Across DPR Blog, Page 5

August 9, 2013

Subcontractors: Helping Us Build Great Things

Our trade partners/subcontractors are an important part of the DPR family. Once a year in many of our regions, we host an event specifically for the subcontractors we work with as a “thank you” for all their hard work and to celebrate project successes. The event features food, refreshments, music and giveaways.

 In the Bay Area, we call this “Subfest.” 2013’s Bay Area Subfest was held at our Redwood City office in early August. The parking lot was transformed into a street party that included:

  • Popular food trucks such as: The Chairman, Koja Kitchen, Pacific Puffs, An the Go, Wexler’s, Pop Nation
  • Energizing music by DPR's own Brian Cabalic of Untz.
  • Indoor exhibits featuring: Innovation, Special Services Group, Building Information Modeling, Preconstruction and Business Development
  • Artist's rendering of iconic projects by Marco Verdin
  • Raffles and a specialized Rubik’s Cube giveaway to attendees


Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Okulanis

Our Special Services Group built a Rube Goldberg machine, which uses a chain reaction to complete a task. As shown in the photo below, the machine illustrates the point, "small projects, big results!"  


Photos Courtesy of Daniel Berson

An artist rendered some of our iconic Bay Area projects (from left to right), including: Sutter Health Eden MedicalDavid and Lucile Packard Foundation Corporate HeadquartersUCSF's Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research  and Sacred Heart Schools Michael J. Homer Science and Student Life Center.


Photo by Eve R. Forward

Across the regions, while the names may vary, additional events held to thank subcontractors this year included:

• In May, the Sacramento region held their annual Cinco de Mayo Subcontractor Appreciation Fiesta, which includes live music, great food and giveaways.
 


Photo Courtesy of Sacramento office

• In July, Houston held a Sub “Summer Camp” with different game stations set up, including a giant Jenga!

Photos Courtesy of John Goode 

Plans for upcoming subcontractor appreciation events in other regions include:

Mid-Atlantic’s “Subtoberfest" in October.

• Raleigh-Durham’s Subtoberfest in October.

• Richmond in October.

• San Diego in October.

• Phoenix in November.

Thanks to all our subcontractors and partners who help us build great things!

July 31, 2013

Green Video: Low Tech Meets High Tech

Sometimes simpler solutions are better. This video, "Low Tech Meets High Tech," explains how green buildings can use a combination of low tech methods in conjunction with modern technology.

DPR's Phoenix office--an ILFI-certified net-zero energy building--used established, even ancient techniques as well as complex, cutting-edge technologies to achieve its lofty sustainability goals.

In the video, project team member, Jim Dinan from Bel-Aire Mechanical explains, "Ultimately, it's not that the equipment drives the building space, the building space drives the equipment. On buildings like this, there's most likely less maintenance costs because the building is simpler and it still meets the needs. So less maintenance, meeting the needs; that's inherent built-in value."

This is just one video (out of 8) that was filmed at the DPR Phoenix office. The video series covers the broader themes of green and net-zero energy building, and includes the following topics:

  • Evolution of Green Design
  • Return on Investment
  • A Living Lab
  • Walking in the Owner’s Shoes
  • Sustainability and Employee Satisfaction
  • Reuse of Existing Buildings
  • Why Net-Zero?

Watch the entire green video series here (8 videos total).

Read the DPR Phoenix Office case study to learn about the path to net-zero energy building in much more detail.

What do you think? Tell me in the comments below.

July 15, 2013

Facebook Travels Abroad

On June 14, the first phases of Facebook's first data center outside the U.S. went live in Lulea, Sweden. With approximately 80 percent of Facebook's 1.11 billion users residing outside the U.S. and Canada, the new data center is now handling status updates, comments, likes, and more from around the world.

Located on the edge of the Article Circle, nearly the same latitude as Fairbanks, Alaska, the seaside town of Lulea is a near-perfect location for the new sustainable data center. Facebook's super-efficient design uses 100 percent outside air to cool the data center, eliminating the need for power-hungry chillers, to cool the tens of thousands of servers running around the clock.

Powered locally by hydroelectric energy, the facility "is likely to be one of the most efficient and sustainable data centers in the world." Hydroelectricity is not only 100 percent renewable; it’s so reliable that Facebook has been able to eliminate the number of onsite backup generators by 70 percent.

Another unique design feature of the facility is that it uses excess heat generated from the servers to keep the office space warm for employees during those chilly days in the artic.

Built in a tri-venture with DPR Construction, NCC Construction Sweden and Fortis Construction, the 290,000-sq.-ft. data center is not Facebook's first ground-up facility to be built on a greenfield site. DPR and Fortis are currently wrapping-up the latest phases of construction for Facebook's first two super-efficient data centers, built in Prineville, Oregon and Forest City, North Carolina. Both data centers use 100 percent outdoor air for cooling and are being built to LEED Gold for New Construction specifications.

As with Facebook's first two greenfield data centers, the company is using servers and infrastructure design outlined in the now well-known Open Compute Project, an initiative started by Facebook "that aims to accelerate data center and server innovation while increasing computing efficiency through collaboration on relevant best practices and technical specifications."

Facebook custom-designed their own servers, power supplies, and UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) units, and is sharing these designs online, free for anyone to use in their own data center. Facebook’s data centers--using their "vanity free" servers--are 38 percent more efficient and 24 percent less expensive to build and run than the leased capacity they relied on before their Prineville data center launched.

During initial tests, the Sweden data center averaged a PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness) of 1.07, which makes this one of the most efficient data centers in the world. For context, a PUE of 2.0 is considered "common", 1.6 is considered "good", and a PUE of 1.2 or under is "excellent". It is important to note that PUE is dynamic and changes with outdoor temperature and humidity.

Facebook will soon be launching a real-time PUE monitor, so anyone can see how the facility is performing on a minute-by-minute basis. Water Usage Efficiency (WUE) will also be viewable on the online dashboard, a topic of growing interest in the data center industry. Online dashboards for the Prineville, OR and Forest City, NC sites are currently online.

Impressive, to say the least. The future of data center design is unfolding right before our eyes.

July 8, 2013

Taking the Sacramento BIM Network On the Road

Sacramento was abuzz with all things BIM (building information modeling) during the latest Sacramento BIM Network in June. Events are held once a quarter in Sacramento.

Special thanks to Nacht & Lewis, Buehler & Buehler Structural Engineers, Capital Engineering Consultants, Inc. and the Hacker Lab for co-hosting this event.

The event was held at the Nacht & Lewis office, as shown in the video below. Take a look!

With a wide array of professionals from across the industry in attendance, there was lots of idea sharing, installations and technology discussions. Each firm had a few booths that demonstrated their expertise on topics that included usage of gaming engines, automated cutting tools, energy analysis, A/E workflows, commissioning, and BIM 360 Glue.

Check out photos from the event on Nacht & Lewis' Facebook page.

These types of events are happening regulary and throughout different regions at DPR.

See you at the next one!

June 27, 2013

Green Video: Reuse of Existing Buildings

Old things can become new again, as shown in this short video, "Reuse of Existing Buildings: DPR Phoenix Case Study."

The video explores how sustainable building does not necessarily require new construction. In the case of DPR's Phoenix office, the team took an older retail building--seemingly at the end of its lifecycle—and completely transformed it into a model for green construction.

In the video, project team member, DNV KEMA's Shayne Rolfe explains, "When you're working with an existing building, you're able to take what may be limitations and make them into opportunities. That doesn't that doesn't occur in new construction."

SmithgroupJJR's Mark Roddy says, "I can't think of a better way to maximize a recycle concept than to use an existing building."

This is just one video (out of 8) that was filmed at the DPR Phoenix office. The video series covers the broader themes of green and net-zero energy building, and includes the following topics:

  • Evolution of Green Design
  • Return on Investment
  • Low Tech Meets High Tech
  • Walking in the Owner’s Shoes
  • Sustainability and Employee Satisfaction
  • A Living Lab
  • Why Net-Zero?


Watch the entire green video series here (8 videos total).

Read the DPR Phoenix Office case study to learn about the path to net-zero energy building in much more detail.

What do you think? Tell me in the comments below.

June 24, 2013

Groundbreaking in Virginia Means More Medical Space

On June 13, there was a groundbreaking ceremony for a new Medical Facility at Rutland Commons in Mechanicsville, VA.

Shovels in hand, DPR attended the event along with the rest of the project team.

Owned by C4 Rutland, LLC c/o Crosland Southeast, the building's tenant is HCA of Virginia. It was designed by architect, Gresham Smith & Partners.

Construction is estimated to take 9 months. 

Upon completion, it will be a one-story, 22,000-sq.-ft. ground-up medical office building that will provide medical space for HCA.

The facility will house:

  • Imaging Center (including CT scanner and future MRI),
  • Free-standing Emergency Department, and
  • Office space that will include a bone density room, ultrasound room, and mammography room.

Photos Courtesy of Meredith Lipscombe

June 14, 2013

Green Video: A Living Lab

In this 2 minute video, "A Living Lab: DPR Phoenix Case Study," the project team chats about the thought behind setting up DPR's Phoenix office as a living lab for the community.

DPR was the owner and the client for this ILFI-certified net-zero energy building. It demonstrates the viability of attaining net-zero energy operations within any environment--even a desert environment—and serves as a model for sustainable development and urban renewal.

In the video, DPR's Cassie Robertson explains, "We know we're going to be making adjustments and improving what we've put into place for the life of the building and we're excited to do that. It's a laboratory because of that. It's almost like an experiment for the rest of the community."

This is just one video (out of 8) that was filmed at the DPR Phoenix office. The video series covers the project's green and net-zero energy building themes and includes the following videos:

  • Evolution of Green Design
  • Return on Investment
  • Low Tech Meets High Tech
  • Walking in the Owner’s Shoes
  • Sustainability and Employee Satisfaction
  • Reuse of Existing Buildings
  • Why Net-Zero?

 Watch the ENTIRE green video series here (8 videos total).

Read the DPR Phoenix Office case study to learn about the path to net-zero energy building in much more detail. 

What do you think? Tell me in the comments below.

June 13, 2013

What’s on the Horizon for Healthcare in Orange County?

Themes of rapid transition, excitement and new activity for the local Orange County healthcare real estate market filled the room at the latest Bisnow event at the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach, CA. More than 250 attendees made it out to network and learn about the changes. Two panels of experts shared their current experiences and future outlook on the market. Here's what they said:

Top trends include:

  • Consolidation of hospitals and physician groups
  • Obamacare changes
  • An increased aging population

There are new opportunities out there in the healtchare market, but creativity is key. Healthcare systems are even more sensitive with dollars spent due to new reimbursement regulations. Every dollar counts, so it is up to us as A/E/C professionals to maximize the value we bring.

With that also comes new challenges. For example, there are not enough doctors, and the design impacts of new technology for infrastructure upgrades on older spaces are making it more appealing to do ground-up construction.

Ron Rendina, who leads DPR Construction's healthcare market in So Cal, shared his thoughts as a speaker on the panel. He emphasized how medical office building (MOB) design is undergoing major shifts. The new thinking integrates patient services organized by pods. Some designs do not even include hallways but feature more open space with centralization of physician practices, waiting rooms, and break rooms. He says that we are beginning to see common patient services that naturally complement each other in a one-swoop setting for patient convenience.

Photo Credit: Mark Bisnow

“Innovation and technology are the future, as we are beginning to see the benefits that could play in the outpatient, home healthcare environment, and in design and construction practices. BIM, prefabrication, and mobile technology are driving construction processes to produce more reliable outcomes for our healthcare clients,” says Rendina.

To learn more about the Future of Healthcare, read DPR's study here.

June 10, 2013

Breaking Ground in Downtown Austin

A new addition is on its way to downtown Austin's skyline: Colorado Tower, a 30-story Class A office tower, being built by DPR Construction. Cousins Properties Inc., the developer, spoke about downtown Austin's growth at Colorado Tower's official groundbreaking ceremony on June 4.

Photo Courtesy of Bernadette Donato

Duda/Paine Architects and Kendall/Heaton Associates, Inc. are the architects involved.

Construction on the 371,348-sq.-ft. glass and steel office tower will take about a year and a half, but 18 percent of the space is already preleased. The tower, located in downtown’s burgeoning Warehouse District, will have a fitness facility and conference center, among other amenities.

Read more in the Austin Business Journal's article on the project.

May 31, 2013

Green Video: Why Net-Zero?

Filmed at the DPR Phoenix regional office, which just received ILFI-certification as a net-zero energy building, this new video asks the question: Why Net-Zero?

In under two minutes and with interviews from project team members who worked on the Phoenix office, the video quickly provides an overview of this emerging trend in green construction and explains the benefits of net-zero energy buildings.


 

This is just one video (out of 8) that was filmed at the DPR Phoenix office. The entire video series covers the project's green and net-zero energy building themes and includes the following videos:

  • Evolution of Green Design
  • Return on Investment
  • Low Tech Meets High Tech
  • Walking in the Owner’s Shoes
  • Sustainability and Employee Satisfaction
  • Reuse of Existing Buildings
  • A Living Lab

Check out all 8 of our green videos here.

Read about the project in full detail in this case study.