BUILDINGS - Smarter Facilities Management


Researchers have developed a new kind of security system - woven fabric that triggers an alarm when penetrated by intruders. The smart fabric enables the exact location of the break-in to be identified, and is significantly cheaper than other burglary detection systems.

A UCLA-led study has found that companies that voluntarily adopt international "green" practices and standards have employees who are 16% more productive than the average.


The design of the fuel cell meant that the bacteria, which used the DDGS for growth, were physically separated from their oxygen supply. This meant that the bacteria were forced into sending electrons around a circuit leading to a supply of oxygen. By tapping into this electron flow, electricity could be generated from the waste.

Facility managers, it’s time to get plans together that will ensure that school hallways, classrooms, and restrooms stay pristine beyond the first day of classes.

What does this mean? It means they are covering 50% more work than one person should be - The equivalent of fitting an extra two and a half work days into the working week. To compare, the average British worker feels they currently have to perform the job of 1.3 people meaning they are covering 30% more work than one person should be.

This is the ideal time for facility managers and commercial property owners to assess the condition of their lawns, plants, trees and shrubs to ensure they can weather another dry season.   To make sure your facility doesn’t dry up, check out these tips.
Flexible aerogels, for instance, could be used in a new genre of thin-but-high-efficiency insulation for buildings, pipes, water heater tanks and other facility favorites. 
Strong growth in the U.S. wind energy market, increasing the U.S. share of clean energy and supporting tens of thousands of jobs.

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu has announced seven new projects to accelerate the development and deployment of stronger and lighter materials for the next generation of cars and trucks. These projects include the development and validation of modeling tools to deliver higher performing carbon fiber composites and advanced steels, as well as research into new lightweight, high-strength alloys for energy-efficient vehicle and truck engines.

The Border 2020 program works to reduce pollution in water, air, and on land, reduce exposure to chemicals from accidental releases or terrorism, and improve environmental stewardship. It is the latest environmental program implemented under the 1983 U.S.-Mexico La Paz Agreement

The design and construction industry looks like it may have reasons to be modestly optimistic regarding the months ahead and 2013.

Is your facility prepared to handle an influx of annoying, potentially dangerous mosquitoes?  2012 has been a hot year, and while extreme heat can impact mosquito populations, in some cases it can just delay infestations.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ENERGY STAR program has launched the 2012 National Building Competition: Battle of the Buildings with a record 3,200 buildings across the country going head to head to improve energy efficiency, lower utility costs and protect health and the environment.
DecaBDE is a common flame retardant used in electronics, vehicles, and building materials. It can cause adverse developmental effects, can persist in the environment and can bioaccumulate in people and animals.

One of the key points?  U.S. hoteliers expect pricier rates for travelers ahead of the fall travel season, as nearly half (47%) expect rates to go up higher this year compared to the same time last year, while only 16% expect comparatively lower rates.

Is your facility beating the heat? Record temperatures have sent guests and visitors scurrying to buildings and facilities for refuge.  Higher temperatures can mean more than just oppressive heat and humidity – they can also create less than pleasant odors.

According to Paul Curtis, B.C.E., Director, National Accounts Service Quality for Terminix, universities and colleges throughout the country are being challenged with bed bug activity -- many getting un-wanted media attention as a result.   He offers the following observations on what facility managers can do to address parents’ and students’ growing focus on bed bugs and dormitory living


Electric vehicles (EVs) are quickly making their way onto our roadways, especially in major cities. It’s time for property owners to take action and become EV ready. According to auto industry analyst Pike Research cumulative sales of plug-in electric vehicles will reach 5.2 million units by 2017, up from just under 114,000 vehicles in 2011 with sales concentrated primarily in and around urban centers. Over the next few years, experts agree there will be a rapid acceleration in the number of EV drivers.


The researchers have created a bridge health index, a rating system that more accurately describes the amount of damage in a bridge. The health index can extend beyond bridges and apply to other structures, such as gas pipelines, dams, buildings and airplanes.


The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) saw more poor conditions in June, indicating a drop in design activity at U.S. architecture firms, and suggesting upcoming weakness in spending on nonresidential construction projects.

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