutilized lands for renewable energy development.


Chicago Rockford International Airport

Chicago Rockford International Airport Solar Farm


HMMH Starts Work on Energy Siting Guidebook for the Aviation Industry

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

by Steve Barrett

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has officially announced the selection of the HMMH Team to prepare “Guidebook for Energy Projects Compatibility with Airports and Airspace.”   The objective of this research is to produce a guidebook supported by empirical evidence that provides best practices for aviation safety associated with planning, developing and constructing energy production and transmission technologies at and around airports.

The project is funded under the NAS Transportation Research Board’s Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) and sponsored by the Federal Aviation Administration.  The ACRP is an industry-driven, applied research program that develops near-term, practical solutions to problems faced by airport operators.  HMMH has undertaken several other ACRP research projects associated with aviation noise issues.

The Guidebook will review information on energy and airports including issues associated with solar photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar power, wind energy, power plant stacks and cooling towers, electric transmission lines, and oil and gas drilling.  Potential impacts include physical obstruction, glint and glare, radar interference, and thermal plumes.  The Guidebook will rely on existing experience like solar PV projects at Manchester, Indianapolis, and Fresno, and oil/gas drilling operations at Elmira-Corning, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Denver.

HMMH will be working with experts in the energy field.  The Department of Energy’s Sandia National Laboratories will evaluate solar glint and glare.  Bryan Miller, former Department of Defense Liaison to the White House, will review wind energy and radar issues.  Professor Yu Zhang from the University of South Florida will contribute knowledge about existing and future air traffic operations.  And Mary Vigilante of Synergy will provide oversight on airport operational issues.  The Guidebook will be delivered to the ACRP in the fall of 2013.  I look forward to managing this project and advancing the state of practice for enhanced energy project siting.

Moon Power: HMMH Moves Into a New and Exciting Field

Friday, September 18th, 2009

by Steve Barrett

Tides are the rising and falling of Earth’s ocean surface caused by gravitational forces of the moon and sun.  The rising and falling is most dramatic twice each month when the Sun, Earth, and Moon align in space, revealed to skygrazers as either a full or new moon.

Moon Phases Diagram

Moon Phases Diagram:

Tides are also more pronounced at the poles than at the equator, and in jagged and irregular coastlines than straight coasts.

Bay of Fundy at high and low tide, taken by Samuel Wantman in 1972

Bay of Fundy at high and low tide, taken by Samuel Wantman in 1972

People have used the power of the Earth to do work for centuries.  River water and the wind driving grist mills provide the most familiar examples.  The power of the tides has been more difficult to harness primarily due to the vastness of the ocean.  Recent advances in technology are making the conversion of tidal currents to electricity possible.

HMMH is currently working with the Town of Edgartown, Massachusetts to investigate the opportunity of extracting tidal current energy from the Muskegat Channel – located between Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket – to provide power to the Town’s residents.

For a view of the study area, see:

A 2005 report by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) on tidal energy resources identified Muskegat Channel as the best tidal energy site in Massachusetts.  Because Muskegat Channel is within 3 miles of land and therefore in the legal boundaries of Edgartown, the Town decided to claim the right to evaluate the resource for energy development.  In March of 2007, it was granted a Preliminary Permit from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), giving it exclusive development rights.  Since that time, the Town has been working with researchers at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth’s School for Marine Science and Technology to more accurately measure and map the current velocity in Muskegat Channel to confirm the power of the resource and its capacity to generate electricity.  These data, reported in July of 2009, confirmed that the power of the currents (measured in knots per second) was even better than that predicted in the 2005 EPRI Report.  With this fundamental puzzle piece now placed, the next step is to prepare a project concept, undertake baseline environmental data collection, and conduct analyses of potential impacts from the project.

In anticipation of this next phase, Edgartown asked HMMH if it would lead a proposal team to bid on a solicitation from the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Power Program to fund baseline environmental data collection and environmental impact analysis.  In early June, HMMH submitted its proposal titled “Environmental Effects of Sediment Transport Alteration and Impacts on Protected Species: Edgartown Tidal Energy Project.”  On September 3rd, DOE awarded grant funds to HMMH to implement the research.

HMMH’s proposal is based on the installation of a 1.5 MW pilot stage tidal energy project.  The study will consider each of the two prevailing tidal energy technologies that could be used:

  1. horizontal open bladed turbines mounted on monopoles
  2. horizontal helical turbines that float from moorings
Helical Turbine

Helical Turbine

A graphic illustration of an open-bladed turbine can be viewed at:

Projects for each of the two technologies have been demonstrated on the East Coast of the U.S.  In the East River in New York City, Verdant Power has deployed two horizontal bladed turbines and presently has an application before FERC for a larger pilot project.  Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC) has deployed a one-third scale model of a helical turbine in the western passage near Eastport, Maine and is currently building a full-scale model to be deployed this winter.

For the Muskegat Channel Environmental Study, the DOE is funding Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and UMASS-Dartmouth to conduct baseline data collection to characterize the oceanographic processes and benthic habitat in Muskegat Channel, which will be used to develop a site-specific computer model for predicting changes in sediment dispersion caused by the pilot tidal project.  The model will be run for both types of technologies for comparison.  The Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies will be collecting all of the available existing information on marine protected species occurring in Muskegat Channel and assessing the potential impacts of the two tidal technologies on those species based on known behaviors and habitat preferences.  HMMH, acting as the Town of Edgartown’s consultant, will manage and direct all research activities, interact with regulatory agencies and the public, and facilitate all project reporting.  The studies will be completed over a two year period.