What’s New With Alares? Level II Energy Survey & Analysis

Architectural Staff at Alares  

Alares has been contracted to perform a Level II Energy Survey and Analysis at the Oak Ridge Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) in Oak Ridge, TN.  

The main objective of the audit is to ensure EISA 432 compliance and to assess the facility to determine what measures might be taken to reduce energy and water consumption while also reducing the total Greenhouse Gas (GHG) footprint. Alares Energy Engineers will inspect the energy intensive equipment in the field, assess the energy and water usage of the facility, and work with staff at the facility to make energy efficiency improvements.  

Notable systems include the central air handling units, lighting, and solar electricity generation 


What’s New With Alares? Awarded Contracts

Alares was awarded with the following contracts:

  • 6 EUL Contracts with VA
  • House Doctor Contract with DHCD of Mass
  • VA Facility Asset Assessments
  • VA Retro Commissioning

Alares Awarded Contracts with the VA


The Department of Veterans Affairs’ Enhanced-Use Lease Program (EUL) provides a mechanism for a non-VA entity to develop and operate supportive housing for homeless and at-risk Veterans and their families on VA property.  These EUL projects provide safe, affordable living arrangements near health care providers, which contribute to a positive health care outcome for Veterans.  The EUL program is managed through the Office of Asset Enterprise Management (OAEM). The OAEM executes the Building Utilization Review and Repurposing (BURR) initiative, whereby unused and underused land and buildings that are existing VA property is evaluated for homeless housing projects through both public-private collaboration and VA’s EUL program. Alares has been awarded 6 different contracts to assist the OAEM in developing the following new EUL locations:    Marion, IN, Menlo Park & Monterey, CA, Prescott, AZ, Tuskegee, AL and Augusta/Dublin, GA.


Alares Welcomed to the House Doctor Program


Alares was selected by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department Designer Selection Committee to be a part of the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) House Doctor Program for the Bureau of Housing Development and Construction.    Alares was one of many talented pools of consultants that were selected to work with DHCD on the capital projects at state-aided, local housing authorities.  Alares signed a Structural Engineering contract with DHCD, which became effective as of July 1, 2020.


Awarded Retro-Commissioning Contract for VISN 1


The Veterans Administration awarded Alares with a contract totally $770K to conduct retro commissioning services, which inspects HVAC equipment, for VISN1*.    VISN1 consist of 11 VA Medical facilities located in New England.


Albany VAMC Boiler Replacement Project


VA awarded the Albany, NY Boiler Replacement Project to Alares!  The project includes design and construction period services for replacing the primary boilers serving the Albany VAMC main hospital.    The goal of the project is to improve the boiler plant’s reliability and efficiency.

*VISN= Veterans Integrated Service Network. VA’s Veterans Health Administration is divided into 21 areas called VISNs

What’s New With Alares? Awarded Contracts

Alares was awarded with the following contracts:

  • Sanitary Sewer Upgrade
  • Seismic Deficiencies
  • AE Chiller Replacement Design

    VAMC Upgrade Sanitary Sewer Project   

The Veterans Affairs Administration awarded Alares with the A/E Professional Design Services for the Upgrade Sanitary Sewer Phase 2 project at VA Medical Center Central Western Massachusetts located in Leeds, MA.   This project is the continuation of two previous projects to replace the aging sanitary sewer system. The VA estimates that there is approximately 6900 feet of sewer system that requires replacement. This includes replacing the sewer main as well as connections to buildings throughout the campus. There were two previous projects; Phase 1 was completed in 2014, as well as a project in 1990. The intent of this project is to replace all remaining sewer system elements installed prior to 1990. 


Seismic Deficiencies at the East Orange NJ VAMC 

Alares was contracted to correct seismic deficiencies in one of the boiler plants at the VA Health Care System, East Orange, NJ.  Alares will design upgrades to the existing building frame structure and the non-structure components & equipment’s with a focus on seismic problems and noncompliance and bring the building structure and all its components up to compliance with all applicable current seismic codes.  


AE Chiller Replacement Design VAMC  

Awarded to Alares from the VA was the A/E Chiller Replacement Design at the VA Healthcare System located at the Manchester VA Medical Center.  The scope of this project consists of A/E services to design the replacement of the existing chillersThe new chiller system will provide redundancy and provide cooling for the various air handling units throughout the medical center.  Alares will conduct a study to confirm the chiller capacity is appropriate for the identified spaces. 


What’s New With Alares? Cost Estimation

Alares Expands into Construction Estimating  


Alares has expanded its staff skillsets with recent hires and is officially expanding its scope of services to include cost estimation.   


All projects share a tie with costs and budgets and that information can be just as critical as the designs we create.  With the ability to do both, our value to the client is increased.  We find this opportunity especially intriguing as the technical areas of our design expertise are the same areas where estimates are typically unreliable.  We are certain that we can bring a superior product to the marketplace.   


Bob Fortier, Director of Operations, has had estimating experience with multiple contractors and owners as well as with a national estimating firm and will lead this effort for Alares. 


What’s New With Alares? In-House Architectural Staff

Architectural Staff at Alares 


Alares has expanded its in-house Architectural staff with the addition of Sunny Hwang, licensed AIA in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.   


This addition will grow, not only our general design capacity but also our Project Management expertise.  Sunny will be running projects in multiple public sector areas to include GSA, VA, and DHCD.  

In-house architectural resources are especially critical to Alares as the work required to support our mostly mechanical focus presents very unique challenges.   

First is the development of more detailed site conditions, an area in which we have a significant focus on 3D scanning and Revit modeling.  Following that is the continual challenge of ensuring that all work is coordinated – one of the more difficult tasks of the designer. 

Our mission is to improve the lives of our veterans through architectural and engineering design – swiftly, and without sacrificing quality.  Our team of Architects and Engineers shares a genuine and collective drive to find the best solutions to the projects our clients need to get done. 


The COVID-19 pandemic will require changes to select parts of infrastructure within healthcare building systems, including hospitals, urgent care clinics, and other medical facilities. Healthcare providers are being advised to isolate COVID-19 patients both from the rest of the building’s patient population as well as from the health care providers that support these patients. 

Typically, infectious disease patients represent a limited portion of a hospital’s patient population. 

However, as result of this pandemic, healthcare providers may need to make changes to the ventilation systems supporting the areas of a hospital (or other medical facility) where COVID-19 patients are located. 


» Under typical operating conditions, healthcare facilities provide for patient isolation in select rooms. However, these facilities may need to update building systems ventilation systems to support an effective response to substantially increasing patient loads. 

» With the prospect of considerable increases in patient load, hospitals will need to consider a substantial expansion of isolation spaces on a wing-by-wing or building-by-building basis, providing for mechanical isolation of infected patients 

» Outside of select isolation areas, patient spaces traditionally operate with slight positive pressurize, in relation to other adjacent spaces and the outside. 

Little regard is paid to isolation of individual patient rooms within the facility 

» Reversing space and building pressurization will require an informed strategy of modifying building air 

handling systems to create as much isolation space as the existing systems can support. 


Isolation of patient treatment rooms requires that the airflow from the ventilation system draw air from clean spaces outside the treatment area (patient room) into the room. The air drawn into the room should then be filtered and exhausted to a safe exterior location. 

» ASHRAE/ASHE Standard 170-2017, Ventilation of Health Care Facilities, indicates the pressure difference required to maintain a negative pressure is 2.5 Pa or .01” water column. 

» As you begin to change standard patient rooms to isolation spaces, the negative pressure relationship between the rooms and the adjacent corridor and the patient rooms to any adjacent patient or support spaces becomes complex. It is not enough to simply make each room negative to the corridor because you could be creating paths for pathogens to move from one room to another. 

» Operating Rooms must remain positive to their surroundings. Compounding pharmacies need to remain negative to their surroundings to their adjacent clean spaces while isolating the pharmacy from the COVID-19 pathogens. In implementing modifications to any adjacent wings and/or spaces, the hospital team must insure that these spaces are not compromised. 

» While a hospital may want to isolate one wing for the control of the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the building must continue to maintain individual isolation for the control of both COVID-19 and airborne infectious diseases that healthcare facilities deal with on a daily basis. 


The compounding effect of changing the pressurization of a facility is complicated. In order to change pressure relationships on a wing or building scale, it will require that the building operators take the following issues into consideration: 

» The capacities of the installed equipment, 

» The implemented control strategies of that equipment and 

» The air distribution systems that will be adapted to this new isolation strategy. 

While facilities and clinical staff are discussing re-purposing spaces and portions of facilities, it will be important to include support of engineering teams that can both quantify existing system capacities and implement short term modifications and longer term facility upgrades to allow for improved and expanded patient isolation. Through a strategy of immediate system adjustments, supported by physical modifications, improvements in patient isolation can occur very quickly as the crisis develops. This kind of thoughtful modifications to your facilities will be a critical element to managing the infection control potential of any virus whose primary transmission mechanism is by aerosols. 


NV5 encourages you to reach out to professionals who can provide assistance in modifying your building systems or cleaning your facilities. 

NV5 has available and qualified staff for your needs: 

» Industrial hygiene experts that help develop and execute decontamination protocols. 

» Consulting engineers who can assist in identifying building system modification options and in making short term 

adjustments to achieve incremental improvements in patient isolation. 

» Commissioning engineers and technicians that can support confirmation that the modified facilities can provide a safe 

and reliable short term solution to the capacity challenge of this virus. 

» Building operations monitoring that can improve the visibility and ongoing effectiveness of the modified systems. 

Energy Efficiency in Hospitals: Lower Costs and Increase Comfort

Energy efficiency measures in hospitals can reduce the total amount of energy used each year and lower utility costs.

At the same time, new building controls also provide ideal environments for patients, staff, and visitors without excess energy use. Building Automated Systems (BAS) work to maintain temperatures and lighting at optimal levels, providing constant comfort and safety and keeping energy costs down.

Energy Audits help you determine your current energy usage – where you use it and how much. Then a hospital facility can be assessed to find way to adjust or upgrade building systems – to increase energy efficiency and improve indoor conditions throughout.

Alares Hires Fabrizio Cornali, PhD as Senior Structural Engineer

Boston, MA. – March 12, 2020 – Alares hires Fabrizio Cornali, PhD as Senior Structural Engineer

Cornali brings his extensive structural engineering experience with specific expertise in seismic evaluation and design. He has worked with both government agencies and private industry. Cornali has his Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Engineering and Applied Sciences from the University of Bergamo, (Tufts University). He also has a Master of Science (M.Sc.), and a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Building Engineering.

In his role Cornali will manage the structural engineering department with a focus on seismic upgrade design. Currently he is working on several seismic upgrade projects for the Department of Veterans Affairs. Don Maggioli, CEO of Alares said “We’re very excited to have Fabrizio on board. His depth of experience, knowledge and management capabilities will complement our growing team of seasoned engineers.”

Alares achieves measurable results in design, energy, environmental and commissioning.

For more information, contact Carol Costello at 617-481-6390.


The COVID-19 pandemic, having 10 to 30 times greater mortality rate than influenza, will require an expansion of isolation treatment spaces within existing hospitals and healthcare clinics were given the substantially increasing patient loads.

Airborne Infection Isolation Rooms

Your objective will be to develop isolation spaces that achieve a negative space pressure, direct airflow from clean to dirty areas, exhaust all airflow, and maintain temperature/humidity between 70-75ºF/less than 60%.

To change airflow and pressure relationships within your building, you will need to consider the following:

• Installed ventilation and base building equipment capacities

• Implemented control strategies of the equipment

• Air distribution systems to be adapted to this new isolation strategy.

Through a strategy of immediate system adjustments, supported by physical modifications, improvements in patient isolation can occur very quickly as the crisis develops.

Additional Considerations

• Administrative controls and adequate personal protective equipment for operations support teams

• Prepare all HEPA units and Stackhouse’s for adapting standard patient rooms for small scale surges

• Bifurcate high traffic areas and suspected COVID-19 patient proximity from high risk patients

Alares/NV5 Resources Are Available to Help

Alares/NV5 has design and commissioning engineers available who can assist in qualifying building system capacities and make short-term adjustments to achieve incremental improvements in patient isolation. Please contact NV5 professionals at david.mannix@nv5.com or in 651-634-7356 for assistance.