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.

 

Intersolar and ees North America will feature two new pavilions for storage, promising startups

Intersolar-North-America-2014_

Intersolar and ees North America 2018 will be debuting two new California Pavilions, hosted in partnership with the California Solar & Storage Association (formerly CALSEIA), and an expanded Powerhouse Pavilion, hosted in partnership with Oakland-based incubator Powerhouse. The three exhibition pavilions provide a platform for emerging companies and promising start-ups to present new products and services.

“Cutting-edge clean energy startups attend Intersolar to meet and mingle with industry leaders,” said Emily Kirsch, founder and CEO of Powerhouse. “The Powerhouse Pavilion will showcase the latest innovations in solar and storage – it is where deals get done and long-lasting connections are made.”

Now in its 11th year, Intersolar and ees North America remains a top event for manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, service providers and partners in the solar plus storage industries. As the first major solar and storage event of the year in North America, it is a critical meeting place for industry executives, policymakers, project developers and financers. Located in San Francisco, the epicenter of technological innovation in the United States, attendees often look to the events for a big-picture perspective on the latest market trends impacting the marketplace.

Here’s a look at the conference program.

“In the past decade, the solar industry has seen explosive growth along with areas of uncertainty due to shifts in the policy landscape,” said Florian Wessendorf and Daniel Strowitzki, managing directors of Intersolar and ees North America, in a statement. “We’ve weathered trade cases, policy debates, and market consolidations. We are no strangers to the ‘solar coaster,’ and work to ensure that Intersolar and ees North America will provide valuable opportunities for the industry to connect and learn how best to respond to these rapidly changing market dynamics.”

This year, attendees can expect to see special attention paid to the recent tariffs passed by the Trump Administration in response to a Section 201 trade complaint. The conference program will feature 40 sessions and workshops that focus on leading edge of policy development and new market trends that are shaping the future of the industry.

 

Register to attend the event here.

— Solar Builder magazine

New Jersey bill would raise RPS, solar carve out (and subsidize more nuclear power)

new jersey solar RPS bill

The New Jersey Legislature is nearing passing Senate Bill 877 that would modify the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) Solar Renewable Energy Credit obligation to require 5.1 percent of New Jersey’s electricity to come from solar by 2021 (up from 4.1 percent). It also would establish a community solar program that will make solar available to residents who have not had the option before, such as renters, low-income residents, and small businesses. But an awkward thing about this bill is it would also approve subsidies for more nuclear power. This was originally in a separate bill, but is now riding the coattails of this one.

The bill was being examined in a joint hearing held by the state Senate Budget and Appropriations and the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities committees.

Nuclear politics aside, this would still be considered a win for the solar industry.

“The New Jersey legislature has taken the right initial steps to raise the state’s renewable energy goal and create a community solar market,” stated Sean Gallagher, SEIA’s vice president of state affairs. “While a few key changes were left out of the final bill, including provisions to close out the current Solar Renewable Energy Credit program in an orderly manner, this bill provides both short-term fixes to the RPS and the authorization for community solar that the industry has been seeking. This legislation is particularly important as the federal government imposes misguided tariffs on solar cells and panels.”

With 2,234 megawatts of cumulative solar capacity installed, New Jersey is the 5th largest solar state in the US. The state’s solar industry employs more than 7,100 workers, the 8th most in the nation. It added 1,000 workers between 2016 to 2017.

— Solar Builder magazine

Global solar tracker shipments up 32 percent, another 30 percent increase expected

Solar trackers continue to take more market share in large-scale PV design, and the #TrumpTariffs may even encourage more tracker deployment, in order for more conservative investors who traditionally installed fixed-tilt under pre-tariff pricing look to boost long-term project value. Even before accounting for that possibility, according to new data from GTM Research, global solar tracker shipments hit a record 14.5 gigawatts in 2017. This represents growth of 32 percent year-over-year.

The data comes from GTM Research’s new report, Global Solar PV Tracker Market Shares and Shipments 2018.
The report notes that NEXTracker maintained its spot at the top of the shipment rankings, accounting for a third of all solar PV trackers sold worldwide in 2017. Array Technologies ranked second, and Soltec third. For the first time, Latin America was the largest market for solar trackers, followed closely by the United States.

GTM solar trackers

“Mexico and Brazil are two of the fastest growing solar markets in the world, each accounting for over 1.5 gigawatts of tracker shipments in 2017, notes Scott Moskowitz, senior analyst at GTM Research and author of the study. “The U.S. utility-scale market was significantly stunted last year due to tariff uncertainty, so it took a backseat to Latin America.”

GTM Research solar tracker shipments

In spite of strong growth, GTM expects to see continued consolidation in the industry. The report notes that vendor margins continue to compress as the market grows, making profitable growth a significant challenge. There has already been one significant acquisition in 2018, with steel giant ArcelorMittal acquiring Exosun out of French bankruptcy court in January.

However, analysts at GTM Research remain optimistic. “Fundamentals in the global utility-scale solar industry are excellent, and trackers are an obvious choice in most developing solar markets,” said Moskowitz. “We expect 30 percent growth in 2018, with shipments approaching 20 gigawatts.”

— Solar Builder magazine

Insulated metal panels offer chic industrial warehouse aesthetic for high-end retailer – The Architect’s Newspaper


The Architect’s Newspaper

Insulated metal panels offer chic industrial warehouse aesthetic for high-end retailer
The Architect’s Newspaper
The architectural team from Bergmeyer Associates, based in Boston, used smooth insulated metal panels (IMPs) with metallic coatings and a glass curtain wall to further the contemporary design choices. “Our building was designed to expose the structure