Newsworthy ...

May 10, 2005
Biological detection systems available in 5 years. The DOE reports on the value of renewable energy certificates. And more.

You Look Marrrvelous: Advanced Uniform Fabrics

According to Jim Zahrt, director of marketing at the Arlington, VA-based Uniform and Textile Service Association, facilities managers who ask workers to wear uniforms often find that this good solution has its own set of problems.

Although 100-percent cotton is breathable, soft, and flexible, these fabrics collect wrinkles and dirt. Polyester/cotton blends offer better soil-release properties, reduced wrinkling, and greater durability in high-temperature, industrial laundering. However, active workers sometimes find these blends hot and uncomfortable.

What can an employer do to ensure that employees look sharp and feel comfortable? Fabric technology has the answer, says Zahrt. New 100-percent Fortrel polyester knits combine the advantages of cotton and blends. These durable polyester knits use spun yarns for a soft, cotton-like feel.

These knits are already popular with athletes because of their moisture management systems. Hydrophilic fabrics wick perspiration away from the skin to evaporate. This enhances comfort for very active uniformed workers and provides odor resistance. Wicking properties also enhance safety for employees who work in extreme temperatures or fluctuating temperature environments. The color retention, durability, and wrinkle resistance of hydrophilic fabrics are as good as or better than those in poly/cotton blends, explains Zahrt.

The Uniform and Textile Service Association (UTSA), an international trade organization that represents uniform service companies, can provide additional information on these new fabric solutions. Visit ( or e-mail ([email protected]) to learn more or to find a UTSA member by location.


While every building worker’s uniform should be attractive and comfortable, sometimes they also need to be flame resistant. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Quincy, MA, has introduced NFPA 70E, a voluntary standard that encourages employers to increase worker safety.

In the past, employees often complained about flame-resistant fabrics being too warm. Today’s flame-resistant fabrics are more breathable and comfortable. A flame-resistant/color-retention finish can also be added to cotton garments. Nomex®, an inherently flame-resistant textile, is available for uniforms.

Another popular trend is heavyweight, flame-resistant denim. Comfortable and attractive, denim’s durability makes it a worthwhile option.

Who’s Who in the Buildings Market 2005

Buildings magazine’s annual “Who’s Who in the Buildings Market” solicitation is now under way. The report, which will be featured in the September 2005 issue of Buildings, highlights industry leaders in the commercial and institutional buildings market in five company categories: Building Development, Ownership, and Management (companies that develop, own, and manage aspects of their real estate portfolio); Building Management (firms that are solely third-party managers for real estate owned by other companies); Corporate Real Estate departments (facilities departments in corporations responsible for the management of company-owned and leased buildings); Institutional Ownership (facilities/physical plant departments responsible for the real estate of healthcare and/or educational organizations); and Government Agencies (facilities/support departments in local, county, state, and federal government agencies).

One part of the “Who’s Who” offers Buildings readers a general “census” report on company respondents to this questionnaire, as well as industry leaders that have significant square footage in their portfolios (based upon public reports). The census includes info on square footage and number of buildings, as well as projects (new and existing) under way/on the boards, and dollars dedicated to capital and operational expenditures.

Additionally, the editorial staff selects 25 organizations that represent the year’s “A List” - industry players that are involved in significant activities and who represent innovative processes/philosophies/projects. (Special Note: The “A List” doesn’t necessarily represent the commercial and institutional real estate industry’s largest companies or organizations; rather, the selection is based on those entities that have made an impact on the commercial and institutional real estate marketplace through unique initiatives and visionary thinking. Historically, the “A List” has represented at least one company in each of the five company categories mentioned previously.

Houston Luxury Apartment Project Nears Completion

Located in the fashionable Galleria area of Houston, the 230-unit luxury apartment project - Dominion Post Oak - is nearing completion, according to owner Whiteco Residential LLC, Chicago, and architect/planner EDI Architecture Inc., Houston.

The in-fill apartment tower graces the city’s skyline with finely detailed classical architecture. Color and materials delineate the base, body, and tower capital with pediments. The gracious lobby and leasing offices are located on the ground floor. Community amenities are located at the terrace level above the structured parking garage and include a clubroom, fitness center, pool, and spa.

Residences range from one-bedroom units to exclusive penthouses with open and spacious plans, designer kitchens and baths, abundant balconies or terraces, and dramatic views. The 31-story tower includes 25 levels of apartments over 6 levels of parking.

Biological Detection Systems May Be Available within 5 Years

According to the Committee on Materials and Manufacturing Processes for Advanced Sensors at the National Research Council, within 5 years, high-value facilities may be able to deploy biological detection systems that can identify an extensive range of biological agents in 1 minute or less, with very few false alarms.

According to the 209-page document that looks at the various technologies and applications making this feasible, it’s already possible to detect and identify biological agents in time to pretreat victims before symptom onset. In the future, an increased emphasis will be placed on the ability to detect an agent cloud in time to alter air movement within a facility; the ability to treat air before it reaches building tenants/occupants; or the ability of personnel to protect themselves from exposure with physical barriers to the hazards.

To learn more, visit the National Academies Press website (

Tune In...

IFMA’s 90-minute Audio Seminars offer information on a wide range of topics, bringing you helpful and applicable information in the comfort of your office, your home, your hotel room ... or almost anywhere else. Each seminar features an expert speaker(s); a toll free, dial-in number to hear the presentation; access to view the presentation online; live and online Q&As; and session handouts. Upcoming Audio Seminars, which can be ordered by accessing (, include:

May 19, 2005 12 p.m. CST
Change, Chaos, Contrast, and Compromise: Workplace of the Future
Speaker: Meredith Thatcher, CFM, CFMJ, Carroll Thatcher Planning Group

June 16, 2005 12 p.m. CST
Innovative Workplaces: The Value and Role of “Place”
Speaker: Brent Densford, Director of Workplace Solutions, Humana Inc.

July 21, 2005 12 p.m. CST
Stress Management Topic
Speaker: Dr. Deborah Bright, Bright Enterprises Inc.

Aug. 18, 2005 12 p.m. CST
Business Process Improvement for FM
Speaker: Chris Keller, Integrated Data Solutions Inc., and Kevin L. Janus, CFM, Pep Boys

Green Schools Initiative Report Available

If you’re striving for a green school, you’re not alone. Because of the rising interest in school-related environmental health and sustainability issues, the Green Schools Initiative has published a report that provides a foundation for decision-making. The Little Green Schoolhouse presents a vision for sustainable school buildings that is based on four pillars:

1. Strive to be toxics free.
2. Use resources sustainably.
3. Create a green, healthy space.
4. Teach, learn, [and] engage.

The intent of the report is to gauge how sustainable and healthy educational institutions currently are; paint a picture of what is possible and provide hope for healthier schools; and, lastly, to provide a blueprint for implementation of this vision. To review the Little Green Schoolhouse report, visit (

Building Code Changes to Result from Lessons Learned After 9/11

The International Code Council plans to carefully study findings from an investigation into the World Trade Center attack. The intent is to gain a better understanding of what led to the towers’ collapse and develop improved construction guidelines to protect lives and property in the future.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) findings have prompted attention from the International Code Council, especially in relationship to building safety and fire prevention code issues. “NIST has done an important public service by conducting the comprehensive study,” notes International Code Council CEO James Lee Witt. “The International Code Council intends to fully review its findings as it strives to continue to improve building safety and protect lives and property.”

Last year, a change to the International Building Code (IBC) related to the WTC collapse was approved. According to the Council, “The IBC now requires that buildings 420 feet and higher have a minimum 3-hour structural fire resistance rating.” This increases the previous fire resistance requirement by 1 hour.

To learn more, visit the International Code Council website (

Opus North Breaks Ground for New Development in Wisconsin

Opus North Corp., headquartered in Rosemont, IL, recently announced the development of Oakwood Crossings Business Center I, a 139,726-square-foot, state-of-the-art, Class-A industrial facility located less than 2 miles from Interstate 94 and 5 minutes south of Mitchell Intl. Airport in Oak Creek, WI. Situated on a 12-acre site, the 1-story precast building will feature a 26-foot clear ceiling height and an ESFR sprinkler system. Parking will be provided for 142 automobiles, with approximately 14 exterior docks and two drive-in doors. The facility offers six tenant service entrances, providing flexibility for tenants as small as 20,000 square feet.

“We are excited about our first spec industrial development in the Oak Creek market. We predict the site will attract tenants easily because the airport is nearby, as well as its close proximity to the freeway system,” notes Jay Craig, senior real estate director for Opus North’s Milwaukee office.

Green Power Certificates Could Be Worth $900 Million by 2010

A report prepared for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) states that the current market for renewable energy certificates (RECs) in the United States is currently worth $145 million per year - with a potential of $900 million per year by 2010.

The report indicates that RECs are quickly becoming the currency of renewable energy markets because of their flexibility and the fact that they’re not subject to the geographic and physical limitations of commodity electricity.

More information is available at (

Energy Tips Provide Help with Chiller Plant Efficiency

Funded by California utility customers and administered by Pacific Gas and Electric Co., San Diego Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and Southern California Gas, the Energy Design Resources website ( provides a wealth of tools and information aimed at increasing energy efficiency. While the information is aimed at California’s commercial and industrial buildings, chiller plant efficiency guidelines are offered, which can be applied to buildings nationwide. Everything from chiller plant components to achievable savings of high-efficiency plants is detailed. Five strategies are highlighted as steps to achieving maximum efficiency:

  • Design Strategy 1: Focus on chiller part-load efficiency.
  • Design Strategy 2: Design efficient pumping systems
  • Design Strategy 3: Properly select the cooling tower.
  • Design Strategy 4: Integrate chiller controls with building EMS.
  • Design Strategy 5: Commission the system.

Each of these strategies is discussed at length with graphs provided to illustrate how and why these actions are beneficial. To view Energy Design Resources’ Chiller Plant Efficiency Design Brief, visit (

FPE: Federal Legislation to Make Americans Safer from Fire

Each year in the United States, more than 3,000 people die and 18,000 are injured from fire.

To reduce the losses from fire, the U.S. Congress introduced the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act of 2005. By offering tax incentives, this bipartisan legislation is intended to promote the installation of fire sprinklers in existing buildings. The Bethesda, MD-based Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE) supports this act that is aimed at reducing the number of deaths and injuries from fire.

Passage of this act would provide a federal tax incentive by classifying the installation of automatic fire sprinklers in existing buildings as 5-year property for purposes of tax depreciation. This would allow building owners to depreciate the cost of a sprinkler system over an accelerated schedule that would allow cost recovery in a much shorter timeframe than offered by the current tax codes. In the current tax law, fire sprinklers are considered as 27.5- to 39-year property, depending on the type of building.

“The installation of fire sprinklers in a building significantly improves the chances of survival in a fire. Unfortunately, because there is a cost to install these systems in existing buildings, and retrofitting sprinklers in existing buildings is not normally required by local codes, building owners may be reluctant to retrofit their facility with fire sprinklers,” notes SFPE Engineering Program Manager Chris Jelenewicz. “The incentives that are provided in the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act will help motivate building owners.”

For more information about SFPE, visit (

Restroom Report Cards and Hygiene

What’s the best way to improve overall hygiene in public restrooms? A five-star restroom rating system like those used for hotels, according to more than half the respondents in a recently released national survey.

Some other options - such as fines for not flushing, conducting “cleanest restroom contests,” and free maps to the best public restrooms - were not nearly as popular with the 1,024 people surveyed by Opinion Research Corp. on behalf of Roswell, GA-based Kimberly-Clark Professional ( Another top choice for bettering the public restroom experience was offering touch-free washroom products, faucets, and flushers to improve hygiene, which were selected by half of all respondents.

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