Posts tagged ‘Industry News’

November 8, 2017, 9:00 am

Greenbuild 2017 is Here! Visit Mitsubishi Electric in Booth 838

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This week, the Mitsubishi Electric team is in Boston for the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo. Greenbuild is the world’s largest conference that brings together industry leaders, experts and professionals that specialize in sustainable building.

This year will include more participants than usual as Greenbuild and the ArchitectureBoston Expo (ABX) are co-locating at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC). Between the two shows, 25,000 people are anticipated to attend, with over 800 exhibitors.

Net zero building technology is expected to be one of the most popular topics at the conference. Parts of the exhibit hall will use onsite power generated by the Greenbuild Net Zero Zone and Microgrid Showcase. This showcase provides a unique opportunity to highlight sustainable technologies and products designed for the net zero building market, which is predicted to grow into a multi-billion-dollar market in the next few years.

If you are at the show, stop by booth #838 to learn about energy-efficient HVAC innovations from Mitsubishi Electric. We are proud to offer both residential and commercial products that minimize energy consumption while giving our customers maximum comfort and control over their environment.

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October 18, 2017, 9:00 am

Preparing Facilities For Multigenerational Travelers

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It’s been official for a while now: multigenerational traveling is a trend. Multigenerational trips – defined as those involving at least three generations – create both challenges and opportunities for facility managers at hotels and lodges. Given that 47 percent of people over the age of 45 plan to take a multigenerational trip next year, based on an AARP survey, facility managers and building owners might find these tips helpful:

  • Public spaces like restaurants must be able to accommodate diverse groups; facilities may need to purchase larger tables and different kinds of chairs.
  • Guests of all ages are interested in well-maintained grounds. For older guests, grounds are a space of relaxation and contemplation. For children, active recreation.
  • It’s great to be with family, but it’s also exhausting. Guests will need private spaces to help them relax; these spaces should cater to each generation’s need for physical comfort and relaxation.
  • Family-friendly guest rooms can require more maintenance. Multigenerational guests may want to cook full meals and bring their pets.
  • With older guests, accessibility and safety can be a concern. Slip and trip hazards must be addressed.
  • Younger guests may embrace energy-efficient practices, but guests of other generations may leave lights on and HVAC systems running while out, and expect fresh bedding and towels each day.
  • As always, guest comfort is paramount. With different sleep and activity schedules, each generation creates its own peak load time, making versatile and quiet mechanical systems a necessity.

To read more about how to prepare for multigenerational traveling, check out our Facility Management newsletter here.

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October 4, 2017, 9:00 am

Educational Facilities That Go Beyond Academics

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There has been a push within our school systems to conduct learning beyond the classroom. This new approach is called “instruments of learning,” and refers to elements throughout the building being used as learning tools. Some of these building elements include landscape design, mechanical systems, water conservation and interior design. As facility managers seek to incorporate cutting edge solutions in their buildings, schools are using them to better educate students about school operations and sustainability practices.

  • Landscape Design: This includes evaluating the impacts of the school on the environment while also protecting landscaping and natural features. This can educate students about how to incorporate environmentally friendly design solutions, such a erosion control, storm water retention or using greenery needing little irrigation.
  • Energy-Efficient Mechanical Systems: This involves incorporating sustainable technology into the curriculum so students can understand the design and environmental impacts of the systems that keep them comfortable throughout the day. Efficient HVAC and controls systems, such as Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) technology, can teach students how to reduce peak electrical demand and offer cost-saving benefits.
  • Water Conservation: This involves the school collecting rainwater for toilet flushing and site irrigation. In addition, waterless or low-flow toilets minimize wastewater and insulated piping can reduce hot water waste. As an educational tool, facility managers can install rainwater gauges, allowing students to monitor annual rainfall.
  • Interior Design: This comprises selecting interior elements that reflect the school’s appreciation for the environment. Facility managers can consider incorporating recyclable colored tiles or carpeting to represent the school’s efforts to protect the natural environment. This teaches students that materials, in addition to paper, can be recycled.

At Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating (Mitsubishi Electric), we support facility managers’ efforts to make their buildings more educational and sustainable. In this issue and on our website, you’ll learn about our smart, flexible technologies that support the instruments of learning trend.

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September 13, 2017, 9:00 am

Designing For The Students of Today

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According to School Planning & Management magazine, there’s a direct connection between students’ physical environment and their academic achievement. An environment that encourages collaborative and individual learning has become the standard for today’s schools. As educators are working to encourage these types of learning within the classroom, so can architects with facility design and selection of mechanical systems.

Architects are challenged to design environments that include a combination of flexible spaces, such as open and private classrooms, as well as individual and collaborative study rooms. Architects often include design elements that evoke a feeling of openness for students, such as glass or natural lighting. These design elements, among others, allow students to see and interact with their surroundings, creating visual and social connectivity.

Architects also can consider highly efficient mechanical systems for the facility. Over the course of a school day, occupancy levels within a space vary, and such extremes can make it difficult to keep a space comfortable for students. Therefore, an HVAC system that meets a student’s comfort needs can enhance the educational experience. HVAC systems, such as Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) technology, maximize square footage while offering the individual control, zoning capabilities and quiet operation necessary for an educational facility.

With flexible spaces and efficient mechanical equipment, architects are able to design the ideal educational environment for today’s students. At Mitsubishi Electric, we support architects’ plans for these applications. Learn more about applying smart technologies in our most recent White Paper, “Variable Refrigerant Flow: A Versatile HVAC Solution for K-12 Educational Facilities.”

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August 9, 2017, 9:00 am

The Trend Toward Green

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Every year, it seems, there’s a new green rating program for homes. A long but still incomplete list includes: DOE Zero Energy Ready Home, EarthCraft, ENERGY STAR®, GreenStar, HERS®, LEED® for Homes, Living Building Challenge™, National Green Building Standard™ and Passive House. In short, builders and homeowners are going green.

Recent studies corroborate this trend. In 2016, McGraw Hill surveyed 116 builders regarding their green building practices. Over a third of those builders completed green projects, which accounted for more than 60 percent of their business. By 2018, the percentage of green projects completed by those builders is expected to rise to 90 percent. Over the same period, just 16 percent of builders are expected not to embrace green building.

The U.S. Green Building Council has attempted to understand why builders and homeowners have sustainability in mind. The top reasons driving this upswing in green building include strong market demand, homeowner cost savings, health, building codes and property values. There doesn’t appear to be one single reason the market is going green, but there is a theme among the reasons: to build and live sustainably.

It helps that green building goes hand-in-hand with advancing technology and decreasing footprints. We’re in an era of high expectations when it comes to convenience, which ultimately means that technology – and often-smart technology – must be integrated throughout a space. It’s also an era of smaller houses as homeowners look to control costs, locate themselves more centrally and live meaningfully. The result is that builders are tasked with providing homes that meet all of the market’s previous demands, but that are also contemporary when it comes to technology and footprint.

Fortunately, builders have tools at their disposal to solve this challenge. Manufacturers are offering mobile apps, products and even entire mechanical systems that help builders create homes they can stand by, and homes people want.

If you want to read more about the continual rise in sustainable building and living, check out our Builder newsletter here.

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July 26, 2017, 9:00 am

Specifying VRF for Multifamily Projects

With many people moving into cities, and with many others moving into walkable communities in the suburbs, multifamily projects are booming. Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) technology is a smart fit for this application, and is more relevant than ever given the current market demands and trends.

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Learn more about applying VRF to multifamily applications in our White Paper, “VRF Zoning: An Ideal HVAC Solution for Multifamily Applications.”

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June 28, 2017, 9:00 am

The Implications of an Aging Population on Facility Managers

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Facility managers know every demographic and societal shift has its effect. When populations flocked to the suburbs, the demand for downtown multifamily facilities decreased while the demand for offices and retail centers with parking facilities increased. Recently, the purchasing power of millennials has made all things tech and green popular. As our society grow older, we will see another shift again.

According to leading U.S. demographer, John Maketa, “One baby boomer is retiring in this country every eight seconds.” The U.S. census bureau estimates that by 2050, the number of Americans over 65 will be double what it was in 2010, reaching 88.5 million people. And the number of Americans over 85 will triple, reaching 19 million. Everyone will need comfortable, safe places to live, work and play.

When it comes to housing, many members of our aging population will seek out multifamily buildings for the sake of convenience and community. Facility managers suddenly catering to older tenants will adjust to this population’s needs by developing a hyper-focus on physically safe spaces without losing focus on smooth day-to-day operation. That means reliable mechanical systems enabling healthy spaces will be more important than ever.

Outside of the home, commercial and public spaces will need to be managed with the aging in mind. Hospitality, workplace, healthcare and retail spaces will all need to be accessible, for example, by featuring wider hallways and doorways. Beyond being accessible, these spaces will also need to provide reliable, trouble-free comfort.

Ultimately, facility managers can be a voice for the aging, urging building owners or HOA boards to go beyond requirements. Separate entrances that accommodate this population can be stigmatizing, for example, as can systems focused on just a few individuals, like personal air purifiers. Facility managers can help ensure that a facility is welcoming to an aging populace. It’s a responsibility and an opportunity, and it’s one that will only feel more urgent as our population ages.

To read more about building livable communities, check out the most recent Facility Management newsletter here.

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June 7, 2017, 9:00 am

The Rise of Livable Communities

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For years now, builders have been focused on the aging population and their housing needs. That’s a wise move. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, by 2050 there will be an estimated 88.5 million Americans over the age of 65 and 19 million over the age of 85. The sheer size of this group has created demands that builders have worked hard to meet. An additional challenge is how this population’s demands have shifted and evolved over the years.

One shift was revealed by a recent AARP Public Policy Institute survey. Many survey respondents expressed a desire for their home to be in a “livable community.” Livable communities are designed to be safe and vibrant environments that address issues such as land use, housing and transportation ‒ all relevant to aging in place. Typically, these environments allow the elderly to access public transportation, retail stores and even green spaces.

The actual homes within a livable community speak to these same needs. To keep their housing convenient, cost-friendly and worry-free, this generation asks for compact, maintenance-free spaces. This is where selecting smart cooling and heating solutions can make a difference. Certain mechanical systems offer a smaller footprint, increased energy efficiency and user-friendliness for this population.

Livable communities by definition are more than houses or apartments; they include commercial spaces like grocery stores, retail and restaurants. Builders may not be responsible for the design and construction of these commercial spaces, but may have the opportunity to partner with other professionals who are responsible. Ideally, these partners will share the builder’s vision of creating truly livable communities. That collaboration and synergy will produce the communities of the future.

Here at Mitsubishi Electric, we want to support builders’ plans for these vibrant, livable communities. On our webpages, you’ll learn about our smart, flexible technologies that support this important work.

To read more about building livable communities, check out the most recent Builder newsletter here.

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May 10, 2017, 9:00 am

In Our Ever-changing World of Design, What’s Next?

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We have all seen how buildings change with the times. When there are more cars, more parking garages are created. As people move back into cities, mixed-use developments soar. As a new building material or mechanical system becomes popular, the industry quickly adopts it. The perennial question, then, is: What’s next?

In 2017, a recognizable answer is 3D-printed buildings. We’ve previously discussed how the industry has been excited about buildings that can be created at any time in any place. Another increasingly recognizable idea we’ve covered is green retrofitting – the practice of renovating old properties to be green instead of tearing them down and building new.

From here, it seems the industry is becoming more playful and resourceful. Dutch company Wikkelhouse makes fully functional homes out of 24 layers of cardboard wrapped around a mold. The houses are designed to last at least 50 years and are fully customizable.

Meanwhile, architects like Italy’s Stefano Boeri are designing “vertical forests.” These tall buildings feature ample trees and bushes; they’re planted on every floor, on all sides of the building. The idea is to improve air quality and tackle urban sprawl.

Here in the U.S., we’re also seeing a trend toward doing more with less. New York City recently received its first micro-unit apartment building, with units as small as 260 square feet. Washington, D.C., recently got its first pod hotel. The spaces are designed to be minimalist, but still livable and satisfying.

From an HVAC perspective, we’re curious about it all. Smaller spaces need smaller, more flexible HVAC solutions. Green buildings need super-efficient mechanical systems. Even cardboard homes need cooling and heating! We’re excited to think about how our zoned and VRF technologies can be applied to even the most creative projects. Because it seems that no matter what comes next, Mitsubishi Electric has an HVAC solution.

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April 19, 2017, 9:00 am

The Green Retrofit Takeover

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It’s no secret that we’ve seen an increased demand for commercial buildings that are environmentally conscious and able to conserve energy. Building owners and managers have quickly learned that going green can attract more, higher-paying tenants. A majority of this demand is being met by high-performance buildings, but there are not enough new construction projects to satisfy the market. To fully meet these demands, the industry has turned to green retrofits.

The green retrofitting trend is good news for the industry. The National Institute of Building Sciences recently found that retrofitting an existing building can oftentimes be more cost effective than building a new green facility. There’s also been talk about the long-term benefits of green retrofitting. According to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), “Owners of green buildings reported that their return on investment improved by 19.2% on average for existing building green projects” compared to just “9.9% on average for new projects.” Other benefits include reduced operating costs and environmental impact, and an increased market value. Green retrofitted buildings also tend to have a longer lifespan and contribute to a comfortable environment for tenants – especially since tenants now want features such as rooftop gardens and use of recycled material for interior finishes and furnishings.

Green retrofitting can also play an important role in facilities where the occupant experience is paramount. These renovated buildings feature improved indoor air quality and upgraded accessibility and security. The USGBC reported the following about how retrofitting can improve tenant health: “Building retrofits which improved the indoor environment of a building resulted in reductions of: communicable respiratory diseases of 9-20%; allergies and asthma of 18-25%; and non-specific health and discomfort effects of 20-50%.”

It’s an exciting time to become involved in green retrofit projects. From now until 2023, the USGBC predicts that commercial building owners and managers will invest an estimated $960 billion globally on green retrofitting. At Mitsubishi Electric, we have welcomed green retrofitting with open arms and our products are a strong fit for this application. For example, our efficient Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) technology helped Stack House Apartments renovate their facility to be a showcase of sustainability. And, like Stack House Apartments, we look forward to a greener future.

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