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Amplified Perspectives

Today’s trending topics explored by key industry leaders.

Collaborative Contracting Approach Brings Cost and Schedule Efficiency

Advanced Work Packaging (AWP) provides the framework to help simplify and manage large capital projects in the construction industry. But it’s the early integration of construction with engineering and procurement resources that unlocks the real potential for how AWP can impact project...

8 Ways to Protect Water Systems From Physical Threats

Water is fundamental to daily life. If the power goes out, you can light a candle. Or if you lose gas, you can start a fire and bundle up. However, there is no alternative for the benefits that water provides. Community water systems are responsible for uninterrupted delivery to homes every day.

Establishing a Security Compliance Maturity Model

Utilities do a great job of gathering evidence and preparing for an audit. Audit recommendations are thoroughly followed, whether calling for minor changes or full-scale mitigation plans. When the process is complete, regular responsibilities are promptly returned to until the next audit cycle...

AWIA Compliance: Assessing Risks, Developing Emergency Response Plans

Planning for the worst may seem like a pessimistic view to hold but preparing for identified risks is essential to reduce potential disruption or, even worse, contamination of a public water supply. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is requiring utilities to conduct risk and resiliency...

An Up-to-Date Security Plan Brings Physical, Cyber Together

If a water utility is seeking to review and recertify its risk and resiliency assessment (RRA) or emergency response plan (ERP) in accordance with America's Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA) requirements, I have one word for you: consolidate.

Delivering the Value from Value Engineering Centers

To deliver reliable energy at a reasonable cost to ratepayers, utilities require infrastructure improvements and projects to be delivered at the highest quality at a competitive price.

For Large, Complex Initiatives, Program Management Is Hard to Beat

A program management (PgM) approach isn’t appropriate for most projects. But when the conditions are right, it’s almost always a good idea to utilize it.

Bolster Resources and Achieve Goals Through EPC Project Delivery

It’s no secret that electric utilities are facing many changes. From big data to distributed energy resources to increased regulatory management, new initiatives are affecting every part of the industry. 

Co-Location Brings Project Efficiency

There can be moments of clarity in the midst of a project when lessons learned make a lasting impression — and have the potential to positively guide future projects.

Utility Workforce Challenges Can Become Partnership Opportunities

Workforce reductions and an increase in competition for engineering skills are affecting organizations throughout the energy industry. As the cost of power decreases and the implementation of renewable solar and wind increases, utilities are experiencing a reduction in engineering teams, project...

Remediation Turns a Superfund Site into a Home for Honeybees

The top priority on any Superfund remediation project is to make the site safe for human, plant and animal life. This requires removing, containing or limiting the effects of the site’s toxic substances. Increasingly, Superfund remediation is done with an eye toward green remediation that...

Avian-Friendly Approaches to Power Lines

Birds on a wire have fascinated song writers and artists alike since the first power lines were constructed in the early 1900s. But to electric utilities, the same image conjures up something quite different.

Protecting Wildlife With a Habitat Conservation Plan

Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs) are valuable collaborative conservation tools that provide a balance between development and protected species conservation.

Skilled Mitigation Planning Streamlines Permitting, Offsets Impacts

Successful project permitting sometimes requires environmental mitigation or ecological restoration efforts to offset impacts to wetlands, wildlife or other resources. However, identifying those impacts and selecting appropriate mitigation solutions can be complex. Developers have knowledge and...

Potential Risks and Unintended Consequences of the AWP Trend

Advanced Work Packaging (AWP) has been shown to improve communication, safety and efficiency on industrial construction projects, but it also risks taking the planning out of the plan.

Moving Toward a Data-Centric Workflow in the Construction Industry

Large-scale construction projects require collaboration from many different parties. Engineering, procurement and construction need to integrate seamlessly to deliver projects on time and on budget. But bringing all the necessary data and methodologies into alignment has always been a challenge.

Break Projects Into Defined Work Packages for Construction Efficiencies

Using 3D modeling alongside the Advanced Work Packaging (AWP) process has helped complex construction projects become more streamlined, easier to visualize and simpler to construct. By marrying technology with existing high-quality project planning practices, AWP offers the potential to...

The Safety Advantage of Advanced Work Packages

Well-planned work areas, an informed construction crew and clear work assignments reduce the chance of safety incidents on the work site, which is the No. 1 goal in complex construction project execution. Using the Advanced Work Packaging (AWP) process helps facilitate an improved safety culture...

Reducing Solar Project Risk in a Supply Constraint Market

The federal solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) has been driving solar energy technology adoption in the U.S. since it was enacted in 2006. The ITC has been modified and extended over the years, and now the phaseout of the program has begun, with the reduction of the 30% credit to 10% by 2022.

Illuminating Ways to Manage Solar Manufacturing Quality Risks

The solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) phase-out and Section 201 Solar Tariffs on the import of solar photovoltaic (PV) modules are creating a perfect storm for increased risk to U.S. utility-scale solar projects. As utilities, developers and owners accelerate activity to secure the maximum...

The Changing Landscape of Solar Siting and Permitting

At the onset of solar, projects were typically developed in warm or desert climates. Policy advancements and new technologies are changing the scenery of solar farms. Solar installations have been popping up along mountainsides and in cool northeastern winds. As new landscapes expand the...

Interconnection Considerations for Solar Project Site Selection

On the surface, selecting the ideal spot for a solar project is simple: Find a sunny area near existing transmission lines that are carrying extra capacity. But those ideal conditions are somewhat of a unicorn, and the reality of the process is much more complex.

For High-Quality Solar Installations, Start With High-Quality Evaluations

From customer demand to the investment tax credit (ITC), many factors are fueling an increase in utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) projects across the U.S. These trends are also bringing new solar construction firms into the market. As the benefits of solar come to light, utilities should...

Geotechnical Studies Reveal Site Obstacles, Reduce Unknowns on Solar Projects

A successful solar project needs the sun, but nearly half of solar installation construction happens underground. This makes what happens under the surface critical to a project’s success. On a job with thousands of foundations, every foot of embedment affects the project cost and schedule....

Rethinking Urban Design to Address the Real Needs of Real People

The urban core of the future will likely be more densely populated, diverse and vibrant, thanks to a major generational shift currently underway.

A Community Outreach Strategy Can Drive Project Success

Vehicle traffic, pedestrians, underground utilities and limited space make urban infrastructure improvement projects complex, but failing to properly engage utility customers and community stakeholders in the process risks stopping a program before it begins.

Navigating Urban Infrastructure Project Constraints

Vehicle traffic, pedestrians, underground utilities and limited space make urban infrastructure improvement projects complex, but failing to properly engage utility customers and community stakeholders in the process risks stopping a program before it begins.

Should Urban Planners Focus on Water First?

It’s possible — or at least worth considering — that we have been doing urban planning backwards.

Three Steps to Tackle Urban Infrastructure Project Complexity

Accelerated gas main replacement programs (MRPs) are in progress throughout the U.S. as utilities across the country work to upgrade, replace and repair aging underground distribution infrastructure. While all projects can be complex, programs in urban areas face some specific challenges.

Transportation Planning Must Head in New Directions

You can’t get the right answers if you’re asking the wrong questions. So to get the answers our cities need to plan their roadways’ futures, those of us involved in transportation planning must start asking different questions.

A Transmission Master Plan Would Give Offshore Wind a Solid Foundation

The U.S. Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions are growing and face numerous energy constraints. Vast wind energy resources exist just miles from the shore. However, getting this potential power source from the ocean to consumers represents one of the biggest challenges for the emerging industry....

Overcoming Offshore Wind Siting and Permitting Challenges

After years of speculation, the offshore wind industry in the U.S. is finally taking off. While there was virtually no interest in leasing tracts of the outer continental shelf in 2015, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) leased nearly 390,000 acres off the coast of Massachusetts in...

Factoring Constructability into Offshore Wind Development

The planning and permitting complexities associated with bringing offshore wind projects to fruition are why such projects are often four- to six-year endeavors, with construction accounting for the last 18 to 24 months. However, the financial success of any project centers on planning and...

Strategic Monitoring Goes Hand-in-Hand with Green Stormwater Infrastructure

Green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) can have significant environmental and operational benefits, but to fully gauge the success of GSI projects — and to meet reporting requirements — it’s important to incorporate specific monitoring strategies to assess functionality, enhance performance and...

Adapting Stormwater Design Standards to Meet Future Community Needs

Today’s stormwater design standards are basic and simplistic, focusing solely on rerouting stormwater runoff away from built environments. But this strategy may be passing the risk of flooding downstream in addition to creating more significant and costly problems for downstream communities.

Optimize Existing Infrastructure Before Installing More

Sometimes, the best way to solve a problem is not to start from scratch but instead make the most of what you already have.

The Building Blocks of Green Stormwater Infrastructure Design

Green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) has an important job: to reduce and treat stormwater at its source. To do that job, it must be designed with the right components to capture, filter and store stormwater properly. The design must also include features that protect its integrity and promote...

Green Stormwater Infrastructure Filters into Municipal Planning

Few people give much thought to where a raindrop goes after it falls from the sky, but stormwater management can have powerful environmental and operational implications for municipalities across the country.

How to Blend STEM Knowledge and Experience to Get More Affordable Solutions

Today’s experienced science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workforce presents both opportunities and challenges for engineer-procure-construct (EPC) companies and their clients. Knowledge and experience acquired over decades of hands-on engineering work is invaluable, but hiring such...

Managing the Environmental Handoff: Tips for a Seamless Transition

The transition from the construction phase of an oil and gas project to startup and operation is like the handoff in a relay race. You want it to be smooth and seamless. If the baton gets dropped, it can usually be pinned to a communications breakdown.

Early Start on Process Safety Management Smooths Transition to Operations

Process safety management (PSM) is a critical component of any facility’s operations that should begin during construction to pave the path for a smooth transition between construction and operation.

SPCC Plans Can Avoid Liabilities, Schedule Risks on Construction Sites

Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) plans have become routine for operational facilities, but they are often unheeded during construction phases, opening contractors to unnecessary liabilities. These plans are critical to the construction phase and can slow a project's timeline...

Streamlining the Air Permitting Process on Construction Projects

The process for obtaining a construction air permit is different in each state and region. If there’s one thing that is nearly universal, it’s that you can’t start building an industrial project without reviewing the applicability of one.

Retirements Challenge Airport Executives to Build Succession Plans

Airports often have only one point of contact for certain systems on their airfield, the one person who runs all the operations for that system. When that individual retires and takes their knowledge away from the airport, the remaining staff is left scrambling to understand how everything...

Countering the Impact of Workforce Consolidation on Design, Construction

When companies are involved in mergers or acquisitions, the impacts can be wide-ranging. Multiple workforces are often consolidated in the name of strategic synergy. Staff who remain may feel overwhelmed and anxious, wondering if their jobs are secure. Morale can suffer.

Finding Solutions to the Skilled Labor Shortage

A strong construction market is a wonderful thing — until you can’t find the reliable, skilled labor needed to complete your project.

Are Renewable Energy Mandates Feasible in Large-Scale Implementation?

The Hawaiian state legislature wants to reach 100 percent renewable energy by 2045. California recently announced its plan to have 100 percent reliance on zero-emission energy sources for its electricity by that same year.

Weigh Value vs. Cost When Stacking Up Battery Revenues

Even though lithium-ion battery costs have dropped significantly over the past few years, making an economic case for installing batteries is still challenging in most situations. It is tempting to “value stack” revenue streams for energy storage to maximize the financial returns, but there are...

The Smart Way to Approach Interconnections

As utilities and communities look ahead to their energy futures, they have a choice.

To Rightsize the Grid, We Must Oversize the Grid

The careful calculations the power industry has always used to plan the grid’s future, it turns out, may no longer work.

Despite Renewable Gaps, Solutions Abound for Maintaining Grid Stability

In September 2018, California raised its already ambitious renewable energy goals and is now aiming for 100 percent clean energy by 2045. Hawaii announced a similar goal three years earlier. Other states — particularly those in the western U.S. — are just a step behind, implementing higher...

Dispelling the Fear of EPC Project Delivery

It can be difficult for pipeline project owners to determine which delivery method is best suited for specific project needs. One approach to consider is engineer-procure-construct (EPC) project delivery.

Utilizing Prefabrication to Increase EPC Project Efficiencies

Before any project, a decision must be made on what path to pursue in terms of an appropriate delivery method. For those considering the engineer-procure-construct (EPC) route, they’ll find that integration of the design, procurement, construction, startup and commissioning work supports timely...

EPC Is Accelerating Its Impact on the Transportation Industry

In private industry, owners recognize that being nimble in their design and procurement processes can yield great cost savings and schedule improvements. To achieve these benefits, they have adopted design-build delivery strategies such as engineer-procure-construct (EPC).

Tackling Job Site Challenges with the Advantages of Modularization

In today’s competitive business environment, oil and gas projects often must be completed on compressed schedules and in less-than-ideal conditions — tight footprints, reduced labor availability and elevated work requirements. These challenges can create schedule delays, negative project cost...

Overcoming Obstacles in Rural Electrification

Safety, reliability and customer service are top priorities for all retail electric utility providers. In a quickly evolving industry characterized by rapid growth and new technology, we all face daily challenges to bring these values to fruition.

Siting Battery Storage in Urban Areas

There was a time during the last decade when widespread blackouts in Southern California were common. I worked there for years, and you just don’t hear about them as much these days. As technology advances, electric utilities have developed ways to store excess power to help alleviate peak...

Going Into the Deep Freeze for Collaborative Project Success

About 600 km (186 miles) northeast of Calgary, in the boreal forest of Alberta, Canada, Ipiatik Lake is a challenging place to work. Working on the surface of a muskeg formation requires that construction be restricted to wintertime. With the cold winter weather, in which temperatures can fall...

FERC Issues Final Rule on Protection System Coordination, Personnel Training in Order 847

On June 7, 2018, FERC issued Order 847, a final rule for “Coordination of Protection Systems for Performance During Faults and Specific Training for Personnel Reliability Standards.” The final rule approved Reliability Standards PRC-027-1 (Coordination of Protection Systems for Performance...

Corporate Networks Prove Highly Vulnerable to Attacks

According to a recent report by an enterprise security solution provider, corporate networks are highly vulnerable to attacks that would give hackers full control of their infrastructure. The report outlines a study of 22 security assessments of corporate information systems at companies across...

VPNFilter Malware Targets Critical Infrastructure in Ukraine

Early in July, Ukraine’s SBU security service claimed it stopped an attack on network equipment belonging to the LLC Aulksa chlorine plant in central Ukraine. The attack appears to have been intended to disrupt plant operations. Specifically, the alleged plan was to block the function of the...

Embracing Alternative Funding for Airport Infrastructure

In our society, technology, climate and social norms are changing rapidly. Project delivery methods are changing as well — more rapidly than at any point in history. These changing delivery methods have the potential to provide new options for funding improvements to our nation’s infrastructure....

Could the Way We Pay for Roads Be Changing?

In the U.S., we primarily pay for our roads and bridges through a fuel tax. This means that the amount we pay for our transportation system is based on how many gallons of fuel we buy, not how many miles we drive. With vehicle fuel efficiency at an all-time high (i.e., we’re buying less fuel to...

The Resurgence of Regionalization for Water Infrastructure

Regionalization was on the road to becoming a trend in the 1980s, but cities throughout the U.S. never fully embraced the regionalization of wastewater treatment facilities. What started out as a great way to share costs ended up with few of either regional assets or supersized plants being...

Finding New Funding Sources for Critical Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Updates

Municipalities are challenged with battling the headaches of aging infrastructure, dwindling natural resources, an increasing regulatory environment and more. They also are balancing these and other significant community needs with limited funding sources. Substantial, secure funding sources are...

Public-Private Partnership Funding Benefits Communities, Supports Environmental Goals

For many communities, limited capital budgets result in using creativity to find funding for environmental programs. Often, this means dipping into reserve funds or looking for other options. For some, a public-private partnership is the best option for funding infrastructure needs. In a...

Securing Grant Funding for the Green Omni Terminal Project

Pasha Stevedoring & Terminals, the third-largest independent West Coast terminal operator, had something specific in mind for its new terminal. The company wanted the capability to operate independent of the grid, to be able to provide emergency goods and services to the region in the event of a...

Order 843 and CIP-003-7: How They Will Impact Low Sites

On April 25, 2018, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) published Order 843, effectively approving CIP-003-7 standards. An issued effective date of Jan. 1, 2020, has been released. So you might be wondering, “How do the new standards affect my current low sites?”

Substation Vulnerability Simulation Demonstrates Key Cybersecurity Principles

Our firm recently partnered with the University of Southern Maine Department of Engineering faculty and students to develop and execute an interactive substation cybersecurity demonstration, during which participants experienced real-time attack scenarios. Throughout the semester, the dual...

If Ransomware Strikes, Will You Be Protected?

On April 24, 2018, hackers compromised the website of the Ukrainian energy and coal ministry. A message was posted to the site demanding a ransom be paid in Bitcoin to recover the encrypted files. This appears to have been an isolated attack that did not impact any other areas of the Ukrainian...

Robust Energy Analysis Will Be Crucial for Future of Electrification

California is literally and figuratively charging ahead by setting lofty sustainability-related goals, which can be achieved through electrification initiatives.

Plugging In: The Electrification of Bus Fleets

U.S. transportation is embracing an exciting shift: electric vehicles (EVs). And not just light-duty cars and trucks anymore. Medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicles, specifically buses, are becoming a focus for city transit agencies because of their lower noise and air pollution, reduced...

Electrification Can Become a Driver of Airport Revenue

Today’s airports have a parking problem. That is, travelers would rather not park there.

Deploying America’s Electrified Bus Fleets

From King County Metro in Washington state to LA Metro and Foothill Transit in California, transit agencies along the West Coast are spearheading the electrification of bus fleets. Whether implementing pilot programs or exploring full-scale deployment, fleet electrification is on the rise. The...

Rethinking the Parking Lot: Electric Vehicles Could Power Microgrids

As the adoption of electric vehicles grows, so does the potential to create microgrids that can unlock energy alternatives for businesses and communities, essentially turning parking lots into small power plants.

Get Ready: Electrification Is Real and It’s Coming Your Way

If you’re wondering if the electrification of the automotive industry is really, truly a thing, here is your answer: YES. 

Gender and Cultural Diversity Lead to Better Design-Build/EPC Results

Engineering is a male-dominated field. However, as women are increasingly finding their way into STEM careers and on up to the C-suite, alternative project delivery teams, including design-build/engineer-procure-construct (EPC), also are becoming more diverse.

Attention, Women in STEM Careers: Mentoring Matters!

As more studies roll in regarding women in leadership, it's becoming clear that female empowerment isn't just good for women, it's good for everyone.

Inspired by Family, Driven by Success

Possessing a strong disposition toward science and mathematics wasn’t all that drove me to attain a career in engineering. I was actually born right alongside the family civil engineering business.

Daring to ‘Dream Big’ for the Future

Seeing your dreams writ large on the big screen can be inspirational.

Engineering Careers: Role Models, Right at Home

Your family doesn’t determine your career. But when it came to my professional calling, I didn’t have to look far for inspiration.

Building “Impenetrable” Cybersecurity Systems With Penetration Testing

Utilities often focus on offline or passive methods of assessing and protecting their systems. Being able to analyze configurations and evaluate access control lists is a worthwhile pursuit, and it does give utilities a sense of how secure individual systems are at a specific point in time.

FERC Approves Reliability Standards EOP-004-4, EOP-006-3 and EOP 008-2

On Jan. 18, 2018, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued Order 840 addressing Emergency Preparedness and Operations Reliability Standards. The final rule approved:

Start Sooner to Get More Out of Security System Commissioning

Commissioning — the process that verifies a substation security system operates in a manner consistent with its design — commonly starts in the final weeks before the system is handed over to the security operation center. But that can be a mistake.

Discharging Treated Coal Ash Water to Surface Water to Elicit New Permitting

When the EPA decided to revise the federal Coal Combustion Residual (CCR) rule, it affected more than the power plants that will eventually be bound by its coal ash disposal requirements.

How to Use the Time Created by the ELG Compliance Delay

With the federal rules back under review, coal-fired utilities have received something valuable in their Effluent Limitations Guidelines compliance (ELG compliance) plan: time. The question is how to use it, especially regarding treatment options for the wastewater streams impacted by the...

Planning Can Ease Challenge of Uncertain CCR Management Regulations

The best business decisions are rarely made in an environment of uncertainty and elevated risk. For owners and operators of coal-fired power plants, dealing with federal Coal Combustion Residual management (CCR management) regulations is creating just such a situation. Between compliance dates...

CCR, ELG Compliance Is Evolving, But Planning Is Key for Utilities

The past few years have been a challenge for coal-fired power plants trying to prepare for and comply with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations covering plant wastewater management, treatment and discharge. Federal Coal Combustion Residual management (CCR) and Effluent...

Using Asset Health to Assist in Grid Planning

When you think of asset health, you may not instantly make a connection between its uses and the efforts of utilities to develop grid planning processes. However, utilities can easily apply the benefits to track the condition of components and equipment related to the distribution of power to...

Using Technology to Advance Grid Planning, Design and Operation

The transmission and distribution of power from generation to customer requires a jigsaw puzzle of physical assets. Keeping track of these assets and the data related to each is increasingly challenging, especially for a utility with hundreds of substations and thousands of miles of lines.

Lessons in Cybersecurity Planning in the Wake of an Attack

The bad news is, cyberattackers continue to grow more sophisticated, with many improving their tactics faster than security teams can thwart them.

Grid Planning: Preparing for Customer Impacts on the Grid

Forty years ago, ARPANET was just getting off the ground. At that time, grid planning was built on the assumption that current and voltage decrease as power moves away from a substation. In this model, there was time for transformers and other equipment to cool overnight. Power flowed in one...

Guard Against Cybersecurity Risks by Understanding Weaknesses

It’s not easy to protect something you don’t know you have. And yet, many power utilities have been attempting to do just that for years.

Understand and Prepare for Advanced Persistent Threats in Cybersecurity

Advanced persistent threats (APT) are long-term attacks focused on a specific entity or industry. They include a set of covert and continuous computer hacking processes. The term “advanced” refers to the planning and strategy to stay under the radar; “persistent” refers to the ongoing process...

Control Center Communication Networks and CIP-012-1

The NERC Urgent Action (UA) 1200 Standard, a temporary standard developed by the North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC) Critical Infrastructure Protection Advisory Group and approved on Aug. 13, 2004, was the first set of standards designed to address critical infrastructure protection...

Get the Most From Your Black Start RFP

Maintaining a resilient, reliable power grid is on the minds of many. Utility companies, independent system operators (ISO) and regional transmission organizations (RTO) understand that preparation is key in avoiding a black start situation that might result from natural disasters, fuel supply,...

Black Start RFP Is an Economic Opportunity for Utilities

Electric power generation owners have seen their fair share of change over time. From competition to deregulation, renewable energy to distributed power, generation owners have had to accept, adapt and, when possible, optimize their business models to changing conditions. Within this morphing...

As Combustion Turbines Get Bigger, Black Start Units Follow Suit

Conceptually speaking, today’s black start units are not fundamentally different from the vintage units they are replacing. Most still depend on diesel generators to bring an electric power generation plant back online after a widespread outage.

Secrets of a Successful Black Start Installation

Adding black start capabilities to a power generating station is not a typical retrofit. It means adding an alternate, new way of doing something — like starting offline gas turbines — to the method the power station has relied upon since its original construction.

Closing the Gap with Design-Build for Water Infrastructure

Today's global infrastructure investment, estimated to be $2.5 trillion per year, falls short of the $3.3 trillion annual investment needed to keep pace with expected growth, not to mention renewal of existing aging infrastructure.

Integrated Project Delivery: Bringing Back the Master Builder

The concept of master builder dates to ancient times. In fact, the word architect comes from the Greek for chief (arch) and builder (tektōn). For centuries, the master builder blurred the lines between architect, engineer and builder. However, over time those lines grew more defined as the...

Raising Bridges With an Efficient EPC Approach

Globally, we face difficult challenges to rapidly evolve our project delivery process to meet increased demand brought on by population growth and customer needs. Though it offers much potential, worldwide growth spurs additional conversations about the global infrastructure gap and how with a...

Counting on Benefits: Design-Build for Commercial Buildings

The commercial sector is often the battleground for an essential conflict between form, function and budget. In this environment, is it possible for owners to expect quality aesthetics without compromising cost and schedule? It is with single company design-build.

Locking in Cost Advantages of Design-Build Project Delivery

Preventing capital project costs from spiraling out of control is a primary concern for most public entities, but the traditional design-bid-build project delivery model can't always provide the early cost certainty clients seek.

Changing the Perception of Water Reuse

For most of human history, running out of water was a real risk, and one that wasn’t easily ignored. When your next glass of water or the ability to irrigate your crops comes from the local well or river, it’s hard to forget water is a finite resource. As Ben Franklin put it, “When the well is...

Drought Mitigation Helps Secure Future Water Resources

Many communities across America don’t spend time imagining a day without water and what effect that would have. However, long-term drought has made this frightening scenario far too close to reality. As a result, many residents are well aware of the consequences.

Tight Water Resources Require Industrial Users to Plan, Invest

When you think of industry, whether oil and gas, manufacturing or any other sector, water doesn’t immediately come to mind. It’s rarely a major component of what is being produced — often, it isn’t even an ingredient. Yet it’s essential to the ongoing operations of virtually all plants and...

Water Resources Are Precious — and Our Kids Know It

Water is a resource that every organism needs to survive. It is crucial for life’s advancements and our health, which is why it’s important to educate our kids about conservation of water resources.

Understanding the Value — and Importance — of Water Resources

To me, the goal of the Imagine a Day Without Water Campaign is to remind people how precious our water resources are — and just how much water affects our daily lives. Nowhere is that more evident than in our nation’s heartland.

Malware Attacks on Critical Infrastructure Security Are Growing

Over the past several years, the world has seen an increase in the use of malware to directly and maliciously affect critical infrastructure. In 2012, a piece of malware known as Shamoon was used to overwrite the hard drives of some 30,000 computers at Saudi Aramco, the Saudi Arabian national...

Low-Impact Requirements: Counting Down to Enforcement of CIP-003-6

Sept. 1, 2017, marked the start of the one-year countdown to enforcement of the CIP-003-6 low-impact requirements covering Physical Security Controls and Electronic Access Controls. While an entire year might seem like a long time, meeting that deadline still could be a challenge for some.

Keeping Food Safe in the New Distribution Model

A significant shift is occurring in today’s food market, leaving manufacturers to face new pressures from consumers. One trend specifically — that of food being delivered straight to the consumer’s door — is forcing manufacturers to change the way they handle food safety.

Packaging for Convenience, Flexibility and Speed

If you want to understand how changing consumer food tastes affect food packaging, just consider coffee.

Managing the Food and Beverage Supply Chain When Convenience Reigns

If you need office supplies, you probably wouldn’t think twice about placing an order online and awaiting their arrival on your doorstep. Grocery chains are betting you will soon feel the same way about purchasing asparagus and peaches.

Adapting to New Markets Means Adapting to New Business Models in Food Processing

Amazon’s recent acquisition of Whole Foods won’t just change how some Americans shop for groceries. This new e-commerce-driven partnership — along with the growing consumer preference for fresh, wholesome foods it seeks to exploit — is already creating ripples up and down the food supply chain.

Augmented Tracking Promises Improved Material Management, Construction Safety

Major construction projects are massive undertakings involving thousands of parts and materials. Keeping an eye on the countless details is critical to safe, effective work and positive outcomes.

Can Smart Glasses Make Construction Sites Safer?

Builders serious about improving their construction safety records may soon be asking workers to trade in their current safety glasses for a new, “smarter” pair.

Better Data Collection Tools Can Hasten Emergency Response

When a pipeline leaks or power lines go down, timing becomes critical. The faster the response, the better contained the problem will be. Whether it’s a relatively routine problem or the result of a significant natural disaster — such as a tornado or hurricane — effective emergency response...

Augmented Reality Meets Asset Management: This Changes Everything

To understand how augmented reality (AR) and smart glasses could transform the business of asset management services, consider what happens when an important piece of equipment unexpectedly malfunctions at a factory or power substation.

Advanced Water Treatment Methods Thwart Emerging Contaminants

Communities across the country are experiencing population growth in combination with aging infrastructure. Such growth provides many opportunities, including increased retail and commercial sales, industrial expansion and the attraction of new customers.

Managing Risks for Environmental Liabilities

Anticipating and keeping pace with the ever-changing regulatory environment is one of the biggest challenges companies face while managing risks associated with their ongoing operations. The key to success: private industries, government organizations and the military must document their...

Be Prepared to Tackle Challenges of PFAS

A big challenge in addressing emerging contaminants is that it’s hard to know how to proceed — or justify expenses — in the absence a cohesive policy and established regulatory limits, such as national drinking water regulations.

New Emerging Contaminants and Their Implications

The term emerging contaminants (EC) is applied to compounds and substances that, for one reason or another, are the focus of new environmental regulations or rulemaking, public health advisories and, in some cases, litigation. New regulations and an evolved understanding of contaminant toxicity...

Data Center and Utility Matchmaking for a Lower Total Cost of Ownership

It’s an indisputable fact: Electric utilities need customers. Electricity sales in the U.S. have fallen five out of the past eight years, primarily due to improvements in energy efficiency. Here’s another essential certainty: Data centers are excellent consumers of electricity, accounting for...

Bringing Data Centers into Site: Choosing a Strategic Location for Data Center Development

“Will this site work?”

Clients seeking assistance in strategic site selection for data centers will inevitably ask this. That question, however, fails to get to the real purpose of strategic site selection. Finding a site that “works” is important, but finding a site with specific strategic...

A Clear Line of Site: Using Strategic Site Selection to Bring Data Centers Online Quickly

Netflix and YouTube were responsible for over half of the world’s downstream Internet traffic in 2016, according to a report from Sandvine. By 2020, analysts expect bandwidth demand from online streaming services to grow even larger. This trend, coupled with a shift to the cloud, has created...

Solar PV Is Here to Stay

One of the trending questions in the power industry right now: Will the Trump administration continue policies that maintain the surging momentum of the solar power industry?

Future of Grid-Tied PV Systems

The North American power grid is the most reliable in the world, bar none. That’s the reason so many in the power industry are working hard to avoid any erosion in reliability as more megawatts of solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind generation are introduced to the grid.

The Price of Solar Energy

Solar energy is becoming more cost-efficient — and cost-competitive with its fossil fuel counterparts. This gives the solar industry, as well as utilities and consumers, an alternative energy avenue to consider.

5 Ways Technology Will Innovate Aviation Security

Mention “air travel regulations” and “technology” and many will instantly conclude these terms are mutually exclusive, at least within the realm of aviation security and airport screening. Long lines, particularly during peak holiday and seasonal travel periods, generally evoke thoughts of...

Proactive, Not Reactive: Staying at the Forefront of New Government Regulations

Regulations enforced by government agencies are not to be taken lightly. They’re put in place for a variety of reasons — to protect businesses, customers and the environment, and to promote a stable, friendly market. Regulatory changes, no matter how big or small, could significantly impact how...

Three Tips for Starting on the Right Track to Meeting New Regulation Standards

The water and wastewater industry is heavily regulated to protect our environment and prevent harmful pollutants from infiltrating drinking water sources or groundwater used for crop irrigation. Municipalities are responsible for making sure these regulations are taken seriously and put into...

Driving Natural Gas: Alternative Fuel for Our Mobile World

Using natural gas as a vehicle fuel certainly has its benefits. As the cleanest burning of all fossil fuels, it has fewer emissions, which helps reduce pollution. These factors give natural gas a higher octane rating, which can extend the time between vehicle maintenance. Additionally, natural...

Alternating Currents: Natural Gas for a Whole New Generation

To say that the electric power industry is experiencing a sea change is like saying that water is the most essential element of life. To those of us involved in the industry daily, this statement is obvious. However, when most of society looks at the electric power industry, they see calm...

Modular Data Centers: Strategy Over Building Blocks

Taking a modular approach to data center development is gaining more attention among data center operators, and it’s easy to see why. In an industry where even a highly accelerated schedule isn’t always fast enough, any strategy that increases speed to market is valuable.

Integrated Design-Build for Speedier Data Center Projects

Integrated design-build is the only form of project delivery that can keep pace with the high demands of the tech industry.

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