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4 Areas Where Electronic Locking Mechanisms Can Protect Your Building's Assets

Posted on 9/30/2014 8:42 AM by Steve Spatig

The increasing availability of new security technologies is driving many facility managers to implement high-tech, keyless electronic entry solutions as a means for managing access to large scale buildings and organizations.

In many cases, significant attention and budget is dedicated to securing the exterior building perimeter and grounds; however, that same level of access control is not often extended to the enclosures that store high value items, confidential information, and employee belongings within the facility. Facility managers can ensure security of the building as well as its contents by retrofitting interior enclosures and cabinets with electronic access solutions. A complete electronic access solution includes an access control or input device, an electromechanical lock or latch and the capability to monitor remotely. When used with existing building access credentials, facility managers can connect building security systems with enclosure access to ensure facility wide access control that addresses the security needs of a variety of different enclosure applications.

1) Inventory Management

In order to better manage supplies and materials used for general maintenance and upkeep, many facilities have installed self-service lockers to store valuable tools and inventory. Electronic access solutions can be used to track access to these lockers, providing clear accountability by generating a digital audit trail that can be used for ordering and reporting, helping to reduce theft and loss. Each end user is assigned their own unique credential, which provides the input signal to a concealed electronic lock within a locker that opens the corresponding drawer or door.

2) Datacom Enclosures

Within a data center setting, electronic access can be used to physically protect the cabinets that house confidential data. For example, within a colocation environment where cabinets housing information from multiple organizations are stored, electronic access enables the IT manager to control access to each enclosure individually. An electronic lock with an integrated access control device, like a card reader or Bluetooth enabled controller can be easily installed within an existing cabinet and integrated with the data center’s overall security infrastructure. The IT manager can then control access on an individual basis, ensuring that only authorized personnel have access to secure server hardware.

3) Lockers and Office Equipment

Electronic access can also be used to secure employee belongings and protect other high-value items such as laptops that contain confidential data, or highly classified materials that cannot leave the building. Electronic locks can be easily installed into existing lockers and office equipment, allowing items to be stored securely overnight or between shifts. When networked with a building’s existing security system, the facility manager can access these enclosures from anywhere within the building or from a remote location, and add or delete user credentials according to personnel changes.

4) Medical Dispensing Carts and Patient Records

In the medical environment, preventing security breaches and maintaining compliance with industry regulations are key concerns for the healthcare facility manager. Unauthorized access and control issues can be prevented by installing concealed electronic locks within the enclosures that protect patient records and expensive pharmaceuticals and supplies. For instance, smaller electronic locks, such as electromechanical slide bolts take up minimal space in the drawers that store medications on portable dispensing carts, or within wall mounted charting stations that house computers containing patient information. These intelligent electronic locks deliver access reporting and audit trail capabilities that can be used to demonstrate compliance with HIPAA.

Moving into the future, there will come a time when most common physical objects will be connected to the Internet, and will be able to communicate intelligently with other devices. This concept, known as the Internet of Things (IoT), is already being used to simplify the interaction between individuals, technology and their environments. As this technology evolves, facility managers will have many creative solutions for integrating physical security throughout a facility.

Electronic access solutions offer a simplified means of connecting existing building security with interior enclosures, improving security administration across the entire facility. Intelligent electronic locks can be easily installed on secure equipment within a facility. When combined with existing access control systems, these solutions provide digital records of access and remote monitoring capabilties, allowing facility managers greater tracebility and accountability.

Steve Spatig is general manager of electronic access control solutions for Southco, he can be reached at sspatig@southco.com.

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CPVC: Getting the Most Out of Re-Piping Projects

Posted on 9/26/2014 8:09 AM by Domenic DeCaria

Long-term reliability is something facility managers look for in all materials, and for good reason. Quality, durable products can make a huge difference in terms of cost and comfort, and plumbing applications offer one of the easiest opportunities to capitalize on when performing re-piping work. 

As many copper systems reach the end of their useful life, the need for an alternative material is top-of-mind for many. Offering value and long life to plumbers and facility managers, chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC) plumbing systems have become prevalant and are worth investigation by all facility mangers. 

CPVC's physical properties provide unique, tangible benefits in plumbing applications. Like all plastics, CPVC resists corrosion in ways metals cannot, but as a member of the polyvinyl family of thermoplastic piping materials, CPVC is inherently resistant to oxidative degradation from chlorine because of the material's chemical structure. With large chlorine molecules protecting the carbon-carbon bonds on the polymer backbone, CPVC is unaffected by residual chlorine disinfection byproducts in the water, such as hypochlorous acid. Comparatively, other common piping materials from the polyolefin family (such as PE-X, PP-R, and PB) have been modified to protect the polymer backbone, but once the antioxidants have been consumed, the polymer is highly susceptible to erosion or systemic crack propagation throughout. Combined with the material's corrosion resistance, CPVC offers facility managers reduced maintenance needs and confidence that the system will stand up to all water conditions. 

Other benefits are just as easily realized by choosing CPVC. By maintaining quiet operation, CPVC reduces the unpleasant clanging and banging that is common of copper systems. Additionally, CPVC's chemical makeup also provides the pipes with greater thermal insulating properties than many comparative metallic systems, meaning less heat loss within hot water applications which can help save on energy bills. 

Biofilm, formed with biomass such as bacteria, fungi, algae, and mold adhere to surfaces in wet environments, is a major safety concern in all potable water distribution systems. While no material can completely prevent the formation of biofilms, any piping material you choose should have a consistent record of biofilm resistance as benchmarked against other materials, and should be able to be treated with a regimen of hot chlorinated water to remove bacteria from the system without being damaged. CPVC has exactly these two properties, meaning that facility managers who use the material can be confident that they are using the best approach possible to mitigate the risks of serious water-borne pathogens such as Legionella. 

For facility managers, CPVC provides value through its long-term reliability and durability in all water conditions. Considering its simple and efficient joining methods, light weight, and flexibility in smaller sizes, rerouting a system becomes simple when needed to adapt to tight spaces. When making decisions for repairs and re-pipe jobs, CPVC can offer a cost-effective and higher-performing plumbing solution for commercial needs. As a total plumbing solution, CPVC is here to stay. 

Domenic DeCaria is a marketing/product engineer for the Lubrizol Corporation and can be reached at domenic.decaria@lubrizol.com.

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Tips for Fire Sprinkler Maintenance

As a facility manager it is essential to make sure your sprinkler system is properly maintained in order to ensure the health of your building and its occupants.

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What are the Benefits of Phenolic Material?

Those who have incorporated phenolic products in their projects understand the benefits of phenolic, but for those who haven’t, here is what every architect, designer, and building owner should know.

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Tips for Combatting Rodents During Rainy Summer Months

As much of the country continues to experience rainy weather, pest problems are also pouring in on office and property managers, threatening the reputation and structural integrity of their building as well as the health of their tenants. Mice and rats become particularly active when precipitation levels are on the rise because rain spurs vegetation, which then provides plenty of food. In fact, the correlation is so strong that many rodent trap suppliers base their production on rainfall.

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3 Considerations for EV Charging Stations

Facilities should consider EV infrastructure as part of a larger sustainability or energy efficiency strategy, not just an independent green project. If you’re ready to accommodate electric vehicles on your property, remember that one size doesn’t fit all. Consider the following factors as you evaluate different options to ensure a successful transition to EV charging.

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Bad News Birds: The Cost of Bird Damage

Pest birds cause unexpected wear-and-tear on building exteriors. Facility managers must either budget thousands to clean up after pest birds, or implement a permanent bird control program and save time and money long-term.

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Keep Your Property a No-Fly Zone

As the weather continues to heat up, flies become very active. They can congregate around trash bins, cluster around windows, and take up permanent residence in your kitchens. Instead of reacting with chemical treatments right away, an integrated pest management (IPM) approach focuses on proactively managing pests through sanitation and facility management. Use these tips to address fly issues in a sustainable manner.  

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Building Maintenance and Pest Bird Damage: A Security Issue?

When it comes to building maintenance, pest bird control is sometimes treated as an after-thought. In other words, limited attention is given to a couple of perching seagulls until the entire flock has staged a coup and facility managers are scrambling to control and cleanup after the winged usurpers. However, what if we look at pest bird damage the way we do security issues? If there were teenagers loitering on the building premises – disturbing customers, making noise and leaving their trash behind for you to clean up, how would you ha ...

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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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