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.

 

Global Power Tool Manufacturer Chervon Earns LEED Certification for Its North American Headquarters – Watertown Public Opinion

Global Power Tool Manufacturer Chervon Earns LEED Certification for Its North American Headquarters
Watertown Public Opinion
NAPERVILLE, Ill.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–May 24, 2018–Chervon, one of the world's top 10 manufacturers of power tools, outdoor power equipment and related products, today announced that it has earned the LEED certification for Leadership in Energy and …

Blockbuster New Jersey solar bill raises RPS to 50 percent by 2030, enables community solar

New Jersey solar bill

And this time, they mean it

Surrounded by solar industry and advocates, N.J. Governor Phil Murphy signed a historic bill that will stabilize the solar market through 2021 by (deep breath)

  • increasing the solar target,
  • losing the current solar renewable energy credit trading program in an orderly way,
  • reducing the overall cost of the current solar Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) by lowering the Solar Alternative Compliance Payment, and
  • setting in motion a process for establishing the next generation of solar programs in the Garden State.

The bill also increases the overall RPS to 50 percent by 2030 and creates a community solar program. The Garden State will become the 18th state to enable community solar, which if properly implemented by the Board of Public Utilities will ensure that all New Jerseyans have access to solar energy. The community solar program will give consideration to residential customers, especially in multifamily buildings, and low-to-moderate income customers.

RELATED: Attack the Tariff launches in June to highlight solar industry ideas, innovations

Following are statements from solar advocates and industry representatives:

“It has never been more important for leaders to stand up for clean energy jobs, local investments, and clean air and climate progress in our communities. We are encouraged that in the face of rollbacks in Washington, Governor Murphy is stepping up with bold action,” said Pari Kasotia, Mid-Atlantic Director for Vote Solar. “Americans across the political spectrum overwhelmingly support solar progress. We urge lawmakers to look to New Jersey’s leadership to spur the clean energy economy.”

“The solar industry appreciates Gov. Murphy’s leadership,” said Sean Gallagher, SEIA’s vice president of state affairs. “By signing this bill into law, many more New Jersey residents, businesses and communities will have access to solar energy. This is a huge win for customers, will support the thousands of solar jobs in the Garden State, and puts the state on track to meeting its ambitious clean energy goals.”

“The New Jersey legislature and Governor Murphy should be applauded for passing community solar legislation and recognizing the increased consumer demand for solar energy. If properly implemented, this legislation will create access to solar energy for consumers and businesses across New Jersey for the first time,” said Brandon Smithwood, policy director for the Coalition for Community Solar Access. “We look forward to working with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to create a robust program that enables hundreds of thousands of consumers across the state to choose community solar and save money on their electric bills.”

“Thanks to this important legislation, New Jersey residents who rent, live in apartments, or can’t afford the upfront cost to install solar panels will now be better able to get their power from the sun,” said Luis Torres, senior legislative representative for Earthjustice. “We look forward to working with our coalition partners to ensure that the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities heeds the call of this law by promoting robust participation from low and moderate income customers in community solar projects.”

“Today Governor Murphy is empowering New Jersey residents to create, store, and share clean solar power with their neighbors, making the electric grid stronger and more resilient,” said Anne Hoskins, chief policy officer for Sunrun. “With the Governor’s leadership, New Jersey will be better prepared for future storms, grow good-quality energy jobs for the state, and build a more consumer-centered energy system with home-grown, affordable power that will benefit everyone.”

— Solar Builder magazine

Soltec to open world’s first bifacial solar tracking evaluation center

Soltec's bifacial single axis trackers

Soltec, a leading manufacturer and supplier of horizontal single-axis solar trackers, is opening a new research and evaluation center in the city of Livermore, California, where the company has its U. S. headquarters. The inauguration will take place July 9, just before Intersolar, and your intrepid Solar Builder will be on hand to report back. Soltec is leveraging its expertise and standard product compatibility with bifacial tracking that stems from the landmark 2015 customer test-bed success of utility-scale bifacial tracking at La Silla, high in the Atacama Desert of Chile.

The mission of Soltec’s Bifacial Tracking Evaluation Center (BiTEC) is to perform rigorous assessment of installation and control parameter influences on bifacial tracking performance compared to other bifacial PV applications. Soltec is investigating some specific factors that are known to influence production, such as module mounting height above grade, rear-side obstructions that cause shading and losses, and varying inter-row spacing distances to measure the effect on albedo.

RELATED: Soltec shows 200 percent growth in 2017, ranks third globally in solar trackers

“Some variables, such as diffuse irradiance or module mounting height, which are often considered of minor importance in standard module applications, can have a much more significant influence in bifacial applications in order to maximize yield,” says Javier Guerrero Ph.D., Soltec’s R&D Manager USA, who oversees the BiTEC project. “With BiTEC, we aim to quantify bifacial yield-gain opportunities that our standard product enables uniquely, and furthermore optimize a bifacial tracking algorithm via comprehensive tracker positioning control to make the most of those opportunities.”

Soltec and BiTEC count on the collaboration of the U. S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to assist primarily in the application of simulation models. Soltec is also collaborating with Engineering powerhouse Black & Veatch and world renown Certification and Bankability Laboratory, The Renewable Energy Test Center (RETC), to utilize the BiTEC resources in their joint Bifacial Characterization and Ranking Initiative in order to assess the performance gains and validate the performance models on bifacial modules from global module manufacturers.

“We endorse collaborative learning and knowledge sharing with the goal of increasing the success of our customers with our agile and yield-dense tracker application. Soltec is receptive to partnering with PV industry entities to take advantage of the BiTEC installation whereby those entities will not need to set up their own bifacial testbeds,” announced Soltec CEO Raúl Morales.

— Solar Builder magazine

Panasonic now offering beefed up battery for residential solar + storage (17.1 kWh of capacity)

pika solar storage

Panasonic Eco Solutions of North America sent word of a significant upgrade to the Harbor Smart Battery portfolio with the Harbor Plus Smart Battery, which now clocks in as the solar industry’s most powerful and efficient smart battery with 17.1 kilowatt hours (kWh) of capacity and real power output of up to 10 kilowatts (kW). Additionally, the Harbor Plus Smart Battery now delivers 21 percent more energy and 30 percent more peak power than the next leading home smart-battery solution, enabling homeowners to extend solar power longevity, better manage energy around peak-rate periods and withstand off-grid scenarios at a more cost-effective price per kWh of storage.

Panasonic and Pika Energy first co-developed the Harbor portfolio of residential smart batteries in 2017, and less than a year later, the companies are introducing upgraded capacity with the premium Harbor Plus as well as the entry-level Harbor Flex to deploy more power, efficiency and capability than any other solar smart batteries available on the market.

“The solar industry faces the reality of certain maximum energy density, pushing the market to deliver innovative and disruptive solar solutions to a quickly growing consumer base,” said Dan Silver, vice president, Panasonic Eco Solutions North America. “We are excited to once again partner with Pika Energy to deliver an industry-leading solution in the Harbor Plus Smart Battery, outpacing competitors to expand solar power capacity and capability, ultimately providing customers with freedom from grid dependence.”

The solar-ready Harbor Plus Smart Battery is powered by six Panasonic Lithium-Ion (Li-ion) battery modules connected in series for built-in redundancy. This robust design coupled with 17.1 kWh of usable energy and up to 10 kW of power can support homeowners for long-term grid outage and off-grid scenarios, and can also power heavy equipment such as well pumps and air conditioning units.

Paired with the Pika Energy Island, the Harbor Plus Smart Battery offers solar system owners enhanced and expanded features, including:

  • Self-supply Mode, which maximizes self-consumption of stored energy captured by solar panels – such as Panasonic solar modules HIT – to reduce the home’s dependence on the grid
  • Zero-export Mode, a subset of self-supply mode that prevents any solar energy from transferring to the grid, enabling homeowners to reduce grid dependence as well as remain in compliance in states where exporting solar power to the grid is prohibited, like Hawaii
  • Time-of-Use Capability, helping homeowners who live in areas with time-of-use rate policies, such as California, efficiently manage solar power and reduce costs with an optimized schedule that reduces or eliminates grid use during peak-rate periods
  • Clean-backup Mode, which stores clean solar energy in the smart battery for use when the grid is disrupted. Load transfer is instantaneous, taking as little as 1/60th of a second.
  • Priority-backup Mode, which charges the smart battery from the grid at the full capacity of the system, allowing homeowners to prepare for an expected grid outage such as in the event of an impending storm
  • Dark-start Capability, with the ability for Pika smart batteries to commission without the grid and restart using only solar power should the batteries exhaust their reserve energy; as compared to other solar storage systems that require on-site service from a technician to jump-start dead batteries.

For more info on the newest inverters on the market download our free 2018 Inverter Buyer’s Guide

— Solar Builder magazine

Structural Insulated Panels Market – Market Size, Share, Trends Analysis and Growth Forecast to 2023 – Expert Consulting

Structural Insulated Panels Market – Market Size, Share, Trends Analysis and Growth Forecast to 2023
Expert Consulting
Global Structural Insulated Panels Market report included the analysis of market overview, market characteristics, industry chain, competition landscape, historical and future data by types, applications and regions, Market Dynamics, Limitations

and more »