Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Best In The TriState - Guardian Security

Guardian Security Service is among the top-rated security services companies throughout the tristate providing highly trained security guards and patrol officers to a wide array of industries and in many different settings. We provide highly trained security guards and patrol officers to a wide array of industries and in many different settings and our security guards frequently work in commercial buildings, residential communities, hospitals, transportation hubs, and government agencies.
Depending upon the security services you require, guards can be put on patrol to supervise the front door for large organizations, oversee transportation security, or protect cash or valuables. We can also assist you with security services for neighborhood patrols, shopping malls, religious institutions, universities, gated communities, parking lots, apartment buildings, art galleries, and many more important venues.
If you feel that your current security program needs improvement, please allow us the opportunity to conduct a security assessment to provide you with an expert analysis of your property's safety and security program. Our experienced professionals will evaluate your current program and provide recommendations. Furthermore if you are in need of a new program, we can develop an integrated plan to cover your needs. Our focus is to provide you with recommendations that fit within your budget.
At Guardian, you get a "Security Program" and not just a "Guard". We pledge all of our company's resources toward the successful operation and protection of you and your property. All of our security guards are licensed, certified, and we set the industry standard for excellence in the field with extensive experience and training. 
Regardless of what industry you're in or what you need to protect, we can provide professional security personnel to meet your needs. Contact us today and let us give you the peace of mind you deserve - both now and in the future - with a custom tailored security solution that protects the people and properties you care about most! http://www.guardian-service.com/contact/ 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

A Cleaning Start-Up Wielding Mops, Buckets and 700 Data Points

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On a Thursday night in October 2013, Simon Brooks packed his belongings and drove west toward Silicon Valley, thinking he was on his way to creating the next Scrabble app, a word game he called Gadzookery. He had little to lose. Mr. Brooks owed more on his house in Louisville, Ky., than it was worth. His marriage was over and he had been working in restaurants and bars for two years, ever since the financial crisis forced him to leave his job as a mortgage broker.

“I put my dogs and my bags in the car and drove to the Dojo,” Mr. Brooks said. He was referring to Hacker Dojo in Silicon Valley, a community space for technology start-ups whose members (fees generally start at $125 a month) have round-the-clock access. The hacker space proved to be the key to his new enterprise — just not in the way he had imagined.
Mr. Brooks arrived with $12,000 and a rough version of his educational word game. He hoped to assemble a team at the Dojo to help him rebuild it but, once there, he found neither the developers he needed nor a room to rent. He wound up in motels instead. Four months later, he was out of money and living in his 1999 Lexus. When the Dojo’s manager asked for a volunteer to clean the restrooms and kitchen every afternoon in exchange for free membership, Mr. Brooks raised his hand. Without realizing it, he had taken the first step toward creating his start-up: a cleaning company that relies on analytics to improve efficiency and set prices. Larry Maloney, a founding member of Hacker Dojo, said people were dissatisfied with the quality of the work done by the cleaners before Mr. Brooks volunteered.

Normally, said Mr. Maloney, the Dojo smelled a bit sour, largely because of developers working late into the night. “After Simon,” he said, “it smelled squeaky clean.”That was no easy feat. The Dojo is a sprawling space of more than 16,000 square feet. It never closes and typically has at least 300 visitors each day.After eight months, management got rid of the small local firm that did its cleaning and began paying Mr. Brooks $400 a month for his services. Eight months after that — having spent about two years trying unsuccessfully to create the Gadzookery app — Mr. Brooks took a hard look at the commercial cleaning market.
“It was a $51 billion industry,” consisting mostly of small firms, he said. Mr. Brooks saw an opportunity. Hacker Dojo’s management agreed to give him a one-month advance to buy the equipment and supplies he needed to start, and in 2015 he started Squiffy Clean. There are about 100,000 firms in the commercial cleaning business in the country today, said John Barrett, executive director of ISSA, a trade association for the global cleaning industry. The 50 largest companies account for about 30 percent of the revenue, according to an industry report published by Dun & Bradstreet, leaving the other firms plenty of room to capture customers.
More than 90 percent of janitorial services companies are sole proprietorships, according to a report from the industry research firm IBISWorld. But the greatest turnover is at the start-up level, Mr. Barrett said.
“The churn is unbelievable,” he said. So far Mr. Brooks has avoided that churn. Six months after he began, he was earning enough to move his business out of Hacker Dojo and into an office in Palo Alto. His company is unusually high-tech for the industry. It collects more than 700 points of data, like the time it takes to mop a square foot, and uses the information to improve and refine its cleaning methods, and to set prices. “We have a client with an 8,000-square-foot building and we dove into the data and made changes to how the cleaning is done, such as combining certain tasks or changing the order in which they are done, and saved $600 in monthly labor costs,” Mr. Brooks said. “Margins in the industry are so low that we have to shave off every bit of labor we can.”
Most small cleaning companies charge by the number of labor hours, but Squiffy Clean created an algorithm that sets prices based on the data it collects about cleaning sites. The company is also developing a technology to prevent fraudulent workers’ compensation claims. It will use data to help determine whether an incident occurred. Mr. Barrett at ISSA says although large companies in the contract cleaning business use high-tech methods, it is far less common among smaller firms.
Compared with other office cleaning companies, Squiffy Clean generally pays a higher hourly wage (about $17 per hour). The median hourly wage in the industry is $11.27, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It also gives cleaners equity in the company and makes their safety a top priority. The residential cleaning service Handy, for example, was sued in 2014 by two of its former house cleaners, who accused the company of a variety of labor law violations.
Starting any business, regardless of the technology, is difficult — and even more so when the founder is homeless. But Mr. Brooks was physically and mentally healthy and had the support of Mr. Maloney and others at Hacker Dojo. One of Squiffy Clean’s first clients was Singularity University, a Silicon Valley think tank and start-up accelerator. “A lot of people view janitorial work as just a way to make money, but Simon embraces it as the very important job it is and takes a very scientific approach to it,” said Tom LeGan, the facilities manager at Singularity. “He’s also very compassionate about his workers. You don’t see that in many corporations, let alone a janitorial services company.”

Mr. Brooks still faces many of the same difficulties as other Bay Area start-ups, including a tight labor market. “We are all trying to attract the best engineers and the cleaning industry is not sexy, so it’s tough,” he said. Whatever the challenges, he said his life had been improved by entrepreneurship. He no longer lives in his car and has moved into an old 34-foot recreational vehicle. When he gets home, he is grateful just to have a shower and a bed. “I’ve lived in vehicles for so long I’ve gotten used to it,” Mr. Brooks said. “And this is a whole lot better than a car.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/08/business/smallbusiness/a-cleaning-start-up-wielding-mops-buckets-and-700-data-points.html?_r=0 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Edison Energy to Conduct Energy Audits and Retro-Commissioning Projects for New York City Operated Buildings

ENERActive Solutions, an Edison Energy company, today announced that it has been chosen by the New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) to conduct audits and retro-commissioning projects on municipal buildings throughout New York City. ENERActive’s consultation will ensure that DCAS complies with New York City’s Local Law 87 (LL87), which requires buildings over 50,000 gross square feet to undergo periodic energy audit and retro-commissioning measures to help building owners and managers measure and develop an action plan to save energy.
“It is an honor to partner with DCAS on this very exciting and important project in the initial phase of audits and recommendations,” said Dan Weeden, president and CEO, ENERActive Solutions. “Our mission is to offer solutions that will ensure compliance with LL87 and provide forward-looking plans that will allow these important facilities – such as schools, public transportation depots and hospitals – to utilize energy in a more efficient manner, positioning them to be more sustainable for years to come.”
ENERActive will perform a thorough assessment of each building’s energy portfolio, allowing the company to advise DCAS on the optimum solutions for energy improvements through replacement and upgrades, as well as installation of new technology and implementation of renewable energy projects. The company will also offer guidance related to optimization of current equipment and operations, verifying that existing equipment meets current energy needs and providing staff training to ensure plans can be properly implemented and overseen.
New York City is on a path to reduce citywide emissions by 80 percent by 2050. Public buildings are required to lead by example and reduce emissions from government buildings by 35 percent by 2025, as outlined in New York City’s sustainability plan, One City, Built to Last. Assessing the energy use of the city’s buildings and making the necessary changes or upgrades to infrastructure is a key step towards meeting these targets, as most buildings consume an average of 30 percent more energy than is needed to operate. ENERActive’s consultation and solutions are effective at cutting energy use and quick to implement, therefore critical to meet the urgent 35 percent reduction by 2025.
For more information about Local Law 87 and the City’s progress in meeting its sustainability goals read our blog:
http://www.edisonenergy.com/blog/blog-posts/energy-audits-retro-commissioning-reduce-new-york-city-ghg-emissions/

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

What is LEED?

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)
LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is an internationally recognized green building certification system,  providing third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance across all the metrics that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.

Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED provides building owners and operators a concise framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.
LEED is flexible enough to apply to all building types – commercial as well as residential. It works throughout the building lifecycle – design and construction, operations and maintenance, tenant fitout, and significant retrofit. And LEED for Neighborhood Development extends the benefits of LEED beyond the building footprint into the neighborhood it serves.
LEED provides a point system to score green building design and construction. The system is categorized in five basic areas: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, and Indoor Environmental Quality. Buildings are awarded points based on the extent various sustainable strategies are achieved. The more points awarded the higher the level of certification achieved from Certified, Silver, Gold, to Platinum.
At Boston University sustainability is becoming integrated into the design and construction process. Rather than a point system, LEED provides a sustainability framework for design, construction, operations, and maintenance of new and existing buildings. Four LEED certification systems apply to the BU campus including Building Design and Construction, Core and Shell, Interior Design and Construction, and Operations and Maintenance.
This information was sourced from the U.S. Green Building Council website
http://www.bu.edu/sustainability/what-were-doing/green-buildings/leed/ 

Monday, February 13, 2017

What Drives Investment in Building Energy Performance

Energy-efficient buildings have lower operating costs, but also tend to command higher rents and enjoy higher occupancy and tenant retention levels than traditional buildings. A recent Energy Efficiency Survey, developed by the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) in collaboration with the Institute for Market Transformation, looked at what motivates office building owners to improve energy performance. The survey focused on how financial methods used to evaluate capital expenditures impact decisions to invest in improving energy efficiency.
IREM and the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) distributed the survey to their members and received 307 responses, which represented 1.7 percent of the total survey distribution. The survey found that most respondents use simple payback calculations to evaluate energy efficiency projects, usually basing decisions on recovering the investment in one to two years. The study revealed that this simple payback does not capture the full benefits of energy efficiency, like Net Present Value (NPV) analysis, which incorporates potential revenue increases from higher rental income.
The survey also found that building owners are more inclined to invest in energy-efficiency improvements if they can charge higher rents, particularly in split-incentive situations, where energy-cost savings accrue solely to tenants. Split incentives had posed a barrier to investing in improving energy efficiency, but this was overcome with the “green lease,” which requires tenants to participate in energy and water conservation programs.
Additionally, the survey noted that while the property manager is responsible for the building’s everyday energy management, the asset manager usually makes the final decision on whether to invest in improving energy performance. When third-party managers have authorization to make capital expenditures it is usually a small dollar amount of $25,000 or less. But that authority exists “almost not at all,” according to Brenna Walraven, founder/CEO of Corporate Sustainability Strategies Inc., which provides sustainability strategy development and execution plans.
CBRE’s Global Director of Corporate Responsibility David Pogue notes he is surprised IREM’s study focused on energy efficiency. “Energy efficiency was a singular topic a decade ago, when everyone began getting buildings Energy Star-certified,” he says. Pogue was less surprised by the low rate of survey respondents, which he suggested is an indication that people viewed the survey topic as old news.
When a 2009 study of 150 Energy Star buildings in 10 markets revealed that these buildings were commanding rent premiums of three to five percent and enjoyed high occupancy levels, landlords of class-A office buildings got on board, but those with lower quality assets did not necessarily. Today most of the office sector has broadly adapted green practices, though not every building is necessarily certified by a green-rating system, Pogue says.
The 2016 Green Building Adoption Index study by the CBRE Group Inc. and Maastricht University showed that the rate of growth in ‘green’ building has slowed, rising from 39.3 percent in 2014 to just 40.2 percent last year, but adoption of green building practices in the 30 largest U.S. cities continues to be significant.
“While the rate of growth in ‘green’ buildings has slowed modestly, our latest study underscores that in most major markets, sustainable office space has become the ‘new normal,’” Pogue notes. The study reported that 11.8 percent of U.S. office buildings, representing 40.2 percent of office space, have been certified by either the U.S. Green Energy Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) or the U.S. Energy Department’s Energy Star program.
Pogue adds, however, that nearly 40 percent of high-profile office buildings in core urban markets are green-certified because they have to be green to compete. Those buildings tend to attract high-profile tenants, who demand a high-performance building environment.
LEED rates a building’s impact on the environment, but Pogue points out that the next level of certification, Delos Living’s WELL Certification, rates a building’s impact on occupants. The WELL Building Standard places health at the center of indoor design, incorporating healthy ideas based on seven concept categories: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind. http://nreionline.com/property-management/what-drives-investment-building-energy-performance 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Report: New York City remains highest cost of construction market in the United States

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  • •   FEBRUARY 9, 2017
Construction costs in New York City increased by approximately 4 percent in 2016, which is slightly less than the 5 percent rate of cost inflation that was experienced annually throughout the five boroughs from 2013 through 2015. By comparison, U.S. construction costs rose between 3 and 4 percent in 2016 after rising between 2.5 to 3 percent annually from 2013 through 2015.

The construction executives interviewed for this report expect that New York City construction costs will continue to accelerate at roughly the current rate of one percent per quarter through 2017.
During the height of last decade’s building boom, construction cost increases exceeded 6 percent nationally but were nearly twice as high in New York City, with reports of construction cost increases reaching 12 percent in 2006 and 11 percent in 2007.  In 2009, in the aftermath of the Great Recession, costs declined both nationally and in New York City and registered a nominal gain in 2010. Costs in New York City gradually increased, by between 2 and 3.25 percent annually between 2010 and 2012, before jumping again in 2013.
“No matter what sector you analyze – commercial, residential, corporate interiors, healthcare, education and cultural – construction activity remains robust, which means a stretched labor force, increased use of overtime, and an ability for contractors to pick and choose which projects to pursue,” said New York Building Congress President and CEO Carlo A. Scissura.  “These factors were the primary drivers of cost inflation in 2016.”
He added, “That said, we are not experiencing the type of inflation we experienced during the last decade’s construction boom. Part of the reason is that the overall cost of construction materials has remained relatively flat.”
The cost indices used by the Building Congress are produced by ENR, Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB), RS Means, Turner, and BLS.  Each index examines the hard costs of construction while excluding the cost of land and soft costs, such as architectural, engineering, and legal fees.
Sector Analysis
According to the data sources and construction executives, construction costs are greatest on a per-square-foot basis for hospitals, followed by university buildings, five-star hotels, and office space.
Cost acceleration is especially prevalent in the office sector, due in part to a substantial increase in the amount of work underway – including ground-up construction, alterations and renovation of existing office buildings, and production of prime, built-to-suit office spaces.
The continued increase in office work is expected to offset an anticipated decline in the residential sector, which is a reversal from years past when a white-hot housing market served as the primary driver of cost inflation.  While the residential market remains a steady source of work, the sector has been negatively impacted by the lack of clear direction on the future of the 421a tax incentive program, which is disproportionately affecting the production of new affordable housing.
“One thing to keep an eye on is the impact of increased competition among contractors,” noted Mr. Scissura. “As the universe of non-union and open shop contractors has grown in number and sophistication, it has presented owners and developers with more choices and a wider range of competitive bids, especially among firms that are looking to establish a track record in the five boroughs.”
Comparing NYC to Other Cities
When measured in U.S dollars, building in New York City has gotten considerably more expensive than other international cities over the past year.  While this is due in part to cost increases and greater demand for construction services locally, it is also a function of the dramatically weakened rate of exchange of foreign economies against the dollar.
For example, according to RLB, a premium office building that costs $550 per square foot to build in New York City, would cost $174 in Berlin, $155 in Shanghai, and $365 in London.  In 2015, the cost of that building would have been roughly the same in London and New York.
Turning to the U.S., the hard costs of construction per square foot in New York City are significantly higher than Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. and slightly greater on average than San Francisco, which is the second most expensive major U.S. city.
The cost to construct prime New York City office space is more than 20 percent greater than Boston, which is the next leading contender.  New York also registers the highest construction costs nationwide for hospitals, hotels, and retail, though construction of multi-family apartment buildings remains more expensive to build in San Francisco than New York City. 
http://rew-online.com/2017/02/09/report-new-york-city-remains-highest-cost-of-construction-market-in-the-united-state/ 

Building owners gets behind NYC Carbon Challenge

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  • •   FEBRUARY 8, 2017
The move represents a significant expansion of the partnership between the City and private and institutional sector leaders, who have committed to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from their buildings by 30 percent or more in 10 years.

To achieve these reductions, existing participants as well as new commercial owner and tenant participants have committed to work together to identify strategies for co-ordinated implementation of energy efficiency projects in their buildings.
Today’s expansion of the NYC Carbon Challenge to the 22 commercial owners and tenants adds more than 58 million square feet to the Challenge and is projected to reduce citywide GHG emissions by an additional 60,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) – the equivalent of taking almost 13,000 cars off the roads – and result in an estimated $50 million in energy cost savings.
The launch of the NYC Carbon Challenge for Commercial Owners and Tenants marks a major commitment by the city’s commercial real estate community to help New York City achieve its ambitious OneNYC goal of reducing citywide GHG emissions 80 percent by 2050.
“The commitments from these 22 commercial owners and tenants show environmental sustainability and economic sustainability work hand in hand,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“These private sector leaders demonstrate that New York City is committed to continuing to move aggressively to protect our residents and our planet.
“We applaud our members and the other participants who have committed to the NYC Carbon Challenge,” said John H. Banks III, President of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY).
“By implementing energy efficiency improvements, these owners and tenants are helping the City reach its 80 by 50 goal and setting an example for others towards achieving a more sustainable future.”
Commercial buildings account for roughly 30 percent of New York City’s GHG emissions and the energy used in interior leased office space accounts for 40 to 60 percent of total energy consumption in a typical commercial office building.
However, commercial owners and tenants face a range of barriers to meaningful co-ordination that persistently delay or prevent uptake of energy efficiency and cost saving measures.
As part of the expansion, participating commercial owners and tenants will be better equipped to find unique and creative solutions that enable greater energy efficiency and sustainability improvements than either party could achieve on its own.
The ten participating commercial owners include: the Durst Organization, Forest City, Normandy Real Estate Partners, The Related Companies, Rockefeller Group, Rudin Management Company, Inc., RXR Realty, SL Green Realty Corp., Silverstein Properties Inc. and Vornado Realty Trust. These owners have committed 56 buildings within their portfolios to the program.
The 12 participating commercial tenants and owner-occupiers include Allen & Overy LLP, Barclays, Barnes & Noble, Citi, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Pfizer, Inc., Stroock LLP, Sumitomo Corporation of Americas, UBS, Viacom and White & Case LLP. These participants total almost 8 million square feet and employ more than 25,000 people.
“Reducing greenhouse gas emissions isn’t just sound policy and good corporate citizenship – it’s a smart business move as well,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer.
“I thank this latest group of businesses for doing their part to increase sustainability and serve as examples for the others who can join them to do even more.”
“We look forward to working with these other large commercial owners and our tenants to continue to drive deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in our buildings, ensuring that our City is at the forefront of innovative and progressive thinking to fight climate change,” said Bill Rudin, Chief Executive Officer of Rudin Management Company and Chairman of the Association for a Better New York.
“We are happy to continue to step towards a more sustainable future and demonstrate that the need for action is not a burden requiring sacrifice, but an opportunity to do things better, cleaner, and cheaper and make our communities and buildings more livable and productive.”
“Vornado is a proud participant in the NYC Carbon Challenge for Commercial Owners and Tenants,” said David R. Greenbaum, President of Vornado’s New York Division.
“The Challenge presents an opportunity for us to demonstrate our leadership in responsible energy management. We have signed up substantially our entire New York City commercial office portfolio, and look forward to partnering with the City – and our tenants – on the very important effort of reducing our collective carbon footprint.”
Marc Holliday, Chief Executive Officer of SL Green, “Through the NYC Carbon Challenge, we will work with our tenants to identify the most effective energy efficiency opportunities that will position our portfolio for continued success.”
Charlotte Mathews, Vice President of Sustainability for Related Companies, “At Related, we believe city and business leadership is critical to global cooperation on climate change, and thus we are proud to join the NYC Carbon Challenge, a public private partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings.
“Reducing buildings’ fossil fuel use will reduce operating costs and delivers environmental benefits to our local communities.”  http://rew-online.com/2017/02/08/nyc-carbon-challenge/