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Archive for January 30, 2012

Contractors: Learn How to Boost Productivity and Lower Expenditures

“Companies that manage their labor and their inventory effectively are among the most profitable,” says Ruth King (@RuthKing) in HVACR Business Magazine. King used her wealth of knowledge and 25+ years of experience in the HVACR industry to share with HVACR Business readers how the contracting business can increase profits without increasing prices. The solution: productively manage your labor force.

Here are ten ways to do so:

  • Lock up your warehouse and parts room
  • Make sure that charges for nitrogen use, silver solder, vacuum pump (and the oil change after each use), reclaim units, and leak testing are included in your flat-rate pricing or added to the invoice
  • Add a charge of $0.50/pound for refrigerant disposal
  • Say thank you to your installers and service technicians by bringing them a soda or hot drink on the job
  • Create a sheet and have the customer sign off that they understand how to use a programmable thermostat
  • Use tickler files
  • Say, “It’s time for your prepaid maintenance check” instead of spring/fall tune up
  • Keep the second call of the day open
  • Use the camera in your phone or keep a digital camera in your truck
  • Track productivity

For further explanation of these guidelines, visit HVACRBusiness.com.

Energy Conservation Programs: They Pay Off

Early this week, Hilliard City Schools was presented with a rebate check in the amount of $111,622.42 from AEP Ohio’s Business Incentives program following an energy conservation program in conjunction with Bruner that began in early 2011.

The Hilliard City Schools project included the following energy efficiency measures:

  • 40-ton chiller replacement at Scioto Darby Elementary
  • T8 high-output, high bay lighting retrofits in 22 gymnasiums across the district
  • Occupancy lighting sensors in all gyms and some cafeterias
  • Parking lot lighting retrofit to inductive lamps

The projects represent an annual electricity savings of 728,000 kilowatts per year and an annual cost savings of $58,242.64.

To date, Hilliard has received the largest rebate check of any school district in Ohio. Following closely behind was Dublin City Schools, another project Bruner was fortunate enough to be part of, with more than $90,500.

To get started with an energy conservation program for your district or organization, contact Eric Kuns, VP of the Solutions Group, at (614) 334-9000.

As you can see, the benefits are clear.

Here’s an Idea: GO GREEN!

The words “Go Green” are no strangers to your ears, your eyes, or your brain. This year, why not make a commitment to going green by implementing a Green Team in your office. Here at Bruner, our Green Team has been hard at work since October 2010 on three green initiatives: building upgrades, green office practices, and employee development.

Most recently, Bruner has focused on building upgrades. Our 30,000+ square footage warehouse has received both lighting and heating upgrades. A total of 160 lighting fixtures were replaced, resulting in a rebate submission of $7,600. All 400-watt metal halides were swapped for 234-watt T5 Hi Bay bulbs. Any T12 lights were exchanged for reduced wattage T8 bulbs. Bruner service technicians were responsible for installing high-efficiency heaters with programmable thermostats for all of our warehouse space to reduce energy consumption. With the energy they’ll save, the units will pay for themselves within 3 years.

What can you organization do to Go Green?

Building Good Business Relationships Begins with Internal Teamwork

Before we, as business leaders, can build lasting relationships with our customers, we must first nurture internal relationships based on mutual respect and trust. While this is a gradual process, the benefits of collaborating as a team are seen immediately.

Courtesy of Rhonda R. Savage, D.D.S. (@rhondasavage), and HVACR Business, here are some tips to foster teamwork within your organization as you strive to facilitate accountability and build trust among your team.

  1. Define duties with teamwork in mind.
  2. Be clear with prospective employees during the interview process
  3. Define your expectations in an office policy manual
  4. Determine time commitments and plan adequately for each task
  5. Don’t overload your staff with too many commitments or too many interruptions
  6. Follow through by putting a note on your calendar to check on progress of tasks
  7. Avoid showing favoritism toward specific team members
  8. Encourage your team members to stand up and lead
  9. Open the lines of communication by having an open-door policy
  10. Ask your team members to fully support one another

For further explanation of these guidelines, visit HVACRBusiness.com.

Bad Omens for Your HVAC System

It’s Friday the 13th. Superstition may get the best of us today, but remember that there are numerous tell-tale signs that indicate it may be time to replace your HVAC system – it’s not just bad luck!

  • The heat exchanger develops cracks or holes
  • The heat exchanger rusts
  • Moisture is in the furnace
  • Water on the floor below the boiler
  • Rust is on the boiler
  • A compressor has burned out
  • Excessive noises are coming from the HVAC system
  • Your utility bills start to rise
  • Frequent repairs are required to keep the system running
  • Increased humidity
  • More dust in the air
  • The air conditioning unit is 12-15 years old
  • The furnace is 15-20 years old
  • The boiler is 15-20 years
  • The HVAC system is no longer able to keep up with heating and cooling needs

If it is, in fact, time to replace your HVAC system, give us a call. We’ll be happy to walk you through the steps necessary to get your system up and running most efficiently and effectively.

NCH RBIII Nears End of Plumbing, Med-Gas Line Installation

Nationwide Children’s Research Building III is nearing the end of the installation of the building’s plumbing and medical gas lines after almost two years of field installation work.  The seven-story building is roughed in and final connections to medical outlets, building equipment and fixtures will be made throughout the next 30 days.

Nearly 15,000 linear feet of medical gas copper pipe serve the wet labs on levels four and six, distributing carbon dioxide, oxygen, medical air, and lab gas.  Over 17,000 linear feet of domestic water copper pipe has been installed, with more than half of that being located in the lower level vivarium. These lines feed the faucets, drinking fountains, emergency shower and eyewash stations throughout the building. The lower level vivarium also required a specialized drinking water distribution system specifically designed for small and mid-sized animals. These 2,600 linear feet of fire rated plastic pipe were brought in from a design and manufacturing company based out of California to supply clean water to over 200 distribution stations.

Currently, Bruner is working in conjunction with other final trades companies to ensure all sinks, faucets, eyewashes, and bathroom fixtures are set properly. Final items to be completed by other trades include installation of cabinetry, floor tile, drywall, and ceilings; painting; and installation of lab-specific structures to house medical gas lines.

Life Safety for the building is set for February 6, 2012, meaning that all plumbing work must be completed and inspected by that time.

 

Improve Your K-12 Learning Environment By Saving Money

Did you know that in 2006, Energy Star reported that K-12 schools in the US spend more than $7.5 billion annually on energy? Energy costs are the largest operating expense for K-12 school districts after salaries and benefits. The good news is that taking measures to improve decrease energy usage can not only be done without negatively affecting classroom instruction, but it may even lead to a more ideal learning environment for students, as well as extensive cost savings.

There are several aspects of building performance that prove to be crucial in providing an environment conducive to learning. “Research has shown that a relationship between facility conditions and absenteeism, teacher turnover rates, and occupant health,” Energy Star reports. Fortunately, many aspects of an energy conservation program can improve the following factors, while cutting energy costs.

  • Student safety and security can be improved with proper exterior lighting and adequate lighting in hallways and stairwells.
  • It is also important to keep in mind that natural daylight has been shown to enhance learning and so should be utilized wherever possible without negatively affecting other important aspects of lighting design. Visual comfort depends on having an adequate amount of evenly distributed illumination. “Daylighting in Schools: Reanalysis Report,” a major study conducted in 2003 by the Heschong Mahone Group, found that on average daylighting improves learning by 21 percent.
  • Indoor air quality can be bettered with ventilation as well as by removing the source of pollutants. High concentrations of these pollutants, like carbon dioxide (CO2), have been correlated with sickness and poor academic test performance.
  • The temperature of educational facilities also has an impact on student performance. Cold temperatures reduce dexterity, whereas warm temperatures reduce alertness. Temperatures that fluctuate frequently and widely can hinder children’s ability to focus.
  • Noise from outside the building, interior hallways, and building systems (such as fans, boilers, and compressors) can be a significant distraction to students. Being able to hear properly is important because up to 60 percent of classroom activities involve spoken communication.

For more information, visit www.energystar.gov.