Author: Constructech Editors

The proliferation of tower cranes on construction sites, along with greater urban density, has led to safety concerns. Can the operator, high above the jobsite, make accurate lifts and drops? Are communications from the ground adequate? Do other buildings interfere with communications to the extent that safety is compromised? Tower cranes were employed in Europe after World War II as buildings damaged or destroyed in the conflict were rebuilt or replaced. Even today, European cities are like forests with cranes rising above the skyline. In 1961, Chicago’s Marina City was the first building in the United States to be constructed…

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As winter approaches, many northern cities will experience snowfall that makes road slippery and dangerous. The traditional reaction is to spread chemicals or sand to melt the snow (salts or other chemicals) or provide traction (sand). In non-snow locations, rain will often be the seasonal disrupter, again making roads slippery and dangerous. Engineers will tell you that the first few minutes of a steady rain are the most dangerous for traffic as the water causes the oil embedded in the matrix of the pavement, concrete, or even asphalt, to rise and make the surface even slicker. Oil, left by vehicles…

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Windows let the sunshine in—which in summer means letting in the heat, as well. Radiant heat from the sun is helpful in the fall and winter, offsetting some of the energy needs to heat a building but in summer, that heat can be a problem to remove. As climate change intensifies summer heat, demand is growing for technologies to cool buildings. Now, researchers supported by a National Research Foundation of Korea grant funded by the Korea government and by the Notre Dame Center for Research Computing, report in a journal of the American Chemical Society that they have used advanced…

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Naturally, it’s in California, the projected all-electric community with more than 200 solar powered homes to be constructed by a coalition of strategy, research, technology, and energy providers. This is in response to a report that residential energy use accounts for roughly 20% of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., contributing to more severe and frequent weather events—between 2013 and 2020, blackouts caused by events such as snowstorms, wildfires, and hurricanes have tripled in duration, claims the latest data from the U.S. EIA (Energy Information Admin.). SunPower Corp., UCI (University of Calif., Irvine), Schneider Electric, and SCE (Southern California Edison)…

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By virtually any projection you choose, the smart home market is growing. Of that, there is no doubt. From Fortune Business Insights, “The global smart home market is expected to grow from $99.89 billion in 2021 to $380.52 billion in 2028 at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 21.1% during the 2021-2028 period.” From Markets and Markets, “[The] Smart home market is projected to grow from $84.5 billion in 2021 to $138.9 billion by 2026; it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10.4% from 2021-2026.” From Grand View Research, The global smart home market size was valued at…

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According to the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s ORNL (Oak Ridge National Laboratory), there were 125,714,640 residential and commercial buildings in the U.S. consuming approximately $395 billion per year in energy bills, about 73% of the nation’s electricity (80% during peak generation) and causing 39% of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. Of those, 122,930,327 (97.8%) buildings have been simulated in a variation of a digital twin, giving the energy profile of those structures. To do this, ORNL developed the Automatic Building Energy Modeling (AutoBEM) software suite to process multiple types of data, extract building-specific descriptors, generate building energy models, and simulate…

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Our long-term reliance on fossil fuels makes buildings one of the most significant sources of CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions, contributing to climate change, smog, and air pollution. The trend towards electrification, from buildings to vehicles, is a start in the right direction. The downside, now at least, is a limited infrastructure to provide for the increasing demand for electricity. According to Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction, building operations represent nearly 55% of global electricity consumption. The U.S. EIA (Energy Information Administration) predicts that, without changes in policy and technology, population and economic growth will cause energy-related CO2 emissions to…

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We’ve all been recycling, reusing, and repurposing to help the environment. Companies are recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions by renovating their office area to accommodate the now-former work-from-home team members. And in the materials recovery facilities that must deal with the trash—sorry, the recyclables that end up in their domain, a new crew member is making an appearance: AI (artificial intelligence)-powered robotics. AMP Robotics Corp., a pioneer in AI, robotics, and infrastructure for the waste and recycling industry, is developing an AI-powered automation solution to improve recovery of film and flexible packaging, the first-of-its-kind to tackle the persistent challenge…

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Humans have been searching for the Fountain of Youth, perpetual motion, and a universal language for thousands of years. It hasn’t been that long a time, but technologists have been searching for the UFF (universal file format) for a while, too. The key word in the 1980s tech world was “interoperability.” Operating systems were fighting for market share in the desktop computer segment, minicomputers, and even mainframes. The client/server network boom generated research into a best common networking protocol—remember MAP*? Then came Wi-Fi, and technology started all over again. The ideal of a platform independent file protocol preceded the formation…

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We’ve adjusted, compromised, negotiated, mandated, and gotten frustrated in the years since COVID-19 hit the scene in 2019. New phrases came into our lexicon besides COVID itself: “The new normal,” “Quiet quitting,” “WFH,” “6-foot separation,” and, of course, “mask up!” But words aren’t the only thing that the pandemic changed. The thinking about our buildings, both residential and commercial, has changed, as well. The impact and lasting effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic are placing new pressure on commercial building management systems. This can be seen in the growing demand and potential applications for sensor technologies. New sensing technologies and…

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