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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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In-Place Pipe Lining is the Solution for Failing Pipes

Trenchless pipe lining companies may not understand the rationale behind tearing your building apart in order to ultimately protect it. It is a counterproductive process. One of the most irresponsible things a property manager can do is allow construction on his or her property when there are sufficient solutions available that do not require any demolition to the property. Trenchless pipe lining to the rescue. Trenchless pipe lining technologies are not new – some of the technologies have been used for decades, passing the test of time. For ...

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Designing With BIM: Thoughts from a Young Designer

Building Information Modeling done right is a wonderful time saving coordination masterwork that is now having a dramatic impact on our industry.  Building Information Modeling done wrong soaks up billable hours at an unstoppable rate everywhere.  Great efforts by the designer and their supporting team occur painstakingly without realizations from those making the impactful decisions.  Designers must understand far more about installation characteristics and software design than ever before.  Design firms are seeing an increase ...

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Forklifts on the Inside, High Winds on the Outside. Beating Them Both at the Loading Dock

Batten down the hatches. Over the past few years, hurricanes have made headlines and caused billions of dollars in damage to structures and products along the Gulf Coast and eastern seaboard. All the country’s coastlines and low-lying inland areas are susceptible to high wind events associated with these storms and the potential devastation they cause.   If you think the country has seen more active seasons for weather disasters recently, it certainly has.  These storms are a phenomenon, and are becoming more and more prevalent along our ...

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Where did all the carpet go?

I have a rich friend.  Just one really.  Whenever I ride in his car, I love the sound the doors make when they close. Unlike the tinny “clank” when the doors of my elegantly rusty SUV slam, his doors have a deep, reassuring, “clomp” sound.  Inside, you are cocooned, secure, padded, and hermetically sealed. More and more often, our buildings are “sealed” like my friend’s car and that isn’t necessarily a good thing. Modern building techniques and materials have given us an almost airtight envi ...

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A Breath of Fresh Air: Why and How to Improve Indoor Air Quality

When we think of poor air quality today, the term often conjures images of sputtering exhaust pipes and inefficient vehicles, factory smoke stacks and heavy layers of smog. But in addition to these visible outdoor pollutants, it’s also increasingly important to consider indoor air quality – and how often-invisible agents can affect the health and well-being of building occupants. According to the EPA, levels of indoor air pollutants may be two to five times – and occasionally more than 100 times – higher than outdoor levels. (Befo ...

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It’s a bit like throwing a firecracker

We can all remember holding a lit firecracker in our hand just before we threw it into the air. What we did in those few seconds had a profound effect on the outcome immediately or, if the throw didn’t go as planned, the activities of the next few minutes or hours as we tended to our blast injury. Those first few seconds counted.   Workers who receive or come across suspicious packages in their workplace are much like you holding that firecracker in the few seconds before the throw. Their ability to recognize a problem and take the correct a ...

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A Cost-Effective Solution for Ensuring High Acoustic Performance in New Multi-Family Buildings

Multi-family buildings offer many advantages to their occupants over single-family homes. Unfortunately, acoustical privacy is often not one of those advantages.  If you have ever lived in an apartment, condo or townhouse, at some point you have likely questioned if your walls were purposely constructed thin, or if your fellow neighbors were simply that loud. Add to this, an increasing number of residences now have home entertainment systems with large-screen televisions and surround sound stereo systems that are capable of producing higher volumes; ...

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Going Green Makes Cents

A study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory estimated that the U.S. building sector could cut energy use by one-third through energy efficiency improvements saving $170 billion per year by 2030.

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