What Is Lean Construction & Why You Should Care

What is Lean Construction?

A term coined by the International Group for Lean Construction in 1993, lean construction was designed as a way to improve product delivery in the construction industry. This was in response to a steady decline in productivity, which made it necessary to review construction management. However, the term was made popular by the Toyota Company. According to Forbes, lean construction makes Toyota the most efficient auto manufacturer in the world. This can be contributed to the fact that lean production has been applied to most of their business operations.

Lean construction or production is simply defined as production that takes less time, requires less labor and produces low material waste. It essentially minimizes waste and maximizes value by focusing on customer needs. It’s applied through design, procurement, manufacture and construction.

The integrated technique requires that suppliers, contractors and clients work together to deliver a valuable product. Unlike manufacturing, lean construction is not construction based, its production based. Successful production systems are formed when all functions of the project are integrated.

Why Does it Matter?

The use of lean construction matters because it has many benefits for the companies that implement the techniques. The most obvious benefit is that building capital assets in a more efficient manner causes a ripple effect that impacts the client, the supplier, the contractor, the environment and even future users of the manufacturing facility. Other benefits include:

  • Better workflow
  • Increased output
  • Reduction of production time
  • Constructive utilization of materials
  • Reduces environmental waste

All of these benefits mean manufacturers will be better capable of delivering products of value. Something that will happen because lean construction makes it necessary for project managers to be more attentive to their company’s processes, the people involved in production and the delivery of every service. In the lean production process, collaboration between management and production is emphasized, thus creating an environment for greater products.

This means higher quality products for consumers. Through the use of lean construction, projects are repeatable because of the use of recycled and sourced components. The Construction Pro Net website has also reported that companies who use lean techniques reap these benefits and see significant results.

However, the process means scrutiny of a company’s daily practices and production process. This scrutiny makes it easy to identify the value of current processes and any waste that prevents value from being delivered to the consumer. So, lean construction can actually make a company more profitable and flexible.

Why Should One Care About Lean Construction?

Lean construction basically provides better products for consumers. It’s also a ‘green’ process that minimizes waste during production and construction of cars, homes, buildings and so much more; a contribution that can help create a healthier, yet more efficient environment for all.

Basically, one should care about lean construction because it provides better products at faster rates. Consumers get more of what they love without sacrificing quality, which also means more money for the producers of these products.

How is Lean Construction Affecting the World

Lean construction is affecting many industries, including auto manufacturing, construction, infrastructure and energy generation. Toyota has already proven how efficient the process can be in the production of cars, but auto manufacturing is obviously not the only industry where lean construction is having a big impact. The process is highly effective for the construction of buildings, wind power or energy generation and infrastructure.

In the wind power industry, lean construction can highly reduce the costs of building wind farms, which are so high that they often prevent the construction of more farms. Lean techniques can also create more sources of energy. In infrastructure, the techniques can be used to construct better and lower cost structures all over the world. SIP Structures of all types can also be built at faster rates and lower costs.


Superior Walls licensee elevates foundation-grade panels 15 stories – Concrete Produts

Superior Walls licensee elevates foundation-grade panels 15 stories
Concrete Produts
Great Lakes Superior Walls has delivered 1,600-plus precast concrete panels to enclose the 522-unit Grand Castle, a Grandville, Mich., apartment complex patterned after the architecture of a 19th-century palace in southern Germany. With more than 18

Details on 7.5-MW solar project at Sacramento International Airport

SMA Inverter at SMF

The Sacramento International Airport (SMF) added 7.9 MW of solar energy generation across two sites: A 15-acre plot near the airport’s economy parking lot, and a 20-acre location north of the runway. Borrego Solar, a top commercial solar company that specializes in designing and constructing solar and energy storage projects, constructed the project with financing from NRG, which will own and operate the facility. NRG will sell electricity to SMF under a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).

The SMF project consists of two SMA Sunny Central 2200-US inverters integrated with a Medium-Voltage Block, and three Sunny Central 800 CP-US inverters.

“We are pleased to partner with Borrego Solar to bring renewable energy to the Sacramento International Airport, which holds special meaning because our U.S. headquarters is located in the Sacramento region,” said Jim Crossen, general manager for SMA America. “With Sunny Central inverters delivering reliable, robust performance, we are confident that the airport –and those who utilize it –will see the benefits of solar energy.”

The system will offset 30 percent of SMF’s electricity use, providing cost savings of up to $850,000 per year over the 25-year PPA, and will also help the airport achieve environmental leadership in the region.

“SMA is a valuable partner, and we were glad to utilize the company’s exceptional technology and local expertise for this PV system,” said Aaron Hall, president of Borrego Solar Systems. “With the Sunny Central’s reliable performance and power production, we are confident the airport will see great savings with it solar investment.”

The project was completed and commissioned in December 2017.

— Solar Builder magazine

Connecticut Green Bank’s PACEsetter award given to Direct Energy Solar

Direct Energy solar

The Connecticut Green Bank awarded Direct Energy Solar and Durham Agricultural Fair Association the PACEsetter Outstanding Project Award for their solar project, a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) secured by Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE), at the Durham Agricultural Association Fairgrounds in Durham, CT.  The system is 188.65 kW and composed of 686 Hanwha QCell 275-watt panels with a SolarEdge Inverter System.

The PACEsetter Awards were created by the Connecticut Green Bank to acknowledge those who are advancing the green energy movement through the C-PACE program, and whose leadership establishes a “pace” for others in their field to follow. This is the third annual PACEsetter Awards ceremony.

“Our ‘PACEsetters’ are the driving force behind the C-PACE program,” said Mackey Dykes, Vice President of Commercial, Industrial, and Institutional Programs at the Connecticut Green Bank. “The Connecticut Green Bank is happy to recognize Direct Energy Solar as a PACEsetter and highlight their outstanding C-PACE project in Durham, Connecticut. Projects like these set an example for others to follow as the C-PACE program grows.”

Three takeaways from SEIA white paper on financing C&I solar with C-PACE

C-PACE is an innovative program, administered by the Green Bank, which helps commercial, industrial, and non-profit property owners access affordable, long-term financing for meaningful energy upgrades to their buildings. C-PACE enables building owners to finance qualifying energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements through a voluntary assessment on their property tax bill. As the program grows, more Connecticut businesses achieve lower energy costs and increase their bottom-line. The Green Bank recently announced that they had closed their 200th C-PACE project.

— Solar Builder magazine

Arcadia Power teams with New Columbia Solar to provide community solar option in D.C.

washington DC solar

Arcadia Power and New Columbia Solar, an energy provider to residents and businesses throughout the Washington, D.C., formed a partnership to make community solar accessible for all D.C. residents. The initial project will be the first privately-funded community solar project in D.C. and will feature a completely free, user-friendly sign-up process never before available in the District of Columbia.

With community solar, anyone can benefit from solar power savings even if they cannot install solar panels on their own property. However, signing up for a community solar project has traditionally required users pay two different monthly bills, fill out extensive paperwork, agree to binding contracts with cancellation fees, and undergo a credit check.

“The goal of community solar has always been to make solar savings accessible to all, but the sign-up process for homes and apartments has been anything but easy,” said Kiran Bhatraju, CEO of Arcadia Power. “We’re thrilled to be partnering with New Columbia Solar to bring hassle-free community solar to District residents.”

New Columbia Solar’s clean energy systems are being built and operated on buildings all across the city, enabling District residents to power their lives entirely through locally based solar energy. This combined with Arcadia Power’s billing platform, makes signing-up for locally based solar power easier than ever, and with no upfront costs whatsoever, for D.C. residents. Anyone in D.C. can connect their utility account to Arcadia Power’s online energy platform to sign-up for a community solar project. Members will start saving about 10 percent on their monthly power bills and can track their solar savings on their online dashboard.

RMI report shows path for a 30-GW community solar market by 2020

The initial community solar project will be hosted on the roof of a local community church, Celestial Church of Christ. The building’s roof, which has been suffering from extensive leaks, will be replaced and repaired as part of the project. This will give the church a brand-new roof, with a 25-year warranty, while hosting a local solar energy system capable of powering the lives of District residents and parishioners.

“This partnership kicks off our ability to not only reinvest into our city but to provide clean, local energy to District residences through community solar,” said Mike Healy, CEO of New Columbia Solar. “We are excited to continue our mission to make it as easy as humanly possible for D.C. residents and businesses to benefit from solar energy. As more community members express interest in solar, we will develop new projects all over the city to revitalize outdated energy systems, invest in capital improvements and create jobs in our community, all by offering locally based solar energy at a great price.”

As more D.C. homeowners and renter’s sign-up for Arcadia Power, more projects are in place to be developed. Sign ups are located here.

— Solar Builder magazine