Month: August 2018

Smart Buildings – More Than Just Energy Efficiency

The smartest people in the commercial real estate industry agree–if we really got energy efficiency in buildings right using smart building technologies, corporations could save so much money that there would be little need for solar panels or windmills. While most experts are still strong supporters of these alternative energy sources, they agree that extreme energy efficiency measures could have very dramatic positive results.

On the other hand, there are an increasing number of people who are growing disenchanted with the energy efficiency movement. It is not that they are against the idea, it just seems like it is an “all or nothing” proposition, and one of the major aspects of smart building technologies is the impact they can have on OPERATIONS and TENANT SAFETY/SATISFACTION as well as energy efficiency–which solar panels and windmills don’t offer.
In our world of buildings, a world that impacts us every time we enter an office, mall, school or sporting venue, and an environment that requires a great degree of operational support, why totally ignore the operational benefits, financial and human productivity possibilities, and tenant safety/satisfaction potential of intelligent, connected, high performance smart buildings?

This new generation of smart buildings, in which an IT infrastructure is laid on top of a building and every electro-mechanical device is IP enabled and connected with the ability to send data and be controlled, can provide energy savings and a WHOLE LOT MORE. The concept of centralized portfolio control with dramatically reengineered workflow, combined with advanced data analytics and visualization, could have an equal (if not greater) impact on the operational and tenant satisfaction bottom line of a building when comparing energy efficiency and savings.

Building owners care a lot about the costs of running a building. If these state of the art concepts and technologies can significantly reduce operating costs, why not exploit that fact? These details should be included in the overall strategy when cost-justifying the retrofitting of existing buildings. It makes sense to look at every aspect of these intelligent and smart buildings. Go through the front door with energy efficiency but, by no means stop there; operational efficiency and tenant satisfaction will round out the complete justification for making smart building investments.

One small, yet interesting example of this approach would be the management of fire extinguishers. Despite more technology in an iPhone than we had on the first space launch, we continue each month to walk every square foot of our buildings in search of a fire extinguisher with a small paper card attached and a hole to punch. With some pretty basic smart building technology, we can connect those fire extinguishers to a network and monitor them in real time, with almost no future financial investment. This also has a good sustainability aspect, as we are not using natural resources to transport humans in their search for cards to punch.

Another area relevant to smart building technology with a very fast payback is digital signage. Despite the fact that the hardware and technology costs have become very competitive, we continue to rely on analog solutions to communicate information in our lobbies. If you look at the cost and process, with multiple people and methods of getting a tenant’s name up on a lobby sign, it is a very inefficient way to communicate tenant information. In addition to a simple tenant directory, digital signage can also offer advertising (potential revenues), and fire life safety information in the event of an emergency.

Many different areas of a building’s operations would benefit greatly from automation: HVAC, lighting, security/access, energy, fire/life/safety, lifts, water management, landscaping/irrigation, audio visual, digital signage, parking, voice/data and more.

If we truly want to take our buildings to the next level of sophistication and take advantage of all available technologies, then start thinking of the three categories that make a smart building–energy efficiency and conservation, operational efficiency, tenant safety and satisfaction. If we include all of these categories in our financial justification models, it becomes a much easier decision to retrofit and move our buildings into the 21st century.

Categories: Energy Efficiency

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Professional Interior Design Consultants Can Save You Time, Money, And Effort

A fresh application of paint does wonders for a room. It can be a subtle face-lift by using the same or similar color to refresh the room or it can dramatically change the entire look and feel of the space. In a way, your walls are the largest “furnishings” in the room. They define the space and provide the backdrop to everything else in the room and on the walls. When the wall colors harmonize with the other elements in the room – window treatments, floor coverings, furnishings, and accessories – you will have a room that is inviting and comfortable, regardless of the chosen style.

It’s hard for most Chicagoans to visualize what their rooms will look like just from small color samples. Even a shade darker or lighter can make a remarkable difference in the results. The natural and artificial lighting in a room also makes a big difference on how a paint color will appear in a space. Choosing the wrong wall color certainly isn’t the most costly Chicago interior design error since it is usually easily recovered. That said, painting isn’t cost free and it is disruptive. When it’s done badly due to lack of proper wall preparation, an inadequate number of coats, or just done in a sloppy manner, it’s a waste of money. You will never be happy with the results.

Many people think that interior painting is easy and something that anyone can do. Many of those same people change their minds when they are faced with the task. They discover that it takes a lot more time and work to prep, prime, and paint than they thought and it’s not as easy as the home shows on TV make it look. Like most home improvement tasks, experienced professional painters in Chicago will do a superior job that looks better and lasts longer. Be careful in the painters you choose, though. Using a cut-rate service usually gets you a cut-rate job that may end up costing you more in the long run.

Combining professional painting with the services and recommendations of an interior designer who will help you choose that perfect color will ensure a result that you are delighted with. A Chicago interior design service can help you create a fantastic space with what you have or help you choose the right furnishings to get the look that reflects your personality and lifestyle. When you factor in the costs of the “hit or miss” amateur approach to decorating and expensive mistakes that almost inevitably result, the cost of assistance from an interior designer will typically save you money. It’s the best and fastest way to get you into that room you envision but don’t know the tricks to make a reality.

Categories: Interior Design

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Measuring Energy Efficiency In It Managed And Cloud Services

As environmental issues begin to take center attention in the minds of people and on the agendas of legislature, saving energy has become an important issue facing many companies. For any business that deploys a significant amount of information technology resources, including anything from office computers to servers and data storage, reducing energy consumption while increasing resource efficiency is easier with cloud services.

Cloud services are on-demand, network-available computing resources, programs, and managed services. Also known as virtualization, physical IT resources can be utilized on a subscription or per-use basis through remote hosting. For example, software can be used through a remote provider via a network connection rather than purchasing and installing a local copy or license of that program onto every computer. Data storage can be leased in the same way instead of purchasing and installing more servers.

Cloud services have been recognized as offering many companies flexible, low-cost technology solutions that can be scaled to meet changes in demand effortlessly, all without capital outlays and dedicated support personnel and overhead. Let us examine some specific examples of employing cloud services to both achieve energy efficiency and productivity.

Data Security and Reliability Through Remote Backup Services

The bread and butter of IT resources usually consist of data management and backup, whether it is customer accounts, order histories, or client records. Cloud services can be leveraged to streamline data storage through a single portal and a single location. Most companies end up adding storage capacity over time to accommodate growth, but that creates a lot of disparate data devices that all have to be maintained separately. Virtual data hosting simplifies the entire process.

Virtual data storage services provide a number of benefits for companies of any size. In regards to green IT, virtual data storage is performed on high-performance media that consume less energy and is dynamically scaled to meet demands without waste. Coordinated storage procedures through a single, remote source ensure reliable data backup procedures and easy disaster recovery. All of these features are purchased on an as-needed plan without in-house support departments and overhead.

Managed services for data reliability include procedures compatible with PCI/DDS, Sarbanes-Oxley, and HIPPA in a plug-and-play setup.

Efficient Document and Information Management through Email Archiving

Even companies that are not heavily dependent on data still generate and manage a large volume of emails and electronic documents. Email archiving is performed by nearly every employee in an office, quickly generating hundreds and thousands of data pieces, each managed in small quantities in a different manner by each worker. This quickly creates a situation where important emails are spread out between computer hard drives, backup disks, and network drives and are not easily accessible.

Secure email archiving works to consolidate all of this data and creates effective standards in order to improve accessibility and increase reliability. This data consolidation utilizes high efficiency storage devices to save on costs and energy usage. Email archiving routines will consolidate emails, remove duplicates, and compress data all through remote managed services and internet connections to data centers. Add in retention policies and automated backup sessions and the increased efficiencies translate into saved costs, time, and energy.

Expanding IT Resources with Virtual Infrastructure

In addition to data storage and management, nearly any IT device or infrastructure can be virtualized. Cloud services cover everything from operating system virtualization, such as applications and software, to hardware, like networks, servers, and data centers, to managed services, such as regulatory compliance, industry best practices, and security and reliability procedures.

The power of virtual infrastructure lies in its scalability. Instead of periodic capital outlays for upgrades and expansions, cloud services are matched to current and future needs with instant expansions and reductions in services to follow the business cycle and seasonal operations. This efficiency translates into cutting excess costs and consuming only the minimum amount of energy. In addition, remote managed services create a safety net through redundant systems and backups for quick disaster recovery with a minimal loss in business continuity.

Like a utility provider, customers only pay for what they use without ever having systems running idle. The reductions in power consumption can form the basis of green initiatives that enable companies to rethink mission statements and company values with environmental concerns in mind. Beyond corporate culture, green solutions also carry the potential for securing incentive programs from local and federal governments. In the end, green cloud and managed services allows business to run more efficiently.

Categories: Energy Efficiency

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European Energy Label For Led Lights

There are many certainties in life, like taxation and electricity bills for example. Another is that whenever you buy an electrical appliance you will always find a European Energy Label somewhere on it. This is because all European manufacturers and retailers must tell you about the energy efficiency of electrical appliances. Regardless of whether you’re buying a fridge, washing machine, dishwasher, oven or light bulb, the EU Energy Label will help you to make informed decisions about the purchase of energy-consuming appliances.

Put simply, the EU Energy Label is a labeling scheme that provides clear and easily recognizable information about the energy consumption and performance of a product. The label is a mandatory requirement and must be clearly displayed on white goods, light bulb packaging and cars when offered for sale or rent.

The main element of the label is an energy efficiency rating scale. This takes the form of a simple, brightly colored, index labeled from A to G. Each of these is a discrete ‘energy efficiency class’ with A being the most efficient and G being the least efficient. With the advent of energy saving technologies, in July 2004 the energy efficiency rating category for A for refrigeration products was divided into 3 separate categories; A, A+ and A++.

The label also provides more general information relating to the product that allows a customer to draw direct comparisons between models.

In the particular case of light bulbs, in addition to the energy efficiency categories, you will find three pieces of important information. The first is the bulbs luminous flux, measured in Lumens. The second is the electricity consumption in watts. The last is the average lifespan in hours.

All of the LED Light Bulbs are classified as A Energy Rated. All light bulb electrical consumptions are calculated relative to a standard. Because the LED Bulbs are rated A they use between 20 and 50 per cent of the energy of this standard, making them impressive little energy savers.

So when you are out looking for electrical products keep your eyes peeled for the EU Energy Label.

If you have any further queries or want to know more about lighting industry, please see other interesting articles written by on this industry especially the revolutionary LED Lights and GU10 LED Bulbs. Also, do not hesitate if you wish to comment on any of the articles and want to express your views in general.

Your outlets need slat walls-and style

Just a couple of decades ago, the shopkeepers were not willing to accept the importance of the look of their outlets. It was generally believed that the dcor of the shop cannot have an impact on the sales made by that shop. The last two decades have proved this point of view totally wrong. Style definitely matters. If you have slat walls in your office and it is decorated in style, the customer will be impressed and it will have an impact on the customers buying decision.

Why slat walls? It is not only that slat walls add style to your office, but it is also because slat walls are cost effective. You can change your offices look in a really stylish way with the use of slat walls. It is a fact that a lot of people enjoy window shopping. If you have a stylish dcor and the outlook of your shop is nice, you will get a lot of probable customers, many of them in turn will make up their mind to buy the product they need from you. Slat walls are the modern day style of business. You can retain the perfect official look in a cost effective manner with the help of stylish slat walls.

Another advantage you can make use of the facility that shop fitters provide is the nationwide delivery of products to your doorstep. What more could you ask for? Make your business boom with only a few clicks. Choose the best quality products at reasonable price limits and get the products that you desire right where you want them. Find the right style that will suit your shop and your business idea and get what you need to change the look of your shop, online.

Your office furnishing nowadays has a direct impact on your sales. If you plan to give your office a new look with the use of some office fittings and slat walls, it is better if you look for the required material online. You will for sure find some really cost effective shops to buy what you are looking for. The internet shopping solution is great as you have a lot of variety to choose from. Also, as there is a lot of competition n the online world, you will find best after sales services and low priced packages online. It is a must that you look for the product specifications first and then purchase it.

Categories: Home Furnishing

Landscaping Tips For Your Property

Aside from home improvement and adding value to the property, landscaping brings so many rewarding advantages to homeowners. The inner peace, security, and contentment are some of the priceless rewards that landscaping can offer. How do you really plan this project so that you can have a whole year round superb yard?

1. If you live in a county with four seasons, it is important to consider it in your plans. You will have to choose various types of plants and build additional structures that should be functional at anytime in any season. Use synthetic grass for this project to save you from the hassles of weather and maintenance. The texture, appearance, and warming feeling it provides can match the real turf.

2. Research well so that you will know which materials and items will suit your preferences. You can use both artificial and real plants in your project so that you can be sure that no matter what season will come, you can maintain the superb look of your area.

3. Know the main purpose of your project and know every function of the things that you will input in the project so that you can build them and place them in their right places. Having a theme will also help make the construction fast and easy.

4. If things get confusing, hire an expert who can help you decorate and make your landscaping plans come true. Use brick pavers for a sleek and elegant look. Brick pavers can withstand any type of weather and can handle traffic very well. Every breath-taking landscape in this modern day and time includes brick pavers for a dramatic look.

5. If you are planning to add a man-made waterfalls or a lagoon, you can use stone cladding for it. You will find so many types of beautiful stones in the market that you can use for your construction. You can also use stone cladding for your walls for a tasteful view. Use natural stone pavers in areas where there’s water for a harmonious feel.

6. Find an online company that can supply you with limitless stone, brick, grass, and paving products so that you will only have a single supplier that will also make everything a breeze for you. Make sure that they operate in your area for a smooth transaction. Know their credibility and background by reading blogs and feedbacks from their previous customers.

7. Hire credible, experienced, and friendly tradies. This will help you have an efficient communication and smooth update from your builders for a successful outcome of your landscaping project. Make sure that they are from a reputable company so that you can be sure of their workmanship, speed, and attitude.

Categories: Landscaping

Top Benefits of Purchasing Kitchen Storage Products

Your kitchen should be the one room in your home where everyone can gather. After all, you probably spend more time there cooking, cleaning, and organizing then in any other room in the house. Cooking for your family and friends and gathering around the kitchen table can really turn a house into a home.

However, many people do not like their kitchens, and therefore do not like to spend time there. They might think that their kitchens are too old, too small, or too cluttered. This is something that is just not acceptable when it comes to the way that your kitchen should feel. You want your kitchen to look nice, be clutter free, and to feel comfortable.

There are of course several things that you can do to keep your kitchen looking up to date. You can start by possibly getting new furniture or a new floor, or maybe a new refrigerator, stove, microwave, or a dishwasher. I know that this costs money, but chances are it will be money well spent. If you want to stay a little bit on the less expensive side you can just paint the walls and the ceiling or freshen up your cabinets.

However, if your kitchen is disorganized and cluttered, you will never be able to get very comfortable. Cooking will most likely be a chore. Until you remodel or at least reorganize you will not be happy. Therefore, the best way to take a regular kitchen and turn it into a great room in your home is to make sure that it is organized using kitchen storage products.

Display Storage Products

Think about the ways that you can use display storage products to create a kitchen that is warm and inviting, but also organized. If you do not have room in those cupboards, try hanging your pots and pans over your stove. It will save you a great deal of space and also make it much more convenient when you are standing at the stove cooking dinner. You can get plate organizers, cup holders, and trees to display your china proudly and safely. You should stop thinking about the ways that you can shove everything out of sight, and focus on how to organize your kitchen. You do not have look at reorganizing as storing away, you can look at it as displaying. If you have a cupboard with class doors, it not only stores your best china but it also displays it for your guests to see. A bread box stores your bread but it also adds to the look of your kitchen.

Hidden Storage Products

For those items that you really don’t want to display, like the open boxes of cereal and those plastic dishes that are not nice to look at, you will want to make sure that your cupboards are organized and cleaned out. Getting Lazy Susan organizers for round-about cupboards or tracked shelves that pull out will give you a chance to hide away all of the things that you don’t want others to see. This will also give you a chance to access those things quite easily when you do in fact need them. With a little bit of work and motivation, you can use your cupboards to store more than you ever thought possible.

Amendoim What Is It And How Does It Stack Up To Other Exotic Hardwoods

As exotic hardwood floors continue to gain in popularity, Amendoim is sprouting up as a popular hardwood flooring option. But what is it exactly, and where does it come from?

Amendoim is commonly referred to as Brazilian Oak, although another species, Tauari, is also called Brazilian Oak, which has lead to a great deal of confusion among the flooring industry. It is grown in Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay, and is also used to make fine furniture because it sands and shapes very well compared to other hardwoods.

Much like Brazilian Cherry, Amendoim has a reddish hue, but it has a more golden cast, particularly the sapwood. Amendoim Hardwood Floors have more swirls and rings than seen with Brazilian Cherry, but much like its sister specie, its soft brush strokes look as though they were painted on with watercolor. It will darken with sunlight, also like Brazilian Cherry Hardwood Floors, but its a much more subtle difference.

Also like Brazilian Cherry and other exotics, Amendoim is very, very strong, showing top ratings on the Janka hardness scale 1912, which is above maple and red oak, and equivalent to Santos Mahogany. Brazilian Walnut is considered the strongest at 3680.

Amedoim is available in both solid and engineered hardwoods, with some engineered collections offering very inexpensive options. Engineered products range from $2.89 per square foot to $6.69 depending on the finish, distressing techniques, plank width, and thickness.

You can find solid Amendoim floors ranging from $4.09 per square foot for smaller spaces up to $7.70 for 5 inch wide planks, which are typically the best sellers in all wood flooring products.

Price-wise, Amendoim is somewhat similar to Brazilian Cherry, perhaps a little more expensive, but much of that depends on what youre looking to do. Handscraped floors will cost more than smoother finishes regardless of the specie. Brazilian Cherry seems to have more engineered options on the market with cheaper prices, but if youre set on something solid, Amendoim is cheaper.

If youre still exploring your options for a floor, have a free hardwood floor sample sent to your home so you can actually see the product and cut of the wood. This is particularly important with Amendoim because you could either be getting the tan sapwood or the reddish heartwood. Some cuts have lots of swirls and others dont. You just want to be sure that youre getting what you pay for.

A reputable exotic flooring retailer can walk you through the selection process and help you figure out if Amendoim is right for your home.

Unfitted Kitchen Design Ideas

The idea of actually creating an unfitted kitchen is not new; recently, however, and possibly in reaction to the unbroken but rather anonymous lines of units typical of the 1960s and 1970s, unfitted kitchen designs have begun to re-establish itself as more than a viable alternative – both with regard to function and aesthetics.

By having kitchen furniture as opposed to built-in units you change the whole character of the space, making it more of a room than a work station. If your aim is to create an entertaining and relaxed living area, rather than keeping cooking and dining areas more formally separated, you will find that unfitted pieces will sit more happily-alongside bookcases, desks and sofas than any of their fitted counterparts – of whatever material.

But unfitted furniture has other advantages too. You can take it with you should you decide to change home; just as well because a solid wood food cupboard made from quality timber will be expensive, the sort of long-term investment that you would not want to leave behind. You can also vary the height of unfitted furniture so that your work surfaces can vary in height to suit a range of functions: it is, for instance, easy to arrange for a long table with a sink and draining board built into it to be higher than one intended for chopping vegetables; or surfaces at varying levels might be incorporated into a single, movable piece.

Traditional natural materials spring to mind – natural woods with maple, teak, granite or slate work surfaces – in rooms inspired by the simple but exquisite interiors of the American Shaker communities or the vast echoing kitchens of eighteenth-century English country houses. Beautifully made work tables fitted with draining boards and deep butler’s sinks, vast larder cupboards with woven vegetable baskets on runners and built-in spice racks, and contemporary interpretations of country dressers all serve to create a traditional farmhouse feel, with all the modern appliances hidden carefully in cupboards to maintain the appropriate atmosphere. You could equally easily, however, use lacquered fiberboard, opaque or clear glass or brushed metal for a more contemporary feel.

Overview Of Types Of Tiles

Quarry tile is made by combining natural clays (shale) which makes the color red. Other colors are available in Quarry tile as well. These colors are made by included different dyes to change the color of the clay. The tiles are used primarily for flooring. It is both water and weather resistant which makes it ideal in climates that have severe weather changes.

Terrazzo tile is similar to Agglomerate tile in the way it is made. This tile is one of the durable tiles on the market. It is suitable for any use after it is sealed. It wears well in heavy traffic areas and is resistant to water and stains.

Mexican Tile or Terracotta is handmade tile which varies in texture, color and appearance. It comes in various styles, colors and sizes and usually requires some type of sealing. This tile is usually used in courtyards or patios where a rustic charm is preferred. The tile gives off a cool temperature in heat and is very popular in regions where the temperatures are extremely high.

Mosaics are very small tiles made from porcelain, ceramic, glass or natural stone. They are ideal for placing between other tile to obtain an outstanding design. In some cases mosaic bricks are used to create a unique back-splash in a kitchen.

Categories: Kitchen Cabinet