Industry News


A study published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry C. at Aalto University reveals an ALD method for manufacturing fuel cells that requires 60% less of the costly catalyst than current methods.  This is the first time that this kind of reduction has been achieved using commercially available materials.


It’s that time again – Preparing your office for the New Year.   2012 promises to set the bar high with the focus continually shifting towards sustainable goals and more efficient technologies and practices.  Is your office ready to take on the New Year?


Much like a worn-in pair of jeans, people often have a comfort level with familiar, traditional spaces – perhaps none more so than the classroom. The smell of chalk, the sight of tab-armed desks and a professor’s lectern can jog memories of a favorite class, time spent passing notes or mastering a challenging subject. But what if the classroom could do more to outfit students for the working world by giving students a competitive advantage?


The EPA has listed three hydrocarbons as acceptable for small commercial refrigerators and freezers.  Under the Clean Air Act, the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program evaluates chemicals and technologies to substitute for ozone-depleting substances.


Merced Country contracted with Siemens group to deliver a 1.4 megawatt solar photovoltaic array to power the County’s correctional facilities.  The system is designed to provide approximately 70% of the facilities’ peak electricity consumption.


The USGBC’s Center for Green Schools has released the Best of Green Schools 2011 list.  These schools range from K-12 to higher education and have been chosen for excellence in 10 different categories.

Hospitals are constantly on the lookout for new options to keep their facilities free from life-threatening infections and bacteria
Environmental sustainability.  Green building.  LEED.  The facility management and building ownership landscape is filled with new ways to create energy efficient and environmentally sustainable buildings.

For San Diego building owners, it pays to be energy efficient - literally. Over the last two years, nearly 100 building projects have been awarded almost $10 million in incentives from San Diego Gas & Electric through Savings by Design, a utility-funded initiative that supports high-performance building design in new construction or renovations. What’s more, owners of these buildings have collectively earned an estimated $8.6 million in annual utility costs savings.

The EPA has proposed new changes to the Clean Air Act standards for boilers and incinerators.  The standards have public health protection at the focal point, with the goal of significantly reducing toxic air pollutants

While the overall U.S. national unemployment rate has fallen to 8.6%, there appears to be little gain in the area for the construction industry.  Building and construction workers continue to face an unemployment rate exceeding 13%, indicating that the slow recovery of the industry has a long way to go.


As part of the SunShot Initiative, Energy Secretary Steven Chu has announced $12 million in funding for the awardees of the Rooftop Solar Challenge.  The Challenge consists of 22 region teams seeking to enhance solar power development by cutting through the red tape involved with streamlining and standardizing permitting, zoning, connection processes, and metering, as well as improving finance options commercial and residential rooftop solar systems.


Lafarge North America, Inc., a supplier of construction materials in the United States and Canada, has agreed to resolve alleged Clean Water Act Violations to the tune of a $740,000 penalty.  Alleged violations include unpermitted discharge of stormwater at 21 stone, gravel, sand, asphalt and ready-mix concrete facilities in Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, and New York.


A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) study can be a useful way to identify improvements to a product or process.  Essentially the goal of LCA is to compare the full range of effects to provide a sound basis for reducing a product or process’s impact on the environment. But how effective are LCA studies when applied to building codes?


ASHRAE has announced an upcoming conference focusing on the industry’s ability to accurately model and simulate building energy use.  ASHRAE’s Energy Modeling Conference – Tools for Designing High Performance Buildings will take place on Oct 1-3 2012 in Atlanta, GA.


The DOE and the EPA have released the 2012 Fuel Economy Guide to assist with selection of energy efficient vehicles that save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  With a plethora of new advanced technology vehicles available on the 2012 fuel economy performers, 2012 brings new vehicle options in conventional gasoline models and clean diesels.


The City of Seattle will send letters to the owners of 8,000 buildings this week informing them of its new building energy-efficiency program. The program aims to help building owners and managers reduce their energy costs through benchmarking. By benchmarking, building owners and facility managers get insight into how their building uses and wastes energy, allowing them to improve efficiency and increase savings.


It’s clear – cleaner air in our schools is a necessary component for students’ success. But cleaner, healthier air may not be as simple as A-B-C.


Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) has released its 2012 economic forecast for the U.S. commercial and industrial construction industry.  No surprise here – the forecast looks slow. ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu examines the situation:


Consumers and professionals alike are turning more frequently to the Web to explore products, pricing and potential purchases. As e-commerce becomes more ubiquitous across all facets of life, facility managers are looking to business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce sites to provide the same navigation, search and product features of a consumer site along with the professional products and solutions for their job.

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