Geothermal systems use the natural thermal mass of the Earth to condition buildings by supplying or removing heat.

The temperature beneath the Earth's surface remains nearly constant, between 50°F and 60°F depending on geographic location. A ground source heat pump extracts heat in the winter for heating and transfers heat back into the ground in the summer for cooling.

The ideal geothermal system functions to maximize system efficiency and to reduce the operational costs of traditional heating and cooling systems. Each system design needs to take into account various factors, such as location and building operation.

By applying holistic design practices, DLB has become an expert on this topic, with extensive experience interacting with clients and designing geothermal systems to meet their needs. Some DLB projects featuring geothermal systems include:

  • Southern Regional Board of Education – Manahawkin, NJ
  • Gloucester County College Police Academy – Sewell, NJ
  • Summerfield Elementary School – Neptune, NJ
  • D.D. Eisenhower School – Berlin Township, NJ


A Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant is one that produces both electrical and thermal energy from a single fuel source, thereby reducing energy costs by simultaneously satisfying electrical and thermal loads with a local plant.

By using the 'waste heat' from the primary mover (engine / turbine) to satisfy thermal loads, the end user is able to better utilize the energy content of the source fuel. The system may also be considered a green solution because the local nature of the plant removes significant losses that are otherwise incurred in distribution.

The viability study for a CHP system is a complex rubric that requires a diverse knowledge base. At its most fundamental level, it is important to have relatively expensive electric when compared to natural gas / fuel oil.

The utility cost that is saved by a CHP system is the result of an interplay of utility tariffs, real-time demand topology, and use profiles. The thermal energy recaptured must also be of a suitable quality to meet the demands of the facility or it will remain as waste heat.

And, since a CHP plant is a sophisticated machine, there are upfront capital costs as well as maintenance and operating costs, all of which must be part of the lexicon of the viability analyzer.


Part of New York's Greener Greater Buildings Plan, Local Law 87 requires most buildings over 50,000 sq.ft. to file an Energy Efficiency Report (EER) with the Department of Buildings.

The EER consists of an ASHRAE Level II energy audit and retro-commissioning study of base building systems.

With EERs for the first group of buildings needing to be submitted in 2013, DLB has already been involved and performed Local Law 87 compliance services for buildings such as Louis Vuitton's at 57th Street in Manhattan.

The Energy Audits cover base building systems, including HVAC, electrical distribution, lighting, domestic hot water, building envelope, and conveying systems.

Retro-commissioning requires compliance with 26 specific requirements covering base building systems. DLB's experience has shown significant improvements can be seen with efficiency as a result of the retro commissioning process.

DLB has experience on all facets of the process, including assisting with applying for available incentive funding through NYSERDA.

Atlanta's Better Building Challenge

In February 2011, President Obama, building upon the investments of the Recovery Act, announced the Better Buildings Initiative to make commercial buildings 20% more energy efficient by 2020 and accelerate private sector investment in energy efficiency.

DLB is on the steering committee and leading edge of the program in Atlanta, which leads the program nationally in the number of buildings meeting the challenge and recognized cost savings.

DLB has performed energy audits for building owners including Coca Cola, Selig Enterprises, Centennial Tower, identifying Energy Conservation Measures (ECM) such as:

  • Elimination of excessive cooling tower make up water
  • High efficiency equipment upgrades (chillers, boilers)
  • Chiller optimization & enhanced controls
  • Outside air control optimization
  • Solar efficient window tinting
  • Lighting motion sensors

The audits completed by DLB represent:

  • More than 6 Million gallons of water saved annually
  • Over 1-million sq ft of building space
  • Annual energy savings of $1.3M
  • Average energy savings of 24%