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April Upfront News & Views

April Upfront News & Views

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    Has your department submitted a project for economic-stimulus funding?

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    A sound optionManufacturersThe Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission saved 43% on a 7.5-mile renovation near the Ohio border using Centria's Eco Sound Barriers. Comprised of a polymer composite core with galvanized or aluminum substrate, the panels are entirely recyclable and as effective as precast concrete. Weighing 2.25 to 4.25 pounds/square foot, the 1,800-foot-long, 15-foot-tall panels were shipped in six truckloads. Photo: Centria

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    These fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) pile jackets don't have to be sandblasted for epoxies to form an air- and watertight seal. Photo: Molded Fiber Glass Construction Products

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    Fleet department leads by exampleOperationsChicago is the first Illinois city to add a diesel hybrid utility truck to its inventory of lower-emission vehicles. Once Department of Streets and Sanitation crews reach a worksite, they'll turn off the Navistar DuraStar and use the electric power take off to lift, lower, rotate, and extend the boom at heights of up to 40 feet. “A hybrid truck used heavily for aerial bucket work versus transportation could reduce fuel usage by 50% when compared to a standard aerial bucket truck,” says Fleet Management Commissioner Howard Henneman. Photo: Navistar

The 60-year-old St. George Fishing Pier's Pier 1 is in particular need of attention. To strengthen eroded support structures under the 845-foot pier, Pennmax Engineering recommended wrapping each pile with a fiberglass-reinforced “jacket” and filling the enclosure with concrete. Made of thermo-set composites, the 20-foot-long jackets have a slip-joint/tongue-and-groove closure that makes underwater assembly easy for divers.

The project began October 2008 and is scheduled for completion this summer.

GM postpones 4.5L V-8 diesel engine

The vehicle manufacturer has placed on indefinite hold its plan to add a Duramax 4.5L V-8 diesel engine in 2010 to its Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra light-duty trucks. In the meantime, customers can choose gasoline engines with GM's Active Fuel Management mated to a six-speed transmission or a new, two-mode hybrid that provides up to 40% better city fuel mileage and 25% better overall fuel efficiency.

L.A. launches nation's largest retrofit program

The city's Bureau of Street Lighting is replacing 140,000 fixtures with LED units over the next five years through the Clinton Climate Initiative's Outdoor Lighting Program. Once the city's repaid the loan, it expects to save $10 million, reduce electricity consumption by at least 40%, and cut carbon emissions by 40,500 tons annually. Monitoring units will be installed in each streetlight to enable immediate reporting of service failures.

Building codes database launched

In addition to ASTM, ICC, and NFPA standards, MADCAD.com v3.0 includes CSI MasterFormat 1995 and 2004 editions. The subscription-based resource center was tested by 200 customers, including design firms HDR, HOK, and Perkins+Will.

Colleges beef up recreation facilities

According to a 2008 National Intramural Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA) survey, 174 colleges and universities will be involved in facility construction, expansion, and renovation projects between 2008 and 2013, totaling close to $4 billion. Campus Recreational Sports Facilities: Planning, Design, and Construction Guidelines is available for $49. Visit www.humankinetics.com or call 800-747-4457.

‘Sea-Monkeys' fight heavy metal

Water

After years of research, California State University, Long Beach, Biochemistry and Chemistry Professor Roger Acey has found a solution to removing heavy metals from substances: a novel protein found in brine shrimp or “Sea-Monkeys.”

The patented technology involves placing the protein on a water permeable membrane. When a metal contaminated solution—such as lead-contaminated water— passes through the membrane, the protein removes the toxic metal from the solution. The protein does not bind biologically essential metals, such as calcium, and they pass through the membrane. Besides binding toxic metals such as lead, mercury, and arsenic, the protein also binds precious metals such as gold, silver, and platinum.

The process is safe and occurs instantaneously. The gene for the protein has been cloned and a number of biological systems are being tested for mass production of the protein.

Stimulus not enough for long-term growth

Research

Although an estimated $2 trillion will be spent on infrastructure around the world every year until 2015, three-quarters of U.S. executives say it's not enough to meet their needs.

“The infrastructure funding in the stimulus package is a promising first step as an initial down payment to begin addressing the massive infrastructure needs facing the nation,” says Richard Lee, head of the U.S. infrastructure team for KPMG International, which surveyed 328 global C-level executives in late fall. “But as the ‘Bridging the Global Infrastructure Gap' study found, most business leaders believe their infrastructure needs will only grow over the coming years. Governments will likely need to consider innovative and alternative approaches to infrastructure projects, since more longer-term investments will be vital to maintaining our competitiveness in the global marketplace.”

Respondents identified roads and power generation as the most urgent needs.

School recycling program pays off

Awards

The city of Manhattan Beach, Calif., received the 2009 “Outstanding Award” for public-private partnerships with Waste Management from the Mayors Business Council, a division of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. The partnership included the city, the Manhattan Beach Unified School District, and Planet Pals, a parent volunteer group.

Launched in November 2007, the partnership was designed to enhance recycling programs, increase landfill diversion, reduce waste, and educate students and school staff about sustainability. The company audited 14 schools in the district and identified ways to increase recycling and reduce waste.