Should Community Managers or Board Members Oversee, Manage or Direct Construction, Remodeling or Renovation Projects?

Interesting article. Definitely a third party consultant with expertise in construction management/project management should be retained. In many instances where buildings are involved liability issues abound, and without knowledge of these issues, there can be extra costs incurred during construction.

Property managers or board members generally do not have this expertise, nor do they have liability insurance in case of problems down the road. An Architect or Engineer is usually the professional choice for larger projects or where the building is being altered in any significant way.

The Maintenance Manager

managementYou would think that no one in their right mind would want to step into a construction management role willingly, at least not without getting paid handsomely to take on that magnitude of responsibility and liability.  Consider that most larger jobs are plagued with change orders because it’s very difficult to predict with any certainly how much of the old existing timber, much of which is often hidden within the structure, is going to be compromised by either wood rot or termites.  In addition, many owners and board members decide they want to make changes as the project progresses, as their imaginations take flight.  Finally, jobs often change due to building department or financial constraints.  Essentially, larger construction and/or renovation projects are fluid and ever-changing. 

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Beyond Timers and Photocells: Wireless Lighting Control is Here

The Maintenance Manager

wirelessMost managers, HOA’s and buildings use either time clocks or photocells to turn their parking lot lights, landscape lights, signage and other outdoor lights on and off.  While time clocks and photocells are better than a plain switch, they are 1970’s technology. A new company called “Wireless Telematics”

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my green halo

After extensive review and discussion, USGBC members have approved major changes in LEED v4, which includes a focus on performance in the Materials & Resources category.  Are you ready?

leed v4



Key Changes in LEED v4….

Alternative Daily Cover:

Projects will still receive 1 and 2 points for 50% and 75% diversion from landfill; however, Alternative Daily Cover has been specifically excluded from diversion from landfill calculations.

Pilot 3rd Point:

An additional point from the LEED Pilot Credit Library may be awarded to projects using a C&D recycling facility whose recycling rates have been verified by an authorized third-party.  This pilot point is currently in-progress with USGBC and is anticipated to be available in about a month.

Why is Third-Party Certification Important?

With LEED v4’s emphasis on performance it is important that recycling rates claimed by C&D recycling facilities are accurate and verified.  In addition to the Pilot 3rd Point under…

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Utilities and Energy Efficiency – How to Bridge the Gap


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See on Scoop.itGreen Building Operations – Systems & Controls, Maintenance & Commissioning

As much as such improvements can provide positive financial returns to utility customers, the utilities themselves face some very real financial barriers to offering customer energy efficiency programs.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>The inherent conflict between a utility’s business objectives and the objectives of customer energy efficiency programs has long been recognized. Alternative regulatory mechanisms can be implemented that not only make utilities indifferent to the amount of energy they sell, but that also can provide positive earnings from their customer energy efficiency programs. Alternative regulatory mechanisms such as “decoupling,” (separating an utility’s revenues from the amount of energy it sells to customers) are in place in a growing number of states.

Since the premise of these alternative regulatory mechanisms is that they can protect utilities from suffering financial harm from energy efficiency programs, ACEEE examined the experiences of a selected group of utilities to find out how well such regulations have worked. The utilities we selected all have relatively large-scale energy efficiency programs that serve all types of customers. We interviewed utility program managers and executives as well as clean-energy advocates and regulators. We also examined the financial performance of these utilities as represented by their stock performance.

What we found is that these utilities all have performed well financially. We found no evidence to suggest that energy efficiency programs have had negative effects on shareholder returns. While addressing utility business concerns with energy efficiency programs is clearly important, doing so is really just one part of comprehensive policies and regulations that support customer energy efficiency programs. Other keys to successful energy efficiency programs include:

Strong commitments to energy efficiency by regulators and utilities,Ongoing collaboration among utilities and stakeholders,Shared sense of purpose and common goals, and Willingness to experiment and learn from experiences.

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Ten Clean Energy Stocks for 2013: Lessons Learned

See on Scoop.itGreen & Sustainable News

As we come into the final stretch of 2013, my annual model portfolio of Ten Clean Energy Stocks for 2013 looks certain to break its five year winning streak of beating its industry benchmark.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>Story Stocks

The big stories of 2013 were Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors (NASD:TSLA) and Solar City (NASD:SCTY), up 306 percent and 350 percent respectively.  As a value-focused contrarian investor, I’ve long known that there will be many years when story stocks outperform, but they also have a tendency to fall rapidly from their peaks.  Tesla has already fallen 30 percent from its peak over the last two months.  A contrarian eschews such spectacular gains in order to avoid the rapid declines that come to such story stocks on the slightest bit of bad news.  

Even if 2014 were to be another year led by other story stocks, I would not consider that reason to abandon my contrarian strategy.  Missing the rapid rise of stock you don’t own is not a loss, although it may feel like it to people who focus overmuch on the headlines.  If holding a contrarian investing stance were emotionally easy, everyone would be doing it.<

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ETI | ETI seeks proposals for a project to reduce district heat network costs

See on Scoop.itGreen Energy Technologies & Development

The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) is seeking proposals from organisations to deliver a new project to identify novel ways of reducing the capital costs of district heat network infrastructure.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>District heat networks supply heat to homes and businesses through pipes carrying hot water. They have great potential to deliver CO2 emissions reductions and cost benefits through the use of low carbon heat, waste heat (from power stations, industry and other sources), combined heat and power  and large-scale heat pump deployment.

The ETI’s project will assess innovative solutions to reduce the capital and total lifetime costs of heat network pipes, and to reduce any disruption caused during their installation.

The Request for Proposals (RfP) announced today (11 December) is focused on identifying innovative solutions. These may include advanced installation approaches; tunnelling, drilling and excavation techniques; alternative pipework and insulation materials; jointing techniques; pipe routing and novel system designs; planning; sub-surface detection technologies; plus other areas to be proposed.

It is expected that the project team selected will need to be made up of a number of organisations with experience and insight into district heat network delivery.<


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Geothermal Energy Association honors leaders in Innovation & Renewable Energy

See on Scoop.itGreen Energy Technologies & Development

The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) in the US announced the winners for the GEA Honors, which recognize companies and individuals that have made significant contributions to advancing technology, spurring economic development and protecting the environment during the past year. 


Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>US Geothermal’s 22 MW Neal Hot Springs Power Plant took the technical advancement prize. The facility, near Vale, Oregon, is considered the first commercial, supercritical Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) binary power plant.

TAS Energy designed, manufactured and installed the supercritical ORC binary power plant employing R134a, an organic working fluid that is non-toxic and non-flammable.

GeothermEx was recognized for its role in economic development and its "substantial contribution to the development of local, regional or national markets through the development of geothermal systems."

According to the GEA, the company excels in the facilitation of common understanding between developers and financiers. To date, GeothermEx’s evaluations have enabled the development of more than 7,000 MW of geothermal power, the total financed to date exceeding $12 billion.

Dale Merrick of Canby Geothermal received the Environmental Stewardship award, which was presented in conjunction with the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI).

" Dale Merrick has been a leader and visionary working to implement a community-based geothermal development project at Canby , California," the GEA said in a written statement. "The project would produce power and cascade the remaining energy to support an existing geothermal district heating system and future greenhouse and aquaculture businesses.

"If successful, Canby would be the first net-zero community in California and a model to the 71 communities in the state identified by the CEC as having a co-located geothermal resource. Projects like the Canby Geothermal System take many different types of support, and an advocate and visionary, like Dale Merrick, is essential. Canby Geothermal is a classic example of what a geothermal ‘champion’ and a supportive community can do, the industry association said.<

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Asbestos – Best Practice Approach To Roof Refurbishment

Excellent article on legacy asbestos insulated roofing systems and remediation methods.

Architecture, Design & Innovation

For any demolition, refurbishment or repair project, the presence of asbestos in the building can have far reaching cost and health & safety implications. And it’s not an uncommon problem. Asbestos was widely used as a roofing material right the way through to the 1970s thanks to its durability and fire resistance benefits at low cost.

The use of asbestos as a building material is a legacy of the built environment that today’s roofing contractors are often tasked with tackling, as those roofs originally specified in the 1950s, 60s and 70s fail and need to be replaced.  Sometimes, there may be no other option than to remove the asbestos roof and incur the project delays and added costs that specialist remediation involves. However, while the Control of Asbestos regulations 2012 ensures that building owners are accountable for preventing any risk of exposure to asbestos fibres from their building, contractors do…

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Critical lack of long-term radioactive waste storage as Japan finalizes energy policy

See on Scoop.itGreen & Sustainable News

The United States’ top nuclear regulator said Friday that atomic energy users, including Japan, must figure out how to ultimately store radioactive waste.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>Japan has no final waste repository, not even a potential site. The U.S. government’s plan for building a repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada has been halted by strong local opposition due to safety concerns.

“In the nuclear community, we of course have to face the reality of the end product — spent fuel,” Macfarlane told reporters.

She urged countries that are contemplating or embarking on a nuclear power program to formulate back-end plans at an early stage.

The new policy under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s pro-nuclear government is pushing to restart as many reactors as possible if deemed safe under the new, stricter safety standards that took effect this past summer. The new policy, whose draft was discussed Friday by a government panel, is also expected to stick to Japan’s shaky fuel cycle program despite international concerns about the country’s massive plutonium stockpile.

Japan is stuck with 44 tons of plutonium at home and overseas after unsuccessfully pushing to establish a fuel cycle, with its fast breeder reactor and a reprocessing plant never fully operated. Experts say Japan’s plutonium stockpile poses a nuclear security threat and raises questions over whether Japan plans to develop a nuclear weapon, which Tokyo denies.

Japan also has more than 14,000 tons of spent fuel in cooling pools at its 50 reactors, all of which are offline. Some pools are expected to be full in several years, and are expected to be moved to a dry cask facility just completed in northern Japan.<

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