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Four Reasons Your Building Isn’t Water Efficient

Posted on 7/29/2014 7:04 AM by Scott Kale

While building owners and managers tend to look at the big picture to make their building more efficient and profitable, it’s really the small things that drain their budget. After performing hundreds of water audits, here are the top four culprits I find that make a building water inefficient.

Cooling Towers
Using 30% of your building’s total water consumption, cooling towers are usually located on rooftops and go practically unnoticed unless they completely fail.  They rely on water evaporation to regulate temperature, which increases the concentration of minerals in the remaining water.  If left undiluted, this will cause scaling on the equipment surfaces that can cause small leaks to occur.  These leaks can drain thousands of gallons and go completely undetected – until you get an enormous water bill!

Toilets
Toilets can also account for more than 30% of the water used inside a facility. A valve stuck open in one toilet can waste 200 gallons per hour. Over a weekend, this would cost $157 in Los Angeles, $220 in Tampa, and $360 in Atlanta.

Excess Irrigation
While owners and managers promise to offer tenants a lush landscape to go with the building, often times it means they over irrigate in both the number of days and how long per zone. If faulty rain sensors are in place, you may be watering during a rain storm. Train your grass and flowers to grow with less water.

Underground Leaks
Most equate underground leaks with the major bursts that are easily seen. However, the most expensive leaks are those that can’t be seen. Look for wet spots and alligatored paving, which are clues to underground leaks.

Water is one of most precious assets. Yet we often waste it without giving a second though. Correcting and monitoring the above culprits will go a long way toward increasing your water efficiency and lowering your bill.

You can also take advantage of technology that measures water usage in real-time. Analyzing this data provides metrics to determine when there is usage above industry norms, an unseen leak, or a catastrophic leak. Making sure these problems are identified and remedied can prevent you from wasting gallons of water.

Scott Kale is vice president of WaterSignal. He can be reached at skale@watersignal.com.



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How to Improve Cell Phone Reception

Posted on 7/25/2014 8:04 AM by Stuart Manley

An increasing number of companies are looking for ways to improve their cell phone reception throughout their offices or even the entire building. As mobile devices have become an integral part of every professional’s life and are the preferred method of contact for many people, good cell reception is a must.

Despite what cellular carriers claim in their advertisements, reception inside many buildings is often poor or non-existent. Maybe your occupants have even complained about dropped calls or it’s something you’ve experienced yourself.

If you want to provide reliable reception, a cellular signal booster is the most logical and cost-effective option for bringing outside signals inside a facility.

Boosters are compact systems that “hear” a signal that is outside the building – even a very weak one – and amplify its power. They can then generate the boosted signal inside the building where it’s needed. The boosters also work in reverse, taking your cell phone’s signal and giving it enough power to reach the nearest cell tower.

Boosters can satisfy many communication requirements for facility managers:

 

  • They support all cellular carriers, phone models, and the fastest data speeds (4G).

 

  • Reliability is always vital as facility managers want to be able to set it and forget it. Boosters are FCC certified and designed to operate maintenance free for extended periods.

 

  • Boosters are completely scalable to meet current and future needs. They can be implemented in a small area and then expand as needed.  
     
  • The system can often be up and running in one or two days, depending on the size of the job. Installation won’t interfere with productivity or disrupt office routines.

 

  • There are no monthly recurring costs associated with boosters as they are a one-time expense. The average installed cost can be as little as 20-25 cents per square foot of coverage.
     

Boosters are also ideal for complex communication needs. On one recent installation, reception was needed for more than 500,000 square feet across two buildings and throughout 13 floors. Redundancy was also required so that an equipment malfunction on one floor would not affect the others. The entire project took less than four weeks and was completed without interrupting employees’ schedules.

Technology has created a societal expectation of availability where people want immediate, 24/7 access to colleagues, clients, family, and online resources. By installing a cellular signal booster, building owners or managers can deliver on those expectations.

Stuart Manley is the founder and president of Manley Solutions, a provider of wireless solutions for commercial operations. He can be reached at smanley@manleysolutions.com.



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Stay Cool with Window Film

Windows can be responsible for 30% of energy waste in buildings, according to the DOE. Learn how you can cut down on heating and cooling costs, improve daylighting, and increase occupant satisfaction with a variety of window films.

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Reduce Energy Use with Demand Response Options

With demand response (DR) and curtailment programs, building owners and managers can keep tenants cool and comfortable while taking advantage of financial rewards and reducing their energy use.

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Education, Engineering, and Enforcement

Education, engineering, and enforcement, also known as "The 3 E's" of fire prevention, are a hot topic in almost any fire trade magazine, website, and blog alike.

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What do Facility Managers Need to Know?

Facility managers today are expected to understand their company’s core business strategies and contribute to the bottom line — not only by reducing facility costs

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The Time is Right for Building Energy Efficiency

Making our buildings more efficient is vital to battling climate change, plus it’s just good business. Energy efficiency bridges the economy and the environment by saving money, producing jobs, reducing carbon pollution and creating much-needed economic activity.   President Obama said as much in his recent State of the Union speech while issuing a challenge to Americans to take control of their own energy future and improve the environment through increased use of clean energy.   “I’m also issuing a new goal for Amer ...

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Virtual Assessment versus On-Site Audit: What’s the Difference?

With the increasing focus on finding solutions that reduce building energy consumption, efficiency remains the most cost effective way to deliver savings.  The challenge most energy managers face, however, is figuring out which buildings have the best potential for savings and then identifying the combination of measures that are most appropriate for each site.  This problem is exacerbated over a large portfolio.  Consider that very high potential buildings can have 40% or more savings potential, whereas low potential buildings can hav ...

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Lightning Protection: Making a Wise Investment for your Smart Grid

Building with the smart grid in mind means taking the right precautions for new systems that have an even more critical set of protection concerns. A smart grid is only as strong as its weakest part and, in many locations, that weak part may be a building’s exposure to lightning. Ensuring maximum power quality, power reliability and asset protection becomes more important than ever as buildings adopt smart grid systems. Given that perspective, lightning is becoming a key consideration for the productivity, safety and sustainability of industrial ...

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Sustainable Cost Reductions and Occupational Injury Prevention

Achieving substantial and sustainable cost reductions is the greatest challenge facing management today.  Organizations often think they are running as lean as possible and there just isn’t any room for significant improvement.  So, with an understanding that Human Resources is by far the largest cost an organization incurs and productivity is the key to achieving sustainable cost reductions… where do we begin? Measuring Where You Stand “What gets measured gets managed.”  That age-old axiom attributed to the gr ...

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For a Successful Retail Project, Value Engineering is Critical

As the retail industry continues to shift toward growing revenue through online sales, many retailers have cut back on the amount of funds dedicated toward building or expanding upon physical store locations. According to estimates from The CoStar Group, only 21.4 million square feet of new retail space will enter the market in 2012 - a record low.   While these numbers may look grim, this changing paradigm creates both a challenge and opportunity for construction firms to implement value engineering practices. In today’s economy, retail ...

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Holistic Building Water Design

Water efficiency seems secondary to the always demanding energy efficiency, but through consideration and proper design, significant savings await.  The collection of various site water sources, purposed for various needs, will result in an economic return.  Analogous to other systems, efficiency advances require capital investments to collect, treat and distribute.  The associated operating and maintenance routines increase in importance.  The rise in utilities should motivate all building owners to, at the very least, consider t ...

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