The Melink Umbrella

Are you an existing customer or follower of Melink?  I’m guessing the answer is “yes” if you’re reading this, so what all falls under the “Melink” umbrella? If you’re in the Cincinnati, OH region perhaps we’re best known for our super-green energy efficient HQ building, with a second on the way, or Steve Melink’s advocacy in the region surrounding energy efficiency and sustainability.  Those things help to show who we are as a company, however it isn’t always clear in what we do as a business to support this mission of changing the world one building at time. 

To help illustrate the portfolio of offerings at Melink, pretend for a moment you own a hotel, restaurant or operate an entity involving a commercial kitchen facility.  Prior to leaving for work in the morning you utilize your smartphone to check if your building is healthy for your employees and customers by swiping open your PositiV app to check the latest building health makers of indoor CO2, temperature, humidity and building pressure.  You notice that your building pressure has been trending in the negative for the past week and notify your Melink Test & Balance account manager that you’d like an investigative visit to determine the root cause and corrective measures prior to big event coming up.  You meet your Melink field-technician onsite who identifies the outside air damper on your RTU has been locked shut and there’s an insufficient amount of fresh outside air being supplied to your building.  This negative air pressure situation would have been substantially worse, however you have a self-learning adaptive control system that adjust the kitchen exhaust fan speeds in accordance with the cooking loads in real time.  Your Intelli-Hood control system automatically turns itself on in case the prep crew starts cooking without the fans and will preemptively warn your team if there’s an issue with the exhaust fan to mitigate risk from fire.

Knowing your building is back to optimal conditions you head to the back office to review your utility bill statements and prepare payments.  You’re sure there’s a billing error, however you remember this past month your new rooftop mounted solar system has been installed and commissioned resulting in 40% decline in your electrical bill.  Your gas bill for operations in the winter time has never been much of a concern since your buildings geothermal HVAC system is utilizing the ground underneath your parking lot as natural heat sink rather than using gas to boil water for your HVAC units.  In addition, you have a waste water reclamation system to extract the heat in the water being dumped in the sewer to preheat your domestic hot water tank. 

Welcome to the Melink umbrella.  While not all customers have the potential to benefit from the full suite of our offerings, these complementary business units make us a stronger partner for our customers as they invest in business growth in a responsible, sustainable manner. 

“We’ve Done Benchmarking. We’ve Done Lighting. What’s Next?!” Kitchen Ventilation.

Kitchen ventilation, both exhaust and make up air, represent a significant opportunity for kWh and kBTU reductions in your facility. Demand Control Kitchen Ventilation, or DCKV for short, uses both temperature and optic sensors to vary the speed of exhaust and make up air fans in response to precise cooking intensity underneath all of the kitchen hoods. By having the fans run only as fast as needed savings are gained on fan energy (with controls producing 40-60% average fan speed versus 100% without controls). In addition, there are heating and cooling savings gained because now the kitchen isn’t evacuating all the expensive air that was just conditioned.

These controls can be installed in new construction projects, usually being specified by the engineering firm in the design phase of your project, and should qualify for one LEED point. In addition, DCKV is a path to compliance for commercial building energy code for states that have adopted ASHRAE 90.1 2010 and greater. You can see what your state’s requirements are here.

Retrofitting the temperature and optic controls within existing kitchen exhaust hoods is equally effective at generating energy savings. At the outset of a project it’s important to confirm that the controls are UL 710 and 2017 listed which permits them to be installed in any manufacturer’s hood in any cooking application. There are many utility rebate incentive programs available for the installation of DCKV as well.

The financial impact to hospital operating costs is significant when kitchen exhaust and makeup air fans no longer run at full speed 24/7.  A study by the EPA demonstrated that each dollar saved by a non-profit hospital through improved energy performance is the same as generating $20 in new revenues (incidentally that same dollar saved in a for-profit facility is like increasing EPS by one penny).

A recent project that Melink completed at a Mid-West hospital produced $20,000 (per year) in electrical, heating and cooling savings combined.  Using the EPA study metrics, this produced the equivalent of $400,000 in new revenue for this facility.  Taking rebate incentives for our technology, the hospital paid their original investment back in less than one year.

Ultimately the goal of any DCKV project is to install controls that maximize the energy savings within the kitchen. The controls will help in compliance with building energy codes, attain LEED points and make the kitchen quieter and more comfortable. This article, which recently appeared in the American Society for Healthcare Engineering publication, Inside ASHE, goes into greater detail on these topics and dives deeper into how these controls pay back initial investments.

Find the Inside ASHE article on kitchen ventilation here.

How to be an Employee Owner – with Swagger

swag·ger

/ˈswaɡər/

verb


walk or behave in a very confident way.
“he swaggered along the corridor”

synonyms: strut, parade, stride, roll, prance;

Goals and objectives are important.  They move us forward, help us believe in ourselves and each other, and the right goals hold us accountable to meeting exceeding results.  But, what good is accomplishing a goal without passion, without purpose, without style or swagger?  These attributes are, in my opinion, critical toward making work fun and meaningful.  If not, we’re just checking the box.   In fact, these attributes are not only reflected in our people, but in the products and services we offer.  We’re not looking to check the box by pencil-whipping another T&B report, or installing a basic controls system.  No, we want to provide insanely great service and do things the right way.  We want our customer’s to have a healthy and properly commissioned building.  Intelli-Hood isn’t a demand control ventilation product – it’s an energy savings solution.  And any contractor can install a Solar PV system; we’re providing renewable energy solutions that meet the needs of our customers.  So, as a 100% Employee Owned company, I asked my team, “How do you do your job with swagger?”.  Here’s what they had to say.

I try to take the time to get to know trainees on a personal level and adjust my approach to their style of learning.  This helps ensure they can retain information.  As the company’s most-tenured technician, I believe it’s my responsibility to impart knowledge and experience onto new generations of employee-owners.  I have no doubt that if they can add their own style of swagger, they’ll be fully capable of continuing to provide our customers with insanely great service.  -Darryl Stones, Master Field Service Technician & Employee Owner

Our mission is to change the world, one building at a time, by helping decision-makers implement energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions into their commercial facilities.  Confidence in this mission – as well as our values of integrity, innovation, and service excellence – are my keys to success.  I’m so passionate about the work we’re doing as well as my team, and our customers, I can’t help but do it all with style and swagger!  -Krysta Kincaid, Account Coordinator & Employee Owner

I try to lead with integrity. When asked by someone to cut corners to get the job done quicker/easier/less expensive, I take pride in telling them no – we do the job the way it’s supposed to be done. Do anything (a task, chore, errand, favor) as you’d like to do everything, in the best way possible.  -Joel Geiman, Business Development Manager & Employee Owner

I do a lot of international work.  No matter where or when a customer calls me from somewhere in the world, I know it’s my job to help address their need.  I aim to serve as their go-to subject matter expert on demand control ventilation (DCKV).  Often times I try to advise above & beyond the scope of our controls.  My goal is to ensure our system integrates seamlessly with the application, whether it be new construction or a retrofit.  Not only is the energy savings critical, but so is a cohesive and effective mechanical system that’s been well integrated with the foodservice design.  My team and I are fully committed to changing the world, one building at a time.  -Jason Brown, Senior Sales and Applications Engineer & Employee Owner

Looking polished and professional each time I go onto a job-site.  You’d think it takes a lot of effort to look like a GQ model every day.  But for me, it comes easy.  -George Cook, Lead Technician & Employee Owner

I find it especially gratifying to know that my work serves the greater purpose of making the world a better place.  So, every morning when I wake up, I pause and remind myself to aim for excellence – not because it’s easy or convenient but it’s hard and worth doing!  Also, as an employee-owner, I feel like I have the power of Thor’s hammer to make an impact.  This electrifies my drive to look for ways to improve.  In so doing, I am not just helping myself, I’m adding value for my customers and colleagues.  -Josh Gerlock, Sales Engineer & Employee Owner

Working in Solar gives me a sunny disposition and working in Geothermal keeps me grounded.  -Seth Parker, Vice President of Melink Solar & Geo

With a National Network consisting of  technicians, engineers, leaders and office staff we bring the swagger of 16 military veterans to the industry. Our veterans bring a different perspective on life, leadership, and hard work. Hiring and employing Military veterans offers Melink a chance to give back to those that have volunteered to give so much for our country. It is a mutually beneficial relationship in that the values learned in the military and the esprit de corps that those veterans are used to easily translate to the family environment and core values at Melink Corporation.   -Matt Meyer, Director of Field Service & Employee Owner

In retrospect, I was a little iffy on going through this exercise.   I wasn’t sure what I’d get back!  But, I’m glad I asked this question.  This feedback demonstrates the passion and purpose we’ve learned to develop in our work.  I hope you can see this as well.  So, if you’re looking to hire an energy solutions provider whose people walk the talk, have skin in the game, and have meaning in their work – then look no further.  But if you’re looking to check the box you may want to keep looking. 

Meet Krysta Kincaid, Account Coordinator

Business Unit and Job Title

T&B Account Coordinator

What does your job entail?

Scheduling our technicians with site supers/PMs, entering job information, following construction schedules and helping problem solve with our customers

What is your personal philosophy?

“What others say and do, is a projection of their own reality. Don’t take anything personally.”

What did you do before coming to Melink?

I graduated from Ohio University with a bachelor’s degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering in December of 2018

What is your favorite aspect of working at Melink?

I feel very passionately about sustainability and climate change, which Melink also values. During my job search, I wanted to be proud of the company I chose to work for. I can fully say I am proud of the work Melink accomplishes especially Solar and Geo.

What do you like to do in your time off?

I enjoy relaxing at home with a murder mystery (book, TV show, movie; I do not discriminate). I also spend my time taking my dog, Draco, on hikes, painting (acrylic on canvas usually) and filling my apartment with plants.

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

I am the youngest by 9 years. I became an aunt in the 8th grade.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of my engineering degree. And my dog.

What are your hopes for our industry?

I hope the clean energy and net zero buildings become the norm. This is critical to our grandchildren’s survival.

Motto or personal mantra?

Treat people the way you want to be treated.

Do you collect anything?

Houseplants and makeup I do not use

HVAC Systems – How to help ensure a good investment

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment is very similar to your car; it can last 7 years or 20 years! The life expectancy largely depends on the quality of the equipment, and how the equipment has been maintained. Without having a maintenance log of all your systems, how do you estimate the remaining ‘miles’ your equipment has left? The answer – have an independent HVAC site survey.

Performing an independent HVAC site survey before purchasing new HVAC equipment, helps to ensure you are making the right decisions. During an HVAC site survey, or HVAC audit, an independent partner will help you to determine the current state of your equipment. To do so, your independent partner should tailor a unique scope of work to help you with your specific needs.  HVAC site surveys can be complex with much focus on the fine details, or it can be a more general inspection of all equipment. Explain to your independent HVAC partner your situation and goals, then let them help you create a plan or program that suites your needs.

“Why are you underlining independent?”, you might ask; because it is vital to ensure the gathered information is unbiased. Your partner should be a true owners advocate, working while looking through the eyes of the end owner. This task may be complicated for your equipment providers, preventative maintenance providers, and internal employees, as there may be a conflict of interest in reporting one outcome verses another. One other important question to ask your independent provider is – “Are you self-performing?”.

You might be thinking – “Here we go again with these underlines.”, but self-performing is just as important as independent. Performing an HVAC site survey is a quality control related process. To fully achieve a high-quality result in your HVAC site survey, you should consider using a self-performing company. A self-performing company will use 100% of their own employees to survey your equipment. Therefore, the end product, or HVAC site survey report, will be created from the findings of your partners direct employees that you can trust.

Once the time is right to replace or repair HVAC equipment, be sure to consider having an independent partner help you along the way. We’d appreciate if you’d consider Melink Corporation. We have a national network of self-performing technicians, and have been working with national and regional partners for over 30 years! Let us know how we can help!