In just twelve weeks at McKinstry, I have already learned more about HVAC, EPC, and ECM calculations than I could have ever hoped to learn in a classroom. From lessons on open and closed chilled water loops to practice thermal energy storage optimization problems, I have expanded my technical knowledge of the energy performance contracting (EPC) industry in significant ways that will benefit me for years to come. However, the biggest lesson I learned from McKinstry had little do with calculations, floorplans or otherwise. Rather, the biggest lesson I learned from McKinstry is to embrace a mindset obsessed with the pursuit of efficiency.
Ash Awad, McKinstry’s Chief Market Officer, originally inspired my concept of a McKinstry mindset; a mindset focused on the relentless pursuit of efficiency. Mr. Awad explained how McKinstry believes that “50% of the energy in buildings is wasted and 50% of all construction cost are wasted.” From here, Ash explained that manufacturing – guided by a manufacturing mindset – is characterized by highly repeatable, highly efficient, and highly economical product systems. Unfortunately, the construction industry isn’t quite as efficient.
At first, I thought Ash would propose a manufacturing mindset as the logical solution to the construction industry’s affordability crisis, unconsolidated supply lines, and other assorted inefficiencies. After ruminating on this idea, however, I came to realize that McKinstry’s answer to the manufacturing mindset manifests so much more than operational improvements. McKinstry’s answer is a distinct synthesis beyond the recognition of inefficiencies endemic to construction.
Similar to the manufacturing mindset, McKinstry has become obsessed with ensuring all components within a system boundary work together as efficiently as possible to create a repeatable and economic outcome. From high-level energy engineering calculations to the meticulous commissioning of each piece of equipment in a project, McKinstry has found a way to standardize the EPC process and guarantee customer savings. But, unlike the manufacturing mindset, McKinstry has gone beyond “assembly line” optimization; McKinstry has optimized the very culture underpinning its success. At McKinstry, it’s not about simply refining performance, capitalizing on inefficiencies, and telling people how to be more sustainable. Rather, it’s about reflecting on past performances to give informed and repeatable projections on future solutions; it’s about returning the benefits of efficiency improvements to its clients; it’s about empowering individuals with social, economic, and built systems to make sustainability a simple choice in a complicated world.
In manufacturing, the goal is to make a single product system as repeatable, efficient, and economical as possible by capitalizing on synergies between each component in the system boundary. At McKinstry, the goal is to make its company, its service, its products, and its projects as repeatable, efficient, and economical as possible by capitalizing on interdisciplinary teams, big data analytics, and a constant drive to improve. McKinstry has shown me that engineered systems are not the only systems that can be optimized. In fact, McKinstry has demonstrated just how effective the synergy between supply lines, social structures, cultural shifts, and engineered systems can be. There truly is so much more to a project than the numbers at the bottom of a page. McKinstry has renewed my faith in a better future for sustainability; we just need to be relentlessly committed to a mindset that allows us to realize it.