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.

 

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Yotta Solar is the latest company to try and solve panel-level energy storage

Yotta Solar panel storage

Yotta Solar’s SolarLEAF at the IC2 Building in Austin, Texas.

Yotta Solar, a developer of innovative energy storage systems, is introducing the SolarLEAF at SPI this week (Booth 3869), which uses a 100% passive thermal regulation system for panel-level energy storage. This passive temperature regulation enables the system to operate in extreme temperatures while protecting the battery life and without degrading performance.

Yotta Solar says the plug-and-play design simplifies the integration of energy storage with solar PV and eliminates the need for heavy, difficult to install enclosures, complicated HVAC systems that require parasitic loads, and expensive fire suppression systems.

“For solar power to truly reach its full potential, energy storage has to be an integral part of the equation. We designed the SolarLEAF to make adding energy storage simple for solar developers and utilities by eliminating the design and site-specific complexities that come with centralized storage,” said Omeed Badkoobeh, co-founder & CEO of Yotta Solar.

How does it work?

sb-econference-web-post

In a nutshell, the SolarLEAF panel-level energy storage system reduces project and operational costs by eliminating the need for HVAC or fire suppression systems, plus it doesn’t use extra real estate occupied by centralized battery systems in shipping containers.

The patented passive thermal regulation technology shields the battery from both hot and sub-freezing temperatures and results in a long and bankable service life, industry leading combined solar plus storage efficiency, and higher overall solar generation.

The SolarLEAF system is a battery pack with integrated multi-way power flow electronics that easily attaches behind standard 60 to 96 cell solar modules either at the time of panel installation or as a retrofit.

Passive thermal technology

Yotta’s passive thermal regulation is a revolutionary technology that uses very little to zero external power to keep the system’s batteries between 50° F and 95° F (10° – 35° C) in climates, including extreme summer heat and freezing winters. Because the batteries are not aggregated in one central location, SolarLEAF systems have no risk of cascading thermal events and can be installed in locations where centralized large-scale lithium-ion battery storage is not permissible.

The DC-coupled SolarLEAF also doesn’t require a separate battery inverter setup, improving the solar plus storage system’s cost, efficiency, and reliability, while simplifying the interconnection process.

Yotta Solar was recently awarded a place in National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) esteemed Innovation Incubator (IN2) program funded by Wells Fargo. Clean technology companies that are formally selected for the program receive up to $250,000 in technical assistance from the laboratory and project related support.

— Solar Builder magazine

Streamlined residential solar: Solaria, Enphase Energy, Quick Mount PV join forces

Solaria Power XT Enphase AC module

Solaria Corporation, a global provider of high efficiency solar modules, is teaming with mounting and racking provider Quick Mount and microinverter manufacturer Enphase Energy, to produce a single, unified system that ensures efficiency, performance and aesthetics. Available through select distributors, the complete solution gives solar installers the ability to streamline installation and ensure homeowner satisfaction at the lowest possible cost.

Solaria manufactures the PowerXT pure black solar modules using advanced cell interconnect and module production processes, significantly boosting power generation and providing outstanding performance with unmatched aesthetic appeal.

Quick Mount PV’s QRail racking system features patented QClick and QSplice technologies that simplify and speed solar installation. The result is the fastest and most reliable system deployment in solar.

The Enphase IQ 7+ Microinverter features Enphase’s two-wire cabling for ease of installation, and leverages semiconductor integration for higher reliability and better economies of scale. The 295 W AC Enphase IQ 7+ Micro combines efficiency, reliability and streamlined installation and is available either as a standalone component or in the factory-integrated Enphase Energized PowerXT-AC module from Solaria, which further improves installation efficiency.

Solaria will be exhibiting at booth 1251 at Solar Power International in Anaheim, September 25-27, 2018.

— Solar Builder magazine