Tag Archives: energy savings

SRP-CFLbulbs

SRP Offers Free CFL Bulbs To Help Customers Save

Salt River Project (SRP) is giving away a half-dozen compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) at no cost to customers to help them start the year saving energy and money.

To participate, SRP customers need to go to savewithsrp.com and complete an online form. SRP will then mail customers two A-shaped, two globe and two T2, or “spiral” bulbs at no charge. Supplies are limited and given on a first-come, first-served basis. Delivery will take up to 8 weeks.

ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs use up to 75 percent less energy and last up to 10 times longer than standard incandescent bulbs. Customers can save energy immediately by installing the free CFLs in lamps and fixtures they use most. The living room, bedrooms, ceiling fans and bathrooms are ideal spots to start. Lighting accounts for about 10 percent of energy use in Valley homes, and CFLs save about $30 or more in electricity costs over each bulb’s lifetime.

In addition to the giveaway, SRP offers customers discounted prices for energy-efficient lighting at retailers throughout the Valley. Visit savewithsrp.com to find participating retailers, or when shopping for lighting, look for SRP signage that indicates an immediate discount.

According to ENERGY STAR, if every home in America replaced one incandescent light bulb with an ENERGY STAR qualified CFL, in one year, enough energy would be saved to light more than 3 million homes.

Managing Downstream and Upstream Risks

Managing Downstream And Upstream Risks

Examine your company’s cash flow needs and managing downstream and upstream risks

Even the strongest, most sophisticated contractor has probably taken a lump or two over the past year as a result of one of the worst stretches the construction industry has seen in decades. Because of these challenges, there are many ways that you should be examining your own company, your cash flow needs, profit estimate and balance sheet projections.

Managing both your upstream risks and downstream risks will be critical to your success in the coming years. Ask the following questions:

  • How much bad debt can my company absorb before having a critical impact on my balance sheet and cash flows?
  • How long should I perform work without being paid? What does my contract allow for in terms of work stoppages for non-payment?
  • Who bears the risk of non-payment by the ultimate project owner? Do I have any “Pay If Paid” contracts?
  • How is this private project being financed? Has anyone seen a bank commitment letter?
  • What would happen if my receivables were stretched another 30-45 days on average?
  • How would this job be impacted if one of my subcontractors could no longer perform their work (due to bankruptcy or otherwise)? How much would it cost me to replace them?
  • What is my added exposure when I bond a job?
  • How do I address onerous contract terms with my owner/GC/client?
  • How do I know if my subcontractors are still financially viable?

There are landmines at every turn so be sure to not discount the value of doing your homework before signing a contract. What are some specific areas of risk to pay close attention to?

Upstream Risks

We all understand the inherent risks with subcontracting a portion of “your work” to another contractor for whom you will be responsible. How many of us though give a lot of thought to upstream risk? Are you a sub to a general contractor? Sub to another sub? Vendor, supplier? Or a general contractor doing work for a private company? All of these scenarios carry several risks.

The most obvious upstream risk is no pay/slow pay from your client. As a general contractor doing work for a private owner, you will typically have the ability prior to starting the work to inquire about project financing. Do not dismiss this right and take full advantage of this opportunity as you will likely have difficulty getting anything else from the owner once the project has begun. Useful tools here include a “set aside” letter from their bank, loan commitment letter for project specific funding or a bank reference letter stating that the owner has sufficient cash on hand to pay for the project.

Even if you are not prime to an owner, all of these risk factors affect you. Unfortunately, you will not likely have access to your upstream contractor’s financials and will be somewhat dependent on their due diligence with the owner. Even so, don’t be afraid to ask your prime contractor (or upstream contractor) if they have done their homework. Also, check with your peers or any subs/suppliers who are working for your general contractor to see how timely they are currently making payments.

Downstream Risk

If you are a general contractor, part of your normal operating procedure is to monitor subcontractor bids and hopefully that includes a formal prequalification process for the majority of your subs. The amount of data you request is up to you, but the following is a key list of things you should know about your potential subcontractors:

  • What is their reputation? Do they have reference letters? How many jobs of similar size and scope have they performed in the past?
  • What is their safety history? Do they have a dedicated safety director?
  • What is their financial status? Have they ever failed to complete a job? Will they share financials?
  • Do they have a bond company and/or a bond line? If so, what are their single and aggregate limits? Can you obtain a letter from their surety stating these limits and current capacity?
  • Do they have all the required insurance currently in place? How do you monitor and track expiring certificates throughout the year?
  • Do you know how many subs or suppliers they will engage to fulfill the contract? If you are providing a bond as a prime contractor, these parties will all be covered by your Payment Bond and add to your potential exposure for non-payment claims.

This economy has certainly taken its toll on a large number of contractors. Often the smaller, trade contractors are hit the hardest as they did not carry large backlogs of work or large balance sheets into this downturn. They could be dependent on their next job for their very survival so it is critical that all parties are aware of potential risk factors with key subs and suppliers and employ as many additional tools as possible to mitigate those risks and prevent another contractor’s problem from being your problem.

[stextbox id=”grey”]For more information about downstream and upstream risks, visit www.mjinsurance.com.[/stextbox]

 

Tartesso Elementary

Elementary School Leaves A Small Carbon Footprint

Buckeye’s Tartesso Elementary School is receiving high marks, but it has nothing to do with the kids in the classroom.

On Aug. 19, 2010, the United States Green Building Council awarded the 3-year-old school with a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certification for sustainable building design.

Tartesso, a part of the Saddle Mountain Unified School District, is the first fully state-funded LEED Silver School in Arizona with this recognition.

“Having the certification is a big bonus to our district,” said Dr. Deborah Garza-Chavez, principal of Tartesso. “It’s nice to be noticed as a small district by trying to provide the best learning environment for our students and staff.”

The school had just a little more than 200 students upon opening in 2008 and only served kindergarten through 6th grade. Now fully functioning up to 8th grade, more than 600 students walk the halls of a completely sustainable and environmentally conscious building.

Architects and engineers from DLR Group were responsible for the building designs of the school and worked with budgets allocated by the Arizona State School of Facilities Board.

“Before we started designing the facility in early 2006, we brought our team into a brainstorming session where we could evaluate and strategize as to what sustainable products we wanted to use,” said Bill Taylor, a LEED-accredited professional with DLR Group.

The staff and students at Tartesso have a wide variety of energy saving technologies and products that create a healthy learning environment.

In an effort to reduce water shortages, the building design provides a plumbing system that conserves water. All of the boys’ restrooms contain waterless urinals and the kitchen sinks have low flow water fixtures, a reduction that saves half a million gallons of water per year.

The school provides a high performing mechanical system that goes above and beyond state standards.

A completely computer controlled airflow system continuously brings in new air circulation and automatically turns off air conditioning in an unoccupied room.  This reduces the annual energy cost by 20 percent, in comparison to a building that just meets the state code requirements.

In addition to significant energy savings, DLR Group improved the indoor environmental quality of Tartesso.  The building is positioned so that natural daylight offsets the artificial lighting in all occupied academic spaces, reducing energy and improving the educational environment.

Only low organic compound paint was used and primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) free carpets were installed to promote a healthy interior for students and staff.

“[Students] have benefited from not having those harsh smells,” said Angel Tellez, Facilities Engineer for Saddle Mountain Unified School District. “Everything is kid friendly and environmentally friendly and that is improving the learning environment.”

Not only has the school been a leader in sustainable innovations, but it has served as an asset to the economy by purchasing materials from local companies. Ingredients in the concrete were all locally harvested and nothing was shipped long distance.

“This is a place that has students, staff and the community in mind,” said Premnath Sundharam, Senior Associate for DLR Group. “It’s an educational tool for what can be done on limited funds while still making an impact on the environment.”

Grand Canyon

Solar-Power, Eco-Friendly Grand Canyon & More

With so much happening locally, this week we’ve gathered stories about Arizona’s green endeavors, including a solar-powered plane and the Grand Canyon’s eco-friendly practices, and why a massive lawn is part of the Postal Service’s goal to reduce its energy needs.

Please feel free to send along any interesting stories you’d like to see featured in the roundup by e-mailing Shelby Hill.

Also visit AZ Green Scene for informative articles on sustainability endeavors in the Valley and state. Read the latest article here.


Green Roof Gives Postal Service Energy Savings
In Midtown Manhattan one building is lucky enough to have a lawn, on its roof.  This 2.5-acre lawn isn’t for sunbathing; it is part of the United States Postal Service’s goal of reducing its energy 30 percent by 2015.  With the help of this immense lawn, the USPS is more than two-thirds of the way to meeting its goal.

Unmanned Solar Plane Flies for more than a Week
A solar-powered unmanned plane flew a total of 336 in Arizona and landed last Friday.  The previous record for longest flight of an unmanned solar-powered plane was 30 hours, which the 110-pound plane beat by more than 10 times.

The Grand Canyon Goes Green
As previously mentioned ecotourism is a new way to be green while on vacation.  Well, now one of the most famous and most visited vacation spots in Arizona, the Grand Canyon, is a little bit greener.  With solar panels powering a building and recycling bins scattered along trails, your family’s visit to the Grand Canyon just got more eco-friendly.

The Greenest Wedding So Far
We’ve written about green weddings before ,but all of the others pale in comparison to this greenest of the green weddings.  A couple from Maine is growing and raising (yes they’re raising their own chickens) all of the food to be served at their wedding.  Aren’t weddings stressful enough?

Feds Capture and Recycle CO2
The federal government, via the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, is putting $106 million into six projects that turn carbon dioxide (CO2) into beneficial products.  The products range from biofuel to cement

Reduce Carbon Emissions - AZ Business Magazine Jul/Aug 2010

Data Centers Are Doing Their Part To Reduce Carbon Emissions

Anytime a business owner goes online to bank, shop for equipment or place a classified ad for a new employee, chances are they are navigating what’s become known as the cloud — a metaphor for the Internet where business transactions are more and more commonplace and economically sensible.

And Phoenix, interestingly, has its own slice of this cloud with large data centers operating in the desert, free from natural disasters and other forces that could impact the vital necessity of data being available and uninterrupted in a 24/7/365 environment.

While data centers use a significant amount of energy — think of the thousands of computer servers housing banking operations, business software and more — data centers are being recognized for their positive impact on the environment.

The reason is simple: Data centers move business into the digital age. Processes that are digitized produce less carbon emissions than their analog counterparts, and data centers provide the infrastructure enabling this digitization to occur. Both serve as the foundation for an energy-efficient enterprise.

The transition from physical, “offline” processes to digital, online processes is referred to as digitization or dematerialization. Research has shown that by digitizing or “dematerializing” processes there is a significant decrease in carbon dioxide emissions. Large, modern, commercial-grade data centers utilize the latest technologies and provide energy savings through economies of scale.

With the advent of the commercial Internet in the 1990s, companies have improved how they interact with their customers, partners and employees. Prior to the World Wide Web and e-mail, businesses and government transacted in mostly inefficient and unconnected ways. For example, in order to pay a bill, the customer would send a paper-based check by mail, which would be delivered to the recipient by way of a network of carbon-emitting postal vehicles.

Today, bills can be paid online in a matter of minutes. By digitizing this offline process, the need for material (i.e. paper) to be created and transported has been eliminated. This in turn has resulted in a significant reduction in CO2 emissions.

Over the past 20 years there have been hundreds, if not thousands, of offline processes that have been digitized — everything from software distribution to financial transactions to medical record keeping. The combined effect of all of these digital processes is a macro-scale reduction in the overall use of materials and a more efficient distribution of the materials.

The impact of dematerialization has been quantified by a number of prominent corporations and research institutions, including Microsoft, Intel, Lawrence Berkley Labs and Stanford University.

A recent paper by Dr. Jonathan Koomey, senior researcher for Lawrence Berkley Labs, studied the impact on CO2 emissions resulting from the purchase of music online as compared to the purchase of a compact disc at a music store. Their research shows that the process of purchasing music online can reduce CO2 emissions, on a conservative basis, between 40 percent and 80 percent.

A comparative carbon footprint study of Microsoft’s Office 2007 product suite found that the digital delivery of their product to customers reduced carbon emissions by 88 percent.

According to NPG Group, Apple leads the U.S. with 25 percent of all music sold, surpassing both Wal-Mart and Amazon.com. Apple’s iTunes music service has materially changed the way music is purchased and in so doing has eliminated a substantial portion of the carbon footprint related to the offline distribution of music.

iTunes, software distribution, online bill payment and many other digital services are delivered by a complex array of IT systems, including servers and telecommunications networks. These servers and networks are located in data centers. Data centers provide the infrastructure (i.e. power, cooling, network access) required by these digital services to function.

Most corporate data centers are built to accommodate the IT needs of a single business unit or department. Large, commercial-grade data centers leverage the economies of scale to reduce energy consumption. Instead of operating 10 smaller data centers, an organization could consolidate its IT infrastructure into one or two large data centers and reduce the costs and energy associated with operating separate cooling, UPS, backup power and network access systems.

Modern data centers use the latest technologies and engineering best practices including variable frequency drives, light-emitting diodes (LED) fixtures, thermal energy storage, photovoltaic (PV) solar arrays, ultrasonic humidification and sealed cabinets. Collectively, these systems contribute to a significant reduction in energy consumption — especially during peak load periods.

By combining digitized processes with the economies of scale recognized at large, modern, commercial-grade data centers, today’s enterprise can materially reduce the energy it consumes and greatly improve its efficiency. As consumers, businesses and government look for more efficient ways to communicate and transact, dematerialization and data centers will provide the foundation for a more energy efficient enterprise.

Arizona Business Magazine Jul/Aug 2010

General Dynamics Green Processes - AZ Business Magazine Jul/Aug 2010

BIG Green Awards: Green Processes

Twelve categories, hundreds of nominations — but only one will take home the green. It’s the first annual Southwest Build-it-Green Awards, where BIG teamed up with the USGBC to bring you the leanest sustainable leaders and projects in Arizona.

Recipient: General Dynamics C4 Systems

Scottsdale-based General Dynamics C4 Systems is cutting costs and its environmental impact at the same time. The company has applied various sustainable practices to its Scottsdale facility and achieved almost $750,000 in cost savings annually.

General Dynamics C4 Systems develops and integrates secure communication and information systems and technology for businesses and governments. Although the company does not directly focus on green products, it is committed to becoming environmentally friendly. The company’s Environment, Health and Safety Policy states that it strives to reduce its impact on the environment and continues to pursue improvement.

General Dynamics C4 Systems certainly found a way to shrink its environmental impact at its research-focused, 1.5 million square foot Scottsdale campus, which houses more than 5,000 employees, visitors and contractors.
The site utilized sustainable ideas and practices on the road to becoming a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certified facility. Through the certification process, General Dynamics C4 Systems replaced or reconditioned the existing structures to lessen the site’s environmental impact. Also, the Scottsdale campus has saved more than 1.4 megawatts of power simply by turning off thousands of devices when they are not in use.

General Dynamics C4 Systems also integrated green cleaning and maintenance practices into its operations. The company utilizes reusable cleaning materials and cleaning chemicals that are non-obtrusive. It also extensively re-uses construction materials, equipment and components. Plus, the campus has upgraded the lighting system at its LEED-certified site and converted completely to locally manufactured recycled paper products.

The company also integrated its Computerized Aided Facilities Management system into its construction and maintenance processes. This system tracks sustainable data such as materials, infrastructure capacity, energy impacts and indoor air quality at its Scottsdale campus.

Additionally, General Dynamics C4 Systems produces the maximum energy savings and extends the life of equipment by integrating building operations procedures with systems commissioning.

Not only is General Dynamics C4 Systems’ own site lessening its impact on the environment, the company strives to meet environmental and safety requirements as it designs and manufactures products and services for its customers.

www.gdc4s.com

Arizona Business Magazine Jul/Aug 2010