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Daniel's Articles

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.

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

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 America: let’s cut in half the energy wasted by our homes and businesses over the next 20 years,” said the President. “The states with the best ideas to create jobs and lower energy bills by constructing more efficient buildings will receive federal support to help make it happen.”   The President’s call for increased energy efficiency and the new jobs that go with them represents the most direct path toward sustainability. As ...

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 have little to no potential. Software analytics combined with rapid building modeling offer new approaches to analyzing building efficiency much more effectively.  These approaches drive the two main types of energy analysis, virtual energy assessments and on-site energy audits.  A virtual energy assessment is an analysis of the energy efficiency opportunities in a building, or portfolio of buildings, that is conducted without ever going on-site. Often ...

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 buildings. For many industrial businesses, the cost of damaged buildings or equipment can easily run into the millions of dollars, including the loss of sensitive electronics connected to the smart grid. A single strike affecting a building’s smart grid connection can also create a loss of revenues and resources from down time. Time and again, construction firms we work with tell us that downtime and resulting lost revenues are the most important and co ...

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 great business management guru Peter Drucker is as important today as it was years ago when he wrote it.  If something is not consistently and continuously measured, there is no way to accurately understand the impact that it has on your company.   The measurement of important data is a primary part of the Six Sigma phenomenon that has swept across industry around the world.  First, identify what needs to be measured and how to measure it, ...

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, retailers, mall owners and contractors need to collaborate to make projects feasible, and value engineering is the key to success.   Set the Tone   Start by challenging the project specifications with well-thought-out questions. Retail project specifications are often general in nature, and can include standards that are costly and unnecessary in certain locations. For example, a retailer may have a bituminous asphalt specification that requests a mix ...

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 the concepts.  Implementation is more demanding than a traditional design, therefore owners should decide what water to harvest and reuse in the early design stages.  Owners need to be aware of the major components and the interdisciplinary impact.  Any water system beyond the norm might require storage, filters, pumps, treatment, additional piping, and space.  The common inputs are rainwater, process water, grey water, cold condensate, ...

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 example, starting in the late 1980s, all of the U.S. Navy’s Aircraft Carriers’ collection, hold and transfer pipe systems have been lined with Nu Flow’s blown-in epoxy coating. Trenchless solutions paint the property manager as an innovative, proactive hero. Pipes are rehabilitated in an eco-friendly, no-mess manner that causes extremely little to no disruption or construction, saving the customer money, time and inconvenience. The trenchl ...

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 in liability as well from its use.  The concept of a totally coordinated design is most likely a fallacy.  Construction administration might be significantly removed if done right but inaccuracies are creating unforeseen conflicts and driving up costs.  My experience points to scheduling, unknown impacts of changes, and inaccurate modeling as the critical sources of wasted time and frustration. We, as your designers, want to provide the most su ...

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