Estimating Gas Load in Chicago Buildings

Topics: natural gas domestic hot water generation, natural gas piping, Chicago MEP engineer, electrical power connections, gas load estimations

Michael Tobias
Author : Michael Tobias on January 22, 2019

Due to exorbitant electricity costs and other related benefits, homeowners in Chicago consider the mix of electricity and natural gas. In 2017 alone, the US natural gas consumption has amounted to 27 trillion cubic feet, which is equivalent to 28 quadrillion British Thermal Units (BTU). This shows how gas usage has become popular in many US buildings, Chicago city included. The preference on natural gas is attributed to its cleanliness and less harm to the environment.

In order to have natural gas supplied in Chicago buildings, particularly in new buildings with no historic records of usage, there should be load estimations to determine the maximum demand. These estimations should be calculated in the early stage of the project so that proper planning is carried out. To ensure accurate load estimates computations, a certified electrical design engineer should be entrusted with the tasks to conduct them.   

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Factors considered when conducting gas load estimations

A certified electrical design engineer knows exactly what important factors to consider when computing these estimations. Among others, the appliances that will use natural gas are taken into account to check how much they consume. Usually, appliances’ energy consumption is measured in British Thermal Unit (BTU) or other related units such as the cubit feet. When determining the total load, the units should be in similar units.

Natural gas consuming appliances include but not limited to the following:

  • Furnace
  • Water heater
  • Clothes dryer
  • Gas range
  • Gas grills
  • Air conditioning appliances
  • And many more

One of the advantages of natural gas is its versatility in that it can be used in a plethora of appliances. Predominantly, it is used for space heating, cooling, and cooking while the others such as lighting are dedicated to electricity.

Benefits of using natural gas in Chicago buildings

  1. Reliability

Natural gas, known as methane – a single carbon plus four hydrogen atoms compound, is reliable regardless of the season. Homeowners seldom experience outages with it. It comes from underground pipelines and it is usually provided by the energy supplier to the end user.

  1. Versatility

We’ve already highlighted this versatility advantage that it can be used for more energy demands in homes. Whether for heating, cooking, cooling, dishwashing machine or clothes drying, it can be a go-to energy solution for many buildings while saving remarkably in electricity bills.

  1. Environmentally friendly

Unlike other fossil fuels, natural gas emit infinitesimal traces of harmful gases and thus the effect is considered insignificant. These gases include carbon monoxide and nitrogen which can be emitted in large amounts by other fossil fuels. Natural gas is considered to be clean and therefore environmentally friendly.

  1. Cost friendly

Although the initial installation costs can be exorbitant, homeowners save a lot in a long run and the system takes few years to pay itself.

  1. Less maintenance

The appliances that use natural gas tend to last longer with less maintenance, and so that is an added advantage to cost saving.

  1. Safety

Natural gas is not notorious of terrific dangers associated with electricity. So, having it installed in buildings minimizes dangers.

Importance of gas load estimates

Gas load estimates in Chicago buildings help homeowners plan their gas supply efficiently. When applying for a supply, energy suppliers may ask about the hourly peak and annual demands of gas in your home before they can supply natural gas. This can be negated by assigning the task to a certified electrical design engineer to carry out the computations at the early stage of the project for new buildings. Same with existing buildings, electrical engineers are the best candidates to conduct gas load estimates.

For every gas installation, there is gas pipeline network that has to be designed to provide a certain amount of demand. Accordingly, the natural gas pipe sizing has to be configured in line with the demand. All other configurations such as the distance are also taken into account. This may seem burdensome to non-technical people, but can be accomplished with ease.

The gas load estimates help predict the costs of the gas supply. Gas prices may be affected by several reasons which may differ from region to region. Among others, the cold weather, economic conditions, and fluctuating temperatures can have a serious impact on natural gas prices. When it’s cold, for instance, you may need more gas for space heating; and when it’s hot you may need more gas for air conditioning. Other factors include a fluctuation of petroleum prices.

It is important to compute the gas and electrical load estimations at the start of your project as this ensures that the building will have enough power for its occupants and there are no hidden costs thereafter.

Wrap up

Natural gas, unlike other fossil fuels, alongside electricity, is considered a popular energy for many buildings in Chicago. It is environmentally friendly, cost friendly, and versatile in that it can be used for many applications. To ensure an adequate supply of gas in line with the maximum demand, homeowners should carry out gas load estimations at the start of the projects. This also helps to map out the future costs and the appliances required.

However, computing gas load estimations is a demanding task that requires experience and expertise in MEP electrical engineering services. New York Engineers have a handful of expert and experienced certified electrical design engineers who can compute gas and electrical load estimations in Chicago buildings. They will help determine the maximum capacity of gas load and then sign off the design before it gets sent to various stakeholders for approvals on energy consumption.

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