The following are excerpts taken from a story written by Matt Parke, Working Nation. We highly stress that you visit their site for the rest of the story, and abundance of information regarding the hard truths about the looming unemployment crisis and bring the country together to create and amplify solutions for a changing economy Read More
The following are excerpts taken from a story written by Matt Parke, Working Nation. We highly stress that you visit their site for the rest of the story, and abundance of information regarding the hard truths about the looming unemployment crisis and bring the country together to create and amplify solutions for a changing economy.
The annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC) and the SkillsUSA Championships features more than 18,000 attendees working an event the size of 20 football fields. A diverse group of students puts their training to the test in events ranging from cosmetology and construction to broadcasting and information technology. The NLSC is the future of work on display and SkillsUSA students are fired up to be a part of it. This past June, SkillsUSA members descended on the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville and turned it into a model city filled with skilled talent
The national nonprofit organization brings the country together to promote the technical and soft skills that employers desire and SkillsUSA students have. It is where analog skills, such as swinging a hammer, are on par with digital ones found in robotics and 3D printing.
SkillsUSA is the first student organization for trade and industrial education and has served more than 13 million members since 1965. The organization trains more than 340,000 middle school, high school, post-secondary and college students across 130 occupational skill areas. Its continuing mission is to develop the next generation of workforce leaders and promote the value of Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs.
SkillsUSA’s strategy to develop skilled workers comes at a critical time in the U.S. labor market. Widespread labor shortages are happening across a majority of sectors.
Reversing the college or bust trend requires raising awareness about the opportunities for younger workers without a four-year degree. SkillsUSA also makes the trades more appealing to a new generation by elevating them to competition status. The same reverence that sports legends receive is bestowed on competitors whether they are a master at applying mortar to bricks or can control a robotic arm.
“We need young people that are engaged in the trades, excited about the trades, have passion about the trades and the professions that we serve to enter that talent pipeline,” Lawrence said.
Getting students to have that passion will take convincing them and their families about the ample career opportunities that await after graduation or obtaining a technical certificate. SkillsUSA makes employment a priority for students by treating the NLSC as a giant job fair. Each student must bring a resume and meet with employers who are looking to recruit talent from the competition floor.
While many SkillsUSA students compete in the more than 100 events as individuals, the event’s TeamWorks contest tests the combined abilities of trades students representing four aspects of construction: carpentry, masonry, plumbing and electrical work. In only 16 hours, all teams must plan, present and build a structure from the same blueprints provided by SkillsUSA.
Wilo, a provider of pumps and pump solutions for water management, building services and groundwater, was proud to sponsor Thomas University’s ‘Camp STEMtastic’ this summer through the Wilo-Foundation. The camp is the University’s science and technology-focused summer program for young students, and the foundation has been an active sponsor since 2015. Wilo USA was pleased Read More
Wilo, a provider of pumps and pump solutions for water management, building services and groundwater, was proud to sponsor Thomas University’s ‘Camp STEMtastic’ this summer through the Wilo-Foundation. The camp is the University’s science and technology-focused summer program for young students, and the foundation has been an active sponsor since 2015.
Wilo USA was pleased to welcome this year’s group of rising 8th grade student campers to its production facility in Thomasville, GA as part of the STEMtastic program. The theme for this year’s camp was ‘The Human Machine,’ and campers’ activities and learning experiences throughout the week focused on simple and complex machines related to how the systems in the human body function together to complete specific tasks.
The students toured the Wilo USA facility on the fourth day of the camp and learned about the complex machines and systems used in production, as well as how Wilo pumps work to treat water supply and sewage within cities’ infrastructure. The campers also participated in a hands-on activity led by Wilo USA’s Director of Operations, Darren McGuire, in which they worked in teams to assemble two versions of a simple circulation system. They then used a Wilo circulator to pump dyed water through the piping structures they created, demonstrating how the human circulation system functions.
On the last day of the camp, campers’ friends and family members attended a reception in which the students gave a presentation highlighting the events of the week. The group enjoyed a demonstration of the students’ project for the week, which was to build a simple machine to complete a specific task. Wilo was proud to take an active role in the program again this year and looks forward to continuing community involvement. You can learn more about the Wilo-Foundation and their ongoing support of science, education, culture and sport at www.wilo-foundation.de/en.html.
The 20-story, terra cotta Standard Building has graced the cityscape of downtown Cleveland, OH, since 1924. Constructed by The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers—the oldest union in the nation—the Standard Building was their Cooperative National Bank Building. (See overview video at the end of the story.) Throughout most of its long life, the Standard Building functioned Read More
The 20-story, terra cotta Standard Building has graced the cityscape of downtown Cleveland, OH, since 1924. Constructed by The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers—the oldest union in the nation—the Standard Building was their Cooperative National Bank Building. (See overview video at the end of the story.)
Throughout most of its long life, the Standard Building functioned admirably as an office building in a prime downtown location. Today, the urban trend of office-to-apartment conversions is transforming the business districts of many cities, including Cleveland’s. Weston Inc., the building’s owners, knew the time was right to capitalize on that trend and convert the Standard Building into a completely renovated, 281-unit luxury apartment building.
Begun in April 2016 and completed in December 2017, part of the Standard Building renovation features a revamped piping system for both potable water and HVAC water-source heat pump piping for the building’s new comfort system, which includes 290 WaterFurnace water-source heat pumps.
For Lee Tucker, project manager, Marous Brothers Construction, the company’s Design/Assist approach at the Standard Building was to “go with what you know.”
“We budgeted the project and negotiated the contract based on what we felt comfortable with,” said Tucker. “We generally are not early adopters of new products unless we do extensive research. We explored the use of Aquatherm with the mechanical engineer and visited another project of similar size and interviewed the employees of the installing mechanical contractor. After our research, we felt comfortable with using Aquatherm.”
Ultimately, more than 8,300 ft. of Aquatherm polypropylene-random (PP-R) piping—ranging from ¾ to 12 in.—and more than 800 fittings were used on this project.
Blue and green come up golden
The Standard Building project incorporates Aquatherm Green Pipe® for the building’s potable water applications and Aquatherm Blue Pipe® for its HVAC applications.
Aquatherm Blue Pipe is ideal for HVAC applications, offering longevity and consistent performance. It is hydrophobic, which means it will not corrode or scale over time.
Aquatherm Green Pipe is chemically inert and is potable water (NSF 61) and food safety (NSF 51) rated. It will not leach, corrode, or erode. In addition, the heat fusion method of joining Aquatherm pipe does not create any VOCs and does not introduce any lead or other toxic materials into the system. Nor does it involve and open flame or hot work permit as does welding carbon steel.
Both Blue Pipe and Green Pipe are available with optional multi-layer, faser-composite (MF) which allows the pipe to remain rigid at high temperatures and significantly reduces linear expansion. The MF extrusion process creates a middle layer in the pipe that is a mixture of glass fibers and Aquatherm’s proprietary fusiolen. Along with the benefit of reduced expansion, Aquatherm MF pipes are still flexible, and require fewer and smaller expansion controls.
Overcoming the challenges
A major reason Aquatherm was selected for the Standard Building is the pipe’s light weight—up to 70% lighter than carbon steel pipe, depending on the pipe size—and ease of use on the job site.
The Standard Building presented some challenges that Aquatherm helped solve.
“Construction of the building is unique,” Tucker said. “The floors are actually 18-in. thick per floor. We took the pipe up to the top floor where we fused the pipe and dropped it through the stacked mechanical rooms, with core drills, all throughout the building.”
The piping contractor, T.H. Martin Inc., would fuse the pipe on the 19th floor and drop it all the way down the building. This made the lightweight nature of the pipe critical.
“You’re not moving stuff as heavy so the guys can be more productive all day long. That’s essentially what it comes down to.” — Ryan Pepper, piping project manager, T.H. Martin Inc.
“They just set up on one floor and drop, drop, drop,” Tucker said. “They set up a kind of chain fall. We couldn’t do this with steel pipe.”
A lightweight, effective solution
“After working with Aquatherm and having installed it, the cleanliness is by far a long-term benefit to wherever you would install it,” said Ryan Pepper, piping project manager, T.H. Martin Inc.
Pepper also noted the light weight is a huge benefit to his crew.
“You’re not moving stuff as heavy so the guys can be more productive all day long. That’s essentially what it comes down to,” he said.
Shaun Swaney, pipefitter, Local 120 Pipefitters Union, agreed.
“It’s a lot easier on the guys, on your body,” he said. “It makes it an easier day, and you’re not exhausted at the end of it.”
Aquatherm’s ease of use helped Swaney and the other installers at the Standard Building get the job done quickly and efficiently.
Ease of use and overall savings
Unlike welding, the heat fusing process used for Aquatherm pipes physically turns the two pieces of plastic pipe into one piece. The heat fusion tools and process are both easy to learn and work with.
“The Aquatherm representatives came right out to the jobsite [to provide training],” Swaney noted.
“It’s a very easy system to put together,” Pepper said. “Guys that are used to welding, grooving and even soldering a lot, when they go to do this the tools make it easy. The tooling, combined with the simplicity of how to put it together, really makes it a fantastic product.”
Tucker said the Design/Build contractor on the project provided a credit of $250,000 to Marous Brothers Construction for using Aquatherm piping. The credit was based on the estimated combined labor and material cost savings compared to using metal pipe.
Tucker added that he often expects to see a sort of resistance to new technology, but what he finds is exactly the opposite with Aquatherm.
“It’s a lot easier on the guys, on your body. It makes it an easier day, and you’re not exhausted at the end of it.” — Shaun Swaney, pipefitter, Local 120 Pipefitters Union
In the end, a combination of Aquatherm’s light weight and ease of use in the field made it the clear choice for this renovation project.
“I didn’t just push for Aquatherm, I required it,” Tucker concluded.
The Standard Building is up and running and occupied, and has begun its new life as prime downtown Cleveland apartments. Marous Brothers Construction and T.H. Martin are proud to have played a role in the successful renovation of this historic and beautiful structure, and both companies said they planned to use Aquatherm pipe on other projects in the future.
Check out the video of the Standard Building project here:
It’s good to be in favor with a design professional; especially if you introduce them to a technology that gives them an edge in design. I found great success over the years and working closely with architectural and engineering firms and sharing information freely that can help him to improve building design. It’s been a Read More
It’s good to be in favor with a design professional; especially if you introduce them to a technology that gives them an edge in design. I found great success over the years and working closely with architectural and engineering firms and sharing information freely that can help him to improve building design.
It’s been a busy year or two in the geothermal industry. As an advocate and consultant for geothermal technologies, I have made it my goal to publish columns on the technology and professional magazines of all kinds. One of my favorites is Mechanical Hub. I very much enjoy the online presence, and the following of the fine people that read and write for Mechanical Hub.
I mentioned that I have been busy, and a lot of that centers around various governments and provinces placing geothermal programs into effect. We have placed thousands of hours of effort and research into these programs. There are some amazing takeaways that we’ve discovered from all of this. I’m sure you’ll agree as you read on that there is some merit to what we’ve learned.
While it’s certainly true that contractors have a lot of say in the type of system that goes into a building, this is limited, often times to singular design-build projects and those projects are often smaller and lower-profile projects. We have found that engaging design professionals can provide more lasting results.
By “we,” I mean primarily the folks in New York State; the New York Geothermal Energy Association (NY-GEO) and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). They’ve had a remarkably successful run the last few years as they’ve engaged the government of New York State at many levels, created new positions at NYSERDA, and have instituted programs that are designed
Before I share the challenge that was issued to these architects and design professionals, I would like to give a little bit of information on the structure of the presentation created. Most of the design professionals that have even heard of geothermal exchange think that there is only one way to do it. Most of them are familiar with the boreholes drilled into the ground that accept the insertion of a pair of pipes with a u-bend at the bottom of the hole. Of course, this is a vertical closed-loop geothermal system. And, to be fair, most of the systems installed are engineered in this fashion.
However, there are several different ways to design geothermal exchange. We have found that most designers don’t realize there are so many variables. Once the variables are shared, and the applications are illustrated over the course of a day, these design professionals tend to become very comfortable with these various types of geothermal exchange systems. Just as a refresher, there are five different types of major types of geothermal Exchange. They are:
- Vertical closed loop
- Horizontal closed loop,
- Standing column well (SCW)
- Class V thermal (Ground-Water) exchange,
- Surface water exchange (Lakes, ponds, rivers, etc.)
Out of these several different types of exchangers, there are practically limitless variations to explore. Part of the purpose of the presentations was not only to share the various ways to do geothermal but to illustrate some actual case studies and get the creative juices flowing with these design professionals. It was amazing to watch. The question asked at the end of each of these sessions was, “can you think of any reason that you would not offer geothermal exchange to a client the first time, every time?” The answer was overwhelmingly affirmative. The key is to have a full day of immersion in the technology to become comfortable with it.
How do you get a busy professional to sit down long enough to get a full day of their attention? The answer was to make it part of continuing education units (CEUs) for architects and engineers. This model was so successful that it’s been shared a dozen more times in the province of Ontario as they began to roll out their geothermal heating and cooling program. Now, it has been added as part of the educational curriculum for the international Ground Source Heat Pump Association (IGSHPA).
This latest edition to the IGSHPA website is amazing ; now architects, engineers, and design professionals from all areas of Industry can go online, learn a lot of useful information, similar to the programs shared in cities throughout New York and Ontario, and get continuing education units for their efforts.
So as to the title of this article, if you want to make a real friend in the industry, and increase the implementation of geothermal heat pumps, share the IGSHPA training with them, and tell them all about it. Maybe you don’t know an architect, engineer or designer personally, but you know of some major firms in your area. Schedule a lunch and learn with them for the price of a catered lunch. You can have a captive audience for an hour, and share a little bit about the merits of geothermal. I guarantee that you will gain some friends in the design industry in this way.
EggGeothermal is a voting member on the IGHSPA Advocacy Committee, the Uniform Mechanical Code Committee for the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Professionals (IAPMO). Jay Egg is a geothermal consultant, writer, and the owner of EggGeothermal. He has co-authored two textbooks on geothermal HVAC systems published by McGraw-Hill Professional.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
A truly unique kind of vodka – one that’s growing quickly in popularity – makes its way through the distilling process flanked by Viega products along the way. At Black Eyed Distilling Co. in Fort Worth, Texas, owners Todd Gregory and Scott Billings make BLK EYE Vodka. It’s as it sounds, a specialty vodka made Read More
A truly unique kind of vodka – one that’s growing quickly in popularity – makes its way through the distilling process flanked by Viega products along the way.
At Black Eyed Distilling Co. in Fort Worth, Texas, owners Todd Gregory and Scott Billings make BLK EYE Vodka. It’s as it sounds, a specialty vodka made with black-eyed peas and corn, sourced completely from Texas. Just a year into the business and the distillery is already winning awards.
Gregory and Billings purchased the distillery from another owner but knew that upon taking over, the building needed to be retrofitted. The basics of the plumbing were in place, but they had to replace a chiller, a boiler and add a blending tank with a cooling jacket. They also needed a new air compressor and air lines.
The duo had plumbing experience, so they planned to do much of the work themselves, which led Gregory to ask a contractor he knew, Randy Pair of O’Grady Plumbing, if he had a pipe threader they could borrow. Pair told him he had a “better deal” and put him in touch with a Viega rep.
“He showed us the fittings and had a loaner set of tools we could use to retrofit. We started using Viega and thought, ‘Oh my gosh, this is incredible!’” Gregory said. “It allowed us to do the retrofitting ourselves as we got the pipe in. We would install and build what we needed to do to fit the particular equipment and it was quick and easy to use the tools.” Gregory and Billings called on Pair now and then to help advise or lend a hand, making sure they were using the right types of fittings for all the different lines they were running, including ProPress for chilled water, steam, water and compressed air lines in the distillery. They also used MegaPressG for natural gas lines.
“I pointed them in the direction of Viega because I knew it would be the best choice for them,” Pair said. “Threading didn’t make any sense for them. Press is a lot cleaner and then they wouldn’t be putting oil in the system. It was just all around a better process for them.”
“If Randy had loaned me that pipe threader, we might still be working on it!” Gregory said laughing. “I don’t even know how to describe Viega. It was amazing for us.”