Thursday, August 28, 2014

Resist, Delay, Store, and Discharge

If you are a consulting firm with a coastal engineering practice or a marine contractor, you need to be thinking in terms of helping your clients with resist, delay, store, and discharge (RDSD).  Coastal communities will be in need of comprehensive water strategies.  RDSD will deploy hard infrastructure (resist), slow stormwater runoff (delay), green infrastructure for excess stormwater (store), and pumping systems to support drainage and defense (discharge).  RDSD needs to be combined with public policies and practices associated with greater infrastructure and community resiliency.  RDSD should support day-to-day long-term sustainability practices and disaster events.  Under both scenarios, the end result must be preservation of social, economic, and environmental resources with the reduction of infrastructure.  Engineers need to become much more comfortable with multi-faceted design solutions while contractors need to be thinking innovation in terms of cheaper, faster, and better project delivery in a RDSD world.

How Efficiency Improvements Drive the AEC Market

From owners to contractors to contractors, the goal of being faster, better, cheaper drives basic strategic thinking.  A random sample

From the CH2M Hill website and their announcement of a new asset management practice leader:

"While at HDR, Scott also served as the project manager for Seattle Public Utilities’ (SPU) benchmarking and workplace efficiency project. He led the development of a prioritized plan to increase cost efficiencies in service level delivery to all of the utility’s customer accounts. The plan is helping the utility identify key improvements to reduce operating expenses and improve its business strategy and processes, as well as its use of information technology. During this time, Scott also worked with numerous other utilities, to develop business optimization plans - driving greater operational efficiency, as well as customer service."

From ENR and their article on global contracting:

"The global market is growing, but contractors are facing increased pressure from clients to deliver projects more economically. "Clients, globally, have become increasingly cost-conscious," says Atul Punj, chairman of India's Punj Lloyd. He says the key to success is technology. His firm has been able to succeed by providing value engineering and economically viable solutions at the outset of projects, he says.

"The contracting industry keeps getting more competitive and profit margins keep shrinking, mainly driven by changing procurement policies," says M. Sani Sener, CEO of Turkey's TAV Airports Holding. "In today's environment, firms have to be technically competent as well as being commercially competitive. No company can afford to charge a premium based on purely technical advantages," he says."

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

With Projection Technology, a Couch Gets Countless Covers | MIT Technology Review

With Projection Technology, a Couch Gets Countless Covers | MIT Technology Review

Engineering needs to start viewing augmented reality in a new context and begin seeing the limitless possibilities.  This is a showroom/furniture example, but it could have been a building or water treatment plant control room.  Projecting virtual possibilities onto the real-world has huge opportunities this decade.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Graph of the Week

Don't Flush Your Pee in a Drought

The Best News on TV - HB0 Vice

HBO Vice is perfect for the world of hipster video screens.  Check out their series on ISIS - "The Islamic State."

A Paragraph to Ponder

From the Texas Tribune:
"Texas is reveling in unprecedented oil production, triggered by technological advances such as hydraulic fracturing. The state is producing more than 90 million barrels of oil each month. That’s easily more than twice the monthly oil production from three years ago, accounting for more than one-third of all U.S. production, according to federal data.
West Texas has played a starring role. Its Permian Basin, whose steady production before a 1980s price crash cemented Texas’ reputation as an oil-rich state, is now the most lucrative region in the U.S. Texas regulators are issuing more than twice the drilling permits there than they they did in 2007.
But producing that oil requires plenty of energy. And as operators connect rigs, pump jacks, compressors and other equipment to the energy grid, they suck more electricity.
From 2007 to 2012, energy consumption in West Texas increased by nearly 14 percent, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, which manages the grid covering ­­­­­­most of the state."