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MIT Infrastructure "Life Cycle" Study is Progress Both Left & Right Can Embrace - Part 2, Fiscal Responsibility

19 02 11 - 09:02 By Brenda Krueger Huffman

Chicago – Perhaps moving to the center is where we all need to be politically on the environment and effective spending compatibility. Not all green technology is crazy, and not all business profit or government expenditure is evil.

Even if you do not believe in man caused climate change, we can all agree leaving a cleaner planet and a more fiscally responsible government for the next generation is preferable to not doing so.

Perhaps green technology can be cost effective, and government fiscal responsibility may realistically include affordable green initiatives. Honest “life cycle analysis” and “life cycle cost analysis” study considerations should be a political compromise starting point both the left and the right can embrace. MIT’s ongoing work on measuring the life-cycle carbon emissions of materials is scheduled to be completed by August 2011. The environmental findings will then be supplemented by economic analysis in 2011 to provide the most accurate assessment of the economic and environmental impacts for buildings and pavements yet produced.

CEMEX is an example of a responsible and realistic corporation. They understand the balance needed for a business in providing rightful green benefit and rightful shareholder benefit. “Our role in creating a sustainable future begins with our philosophy of corporate responsibility - to run an efficient and profitable business while caring for our employees, our communities, and the environment.”

Continuing our interview with CEMEX USA is Executive Vice President, Commercial, Frank Craddock and Vice President, Commercial Strategy & Marketing, Francisco Uzcategui to speak to fiscally focused questions around LCA and LCCA.

BKH: What is the average life in years of a building, road, etc?
CEMEX: The average life in years is a moving target. With technology, design, materials and construction experience, we are constantly expanding the life of assets. Today, it is commonly accepted that a road can last between 30-50 years with limited maintenance. When it comes to buildings, it is usually for 60 years, but concrete structures can last longer than that.

BKH: What percentage of current project cost is actual construction and what percentage is life maintenance?
CEMEX: From our own experience and the use of statistical models such as The Mechanistic Empirical Pavement Design Guide (MEPDG), in a typical Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA), the initial costs for a concrete pavement accounts for 80 to 90% of the pavements life cycle costs. For new construction or reconstruction pavement costs are approximately 40% of the projects costs.

A concrete pavements first rehabilitation will occur somewhere around year 35, and it will require 1 or 2 rehabilitation activities to get to 50 years.

While for asphalt pavements, the initial cost is about 50-60 % of the pavement’s life cycle costs. The first rehabilitation will occur sometime between years 8-15, and the asphalt pavement will require 4-5 rehabilitation activities to get to 50 years. Maintenance is 40-50% of the life cycle costs.

However, once historical actual inflation rates for liquid bitumen are taken into account, the asphalt maintenance costs increase to between 50-60% of the life cycle costs. Liquid bitumen is the refined petroleum product which is used as the “glue” in asphalt pavements and asphalt overlays.

BKH: What would happen if government projects were covered by current receipts allowing for no deficit increase?
CEMEX: Reducing spending to current receipts would be counter productive with little, if any, contribution to deficit reduction. Every study shows that America is under investing in its transportation infrastructure.

The final 2009 report of the National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission submitted to Congress, led off with the opening statement: "The nation faces a crisis. Our surface transportation system has deteriorated to such a degree that our safety, economic competitiveness, and quality of life are at risk."

The current difference between federal transportation funding and user tax receipts is about 20% or $11B per year. One has to differentiate between spending on needed investments like transportation infrastructure, which are largely financed through user taxes, and other non-investment government spending which is driving the federal deficit to about $1.5 trillion.

Moreover, the current difference between tax receipts and spending doesn't factor in the job creation benefits that also produce substantial multiplier effects on the economy which contributes to lower deficits.

The nation should be increasing the funding for our transportation infrastructure. That can be done with innovative financing mechanisms to supplement and leverage existing revenues in a fiscally responsible manner.

BKH: How can we be more fiscally responsible in the construction bidding process?
CEMEX: The National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission reviewed numerous studies and determined that spending from all levels of government needs to more than double to just meet the nation's maintenance needs.

In view of this massive level of under-investment, Departments of Transportation (DOTs) need to get the most value out of every dollar spent. To do so, they need to evaluate alternative designs using alternative materials on a full life cycle basis and employ competitive bidding.

Reducing funding may force DOTs to do more with less, but they need to maximize investment returns to society regardless of the level of funding.

BKH: Why do government infrastructure projects routinely have such large overruns - double, triple or more?
CEMEX: We think it is two fold. First, the budgets for projects are set in the planning processes, which occur 3-5 years before construction, and are often based on construction cost data that is 3-4 years old. By the time a project goes to bid, the economic conditions have often changed, and if an agency fails to properly account for inflation in their budget analysis, there is a shortfall.

This can be further compounded when constraints on an agency’s budget delay a project by an additional 2-5 years past their original construction date.

Second, too much emphasis is placed on the initial construction cost rather than the full life cycle cost of projects. In many cases when life cycle is taken into consideration the lack of a comprehensive methodology and correct inputs leads to the wrong conclusion that tax payers have to ultimately pay for.

BKH: Which state or federal projects are already participating or looking to support life cycle cost analysis for existing, current, or near future projects?
CEMEX: Thirty-eight states use life cycle cost analysis in some form for pavement type selection. Of these 38 states, approximately 10 states have used Association of Development Agencies Alternate design alternate bid (ADAB) and life cycle costs analysis to try and lower their pavement costs. Of these states, the 2 most successful have been the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LA DOTD) and the Missouri Department of Transportation (MODOT).

Louisiana was the first state to use ADAB and LCCA starting in 2001. On the 32 Projects during 2001-2006 that have used ADAB, LA DOTD estimates they saved approximately $62.5M. The MODOT has combined the use of MEPDG and ADAB to successfully lower their pavement costs by over $1.6B.

A recent state to start using ADAB successfully is West Virginia. WV first used ADAB in 2007, and they have 9 projects as ADAB since then. Of these 9 projects, 8 have gone concrete, all based on the first cost. On the last 4 projects alone, WV Department of Housing estimates that they have saved $9.8M.

And the trend is continuing. Ohio has recently started using ADAB on projects with similar life cycle costs. Many other states such as North Carolina, Florida, and Texas are investigating how they may be able to implement ADAB and LCCA.

BKH: What do you anticipate being the most benefit to taxpayers by looking at projects with a life cycle analysis approach?
CEMEX: There are a few rating systems looking at both commercial and residential buildings, and in our opinion they represent a starting point in understanding the economic and environmental cost of constructing buildings.

Given the fact that the energy consume in buildings through their life is responsible for 39% of CO2 emissions in the US, it is imperative that all rating systems incorporate the effect of the use phase into their methodology.

Having a clear view of the full cost of a project not only initial construction cost will present authorities with the opportunity to make the right long term decision in the benefit of tax payers. We will move away from only caring about how much it cost us today to what is the right decision long term.

BKH: Thank you again gentlemen for sharing your expertise.

MIT concludes, “As policymakers and political leaders work to account for the environmental and economic costs of public building and paving projects, this type of comprehensive costing model of key materials may provide a roadmap to those who plan these major initiatives.”

Frank Craddock sums up the important balance needed for today’s responsible infrastructure considerations well. “The building decision making process must take into account our children’s future. We must take into account the financial cost impact as well as the environmental impact they will have to live with years from now. Both ultimately matter in the present and for the future.” Used tags: , , ,

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Alternative energy and related video search+watch+upload+share

Monday 28 January 2019 at 03:31 am Just in case anyone hasn't seen this yet, it is a great resource for everyone who is interested in alternative energy, green tech, diy and related how-to.
Search-watch 1000's of videos - Upload your own -Start your own channel and share-discuss your projects. Sign up now.

http://gp.alternate-energy.net/ more

Raging wildfires: Climate changes to blame for record season?

Saturday 16 July 2011 at 06:07 am Raging wildfires: Climate changes to blame for record season?

By Pete Spotts

The images are stark: soot-grimed firefighters steering bulldozers or wielding shovels to clear underbrush; curtains of orange flame tracing the contours of summits; aircraft dumping chemicals to slow a fire's progress.

Between Jan. 1 and early July of 2011, slightly more than 38,000 wildfires charred the landscape in the United States at a record pace. So far this year, wildfires have consumed just under 4.9 million acres of forest and grassland, a cumulative expanse the size of New Jersey.

That's 1 million more acres than fires consumed during the same period in 2006, which saw a record 9.9 million acres burned for the entire year.

Beyond the numbers, this year's fires may provide the first large-scale tests of the effectiveness of projects undertaken over the past decade to help forests survive wildfires, several specialists say.

The West's forests are adapted to deal with certain types of wildfires, researchers note. But since the mid-1980s, they add, some of these forests have experienced an increasing number of fires to which they are not well adapted.

Many researchers trace this shift in part to climate change. more

Hybrid Moves Into Housing

Sunday 22 May 2011 at 01:14 am Hybrid Moves Into Housing

By Brenda Krueger Huffman

(Chicago) – Recycling - Check. Conserving energy - Check. Hybrid car - Next car, check. Hybrid home system - What? Yes, it’s here. Hybrid has seamlessly, successfully moved into housing.

Safety Power, Inc. was initially started to provide homes with back up power. The company quickly grew to include renewable energy options and advising commercial and industrial clients with electrical conservation. Recently the company has come full circle and began marketing a new more capable type of renewable energy system for homes.

The award winning firm was voted one of the “Top 5 Sustainable Product Companies in Illinois” and continues to grow its residential client base in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Safety Power also serves larger firms on the national level.

Robert Brazzale, President of Safety Power, a master electrician turned entrepreneur, began Safety Power in 2007. An avid member of Local First Chicago, Rob believes in assisting sustaining local economies with green collar jobs and belongs to many green orientated groups in Chicago and around the country. more

Are electric car makers missing the trick?

Tuesday 29 March 2011 at 11:12 am Are electric car makers missing the trick?

by Martin Ott

I believe that electric car makers may be driving us all down the road that may result in the same sort of technology failures that we have seen in the past.
I'm not referring to the Sinclair scooter here but cast your mind back to the débâcle of Betamax v VHS home recording systems. The eventual winner was the technically inferior VHS but the battle was not resolved until innumerable consumers had paid out for worthless Betamax systems. Back in the 70's a similar conflict occurred over audio systems when America fell in love with the 8 track tape system that moved magnetic tape in a loop over the player head at a high speed resulting in a better sound. The world market finally dictated that the audio cassette was the way to go but not until millions of consumers had been lumbered with home and in-car systems that went down the technological cul de sac. more

Wind Turbine Manufacturer Acknowledges SGS´s Contribution towards Successful Project Completion

Tuesday 29 March 2011 at 10:57 am by Suresh Varma

The Theni Wind Farm project was developed by CLP India Pvt. Ltd., one of the major wind farm project developers in India. Located in the south western part of Tamilnadu, a southern state of the country, the facility consists of 60 Vestas V82 geared wind turbines. As recognition of its contribution towards the successful execution of this wind power project SGS received Vestas award.

Each turbine at the wind farm has a capacity of 1.65 MW IEC Class IIB machine with a blade diameter of 82 m. After a six-month long completion period, the Theni Wind Farm was officially opened in May, 2010.

Acting as contract engineer during project execution, SGS was responsible for ensuring that all activities were carried out at the site by the contractor in line with the final agreement. In doing so, SGS supervised the quality of construction works, the fulfillment of the technical parameters and kept the project within the scheduled time and contracted price. more

E.ON uses PPC's Broadband Powerline technology in smart grid project

Tuesday 29 March 2011 at 10:37 am E.ON uses PPC's Broadband Powerline technology in smart grid project

by Power Plus Communications

Mannheim - Power Plus Communications AG (PPC), the leading provider of Broadband Powerline Communication systems (BPL) for smart grids has taken on a key role within an E.ON smart grid project to facilitate an extension of Cisco's Connected Grid Solution.

E.ON Westfalen Weser AG is currently trialing smart grid technology within its network of 1.3 million inhabitants and PPC's proven medium voltage BPL solution has connected substations in the project using the existing power grid.

Using BPL technology, standard compliant and IP-based data transfer rates of 5-30 Mbit/s can easily be achieved via the medium voltage cable itself. Within E.ON’s smart grid project, PPC's medium voltage technology facilitated the extension of Cisco's Connected Grid Solution. The Cisco smart grid Router and Switches used in the project are highly compatible with BPL networks, providing a real cost advantage over fiber optic networks – which can be much more expensive where cables are not pre-existing.

By combining their technology at Westfalen Weser, PPC and Cisco have ensured the evolution of fast and efficient smart grids which are controlled on an IP basis. This increases the reliability of the power grid, fulfills regulations and drives down costs. At the same time this modern smart grids communications technology makes it possible to effectively integrate renewable energy into the grid. more

MIT Infrastructure "Life Cycle" Study is Progress Both Left & Right Can Embrace - Part 2, Fiscal Responsibility

Saturday 19 February 2011 at 09:02 am By Brenda Krueger Huffman

Chicago – Perhaps moving to the center is where we all need to be politically on the environment and effective spending compatibility. Not all green technology is crazy, and not all business profit or government expenditure is evil.

Even if you do not believe in man caused climate change, we can all agree leaving a cleaner planet and a more fiscally responsible government for the next generation is preferable to not doing so.

Perhaps green technology can be cost effective, and government fiscal responsibility may realistically include affordable green initiatives. Honest “life cycle analysis” and “life cycle cost analysis” study considerations should be a political compromise starting point both the left and the right can embrace. more

Global warming: Impact of receding snow and ice surprises scientists

Thursday 27 January 2011 at 11:05 am Global warming: Impact of receding snow and ice surprises scientists

By Pete Spotts

Washington - A long-term retreat in snow and ice cover in the Northern Hemisphere is weakening the ability of these seasonal cloaks of white to reflect sunlight back into space and cool global climate, according to a study published this week.

Indeed, over the past 30 years, the cooling effect from this so-called cryosphere – essentially areas covered by snow and ice at least part of the year – appears to have weakened at more than twice the pace projected by global climate models, the research team conducting the work estimates.

The study, which appeared online Sunday in the journal Nature Geoscience, represents a first cut at trying to calculate from direct measurements the impact of climate change on the Northern Hemisphere's cryosphere. The study was conducted by a team of federal and university scientists who examined data gathered between 1979 and 2008. more

EPA presents plan on greenhouse gases

Wednesday 05 January 2011 at 10:38 pm By Mark Clayton

Washington - Setting the stage for a New Year battle royal between Congress and the White House over greenhouse gas emissions, the US Environmental Protection Agency Thursday laid out a timetable for the nation's largest carbon emitters – power plants and refineries – to begin curbing those pollutants.

Republicans have said all year that they plan to pull out all the stops to keep the EPA from phasing in greenhouse gas (GHG) regulations beginning in 2011, saying they would damage the energy industry, raise prices, and cost jobs.

Rep. Fred Upton (R) of Michigan, the incoming chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has said he opposes the regulations on greenhouse gases and indicated he would lead efforts to revoke EPA regulations in the next Congress. The new regulations, he says, will likely lead to the shut down of coal-fired power plants.

"To protect jobs and fortify our energy security, we should be working to bring more power online, not shutting plants down," Mr. Upton said in a statement. "We are woefully unprepared to meet our nation's growing energy demands, yet this administration's 'none of the above' energy policy will do nothing but cost jobs, make energy more expensive, and increase our dependence on foreign sources of energy."

Environmentalists lauded the EPA's move. more

Supreme Court takes global warming case that targets power companies

Monday 13 December 2010 at 03:21 am By Warren Richey,

Washington - The US Supreme Court on Monday agreed to examine a major environmental lawsuit that seeks to force six electric power companies to cap and reduce their carbon-dioxide emissions to fight global warming.

The lawsuit - filed in 2004 by eight states, the City of New York, and three land trusts - targets what it claims are the largest emitters of carbon dioxide in the United States and among the largest in the world.

It seeks a judicial order declaring that the fossil-fueled power plants are a "public nuisance." It also seeks a judicial order capping the plants' greenhouse gas emissions and requiring the plants to adopt a schedule of reduced emissions in future years. more