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New Study Concludes that Clean Power Plan Could Deliver Significant Energy Bill Savings to Cities & Businesses Nationwide

in Homepage Primary/News

A professor at Georgia Institute of Technology has weighed in on the debate over the Obama Administration’s Clean Power plan, claiming that it will cut energy costs at commercial buildings.

A new study by Marilyn Brown has concluded that implementing the Clean Power plan could save commercial building owners and occupants $11.3 billion a year on electricity bills by 2030 compared to doing nothing at all. That equates to a 6.7 percent savings on electricity.

In Missouri, the annual savings would amount to $109 million. The Clean Power plan could produce an additional $112 million savings on natural gas bills in Missouri, and save $3.6 billion on natural gas bills nationwide.

“What this study reveals is that cities, and the commercial buildings that comprise them, hold a key to both lower carbon pollution as well as lower bills for commercial electricity consumers if states embrace energy efficiency and clean energy investments associated with state implementation of the Clean Power Plan,” Brown said.

The savings are triggered in part by a new generation of air source heat pumps that replace less efficient units commonly seen on the rooftops of office buildings, schools, restaurants and big-box stores. These new technologies tackle one of the most rapidly growing energy uses in the United States – air conditioning.

Brown found huge negative consequences to doing nothing.  Without any changes, the electricity bills of commercial building owners and occupants in the United States would rise by about 21.4% over the next 15 years.

The GIT study found that energy bill savings would be greatest for retail and office buildings. In the United States it is estimated that these building space owners would cut their electricity costs by $2.9 billion and $2 billion respectively in 2030, while at the same time cutting CO2 emissions significantly.

“Occupants and owners of other building types, ranging from education to food and lodging, would also save significantly on their energy bills as states meet their Clean Power Plan goals,” said Dr. Brown. “Energy efficiency offers multiple benefits and these results illustrate how commercial building owners and occupants can gain from more efficient and more affordable air conditioning, lighting, electronics and other equipment, and from improved building shells as well as rooftop solar systems.”

The study examined the finalized August 2015 Clean Power Plan developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Obama Administration. The plan proposed an historic step aimed at reducing carbon pollution by implementing first ever federal limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants. The Clean Power Plan establishes carbon pollution goals for each state, and is projected to achieve a 32 percent cut in U.S. carbon pollution from power plants by 2030 compared with 2005.

EPA projects that the Clean Power Plan will help avoid up to 6,600 premature deaths, up to 150,000 asthma attacks in children, and up to 490,000 missed work and school days annually by 2030. The reduction of carbon pollution in our air will also prevent thousands of heart attacks and hospital admissions every year.

Separately, an analysis by the Natural Resources Defense Council, investor-owned utilities in California, and electronics power management  firm Aggios, found that electricity use by computers can be cut in half at negligible cost. Computers are a major consumer of electricity in office buildings.

According to the study, roughly 300 million computers in the U.S. spend from 50 to 77 percent of their time “on but inactive” and devour $10 billion a year worth of electricity, the equivalent of 30-large power plants spewing 65 million metric tons of carbon dioxide pollution that contributes to climate change. (The  study can be found at https://www.nrdc.org/resources/slashing-energy-use-computers-and-monitors-while-protecting-our-wallets-health-and-planet.

The trio of organizations developed a demonstration prototype computer, and found some efficiency improvements would cost manufacturers “only pennies per computer,” according to the report.

The Clean Power Plan and Beyond- Impacts on Energy Bills of Missouri Businesses

Partners Cut Ribbon for New St. Charles Post Office

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Postal Service relocates to University Commons location. 

Representatives with the United States Postal Service and SSM Health St. Joseph Hospital – St. Charles were joined by city, county and Lindenwood University officials to cut the ribbon for the new U.S. Postal Service offices at 1890 First Capitol Drive.

“This is a great day for everyone with the Postal Service,” stated Charley Miller, Gateway District Manager.  “This building allows us to continue our pursuit of strong customer service while enhancing the work environment for our employees.”

St. Joseph Hospital – St. Charles served as the general contractor for the $5.2 million facility.  The 21,500 SF building is part of University Commons, a dynamic mixed-use retail development along the city’s First Capitol Drive corridor.

In exchange, SSM Health acquired the former post office located at 112 S. Fifth St.  Mike Bowers, President of St. Joseph Hospital – St. Charles, said the new complex serves a dual purpose that will benefit St. Charles residents for many years.

“While this exchange agreement is mutually beneficial to the U.S. Postal Service and to SSM Health, St. Charles residents stand to benefit the most,” Bowers said. “From a health care perspective, acquiring this property gives our hospital much needed room for growth as we continue to work toward improving access to safe, high-quality health care for our patients.”

St. Charles Mayor Sally Faith said, “This ceremony is a testament to the strong partnership forged that resulted in a successful development.  I commend all the parties that worked together for many years to ensure we would reach this day.”

A coalition of the U.S. Postal Service, SSM Health, Lindenwood University, City of St. Charles, DESCO Development and St. Charles County teamed together to bring the project to fruition.

“University Commons is an important asset to Lindenwood University and its vision,” stated President Michael Shonrock.  “This development, coupled with our ongoing campus improvements, makes the overall experience at Lindenwood like no other.”

Under the direction of DESCO Development, University Commons is a mixed use retail project that has played an important role in the city and county’s growth trends.  It is home to well-known retailers like Schnuck’s, GNC, CVS Pharmacy, Great Clips and Crown Optical.  The development recently welcomed MOD Pizza, AT&T and Mattress Direct.

Steve Ehlmann, St. Charles County Executive, cited improved access as a key component for the county’s participation in the project.

“Our office’s primary focus has always been on improved commuter access throughout the region.  We invested in the West Clay extension because of the positive impact it will provide everyone along the First Capitol corridor.”

Cortex featured in Innovation Districts Study

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The Cortex Innovation Center in St. Louis is featured as a case study in a new report on “innovation districts” and how they are fueling economic development.

The report, published by the NAIOP Research Foundation, covers the development and growth of projects like Cortex, where entrepreneurship and innovation are stimulated in shared environments that encourage employees to interact and exchange ideas in a mix of settings.

It also includes best practices for making these projects successful, which include incubators, mentoring, flexible office/lab space, and nearby affordable housing.

You can see the full press release here: http://www.naiop.org/en/About-NAIOP/News/NAIOP-News/2016/Innovation-Districts-Report.aspx

You can access the full study here: www.naiop.org/innovationdistricts

Etegra, Inc. Awarded $9.5m Robins Air Force Base Architect-Engineer IDIQ

in Companies/Homepage Primary/News

Robins AFBEtegra, Inc., was awarded a prime 8(a) contract from the Department of Air Force to provide a full range of architect-engineer (A-E) services for Robins Air Force Base. The anticipated value of the indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract is an estimated total of $9.5M and will have a one-year base period and four one-year option periods.

Robins AFB is one of the largest industrial employers in Georgia with an eclectic skill set including mechanics, planners, engineers and logistics management specialists. The base encompasses 6,935 acres with 449 buildings consisting of 11.5M SF.

Under this contract, Etegra will provide A-E services including field investigations, surveys, design calculations, drawings, specifications, cost estimates, and electronic files as required for maintenance, repair, alteration, and new construction projects.

To date, Etegra has received requests for proposals for five task orders including a renovation of a Catwalk/Rail System, design and construction of a Chemical Storage Addition, design and construction of a DePaint Facility, design and construction of a Ground Support Equipment Building, and the repair and renovation of an Avionics Complex.

“We are honored to serve the Air Force and the mission of the Base,” Andrew Kishna, Chief Executive Officer, said.

Etegra is a full service, 8(a) architect-engineer (A-E) firm. Services include architecture, engineering, construction management and environmental consulting.

Legislation Helping Missouri Contractors Control Workers Comp Insurance Costs To Become Law August 28

in Associations/News

Legislation passed by the Missouri General Assembly this year to help Missouri employers control their workers’ compensation insurance rates while ensuring injured workers receive the treatment they need to recover and return to the workforce is set to become law on August 28. July 15th was the final day for Governor Jay Nixon to act on legislation approved in this year’s legislative session, and he allowed Senate Bill 700 to become law without his signature or his veto. Senate Bill 700 passed overwhelmingly in both chambers, with no dissenting votes in the Missouri Senate.

The bill allows an employer, particularly a construction contractor, to pay up to 20 percent of an injured worker’s medical expenses if the injury does not require more than three days of lost time from the job.  Otherwise, the medical costs are covered under workers’ compensation insurance.

“This legislation provides employers in the state’s construction industry with another tool to use in helping contain their workers’ compensation costs,” said SITE Improvement Association Executive Director Terry Briggs.  “In the competitive construction industry, every dollar saved helps.”

Senate Bill 700 was SITE’s top legislative priority in this session of the general assembly. SITE helped lobby to get this bill approved. Senator Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, sponsored Senate Bill 700.  Why is this legislation so important?

“Every time an injury claim is filed under workers’ compensation, it affects the employer’s experience modification (MOD) rating,” said Briggs. “The MOD is used by workers’ comp insurance companies to establish an employer’s premiums for insurance.  The higher rating, the costlier the insurance will be.  It also is used by some purchasers of construction services, such as owners, to determine whether or not they want to allow a contractor to bid on their work.  A lower MOD rating can help a contractor be eligible to bid and perform work on construction projects that they otherwise would not be able to do if their mod rating was high.”

Briggs noted that S.B. 700 contains many safeguards to ensure the injured employee receives the necessary medical care to recover from the injury.  In addition, employers must continue to report such incidents to the state so that workplace injuries are tracked.

Other features of the bill include:

  • Allowing a contractor to pick the calendar year quarter in which to base the contractors’ premium adjustment credit.  Current law restricts contractors to only use the third quarter of the calendar year to base their credit;
  • Allowing volunteer fire protection associations to apply for grants from the State Fire Marshall’s Office to help them offset some of their workers’ compensation costs.  The amount of funds available for grants is subject to legislative appropriations. Once the appropriated funds run out, no more grants are available.

SITE Improvement Assn LogoSITE is an independent construction contractor group representing more than 165 contractors and businesses primarily in the concrete, earthmoving, landscaping, asphalt paving, highway/bridge, sewer/utility and specialty construction segments.  It represents the interests of its members in negotiations with labor unions, promotes political and legislative agendas and provides safety and technical training for members. SITE is celebrating 50 years of continuous operation in 2016.  For more information, visit www.sitestl.org.

Construction Financial Management Association Responds to CDC Report on Suicide Rate by Occupational Group

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Statistics released from the CDC on July 1, 2016 show that workers in construction and extraction have a 53.3 per 100,000 rate of suicide, which is second only to workers in the farming, fishing, and forest occupational group (84.5 per 100,000). With 17 states taking part in the CDC’s National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS), this data heightens the need to address suicide prevention and mental health promotion in the construction industry.

Recently, the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA) formed the Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention to gather and disseminate key information and resources, share education and programming for CFMA’s 94 chapters across North America, and promote initiatives to support suicide prevention.

Stuart Binstock, CFMA President & CEO, said, “At CFMA’s 2016 Annual Conference & Exhibition, we brought the topic of suicide prevention to an audience of our nearly 1,300 attendees by offering two general education sessions and presentations to chapter leaders, providing flash drives, and introducing our new online resource at www.cfma.org/suicideprevention. Efforts are also underway to encourage our industry partners to join the Alliance with the ultimate goal of preventing death by suicide in the construction industry.”

“As a construction company controller, I understand the importance of protecting and supporting our most valuable asset—our human capital,” adds CFMA Chairman Ken Chiccotella. “In conjunction with our conference theme of Building It Forward, ensuring not only the physical well-being, but also the mental health of our workforce must be core to our business strategies and goals.”

The newly released “Construction + Suicide Prevention” publications by Cal Beyer, Director of Risk Management at Lakeside Industries and executive committee member of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, and Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas, CEO and Co-Founder of the Carson J. Spencer Foundation, mental health advocate, and survivor of her brother’s suicide, address why suicide prevention in an imperative in the construction industry and provide 10 action steps companies can take to save lives.

“Construction industry leaders are stepping forward and changing culture with a new vision around suicide prevention. CFMA has shown bold leadership in spearheading this shift in culture as a conduit in making suicide prevention a health and safety priority,” said Spencer-Thomas. The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention cites these CFMA resources and website in support of the cause.

Summary Of Development Proposals Received For Maryland Park Lake District Published By City Of Maryland Heights

in Homepage Primary/News

Maryland Heights, Mo., July 8, 2016 – The City of Maryland Heights has published a summary of the six development proposals received last week for portions of the Maryland Park Lake District Development Area.  The summary, along with a map and renderings, can be found on the city’s new website for the development area at http://mplakedistrict.com/index.php/news/.

Highlights of each proposal include the following:

– Altus Properties is proposing the development of approximately 400-

450 market-rate apartment units, to be constructed in two phases, as well as supporting select service retail on approximately 31 acres;

– Creve Coeur Airport proposes development options that may include, but would not be limited to, runway extensions, runway construction, apron expansion, corporate and t-hangar development, and enhancements to airfield navigational aids and safety equipment;

– Hat Trick Consultants proposes a mid-size multipurpose Event Center with approximately 6,200 permanent seats (8,000 seats for non-ice events) designed after the former St. Louis Arena with a “Retro Arena’ feel with the same amenities for standard similar venues of this size across the country;

– Howard Bend Development proposes the “Little Lake Town Center” of 570 acres that could include regional retail, office campus, health and wellness, entertainment and amusement facilities and residential development, as well as a 1,365 acre area for land conservation and youth sports programs;

– Pannatoni proposes retail/service retail uses on 134 acres along the Route 141 corridor and office-flex/office-distribution uses further north for a total of nearly of 1.3 million square feet;

– SLCSW Farms LLC proposes approximately 44 acres of service commercial – service retail (restaurant, convenience stores/service stations, etc.), hotel and other commercial uses designed to complement and support other uses within the entire development area.

The City has begun the process of studying the proposals and conducting a series of public workshops and other meetings for input leading to a final decision sometime in February on which developments will proceed.  The first public workshop is scheduled for July 26 at 5:30 p.m. at the Maryland Heights Government Center.

The City’s Comprehensive Plan calls for the development area to be a mixed use destination featuring 30% open and green space along with regional retail, an office campus, hospitality and entertainment venues, regional sport venues and residential developments.  The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) determined that most of the property in the development area is not flood plain thanks to the 500-year levee protecting the area from the Missouri River and may be developed for commercial, industrial or residential uses.

For more information about the development area, visit www.mplakedistrict.com.

S&T Doctoral Student Wins ACI Fellowship

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Iman Mehdipour

Iman Mehdipour, a graduate student pursuing a Ph.D. in civil engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology, was awarded the 2016-17 American Concrete Institute (ACI) Charles Pankow Student Fellowship.

As part of the award, Mehdipour will receive an educational stipend for tuition, residence, books, materials and paid travel to the next two ACI conventions. Fellowships are offered to high-potential and outstanding graduate students whose research studies relate to concrete engineering and are identified by ACI member faculty. Applicants are evaluated based on their resumes and an essay highlighting research areas and all accomplishments. All finalists chosen for consideration of ACI Foundation Fellowships were interviewed at the ACI Spring Convention in April in Milwaukee.

“This award is not only a great honor for Mr. Mehdipour, but also for the department of civil engineering and the entire university as it recognizes the quality of education our students receive at Missouri S&T,” says Dr. Kamal H. Khayat, the Vernon and Maralee Jones Professor of Civil Engineering at Missouri S&T and Mehdipour’s advisor and nominator. Khayat is a Fellow of the ACI and the director of the Center for Infrastructure Engineering Studies and RE-CAST (Research on Concrete Applications for Sustainable Transportation) Tier-1 University Transportation Center at Missouri S&T.

Mehdipour’s research area has focused on developing and designing advanced cement-based materials, such as environmentally friendly and crack-free cement-based materials and fiber-reinforced composites with adapted rheology. He also performed an interdisciplinary collaborative research project, in conjunction with Dr. Reza Zoughi and Dr. Kristen Donnell of the Missouri S&T electrical engineering department, to evaluate fiber distribution in concrete and self-healing capability of cement-based materials using microwave and thermography nondestructive testing techniques.

Through his academic career, Mehdipour has authored and co-authored two books (“Soil Mechanics” and “Guidelines for Hot Weather Concreting,” both published in Persian), 10 peer-reviewed journal articles and 25 conference papers. He has received the ACI Missouri Chapter Honorary Abdeldjelil “DJ” Belarbi Scholarship for 2015-16 and a travel grant award for the 25th ASNT (American Society of Nondestructive Testing) research symposium in spring 2016. The Charles Pankow Student fellowship will enable him to further pursue his interests and realize his goals for future career in academia.

The Gateway Welcome Project

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The Gateway Welcome Project recognizes the role that immigrants have played in our history and will continue to play in the future growth of the St. Louis region’s economy. We realize that we can and must welcome and encourage immigrant youth to dream about being future leaders. What began as one small effort to do that has grown to involve many people and many disciplines in an ongoing program that will be game-changing in its approach and impact.

The idea that initiated the Gateway Welcome Project was converting a worn, scarred St. Louis Public School playground into a place where young New Americans from around the world could play soccer.

It quickly morphed into a much larger vision. That vision included a signature shelter area, landscaping and community gardens, healthy kids initiatives, STEM education opportunities and more.

The initial projects are scheduled to debut during Welcoming Week 2016, September 16-25, 2016, a time when America welcomes the contributions that immigrants have made, and will make, to the future of this nation.

Going foward we envision a continuity of effort from more construction efforts to programming. For that reason we decided to form the not-for-profit corporation which we have called the Gateway Welcome Project.

To date, the program has involved participation and collaboration from the following organizations and individuals:

  • Bell Electrical
  • Cole Engineering
  • Construction Forum STL
  • Construction Forum Education Foundation
  • DG2 Design
  • Eastern Missouri Laborers District Council
  • Engraphix
  • Jenny Birge
  • McCarthy Leonard & Kaemmerer
  • Metropolitan Sewer District
  • St. Louis Mosaic Project
  • St. Louis Scott Gallagher Soccer Club
  • PHL, Inc.
  • St. Louis Public Schools
  • Tao + Lee Architects
  • SITE Improvement Association
  • Washington University’s College of Architecture, Design/Build

Learn more here

PayneCrest Electric, Inc. Named One of the Top Workplaces

in Companies/Homepage Primary/News

Those who know best have vaulted PayneCrest Electric, Inc. to one of the top workplaces in St. Louis – the firm’s employees.  PayneCrest earned “Top Workplaces” honors from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in its annual survey of companies.  PayneCrest was ranked among the top workplaces in the small company category

The survey measured worker satisfaction with “organizational health factors, which measure how well employees are working together toward a common cause. They include ‘alignment,’ a measure of where the company is headed, its values and cooperation; ‘effectiveness,’ how the company is getting to where it aims to go; and ‘connection,’ a gauge of whether employees feel appreciated and that their work is meaningful.”

“Time and time again, our research has proven that what’s most important to them is a strong belief in where the organization is headed, how it’s going to get there, and the feeling that everyone is in it together,” said Doug Claffey, CEO of WorkplaceDynamics, which partnered with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on the survey of 177 St. Louis companies.

PayneCrest is one of the largest electrical contractors in St. Louis.  It specializes in highly complex industrial and commercial construction, offering full-service engineering, pre-construction, voice/data, video and security solutions.  It succeeds by empowering its employees through trust while supporting and providing them with the resources they need to succeed.  PayneCrest instills a culture that holds everyone accountable, recognizes and rewards success, avoids bureaucratic pretention by fostering a feeling of family, and focuses on keeping customers happy, being profitable and having fun.  Learn more about the criteria for earning “Top Workplaces” honors by visiting the St. Louis Post-Dispatch web site at this link

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