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OSHA's Jim Frederick explains how the Department of Labor is helping workers through expanded OSHA training grants for non-profit organizations.


https://facilityexecutive.com/2021/07/opinion-apply-for-workplace-hazard-infectious-disease-training-grants/
OSHA's Jim Frederick explains how the Department of Labor is helping workers through expanded OSHA training grants for non-profit organizations.

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Latest: Opinion: Apply For Workplace Hazard, Infectious Disease Training Grants - OSHA's Jim Frederick explains how the Department of Labor is helping workers through expanded OSHA training grants for non-profit organizations.

Opinion: Apply For Workplace Hazard, Infectious Disease Training Grants

OSHA's Jim Frederick explains how the Department of Labor is helping workers through expanded OSHA training grants for non-profit organizations.

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Smart Site Selection Can Save Data Center Users $141M Over 10 Years

Enterprise data center users can potentially save up to $140.9 million with thorough due diligence in identifying markets that meet their business requirements and provide lower net tax burdens after incentives, relatively affordable power rates, favorable weather conditions, and greenfield space to build in a less expensive manner, according to a new report from CBRE Group, Inc. These potential savings represent up to 52.1 percent of the $270.1 million average project cost for a typical 5-megawatt (MW) enterprise project in the U.S. over a 10-year period.

data-center-CBRE“The ever-increasing need for data exchange, storage and security is broadening demand for data centers in the U.S., but one solution does not fit all,” said Pat Lynch, managing director, Data Center Solutions, CBRE. “Capital and operating costs vary considerably by market, and non-monetary factors such as proximity to a headquarters location, fiber density and environmental and other risk factors can also drive enterprise site selection decisions.”

The CBRE study modeled the cost of constructing, commissioning, and operating a 5 MW data center for 10 years across 30 U.S. markets, and categorized markets into three cost bands (low, moderate and high) according to analysis of specific cost components including tax incentives, power, construction, land and labor. 

  • Tax Incentives: Data centers are capital intensive and generate significant sales and property tax revenues for state and local jurisdictions. Increasingly, markets that seek to attract data centers are offering significant tax incentives to help reduce the total cost of operations for data centers. Only four of the 30 enterprise markets in CBRE’s study – Philadelphia, Southern California, Silicon Valley and Northern New Jersey – do not offer tax incentives to enterprise data centers. These markets also rank in the high-cost segment.
  • Power: Power costs average 13.2 percent of the total project cost over the life of the project, but vary from 6.5 percent in Quincy, Washington, to 21.3 percent in Boston. Quincy, Des Moines and Tulsa had the lowest power rates among the markets in the study. The most expensive power rates were in Boston, Southern California and Silicon Valley.
  • Construction Costs: Facility construction costs represent about 35 percent of the total project cost over the 10-year period, averaging $94.0 million and ranging from $77.5 million to $116.3 million. The most expensive markets in which to build a Tier III facility include Boston, Silicon Valley, Chicago, Philadelphia and Northern New Jersey. Facility construction was least expensive in Tulsa, Charlotte, San Antonio, Jacksonville and Dallas.
  • Land Costs: Land acquisition for greenfield development represents the smallest expense component in the analysis at just 2.5 percent of the total project cost on average, but also varies the most among all the cost factors. Across the 30 markets the average price per sq. ft. was $7.65, but ranged from less than $1.00 per sq. ft. in Kansas City, Missouri, to $38.72 per sq. ft. in Southern California.
  • Labor: With a need for critical environment engineers that provide round-the-clock coverage, labor costs average $13.2 million over a 10 year-period and account for an average of 4.9 percent of the total project cost. Market-rate labor costs were lowest in the majority of Central region markets, highest in Northern New Jersey and Boston, and above-average in Philadelphia, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Cheyenne, Quincy, Silicon Valley and Southern California.

“The large price differential between high- and low-cost markets suggests that prudent site selection efforts should not overlook the land acquisition component,” said Jessica Ostermick, director of research and analysis, CBRE. “In addition, while labor costs rank relatively low among our factors, it is important to also consider the availability of engineering staff and construction labor—particularly in less-developed and low-cost markets where the available talent pool is limited.”

“Our study also revealed a positive relationship between the size of a market’s population and its cost segment: the more populous markets tend to fall in the moderate- or high-cost segments,” said Jeff West, director of data center research, CBRE. “In fact, all of the moderate- and high-cost markets have populations greater than 1 million.”

For the full report, click here. 

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Proposed FASB/IASB Changes: What CRE Should Know

CRE technology professionals wear a number of hats. My last post on this site addressed how CRE technology professionals can support their organizations’ M&As. Here, I’ll delve into how we can support industry governance — the hot issue on this topic right now is FASB/IASB requirements.

If you are not familiar with these requirements, you are not alone. In fact, several months ago I attended a software users’ conference where one of the sessions focused on the proposed FASB/IASB requirements. The speaker asked how many people in the room of about 150 attendees had started to plan for implementing these changes first proposed in 2013. Less than 10 people raised their hands. A voice from the audience said, “How do we know these new requirements will be approved and why should we plan for something that may not happen?” Clearly, the majority of those in attendance were comfortable with a reactionary approach to what was to come.FASB/IASB Changes

As the speaker addressed the question, the impact of the proposed FASB changes took hold of the audience like a tsunami approaching the shore. For nearly all the attendees, the full impact of these changes was a new topic introduced that day.

Leases and the associated cost of borrowing would now be accounted for on the balance sheet. In some cases, the balance sheet could become much weaker than previously presented — even though actual expenses have not changed. A weakened balance sheet could also have the potential of increasing the cost of the company’s overall borrowing in the future. Will these proposed changes increase the tendency for lease terms to be shortened? Will shorter lease terms affect the value of the leased property, whether it be real estate or equipment? Will the cost of leasing likely go up — or down?

While there is still much to be addressed, CRE technology professionals can support their organization by ensuring that their information management strategy is providing accurate and “real-time” data; a cohesive data analytics platform that can be accessed – and shared – by all business functions for  optimal decision-making.

What’s next?  The next steps outlined by the FASB Board at the November 2015 meeting included directing staff to draft a final version of the Accounting Standards Update for formal vote by written ballot.  The effective date of the final leases standard for public business entities will be for fiscal years starting after December 15, 2018, and for all other entities for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2019. Once the final standard is issued, early application of the change will be permitted for all entities.

Here’s a short review of the issue and most recent actions:     

FASB’s stated purpose of these changes and published in their recent Project Update on November 19, 2015 is “to increase transparency and comparability among organizations by recognizing lease assets and liabilities on the balance sheet and disclosing key information about leasing arrangements.” This action follows a recommendation from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2005 on the topic of transparency in a report issued to address off-balance sheet activities. The proposed change addresses leases of more than 12 months and will apply to both lessees and lessors. The most recent meeting of the FASB Board addressed the effective date of the change, their consideration of the costs and benefits associated with it, and remaining economic life lease classification criterion.

After analysis and review of costs related to the changes to GAAP and the perceived benefits, FASB’s Board concluded the benefits justify the proposed change. The Board also decided to provide for an exception to the lease classification test where the lease term criterion will not apply for leases that commence “at or near the end” of the economic life of the asset, with a reasonable approach deemed to be where a lease commences in the final 25 percent of the asset’s economic life. Where there is a change in the lease term or a lease option purchase assessment, FASB will also require a reassessment of the lease classification.

Where FASB and IASB differ. FASB elected to take a dual approach for lessee accounting, where lease classification is defined in the existing lease requirements — is it an installment sale or an operating lease? The IASB is taking a single approach to lessee accounting, where all leases would be considered finance leases. FASB will retain for the most part the Qualitative Disclosure Requirements proposed in the 2013 ED, while IASB will require the lessee to provide additional information and will provide a list of specific disclosure objectives and examples to assist the lessee with compliance guidance. On Quantitative Disclosure Requirements, the two groups also differed on several items, but both agreed not to require a lessee to disclose a reconciliation of the opening and closing balances of its lease liabilities. (For more information, please visit the FASB website.)

The implementation of these changes will require effective planning, communication and collaboration between finance and accounting, IT functions, operations, and much more. While 2018 may seem far into the future, preparation needs to starts soon to make strategic decisions that will guide the implementation and the impact to the financial health of the organization. How well the change is managed will help identify new leaders who demonstrate their ability to adjust to a changing environment and provide critical leadership that engages the entire organization.   

Note: This post is for informational purposes only; to learn more about FASB/IASB requirements, go to www.fasb.org.

FASB/IASB ChangesStanley is the CEO of Open Standards Consortium for Real Estate (OSCRE International), a membership-based, not-for-profit organization committed to the collaborative development and implementation of global real estate information standards.

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In Seattle, Martin Selig Real Estate Invests In Pressure Boosting System

Confronted by a failing domestic water booster pump at one of the downtown commercial properties managed by Martin Selig Real Estate, chief engineer Phil Boyd began searching for options to repair the existing tri-plex boosting pump system.

The booster station serves the 43-story commercial office building at 1000 2nd Ave., located blocks from the Puget Sound waterway. Such high-rise buildings—including hotels, multifamily, office and other institutional applications—require pressure boosting equipment to raise incoming municipal water pressure to serve upper floors. Demand for water in such multi-story buildings can vary significantly throughout the day, and this unpredictable flow places extraordinary demands on pumping equipment.

domestic water booster

The original vertical triplex booster pump system (20HP and two 30HP) at the Martin Selig Real Estate headquarters building at 1000 2nd Ave. was 27 years old and lacked reliability and not equipped with modern energy efficient options.

Boyd planned to repair the pumping station until Corey Rasmussen, sales manager at Grundfos, a global provider of pumps and pumping systems, suggested that the property management’s investment would be better spent on a new, more efficient water boosting system. To support this recommendation, Rasmussen advocated an independent energy audit to determine the building’s actual pressure requirements, given the condition of the existing 27 year old pumps.

“We had absolutely no doubt that we could significantly lower the operating costs of the existing unit by using intelligent, demand-based pump technology,” recalls Rasmussen, who nonetheless provided Boyd the $17,000 repair quote. “The problem, however, was convincing a price-conscious customer to invest in new technology instead of rebuilding the decades-old pressure boosting pumps and motor drives.”

Ultimately, Rasmussen suggested to Boyd the Grundfos Hydro MPC BoosterpaQ, an integrated pressure boosting system that would deliver the exact pressure necessary to achieve optimal performance — without direct human intervention. Ideal for water supply systems, as well as municipal boosting, water transfer, and industrial applications, these integrated pumping systems utilize an advanced controller to adjust pump speed and stage additional pumps as necessary to meet specific pressure demand. 

domestic water booster

Phil Boyd, chief building engineer of Martin Selig Real Estate, pictured in front of the company’s downtown Seattle headquarters at 1000 2nd Ave.

“Initially, Martin Selig was looking at the possibility of rebuilding the existing pump station. After looking into the costs, we realized it made better sense financially to upgrade to a more energy efficient system,” says Boyd.

Energy Audit
In order to demonstrate the value of replacing rather than repairing the pressure boosting system, Rasmussen contacted Grundfos colleague Roger Weldon, C.E.M., LEED AP, Energy Optimization Engineer, to arrange a pump audit. Weldon has extensive experience with this type of application and traveled to the site to install the pump audit equipment (flow, power, pressure meter/loggers) onto the existing pressure boosting system. The pump audit equipment recorded performance data for a two-week period.

According to Weldon, “The data derived from the pump audit allows us to select the optimum replacement system that is often substantially smaller and less costly to purchase and operate. Additionally, the data we collect is used to apply for utility incentives, which help to boost the company’s return on this capital investment.”

The Current System
The pumping station employed a pressure boosting system that was installed when the building was constructed in 1987. “The building’s existing pressure boosting system, which consisted of one 20 horsepower (hp) and two 30 hp vertical turbine pumps, ran at full speed and the pressure was controlled by pressure regulating valves that significantly reduce the system’s overall efficiency, and would require scheduled annual maintenance,” recalls Boyd.

domestic water booster

The Grundfos Hydro MPC BoosterpaQ is an integrated pressure boosting system for water supply systems. Today, this system delivers domestic water to the 43-story Martin Selig Real Estate building at 1000 2nd Ave. in Seattle.

Due to the simplistic control technology employed, one of the pumps ran 24 hours a day regardless of flow demands, which are significantly lower during overnight and weekend periods when the building is unoccupied. The current control scheme not only wastes electricity but also decreases the equipment’s life expectancy from the excessive heat and hydraulic forces generated from operating when there is no flow demand.

One way to leverage the savings realized by moving from a constant-speed pumping system to a variable-speed, demand-based platform is to apply for a utility incentive. Weldon worked with the local utility, Seattle City Light, a publicly owned electric power utility, to secure a large power reduction incentive for Martin Selig. 

“After the new Hydro MPC BoosterpaQ was installed, the Utility’s technical metering team monitored the power consumption of the pressure boosting equipment over a two-week period starting at the end of August 2014 to account for changes in load demand, and compared this data against the estimated power consumption of the new unit,” explains Lisa Frasene, energy management analyst for Seattle City Light.

Notes Frasene, “Incentives are based on total annual kilowatt hour (kWh) savings over the first year of the project. Combined rebates from all utilities may not exceed 70 percent of project costs and the incentive amount is capped to a minimum payback period of six months.” Seattle City Light is currently offering an incentive rate of $.27 per kWh reduction in the first year of operation for this type of project.

Martin_Selig_Seattle_4

First year costs projected from the audit for the 1000 2nd Ave. property are:

  • System cost — $61,521
  • Utility Incentive — +$29,328
  • Annual cost/energy savings — +$7,604 (86% reduction – savings of 108,624 kWh per year)
  • Repair costs avoided — $17,000
  • Total 1st year cost = $4,024

“With an annual estimated energy savings of 108,624 kWh, or $7,604, the high efficiency pressure boosting system would qualify for a one-time incentive payment in the amount of $29,328,” continues Frasene. “Simple payback is estimated to be 5.1 years, and each year thereafter, the business will save an estimated $7,600 in reduced electric bills.”

“In recent years, variable frequency drive technology has become more affordable and critical in bringing intelligent speed control to a number of commercial pumping applications, including domestic water boosting,” explains Rasmussen. “The ability to adjust the pumping system output based on system demand was the primary reason we knew we could significantly reduce energy consumption for this building.”

Success Leads to Similar Upgrades
Due to the success of the booster pump retrofit at the 1000 2nd Avenue location, Boyd got the green light to make similar upgrades at two more downtown office buildings.

The second retrofit was located at 2101 4th Avenue, which is also known as the Fourth and Blanchard building. The facility is a 25-story office building in downtown Seattle. The results from the Fourth and Blanchard building were similar to the 1000 2nd Avenue project, except the utility incentive was lower because the building is not as tall and the pump system is smaller, thus consuming less energy. 

Following these two successful retrofits, Rasmussen and Weldon completed an energy audit on a third commercial property managed by Martin Selig. The audit for a 12-story high-rise, located at 2401 2nd street (Fourth and Battery), examined the building’s existing duplex pressure boosting system with full-speed 5 hp end-suction pumps. The power reduction in this third application yielded 94% energy savings, but due to the system’s size, the kWh savings are less than the first two buildings and therefore the utility incentive is less.

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Colorado Launches Commercial PACE Program

c-pace-coloradoColorado’s New Energy Improvement District has launched a statewide commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program – providing commercial property owners a unique mechanism to finance energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water-conservation improvements. The C-PACE program offers commercial property owners the opportunity to spread energy and water project costs over a term of up to 20 years, and repay them through an assessment on their property tax bill, with no upfront capital outlay.

“Commercial buildings currently account for about 20% of Colorado’s energy use. Colorado’s commercial PACE program offers a financial tool to help spur energy efficiency and renewable energy investments in our state’s building infrastructure, providing long-term utility savings, while stimulating the economy,” said Paul Scharfenberger, chairman of the New Energy Improvement District board.

The program provides financing for a variety of improvements, including new heating or cooling systems, lighting, water pumps, insulation, solar panels and other renewable energy projects. Typical long term C-PACE financing covers 100% of a project’s cost and is repaid, for up to 20 years, in semi-annual payments that are structured as a regular line item on the property tax bill.  When a property is sold the PACE assessment stays with the property and transfers to the new owner who, in turn, enjoys the ongoing utility cost-savings associated with the project.

Sustainable Real Estate Solutions (SRS) was competitively selected as the Colorado C-PACE administrator and will oversee an open, competitive lending model that makes it possible for a wide variety of capital providers to participate. All projects will be financed entirely with private funds, allowing local lenders, national banks, and PACE capital providers an opportunity to finance projects.

“C-PACE provides commercial and industrial building owners with an attractive way to finance capital intensive building modernization projects. The resulting energy savings typically outweigh the annual assessment payment thereby enabling cash flow positive projects,” said Brian J. McCarter, CEO of SRS, administrator for the Colorado C-PACE program.

Eligible properties include office buildings, hotels, retail, agricultural, non-profits, industrial buildings and multi-family properties – with five or more units. Projects must be located in counties that have opted to participate in the program. Boulder County has opted-in, and several other counties around the state already have indicated that they plan to participate.

For more information, visit the Colorado C-PACE website.

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