Posts Tagged ‘contracting business’

Summer HVAC Wrap + BetterBricks Video

September 1st, 2011 by Jim Crowder

Before the summer winds to a close, The Building Advisor feels it deserves a look back. In addition to soaring heat waves, the summer’s energy efficiency news was telling.

First, go to our latest webinar on Getting to the Decision Makers – a summer triumph from BuildingAdvice in providing HVACs with the tools they need to educate building owners and managers on energy efficiency cost savings.

Best video series ever! Building Night Walks from NEEA’s BetterBricks’ YouTube Channel. Sorta like “The X Files” meets your life.

Here is one:

Johnson Controls (JCI) issued its annual Energy Efficiency Indicator (EEI) survey last June, [greenbiz.com's article here] asking executives responsible for energy use and real estate decisions how they feel about energy and how it’s affecting their business decisions. The top line bullet from over of over 4,000 property managers surveyed?

“Energy cost savings, government incentives and enhanced public image [are] the biggest motivators for energy-efficiency investments.”

Read the executive summary here, direct from the horse’s mouth.

CNBC (finally!) evaluated the report’s findings with a good, long look in this week’s article “Energy Price Volatility Now A Major Factor In Corporate Efficiency Drive.” As Trevor Curwin pointed out,

“‘Bottom-line energy costs savings’ is the biggest single reason for property managers to consider spending on energy efficiency projects, but ‘energy security’ jumped into the top-five list of concerns from out of nowhere.”

JCI’s research shows the average payback time for an energy efficiency project is 3.1 years. While “government and utility incentives” are huge drivers for the energy efficiency marketplace, the “Achilles heel” of most efficiency improvement projects is still financing.

Tom Konrad

Tom Konrad

Forbes blogger Tom Konrad did a great series on energy services stocks in June. His post The Sector Information Technology Forgot looks at how demand response – programs that offer incentives for business owners who curtail their facility’s energy use during times of peak demand - plays into energy efficiency programs, particularly EnerNOC’s.

Along that line, EnerNOC went public in June, and shortly thereafter the company announced Memphis City Schools Selects EnerNOC’s EfficiencySMART(TM) Insight to Improve System-Wide Energy Use.

Summer daze got you bored of reading? The recent proliferation of HVAC multimedia from your favorite trades should be enough to keep you entertained during lunches as the weather cools. Check out Contracting Business’ video portal, or the NEWS’ new podcast directory.

 Images courtesy Forbesarchiehopeful.wordpress.com.

Energy Savings Grabs Attention

June 30th, 2011 by Jim Crowder

evansville courier press logoFile under “bursting with pride”: last weekend’s Sunday edition of the Evansville Courier Press featured our latest BuildingAdvice poster boy/channel partner Aaron Derr of J.E. Shekell in a story by Carol Wersich, Evansville ARC finds energy savings with state grant. We were particularly pleased to see local coverage on this terrific energy savings win for a nonprofit serving adults and children with disabilities in Evansville, Indiana.

The Building Advisor was also excited to see that same channel partner featured in Contracting Business’ June print issue under Editor’s Notebook: Business Bits. If someone has stolen your copy again, you can see the online article here: BuildingAdvice™ Energy ServicesProgram Leads to 50% Savings.

But enough about us…ok, that line never gets old. Sorry.

new construction contraction

May's ABI score was 47.2, a slight decrease from a reading of 47.6 the previous month.

Last week, Heidi Schwartz of Today’s Facility Manager reported on the Architecture Billings Index (ABI), a leading economic indicator of construction activity. The number has contracted rather sharply for two months in a row, reflecting the decrease in spending for new construction.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. was quoted as saying:

…there is no denying that the prolonged credit freeze from lenders for financing commercial projects is the number one challenge to a recovery for the design and construction industry.

What does that mean for HVACs? With no early indicators of growth in new construction, it means the focus is on keeping existing buildings running and functioning smoothly – maybe even more efficiently than their owner/managers had considered before. As with many aspects of our lives, the recession is forcing everybody to extract the most value from the assets they already possess.

dog at work

Apparently prolonged exposure to computer screens can indeed cause eye strain.

(On a lighter note, did you know TFM has a Friday Funny category on their blog? Last week’s was on Take Your Dog To Work Day, or TYDTWD for those official memos. Couldn’t resist stealing this pic).

An BuildingAdvice favorite, BEPinfo – that’s Building Energy Performance Assessment News, if you’ve been installing too many AC units of late – included the great news this week: Hartz Mountain Industries Receives Two Awards For Energy Efficiency Practices.

BOMA New Jersey recognized Hartz Mountain, one of the biggest privately held real estate owners/developers in the U.S., with two awards for its energy efficiency practices as part of the chapter’s First Annual Building Energy Reduction Awards program. One of the awards was for energy reduction achievements at five commercial buildings which resulted in an annual savings of $262,243 and an overall consumption reduction of 13% or 1.9 million kWh saved. With industry leaders like Hartz and CB Richard Ellis stepping up all over the place, it’s only a matter of time until energy reduction strategy is standard practice.

Images courtesy Evansville Courier Press, Take Your Dog to Work Day, webpagefx.

HVAC Technology and the Online Water Cooler

June 16th, 2011 by Jim Crowder

Our friends at Software Advice have a great post up, Cut Apartment Energy Costs with Energy Monitoring Systems, which takes a look at how energy monitoring scales to the multifamily (apartment) building type. multifamily building

Though it smells like residential, multifamily is, of course, actually a commercial property type. When a multifamily owner wants to look at energy monitoring products, would s/he go for a whole building assessment through BuildingAdvice, or look into residential monitoring products like Google’s Powermeter or free Microsoft web application Hohm for each user? You tell us; that’s what blogs are for.

While Contracting Business columnist Vicki LaPlant touts the importance of social media, and commercial contractors are taking their rooftop service unit and replacement businesses to Facebook, The Building Advisor asks you to remember one thing: in the beginning, there were online bulletin boards.

hvac talk HVAC-TALK.com, a forum for online discussion hosted by Contracting Business that is by its own account, “a vibrant, active online community that connects HVAC professionals with a focus on the contracting marketplace.” If you, like me, dear reader, have your doubts about how many HVAC service contractors engage with social media and blogs, look no further. The new member introduction page has over 3,000 posts, the “Job Discussion” page is hopping of course, and just about all of the discussion pages have been commented on TODAY. Is this where all of our potential blog commenters are? Are online forums more suitable to the type of communication HVAC contractors are looking for? And why?

And while we’re on the topic of technology in the HVAC industry, you’ll notice the web video revolution sweeping our favorite publications. HPAC Engineering has a series on it’s front page, including this segment on Electro Static Technology on Shaft VFDs. Enjoy.

Images courtesy designhomesllc.com, HVAC-TalkHPAC Engineering.

How are the Contracting Giants Coping?

August 4th, 2010 by Jim Crowder

Contractor Magazine recently published an article titled, “What Bad Looks Like” in which it described the state of the mechanical contracting industry.  It lists the largest contracting firms and provides breakdowns by markets served, type of work, and geography.  Not surprisingly, the bottom line is that the bottom line isn’t so good these days.

A “tough year.”  Yes, it’s been a bit tough.  And the only markets predicted to improve in the near term are healthcare, educational, public safety and transportation.

Fine, yes, the contracting business is a difficult one these days.  I think we all knew that.  But, what did we at BuildingAdvice take from this article?  I zeroed-in on two quotes from industry leaders:

  • “As I’ve talked to our MCAA affiliates, I’ve said [energy savings retrofits] is the industry that we should own.  While we are going through this slow period, now is the time to renew ourselves and focus on green and sustainable initiatives. MCAA President Bob Armistead is taking the same charge and pushing it forward.” - Lonnie Coleman, president of Coleman-Spohn Corp., Cleveland, and past president of the Mechanical Contractors Association of America.
  • “We’ll focus our energy on where the work is.  We’ll get in front of customers with good energy-saving ideas on how to take cost out of their businesses.” – Tony Guzzi, President and COO of EMCOR Group.

Could be just me, but I think they’re saying that energy savings is where it’s at for contractors right now.  So, there’s the bright spot and it is bright indeed.  The vast majority of buildings that are going to be here in 20-25 years are here now.  Retrofitting those buildings to new standards of energy efficiency, and driving down their operating costs, is THE opportunity for contractors.  Lonnie Coleman is right – contractors should own this business.

Image courtesy of Blue Ridge Blue Collar Girl blog