Electrical cable triggers lightweight, fire-resistant cladding discovery


via Science Daily: A University of Melbourne researcher has led the successful development of an organic, non-combustible and lightweight cladding core — a product that was previously thought to be impossible to create. Typically, lightweight cladding is made from organic, carbon-based, composite materials like plastic, but these materials by their nature are combustible. Non-combustible materials like steel, ceramic tiles or concrete are much heavier and more expensive to produce and install. University of Melbourne Fire Engineering Group research leader Kate Nguyen has discovered that the plastic insulation around electrical cables uses tiny ceramic particles that activate and chemically interact with each other, forming and spreading a heat resistant network through the material. In partnership with construction materials company Envirosip, who commissioned the research, Dr Nguyen began experimenting with different ceramic particles at the University’s testing furnace at Creswick, north west of Melbourne. After several false starts, Dr Nguyen provided expert guidance in formulating a material that could withstand heat of 750 degrees Celsius. “When it passed our first test I was excited, but even after the fifth time I still couldn’t quite believe it,” Dr Nguyen said. The development comes in the wake of the 2017 Grenfell Tower blaze in London that cost the lives of 72 people and as the building industry globally works to create a lightweight cladding material that does not catch fire. The material itself is lightweight and feels like a compressed powder. A pale grey colour, the tiny ceramic particles appear as dark specks. At high… Read more

Will You Survive The Future of Property Management?


via Elite Agent epm: From DOS-based trust programs, no internet or email, big chunky mobile phones and a long wait in a bank queue to deposit thousands of dollars in rental cash, to the fast-moving businesses we have today – the amount of change has been phenomenal. Debbie Palmer looks at where property managers will sit in the new world order. The way we do things, the technology, software and apps we embrace, artificial intelligence advancements, legislation compliance and the way we communicate and operate a real estate/property management business have rapidly changed and will continue to do so. Before we know it, there will be an Uber-like disruption, unless we stay current, connected to our clients and understand that property management is more than just technology. From a property management perspective, I believe the most challenging issues we are facing right now are: A lack of quality and experienced property management team members to recruit into agencies. This is a national epidemic, placing many agencies/business owners into vulnerable and reactive modes. Disruption from outside businesses to the traditional property management agency structure, such as Airbnb and Cubbi – and there will be many more to come and challenge what we do. The rapid advancement of technology, apps, software and artificial intelligence. A shift in property managers establishing their own independent agencies, where property management is their sole focus and service is a priority. A change in how agencies are structured and operated; including the emergence of Virtual Assistants (VAs) being… Read more

Finding Solutions to Avoid Wind Energy Waste


via University of Denver: As onshore and offshore wind energy farms have proliferated in recent years, new research highlights a previously underexplored consequence: a wake effect from upwind wind farms that can significantly reduce the energy production — and related financial returns — of their downwind neighbors. The research appears today in the journal Nature Energy. Over a century ago, oil and gas law recognized the “rule of capture,” which allows a landowner to capture a neighbor’s oil resources by sucking them from an adjacent well. This resulted in poor well-field recoveries and waste, so states intervened to regulate production through well-spacing, pooling, and other coordination measures. Similarly, states have developed water law regimes that protect rights for prior users. But current U.S. property law contains no such provisions for wind energy. “It took oil and gas and water law decades to create these legal regimes,” said K.K. DuVivier, a co-author of the study and professor at the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law. “It appears that wind energy has not yet reached a similar stage of maturity. I hope this research will help raise awareness about the extent of the waking problem and educate those seeking a legal remedy.” The study, led by the University of Colorado Boulder in collaboration with the University of Denver (DU) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), combines legal and economic analysis with atmospheric modeling to demonstrate that wake effects — which occur when groups of turbines reduce wind speed for up to… Read more

Small carbon-neutral house in Australia built with recycled materials


via treehugger: Constructed as an “apartment-house” hybrid, this prototypical 753-square-foot house makes the most of a small lot. From small and tiny houses to micro-apartments, our enthusiasm for smaller living spaces comes from the fact that they are cheaper to heat and maintain, and often prompt people to consciously downsize their possessions, permitting them to live happier, fuller lives with less ‘stuff’ shackling them down. Near Perth, Australia, feminist architecture studio Whispering Smith created House A for its directors, Kate and Matt. It’s an “apartment-house” hybrid that is tailored for small lots and uses recycled materials like whitewashed brick, timber, cabinetry and 65-percent-recycled-slag and concrete tilt-up panels, and is the first of three carbon-neutral residences that are being planned for this neighbourhood. Situated on a small lot that also has an existing 1950s house, House A measures 70 square meters (753 square feet) that’s split up into three compact levels, including a garage that’s been inserted underground, to maximize space. The interior is pared down and monochromatic in palette, evoking a “wabi-sabi” approach that embraces imperfection, rather than hiding it. The spaces appear to flow into one another, meaning that there are a minimal number of walls and doors, while careful attention has been paid to ensure that there are plenty of visual and spatial connections from interior spaces to the outdoors, creating an impression of a larger house. At night, the pale contours of the house seem to blend in with the sky and landscape, in contrast to the other… Read more

Continental has finally developed a tubeless road tyre — GP 5000 TL first look


Via Cycling News : Continental has finally developed a tubeless road tyre — GP 5000 TL first look All new GP 5000 clincher and GP 5000 TL tubeless tyre replace legendary GP 4000 S II Continental has launched the Grand Prix 5000 — the successor to the legendary GP4000 — in both a tubeless (GP 5000 TL) and clincher (GP 5000) version. The new all-rounder will replace the GP 4000 S II, one of our favourite road tyres. The new tyre is notable not only for the technology contained within it, but also for the lateness of its arrival, with a road tubeless option from Continental conspicuous by its absence as competitors have capitalised on the growing market in recent years. Updates all round Presentations at launches for new products are usually filled to the brim with hyperbolic guff, but one claim we can actually believe from Continental was that that the GP 4000 S II was a genuine class leader — the tyre has consistently scored well, including in our own tests just last year. However, it’s 14 years since the original GP 4000 was launched and the market has been waiting for an update to the tyre and, in particular, a tubeless road option from Continental. The tubeless tyre you’ve all been waiting for So, yes, a tubeless road tyre from Continental is finally here! The GP 5000 TL is largely similar to the regular version but adds an airtight liner, a shaped bead — which uses a… Read more

Nano-scale process may speed arrival of cheaper hi-tech products


via Science Daily: An inexpensive way to make products incorporating nanoparticles — such as high-performance energy devices or sophisticated diagnostic tests — has been developed by researchers. The process could speed the commercial development of devices, materials and technologies that exploit the physical properties of nanoparticles, which are thousands of times thinner than a human hair. The particles’ small size means they behave differently compared with conventional materials, and their unusual properties are inspiring research towards new applications. Engineers demonstrated their manufacturing technique, known as electrospinning, by building a fuel cell — a device that converts fuels into electrical power without combustion. Their device was produced featuring strands of nanoscale fibres incorporating nanoparticles on the surface. It offers a high contact area between the fuel cell components and the oxygen in the air, making it more efficient. Researchers at the University of Edinburgh and California Institute of Technology built their fuel cell using a nozzle-free electrospinning device — a rotating drum in a bath of liquid under high voltage and temperature. Nanofibres are produced from the liquid on the surface of the drum, which are spun onto an adjacent hot surface. As the fibres cool to form a fuel cell component, nanocrystals emerge on their surface, creating a large surface area. Tests showed the nanofibre fuel cell performed better than conventional components. Such devices are very difficult to manufacture by other techniques, researchers say. The study, published in Nature Communications, was funded by the US Department of Energy. Dr Norbert Radacsi,… Read more

Investment Firm Invests In Sustainable Workplace Design


via Facility Executive: Fir Tree Partners is a New York City-based, private investment firm that invests worldwide in public and private companies, real estate and sovereign debt, managing assets on behalf of leading endowments, foundations, pension funds and sovereign wealth funds. Founder and President, Jeffrey David Tannenbaum, established Fir Tree Partners in 1994 and distinguished the company by establishing a work and life culture respectful of people and their work environment. What would become known as a “sustainability mission” was at the time, an innovative approach to raise the standards on workplace design for the benefit of the employees. Fir Tree Partners engaged Kostow Greenwood Architects for four separate office designs beginning in 1999 (NYC – 535 Fifth Ave; NYC – 505 Fifth Ave; Miami; NYC – 55 W 46th) and through incremental and determined decisions, has proven that the relationship-focused financial industry can thrive in a people-centric office designed with the highest standards of wellness. The most recent project that Kostow Greenwood Architects carried out for Fir Tree Partners is for the firm’s office at 55 W. 46th Street in New York City. This project was designed to exceed the LEED Silver standard in terms of sustainably sourced materials and MEP systems and controls. Further, in order to support a healthy and productive workplace, many concepts of The WELL Building Standard were incorporated including: improved air quality, drinking water and nourishment, access to natural lighting and lighting control, acoustical and thermal comfort, and ergonomic seating and workstations. Design challenges included:… Read more

Have Solar Energy And Battery Power Truly Changed Our World?


via blue green: Apparently, yes, and for better or worse. While not so long ago renewable energy sources seemed like just another pipe dream, today they have become quite mundane, and sometimes considered a life standard which is not to be negotiated. There is no doubt that solar panels are only going to multiply on an even greater scale – as a matter of fact, the predictions show there are going to be 70,000 brand new solar panels every hour in the 5 years to come. With such a huge number expecting us, here is what kind of an impact solar panels have made on the world, so we could know what to expect. Real estates Owning a home with solar panels used to be only for the extremely environmentally conscious homeowners, whereas nowadays they are a feature which is practically a must have, or at least in highly economically developed countries such as Australia. Purchasing a green home is not just about being environmentally friendly; it’s also about the current trends. At the moment, home buyers are more inclined to spend money on a pricier home if it boasts signs of renewable resources, and solar panels are one of them. Valves manufacture Valves are often overlooked and they are pretty much taken for granted. Usually, only a person who has worked in such an industry can be aware just how much they are involved in our everyday lives. Basically, whichever energy source we are talking about, there has to be… Read more

This is what women in tech wish they knew early on in their careers


via LADDERS: The most encompassing way of phrasing the lesson is that I wish I paid much more attention to gender issues earlier in my career, and taken the disparity more seriously. Admittedly, until it affected me personally I dismissed a lot of the discussion surrounding the issue as frivolous whining. I subscribed to the idea of meritocracy and believed that the issues other women were facing were a result of their lack of focus – and that the opposition they faced wouldn’t happen to me because I was smart, talented, and hard-working (so my mom tells me). In retrospect I realize that it was naive of me to feel that way as an entry-level employee. I was at the bottom of the food chain and posed no threat to anyone. The enthusiasm, encouragement, and lack of repercussion I received for speaking my mind at that stage in my career only reinforced my view that I was just genuinely smart/talented, etc… It wasn’t until the past year and a half that I begun to experience the backlash of speaking up and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that around the same time many of my female design peers who are near my age and previously experienced the same sort of early career success began to have similar experiences at their workplaces. When I would interview for jobs I always focused so much on evaluating the role from a design perspective. I would grill the company on the structure of their team, the… Read more

How Is Drone Technology Leveling Up Construction Industries?


via CIOReview: ‘Drones’ which are also referred to as Miniature Pilotless Aircraft, Flying Mini Robots are gradually growing in popularity. Although they are still in their infancy stage concerning its adoption by enterprises, it still has made a place in the industries. Drone technology is used for numerous reasons in the construction industry as well. It works as a tool that improves security, communication, and marketing and also captures real-time images from the field. The innovation can be applied to the construction industry in the following ways: 1. Building Surveys: Most of the building surveys require the visibility of the building’s roof to identify its condition and assess any defect. Initially, pickers or ladders were required to get access to the roof which is both time-consuming and costly. Therefore, a small drone can be useful as it can save time, diminish any safety risks involved with surveying a roof or reaching out to places which are risky. 2. Site Inspection: Construction site inspection can turn out to be dangerous and complicated at times. Drone footage can be recorded safely and then forwarded to the stakeholders. Site inspection can be done at regular intervals, can cover large areas more efficiently and reduces the risk factors and can save time as well. 3. Health and Safety Inductions: Site inductions can be a tedious and time-consuming procedure. Using a drone to fly over a site can show new health and safety risks in real-time. It also enables site managers to demonstrate moving cranes, moving… Read more