Meet Nathan Ho, PE, LEED AP
P2S is pleased to welcome mechanical engineer and lab specialist Nathan Ho to the P2S team.
Nathan joined P2S in March 2014 with eight years of experience in design build and engineering consulting. Beginning his career with McKinstry in Seattle, Washington, Nathan gained insight into the HVAC construction process by working directly for MEP contractors on design build projects. He learned a lot about the challenges of constructing HVAC systems in the field and the cost impact of decisions made during design.
After achieving his California Professional Engineer’s license, Nathan entered the engineering consulting sector with Taylor Engineering in the San Francisco Bay Area. Equal parts think tank and boutique engineering firm, Taylor allowed Nathan to explore a wide variety of unique and challenging projects, including 11 major lab projects at esteemed institutions like Stanford University School of Medicine, California Institute of Technology and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. An expert in HVAC system and control system design, Nathan endeavors to improve performance and efficiency on every project he undertakes, often in surprising ways.
“I love working on mission-critical facilities because they offer a unique challenge,” Nathan says. “We can’t compromise safety and need to anticipate every possible emergency scenario to keep critical processes within the facility operational while attempting to minimize energy consumption. Being able to look at the problem from a variety of angles and collaborating with project stakeholders allows me to develop precision designs that lead to optimum outcomes.”
For instance, while working on a vivarium (animal laboratory) project at Caltech, Nathan studied how much the lab team could turn down ventilation rates within the lab without compromising the air quality, which in turn impacts the well-being of animals representing millions of dollars of research value. Optimizing the lab ventilation rates reduced operating costs, which allowed the university reallocate operational costs to other uses on campus. Nathan identified further energy savings by converting the existing constant-volume lab exhaust system to variable-air-volume. Working with wind study specialists, he oversaw wind tunnel testing and computational fluid modeling to find the optimum lab exhaust operating parameters, saving tens of thousands of dollars in energy costs for Caltech.
“My philosophy is to make the solution as simple as possible, but no simpler than the project requires,” Nathan says. “Striving for simplification in design often improves many outcomes for the owner: cost, reliability, and efficiency. I often perform life-cycle cost analysis for my projects because it’s important for me to help clients understand the long term impacts of early design decisions.”
Though he’s an expert in laboratory design, Nathan says he takes a holistic approach to engineering and sees immense value in cross-pollinating his skill-set by working in a variety of fields.
“Many people wouldn’t guess that there are overlaps between commercial kitchens and laboratories, for instance,” Nathan says. “But dishwashers make steam that needs to be captured, similar to a glass wash room in a lab environment. Knowing that makes me question: What lessons have we learned from the past that can be applied to new situations today?”
A fourth-generation engineer, Nathan is an active member of the P2S Incubator Group, where he shares his passion for finding novel solutions to engineering problems with the rest of the P2S staff. He is also an associate member of the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), where he serves on numerous committees regarding air quality and laboratory systems.
Nathan is originally from Seattle, Washington, and earned his B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Washington. When he’s not creating engineering feats at P2S, Nathan enjoys working on (and sometimes racing) cars and hanging out with his new wife, Haley, and their pet Corgi, Elmo.