Award winning engineering services provided by Cain Thomas Associates.


2012 Innovative Design Award Scott D. Thomas, Cain Thomas Associates, Inc.

The Innovative Design Award was given to Scott Thomas

Stearns County Household Hazardous Waste Facility
Waite Park, Minnesota

Stearns County Household Hazardous Waste Facility is a 23,000 sq. ft. facility with Offices for staff, one bay of drive through drop off, Product Exchange Room, Bulking Room, Hazardous Waste Storage Rooms and a three bay Shipping area for Shipping of Hazardous Materials.

The innovative design elements of the project consisted of the containment requirements in case of a chemical spill and the use of radiant floor heating to eliminate the need to directly temper the makeup air in the vehicle areas. Containment was accomplished by the use of flammable waste traps at vehicle areas with shear gate valves to isolate the spill. Fan Jet systems were used to introduce un-tempered outside air into the vehicle bays. The radiant heating systems in those bays was sized to handle the heating requirement of the outside air systems. The Fan Jet systems utilize a fabric duct system with high velocity openings that induce surrounding room air to help temper the outside air via induction type mixing.

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Cain Thomas Wins Xcel Energy Award for Most Energy Efficient Building.

Cain Thomas Receives Award From
Xcel Energy For Most Energy Efficient
Building less than 50,000 sq. ft

Stearns County West Side Service Center
Waite Park, Minnesota

New 49,000 sq. ft. government service center with geo-source heat pump systems throughout. The system capacity is 100 tons and utilizes a horizontal slinky loop field with variable speed loop field and building loop pumps. The design also includes and Energy Recovery Unit for tempering of outside air systems. Geo source systems also provide hydronic hot water for radiant floor heating and snow melt type systems. Project was awarded "Most Energy efficient building less than 50,000 sq. ft. by Xcel Energy".

Project Innovations Merit Award from Buildings Magazine

Sandy Bridges Base Camp includes Dining Hall, Conference Center, Snack Shop and Trading Post. Low cost interruptible electric heat is utilized with air to air heat pump units and electric boilers and water heater heaters. When electric heat is interrupted, LP gas water heaters and boilers handle the heating requirements for the facility. An extensive use of radiant floor heating systems are also utilized. Design challenges included only single phase electrical power limiting the air conditioning equipment sizing.

LEED Luxury in the Great Outdoors

The Sandy Bridges Program Center functions as a state-of-the-art base of operations for the Boy Scouts of America

The new Sandy Bridges Program Center is located at the Boy Scouts of America's Ely, MN, canoe base on the edge of the pristine Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and adjacent to the Superior National Forest.

The first floor of the 13,032-square-foot facility features a kitchen and great room able to serve 250 Scouts. The second floor features a trading post, snack bar, and three multipurpose conference rooms. An elevator and grand stairway connect each level, providing ADA accessibility.

Because it gets extremely cold in northern Minnesota and electrical resources are limited, a new state-of-the-art, energy-efficient mechanical heating system was installed.

The system features high-efficiency gas furnaces for backup heat when the electric heat source is interrupted, radiant slab heat, and conventional DX cooling coils. Full return on the initial investment in this system vs. a traditional system will be less than five years.

The new dining hall and base center are designed to minimize impact on the wilderness. Every effort was made to reduce pollution from construction activities by controlling soil erosion and minimizing waterway sedimentation and airborne dust generation. The site is being restored and protected with native and adapted vegetation.

"From the beginning of the planning process, this facility was intended to embrace the existing site and to be both energy efficient and environmentally friendly. The site selected required minimal disruption of the land and the building height was designed to minimize the visual profile," says Luther Tankersley, head of BSA's Design and Development Team. "Construction included permanent soil erosion prevention and waterway sedimentation reduction measures to protect the pristine environment of the great north woods."

The base center was designed and built to comply with green-level LEED certification standards. Light pollution and preserving the star-filled night sky was balanced against the knowledge that the majority of Scouts come from urban areas where they seldom see total darkness. Outside lighting was designed to provide safety and security without obscuring the night sky.

Cain Thomas Takes First Place for ASHRAE Regional Technology Award

The mechanical HVAC system for the Carlton County Maintenance Facility won the Region VI ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers) Technology Award for 2007.

Among many design highlights, the system includes a slinky loop, geosource heating and cooling system, and a waste oil hot water boiler. Both systems have projected payoff periods of less than five years over a conventional system that typically is installed in such buildings.

The mechanical HVAC system for the Carlton County Maintenance Facility won the Region VI ASHRAE Technology Award

This schematic shows the overall heating and cooling piping system for the Carlton County Maintenance Facility.


This plaque was presented to Scott Thomas at the November 2009 ASHRAE meeting for the design of the facility.