Mike Rader

Who Is Deciding What Goes Into Your Facilities?

Managing the construction of new facilities or renovation and maintenance of existing facilities with multiple design and construction firms can be a daunting task even for the most experienced owner. One way to help eliminate miscommunication and set expectations of all project stakeholders is to have written design and construction standards. If you own, operate … Read more

Do Lean Principles Apply in a Service Industry?

Regardless if you are a healthcare facility, school or university or a consulting engineering firm, we are all looking for ways to reduce cost, increase quality and drive employee engagement.  Lean concepts and principles have long been a part of industry but how can they be applied in a service industry? Some of these principles … Read more

Doing More With Less

Making or exceeding your enrollment goal is a good thing, right?  Well, maybe… Colleges and universities, especially private institutions, have continued to increase their offering of discount rates to help drive enrollment. This means that, even though enrollment goals have been met, there is less overall revenue to meet rising facility maintenance and operation costs. … Read more

The Importance of University Infrastructure

From people to structures, all good systems bear upon on a sturdy and reliable framework. Mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) infrastructure is the framework of a successful campus. Central equipment, utilities, and buildings are all components of campus infrastructure that help students, faculty, and staff perform to their highest potential. Planning, maintaining, and optimizing your … Read more

Student Housing: A Home Away From Home

Student housing has become one of the most important pieces in an institution’s strategic plan to attract prospective students, transition new students to collegiate life, develop and retain students as well as educate students throughout their academic careers. A comprehensive approach to match housing options with developing trends is a critical component both now and … Read more

Enriching the Student Experience

As institutions strive to attract and retain the best and brightest students they are facing ever increasing competition from not only “bricks and mortar” institutions, but also from new online options. Perhaps the single greatest difference a bricks and mortar institution can offer is the collegiate experience. Campus life facilities promote this experience by serving … Read more

Performing Arts Centers – Sometimes It’s What You Don’t See and Hear That Makes the Show

Performing arts centers (PAC’s) present unique opportunities and challenges for owners, operators, designers and contractors alike. They are a unique mix of specialized systems with very specific performance requirements that need to meet the needs of a wide constituency. Whether the PAC serves a sole purpose such as a concert hall or multiple purposes with … Read more

Big Changes in The Pennsylvania Department of Education PlanCon Instructions

The Pennsylvania Department of Education recently released changes to PlanCon instructions that will have a significant impact on project reimbursement and feasibility studies for educational facilities.  The updated instructions can be downloaded from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) website. These changes are to take effect for all forms submitted after January 31, 2011 and … Read more

Important Changes to the PA Construction Code Act (Act 45) of 1999 | Vol. 4: The 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (ECC)

The following are some key energy conservation code changes that engineers, architects and owners should know about in order to minimize negative impacts to your facility. Section 502.2 Increased insulation requirements and details for opaque building elements including specific requirements for Group R occupancies. Section 502.4  Limitation of hot gas bypass based upon unit size.  The … Read more

Navigating Today’s Complex Energy Landscape – Volume 5

Show Me The Money Along with new legislation surrounding the energy conservation movement comes a number of funding streams available to businesses and organizations like yours to implement energy improvement projects. Both energy conservation and alternative energy projects may be eligible for the following funding opportunities: Stimulus Programs Federal and State Grant Opportunities Low Interest … Read more

Navigating Today’s Complex Energy Landscape – Volume 4

What We Call “Alternative” Today Will Soon Become Mainstream The technology surrounding alternative and renewable energy solutions continues to evolve as more emphasis is placed on economic development, climate change and America’s dependence on foreign energy sources. The stimulus programs initiated on the federal, state and local levels have also increased awareness and promoted interest … Read more

Navigating Today’s Complex Energy Landscape – Volume 3

Energy Measurement & Conservation. Where Do I Begin? The first step in successfully reacting to the legislation changes and stimulus plans is to measure and evaluate your facility’s current energy performance to create a baseline from which you can use to develop a strategic energy plan for your facility. Before implementing any energy improvement initiative, … Read more

Navigating Today’s Complex Energy Landscape – Volume 2

Legislation. Deregulation. What Does it All Mean? There are many drivers shaping the energy conservation movement including national security, energy independence, economic development, climate change and others. These factors have sparked legislative action that requires all of us to take a closer look at how, when and where we use energy and make informed decisions about … Read more

Navigating Today’s Complex Energy Landscape – Volume 1

Confused About Energy? The word energy is arguably the most commonly used word in the architecture/engineering/construction industry these days; and rightfully so. The increasing cost associated with energy, along with the threat of energy instability and America’s dependence on foreign energy sources are certainly matters that need our attention. In addition, the recent removal of rate … Read more

Get Your Shovel Ready…Funding Relief for Your Next Project Could Be On Its Way

We have all heard the buzz about grant and other funding opportunities that were recently developed for en­ergy-related projects; however, making sense of what programs are available, when they become available, which options apply to your project and how to apply for this funding can be challenging and confusing. The initiative to develop grants, low … Read more

Geothermal Heat Pump Systems Part One – Are They Right for Your Project?

You may have heard about geothermal, or ground-coupled, water source heat pump systems as an alternative to oil and electric heat, but you may be wondering if it is the right type of HVAC system for your project. We have created a four part series dedicated to helping you identify ways to determine if a … Read more

How Does Your Chiller Plant Measure Up?

Now that temperatures are falling and central chilled water plants are going offline, it may be time to measure how your plant performed this past summer. Were you able to distribute chilled water at design temperatures throughout your building or campus? Were you able to maintain designed temperature splits? Were the spaces served by your central plant … Read more

Is Your HVAC System Prepared for Winter?

The sun is setting earlier, football season is underway and cooler temperatures are here. It’s time to think about preparing your HVAC system for the heating season. Including the following steps in your fall maintenance plan can help you save money and prevent common problems throughout the winter season. Replace air filters on heating systems. Clogged … Read more

Balancing Energy Conservation, Comfort and Productivity

Energy Conservation is a topic that is on everyone’s mind as energy prices continue to rise and climate changes ensue. As many of you know, adjusting the temperature in your building to a slightly higher setting in the cooling season and a little lower in the heating season is one easy way to consume less … Read more