Millies Engineering Group

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News Articles-2013

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Nov 2013



Celebrating 25 Years
Millies Engineering Group congratulates Dave Janney, PE, LEED AP as he marks his 25th anniversary with the firm.

Millies Engineering Group

Millies Engineering Group congratulates Dave Janney, PE, LEED AP as he marks his 25th anniversary with the firm. David joined MEG in 1988 and continued with the firm while pursuing his engineering degree. He has grown professionally and personally along with the company and we wish him a very Happy Anniversary!

Nov 2013



Railway Garden Invites Visitors into a Miniature World
Taltree Arboretum’s Railway Garden offers visitors a comfortable and captivating glimpse into railway history.

Millies Engineering Group

Taltree Aboretum and Gardens, nestled in Valparaiso Indiana, is a nature preserve offering various landscapes for hiking, as well as a unique Railway Garden. Taltree’s Railway Garden features model steam trains in a miniature wooded setting depicting the stories of early 19th century railroad history including scenes from the Civil War and Industrial Revolution.

Millies Engineering Group was tasked with designing electrical power and lighting systems for the garden paths that surround this 1.5 acre garden. Additionally, conduits and junction boxes were provided for the DC railway power systems.

The challenges included designing the systems with future expansions in mind and meeting and coordinating Owner requirements. A unique and fun aspect of this project included providing the power and data needs of the garden scale railroad.

Millies Engineering Group
The end result is a beautiful, interesting and appealing formal garden that will continue to entertain and delight visitors of all ages for years to come. To learn more, visit

Nov 2013



Sustainable Upgrade with a Great Payback
Often making mechanical upgrades to an existing building will dramatically reduce operating expenses.

Millies Engineering Group

Millies Engineering Group, working with JMA Architects, successfully completed a mechanical systems upgrade on 43,000 square foot Wolcott Jr. High School in Thornton, Illinois. The project consisted of removing and replacing standard efficiency gas fired water heating boilers and domestic water heaters with high efficiency systems. The existing boilers and water heaters were past the end of their expected operational life and the Owner had a desire to upgrade to energy efficient systems. Also, the existing domestic hot water heating system could not keep up with current demand.

To meet the Owner’s requirements, MEG implemented the following design concepts:

  1. Replacement of one existing standard efficiency (80%) hot water heating boiler with two high efficiency (93%) condensing boilers with variable speed drives on distribution pumps to improve energy efficiency. The hot water distribution system is designed to vary the supply water temperature based upon outside air temperature. This allows for the supply water to be as low as possible, while still maintaining space temperatures. By keeping the supply water temperature low, we are able to increase boiler efficiency (condensation of flue gasses) for longer periods of time.
  2. Replacement of two standard efficiency, natural draft domestic hot water heaters with three continuous flow gas fired domestic water heaters. The continuous flow water heaters do not “store” hot water in a tank, but provide hot water on demand. By removing the need to heat the “stored” water in the tank, the continuous flow water heaters save energy by reducing gas consumption. The Owner has received no complaints regarding domestic hot water in nearly two years of operation.

It is anticipated that these energy efficiency items will help the building perform between 20% and 25% better than the previous systems. This additional energy efficiency is achieved with only a minimal increase in construction costs.

Oct 2013



New Facilities Offer the Latest Technology
New construction offers endless opportunities for building technology integration. From “green” components to high efficiency systems, exciting new spaces are being created that feature many modern conveniences...READ MORE

Millies Engineering Group

While meeting their consumer’s growing traveling and insurance needs, the American Automobile Association (AAA) has developed a need for additional retail locations throughout the midwestern states. From Duluth, Minnesota to Kalamazoo, Michigan, Millies Engineering Group has been helping AAA expand into new tenant spaces thoughout the six state region. Most recently, AAA has built a new facility in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to serve the needs of their clients.

The tenant build out spaces average between 4,000 and 5,000 square feet. The new facility located in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin is 6,000 square feet with sales area and staff offices.

Their facility in Milwaukee has some interesting features:

  1. AAA provided a green component at the facility which included a charging station for electric cars located in the parking lot.
  2. Decorative accent lighting was provided to highlight various sales areas and points of purchase advertisements.
  3. Energy efficient packaged roof top units with zone controls were installed to provide individual zone controls for the offices and sales areas to maintain space comfort.
  4. The entire facility was sprinkled.
  5. A lawn irrigation system for the landscape was included as part of the domestic water service.
  6. Low voltage data and phone was located at each work stations with low voltage wiring routed through the office furniture and in floor boxes.
  7. The building was protected with a security system and fire alarm system.

Millies Engineering Group

The construction for the new facility was completed late fall of 2012. The new AAA facility will provide a comfortable and welcoming environment for the clients and employees.

Sept 2013



High Efficiency Upgrades for School District
With today’s tight budget restrictions, school districts need to cut operating costs wherever possible. New, high efficiency system upgrades can prove to be a long term money saving solution for many schools....READ MORE

Millies Engineering Group

Replacing aged and inefficient boiler plants with new high efficiency condensing boiler plants with effective temperature control strategies provides school districts with significant reductions in operating costs. Upgrades for the following schools have recently been completed:

  1. SD-201 Crete Middle School
  2. SD-124 Northview Elementary School
  3. SD-201 Balmoral Middle School
  4. SD-151 Eisenhower Elementary School
  5. SD-151 Taft Elementary School
  6. SD-151 Coolidge Middle School

Key components for the boiler replacements:

  1. The boiler plants were 40+ year old inefficient boilers with constant speed building pumps.
  2. New 93% efficient condensing boilers were installed.
  3. Boiler room available floor space was increased with the smaller foot print of the condensing boilers.
  4. New building pumps with variable speed drives were installed to modulate the boiler plant based on the building’s heating requirements at most locations.
  5. New temperature control strategies were implemented for the existing HVAC systems for energy savings.
  6. The new boiler plant will provide the facility with a reliable boiler plant that provides the owner with energy savings for years to come.

Millies Engineering Group

The boiler replacements were completed within the last year and have proven to be a money saving solution for many school districts looking to improve their system efficiency while providing a comfortable environment for their students and staff.

Aug 2013



New Ball Field Design Hits it Out of the Park
The Munster, Indiana community has opened its exciting new sports facilities that focus on energy savings and flexibility for all its visitors.

Millies Engineering Group

The Town of Munster’s softball and baseball field complex, located east of Calumet Avenue, is utilized for many baseball and softball tournaments and games throughout the year. Due to the heavy usage and age of the existing facilities, the Town was interested in renovating the fields with new state-of-the-art lighting, brick dugouts, batting cages, fencing and new field surfaces. This would provide enhanced amenities for the players and visitors and would allow night games to be played.

Millies Engineering Group, working with Linden Group Architects (, Robinson Engineering ( and the Town of Munster ( designed a modern baseball and softball field complex consisting of four softball fields, five little league baseball fields, two Babe Ruth baseball fields, concession buildings, a maintenance building, press box buildings with public restrooms, walking paths and playground. Due to the scope of the project, the facility renovation is being completed in stages to reduce the amount of disruption to the Town’s sport schedules. Currently, four softball fields and one press box building is complete with the rest of the project still under construction.

  1. The four completed softball fields were provided with Musco lighting with an average of 50 foot candles for the infield and 30 foot candles for the outfield
  2. This lighting was achieved by providing four 70’-0" light poles per field with multiple 1500 watt lights mounted on each pole
  3. The lighting was provided with Musco Light-Structure Green Technology that reduced the spill light by 50% and saves significant energy
  4. Musco lighting controls were implemented to allow the Owner to remotely control lighting schedules and reduce lighting levels when the fields were not active
  5. A two-story building was provided between the fields with public restrooms and an electrical room on the first floor and a press box located on the second floor
  6. The press box has an exterior sound system to allow for play by play announcements for the visitors. The first floor electrical houses the electrical equipment and Musco Lighting controls
  7. Exterior pathway lighting was provided throughout the park to provide illumination to visitors and the pathway lighting poles were provided with receptacles to allow for Holiday decorations and power for fairs and markets vendors

The Sporting Complex and Park Renovation will provide players and visitors a state-of-the-art facility for softball and baseball games. In addition, the playground, pathway lighting and other amenities will offer the community a multifaceted complex to enjoy for years to come.

July 2013



Crown Point’s New High Tech Library
The community of Crown Point, Indiana is enjoying its new cutting edge library facility complete with modern features and technology in a beautiful and comfortable space.

Millies Engineering Group

Millies Engineering Group designed the mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection systems for the new Crown Point Library located in Crown Point, IN, in conjunction with Design Organization ( We designed a complete and integrated low voltage solution, which included the following components:

Data Cabling Infrastructure
Data infrastructure was provided throughout the library, which consisted of Category 6 cabling to all fixed computer locations receiving hardwired data connectivity. Devices, such as copiers and similar related electronics, were provided with hardwired data connectivity. Data connectivity was also provided for the wireless internet system provided for the library.

Audio Visual Systems for Meeting Rooms
The facility has three meeting rooms, with folding partitions that allowed three rooms to be combined into one large room. The meeting rooms were provided with sound reinforcement systems along with overhead projectors. Low voltage input devices were provided in the wall, which allowed presenters to utilize a lap top or other input devices to display media on the projector and distribute audio over the sound reinforcement systems.

Access Control System
External access control was provided via proximity cards with integral key pads. The cards were supplied with ID tags for staff. Internal proximity card readers were located at the Telecom Room entry to track access to the space.

Digital Surveillance System
A digital surveillance system was provided to monitor select locations of the building and the surrounding exterior site. A digital network video recorder was provided to monitor the cameras and allow remote monitoring via the internet. Also, each camera was provided with 30 days of recording back up. The surveillance system was provided to allow coverage of the staff and patron parking lot (pan, tilt, zoom, hybrid cameras), drive through lane, exterior doors, book/video drop box locations, and teen & gaming areas.

Millies Engineering Group
Emergency Notification System
Duress/Panic Buttons were provided throughout the facility. These were interfaced to the security system to place an emergency 911 call. Further, these devices were put on supervised circuits to ensure continued operation. Should a device fail, the system will provide notification to the appropriate staff.

Telephone System
A complete digital telephone system was provided including telephones, head end equipment and voicemail system.

Gaming Systems
Two 55" high definition televisions were provided in the Gaming Room along with two XBOX 360 and two Wii systems. The systems were set up to link together and additional controllers were provided to allow 8 concurrent players to play at the same time.

Fire Alarm System
An addressable fire alarm control panel was provided for protection of the facility. This system included addressable fire alarm devices and wiring routed in conduit. A serial LCD annunciator panel was located at the main entrance. Audio/Visual devices were located in accessible spaces, pull stations at exit doors and within 200’ of travel, smoke detectors on both sides and within 5’ of smoke doors, smoke detectors in large air handling units and similar equipment.

Network System
An integrated computer network was provided along with all required components. The new system allows safe and monitored access to the local area network for the library staff and patrons. Millies Engineering Group designed and specified monitors, personal computers, touch screens, bar code scanners, receipt printers, network servers, switches, firewall, game systems, and tablets to facilitate such a system. The integrated low voltage solutions minimize aesthetic impact to the space while providing state of the art opportunities for the library’s staff and patrons. Please visit this great new public facility to see it for yourself! (

July 2013



Boiler System Redesigns Can Yield Significant Savings
System improvements such as conversion from steam boiler plants to highly efficient condensing boilers along with effective temperature control strategies can result in significant savings for school districts. ...READ MORE

Millies Engineering Group

Replacing an old, inefficient steam boiler plant, pneumatic controls, and air handling units with a new, high efficiency condensing boiler plant with effective DDC temperature control strategies provides school districts with significant reductions in operating costs, and in this example over 40% annually.

Key components for the boiler replacement:

  1. The original design, over 50 years old, was an inefficient steam boiler plant with heat exchangers with constant speed building pumps.
  2. New 93% efficient condensing boilers were installed.
  3. New building pumps with variable speed drives were installed to modulate the boiler plant based on the building’s heating requirements at various locations.
  4. Existing steam piping and hot water heating piping distribution was replaced with new 2- pipe hot water heating/future chilled water piping distribution.
  5. The existing steam heating air handling units were replaced with packaged exterior air handling units with 2-pipe heating/cooling coils and energy recovery heat wheels.
  6. Existing pneumatic temperature controls in 50% of the facility were replaced with new DDC temperature controls. The existing DDC control system in the remaining portion of the facility was merged into the new DDC temperature control system. Temperature control strategies were implemented for the existing and new HVAC systems and boiler plant to provide significant energy savings.
  7. New condensing domestic water heaters were installed to replace the steam to hot water heat exchangers. The old domestic piping distribution was replaced with new domestic piping.

Millies Engineering Group

Millies Engineering Group was pleased to be part of this project. These recent boiler plant and HVAC upgrades will provide the facility with reliable boiler systems that provides the school with energy savings and comfort for years to come.

July 2013



On-Site Power Generation
Incorporating a photovoltaic system to produce energy is one of the growing sustainable design options that can also allow training and educational opportunities

Millies Engineering Group

Millies Engineering Group was contracted to design the mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection systems for the New INTAC Local 697 Center located in Merrillville, Indiana. As part of our services, we designed a new roof mounted photovoltaic system.

A photovoltaic system utilizes an array of cells that contain solar photovoltaic material that converts solar radiation into direct current electricity. The direct current electricity is then converted to alternating current electricity by an inverter. This allows the electricity to be fed into the building’s electrical grid and provide a portion of the electricity required for the building. The system at IBEW 697 is capable of producing 21.5 kilowatts (KW) of electricity which provides approximately 40% of the building lighting load.

This photovoltaic system consists of 96 mono-crystalline silicon solar cells each capable of producing 224 watts of electricity. The solar cells are manufactured by Sharp and are made in the USA. These solar cells are divided into two sets of 48 cell arrays, which are mounted on two different roof sections. Each 48 cell array supplies one of two Fronius #12.0-3 direct current to alternating current inverters. This inverter has a DC to AC conversion efficiency of 96%, making it one of the highest efficiency inverters in the industry.

The Fronius Datalogger is incorporated into this system, giving the capability of monitoring the system from anywhere in the world via the internet. The solar cell arrays are roof mounted on a steel mounting structure manufactured by Silverback. This mounting structure consists primarily of Allied Tube products, which are also made in America from regionally produced American steel. The installation and project have been a great success, and have been utilized for training with new apprentice electricians.

Our firm has been designing sustainable solutions for years, including those which have utilized renewable energy components within the design. For example, Centennial Park, located in Munster, Indiana was provided with methane turbines, which burned methane gas reclaimed from the decommissioned landfill the park was built on. Also, two new elementary schools located in Markham and Hazel Crest, IL, are currently under construction with roof mounted photovoltaic arrays to provide on-site renewable energy, as well as an educational opportunity for the students when completed in the Fall of 2014.

June 2013



Announcing Our Newest Associate
Millies Engineering Group is pleased to announce that Thomas A Webb, PE, LEED AP, has been promoted to Associate.

Millies Engineering Group is pleased to announce that Thomas A Webb, PE, LEED AP, has been promoted to Associate. Tom has been with the firm for 13 years and has regularly taken on additional engineering tasks and managerial responsibilities. Congratulations, Tom! 

June 2013



Elementary School Renovations
Oak Glen Elementary School is enjoying a newly remodeled building. The new space is now much more comfortable and conducive to learning.

Millies Engineering Group

A major renovation and addition has recently been completed at the 80,000 square foot Oak Glen Elementary School in Lansing, Illinois. The design included demolition of a majority of the existing elementary school to provide new classrooms and gymnasium that will enhance the learning environment.

Key components of Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing Systems Design are:

  1. Energy recovery wheel.
  2. Demand Control Ventilation, CO2 monitoring.
  3. Air distribution supply fan speed control.
  4. Low structure in the existing administration areas and the desire to maximize the ceiling height facilitated the use of a high efficiency Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) system with Dedicated Outside Air System (DOAS) to provide ventilation air.
  5. High efficiency condensing water boilers with decreased hot water supply temperatures to maximize energy efficiency.
  6. Continuous flow (tankless) domestic hot water heaters.
  7. Lighting system control with daylight harvesting, integrated into the Facility Management System (FMS).

The integrated building design provides the owner and students with an efficient, comfortable and appealing learning environment.

June 2013



Energy Improvements For Lake County Public Library
Lake County Public Library is enjoying a dramatically redesigned building. Millies Engineering Group was pleased to help improve their overall energy efficiency in this new space.

Millies Engineering Group

Mechanical HVAC renovation for the existing 100,000 square foot three level facility to replace aging equipment, provide system noise reduction, improve space comfort, system maintainability and improve system energy efficiency. The project also included a three level, 12,000 SF addition.

Key components of the renovation included:

  1. New low noise level, energy efficient air-handling systems.
  2. New dedicated outdoor air systems with energy recovery and dehumidification capability to serve the new air-handling systems.
  3. Combining two boiler plants into one central operating system.
  4. New facility management system with energy saving control strategies.

The construction of the project was completed in December, 2012. As a result of these and other measures, the library is energy efficient and environmentally sound, as well as more comfortable.