Across DPR Blog, Page 5

November 14, 2013

How Do We Measure Energy Use as an Industry?

Given that most urban buildings will not likely get to net-zero energy consumption any time soon, it begs the question: how do we benchmark energy use as an industry? The industry needs to include a standard measurement for comparing buildings beyond LEED so that tenants and owner/users can compare results to improve building performance. Innovation and improvement typically occur when a standard exists to compare performance of a product, such as the “miles per gallon” metric used in automobiles.  

The Urban Land Institute (ULI) is an organization that promotes intelligent urbanization and densification with members of the real estate industry. It focuses on integrating energy, resources and uses to reduce the impact of the built environment and determine the best future use of land. Recently, I was on a ULI panel in Chicago, organized by Mark Kroll of Sares-Regis. It was a Red Flight meeting of the Urban Development and Mixed Use Council (UDMUC).

Our panel addressed cost and payback of green strategies such as LEED and net-zero energy initiatives. I presented several examples of recent DPR “dark green” projects, certified as net-zero by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI). These include DPR’s Phoenix Regional Office, which was the world’s largest ILFI-certified net-zero energy building until October 2013. The “world’s largest ILFI-certified net-zero building” title was then awarded to another DPR project--the 51,000-sq.-ft. Packard Foundation Headquarters in Los Altos, CA.

These net-zero energy buildings generate 100 percent building energy through onsite renewable sources such as photovoltaic (PV) panels. Both the Phoenix office and Packard Foundation Headquarters are low-rise buildings in suburban environments that have space to offset energy use with PV panels.


(Packard Foundation Headquarters photo on left courtesy of Jeremy Bitterman; DPR Phoenix Regional Office photo on right courtesy of Gregg Mastorakos)

In my view, the best metric for comparing buildings is kBtu/sf/yr (also known as EUI--Energy Use Intensity). This metric is calculated by dividing the total energy consumed by a building in one year by the total gross floor area of the building. It is used in calculations of Energy Star ratings developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

I believe the kBtu/sf label should be required for all buildings. You would need to compare similar building types in similar geographies, of course (office buildings in Chicago versus houses in Atlanta versus retail space in Seattle, etc.). This measurement could lead to more direct comparisons of buildings and results. It may also lead to legislation to require minimum energy performance for different building types. 

Our industry needs to align around standard metrics for built environment energy use to promote environmental responsibility and spur innovation.

October 30, 2013

DPR Orlando’s First Ever “Pumpkin Bowl” Draws Big Crowd from New Hope for Kids

Nearly 50 kids and their families from the DPR Foundation-supported New Hope for Kids organization came out for the first ever “Pumpkin Bowl” event at the Brunswick Wekiva Lanes in Apopka, FL. Held on Oct. 26, the nearly four-hour event was sponsored by DPR’s Orlando office.

According to DPR’s Maritza Mojica, who serves as a liaison between DPR’s Orlando office and the organization, the event was a success, with a great turnout and everyone having fun. In addition to bowling and enjoying DPR-provided refreshments, some of the children, and even their parents, wore costumes in anticipation of Halloween and participated in a costume contest, she said.

In total, nine DPR employees along with three family members came out to facilitate bowling, help with set up and clean up, and cheer the kids on. Because a lot of children that attend the organization are dealing with terminal illnesses or severe disabilities, Mojica said a lot of the volunteer time was spent just ensuring the families were able to enjoy their time together and bowl. The participating kids and teens ranged in age from five to 19 years old.

Based in Maitland, FL, New Hope for Kids assists Central Florida children in need through its two programs, the Center for Grieving Children, which helps children and families cope with the feelings of grief and loss after the death of a loved one, and Children’s Wish, which grants wishes to children, ages three to 18, diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.

New Hope for Kids is one of 15 youth organizations nationally awarded a total of $825,000 in grants by the DPR Foundation in 2012. Since December 2010, the DPR Foundation has supported New Hope for Kids with grants totaling $95,000. Additionally, DPR Orlando volunteers participate in annual back-to-school, holiday food and holiday toy drives benefitting the organization, among other activities.

October 28, 2013

DPR Volunteers the Key to Success for Annual Golf Tournaments

Two organizations supported by the DPR Foundation are set to receive an estimated $67,000 thanks to a pair of golf tournaments held in October in Atlanta and Sacramento.

First up was the “DPR Golf Invitational Benefitting Roberts Family Development Center (RFDC),” held Oct. 7. Building on the success of last year’s inaugural event, DPR increased its involvement from a major sponsorship level to hosting this year’s tournament for the Sacramento-based organization. According to DPR’s Sandi Graham, who serves as the Foundation liaison for the Sacramento office, this year’s event brought in more than $37,000 for RFDC.

Within DPR’s Sacramento office, a committee of eight, including Graham and the office’s Regional Manager Mark Cirksena, spearheaded the tournament effort. Graham said the committee’s meetings started on a monthly basis in April, but kicked into high gear as the tournament’s date drew closer. Aside from booking the venue – the event was once again held at the Morgan Creek Golf Course in Roseville, CA – the committee was responsible for soliciting sponsors and players, organizing the closing dinner and various raffles and golf challenges, and ensuring the day ran smoothly.

On tournament day, 26 volunteers – nearly a quarter of the Sacramento office’s 96 employees – attended the event, helping with everything from registration to raffle sales to aiding golfers on the course. In total, DPR employees contributed an estimated 300 volunteer hours planning and hosting the event. The dedication of the volunteers, which also included RFDC staff and supporters, made for a great tournament, according to Graham.

Following a day of golf, games and mulligans, including two hole-in-one opportunities and chipping and putting challenges, attendees were treated to dinner at the club, where they were shown a video introducing them to the work of RFDC. Sacramento City Councilman Allen Warren, who represents northern Sacramento’s District 2, attended the event. The sponsors secured by DPR this year included architects, engineering firms, subcontractors, suppliers and RFDC supporters.

The next day, on Oct. 8, DPR’s Atlanta office, now known as DPR Hardin, hosted its 8th annual “Building Great Things Golf Tournament” at the River Club in Suwanee, GA. Drawing a record 27 sponsors, this year’s event netted an estimated total of $30,000 in sponsorships, raffle tickets and mulligans for the Brookhaven Boys & Girls Club, part of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta (BGCMA). This is the fourth year the event benefitted the club, which is one of 15 organizations supported by the DPR Foundation.

Andi King Wieczynski, who acts as a liaison between the club and DPR Hardin, said that a full fourth of the Atlanta office – 30 of its 120 employees – volunteered in some capacity to make the tournament a success. Even with its long track record, the event still requires a lot of planning, Wieczynski said, noting that about one half of this year’s sponsors were from previous years; the rest were new sponsors solicited by DPR Hardin project managers and project executives. In addition, Wieczynski relies on Steve Bartkowski, a DPR Hardin employee and former Atlanta Falcons quarterback, to help acquire the raffle prizes, as well as pose for pictures at the 17th hole.

The money raised through sponsorships covered the Atlanta event’s green and cart fees, dinner, reception, and prizes. Additionally, DPR Hardin volunteers secured A Printers Inc. as this year’s Bloody Mary Bar sponsor and The Color Spot as the Signage sponsor. Wieczynski added that the River Club provided the greens at a reduced fee and donated a foursome to the raffle.

Once again, kids from BGCMA joined the Atlanta event for the check presentation and pictures. This year, 10 kids from the George Washington Carver Club, which is in the same network of clubs as the Foundation-supported Brookhaven, were shuttled to the River Club. Sixteen-year-old Sir Dalvin Holloman, a candidate for the BGCMA “Youth of the Year” award, addressed the group during the tournament dinner.

Supported by DPR’s Sacramento office, the Roberts Family Development Center (RFDC) provides services in the Sacramento community. With a holistic approach focusing on early childhood and family education, economic empowerment and technology, RFDC’s goal is to nurture personal growth, strengthen families, and enhance community development and civic involvement. Since December 2008, the DPR Foundation has supported the center with grants totaling $190,000.

Supported by DPR’s Atlanta office, the Brookhaven Boys & Girls Club, part of Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta (BGCMA), promises to provide a quality developmental program that empowers metro Atlanta youth, especially those from disadvantaged circumstances, to become productive adults. Since December 2008, the DPR Foundation has supported the club with grants totaling $265,000. In February, BGCMA named DPR Construction its “County Corporate Partner of the Year” for its ongoing financial support as well as its dedication to hands-on volunteering at the Brookhaven Boys & Girls Club.

October 24, 2013

Are Current Scheduling Practices Broken?

For an industry striving to be more productive, the current state of scheduling practices is wasteful. To learn how to "right-plan" our projects and achieve better results, we first must look closely at our own scheduling practices and create a dialogue within the industry about which practices are efficient and which are not.

Recently, I wrote a piece called "How to Fix a Broken Scheduling System" for Engineering-News Record's (ENR) Viewpoint. In the article, I discuss how the use of production planning--specifically Last Planner System methodology--creates a more reliable workflow. 

While still valuable as a strategic roadmap, critical-path-method (CPM) scheduling systematically tries to predict daily activity years in advance. Specifications often demand wasteful and costly scheduling practices that are misused.

Production planning at the right time maximizes productivity and minimizes waste. This viewpoint is backed up by Stanford University's Center for Integrated Facility Management (CIFE) research on two large-scale DPR Construction jobs. 

Click the image below to read the full article.

What do you think about current scheduling practices? Tell me in the comments below.

October 18, 2013

The Packard Foundation Achieves Net-Zero Energy Status

About 16 months ago, we helped one of Silicon Valley’s leading foundations open the doors of its new Bay Area office building. The Los Altos-based David and Lucile Packard Foundation, which has already received a number of awards, including ENR’s National Best of the Best Projects 2012, adds one more accolade to its name: Net Zero Energy Building Certification™ through the International Living Future Institute (ILFI).


Project Manager Mike Messick with Project Superintendent Bob Colhour (Photo Courtesy of Ted van der Linden, Project Sustainability Manager)

At 49,000 sq. ft., the Packard Foundation headquarters is, to date, the largest building to be certified for producing as much energy to meet or exceed its energy needs. The title of "world's largest ILFI-certified net zero energy building" was previously held by our own Phoenix Regional Office.

The Packard Foundation is one of very few buildings worldwide to carry both that designation as well as LEED® Platinum (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.


Net Zero Energy Building certification (Photo courtesy of Integral Group); David and Lucile Packard Foundation (Photo Courtesy of Ted van der Linden)

This building was one of DPR’s first ground-up, net-zero energy projects and it was unlike any other. Our job included deconstructing the prior building, 96% of which was recycled. With EHDD as the design architect, our team built the existing structure using a diverse array of exterior building materials including aluminum, glazing, copper panels, stone, stone veneer and wood siding – all carefully overlaid to form a highly thermal rated exterior skin.

Every building component contributed to the net-zero energy goal. This included highly energy-efficient mechanical and electrical systems to rooftop photovoltaic panels that generate onsite energy, to native plants and innovative drains that capture and filter runoff before it enters the storm drains and ultimately, our oceans.

We are proud to call ourselves partners of the Packard Foundation. It has been through a partnership of mutual vision and trust, that we’ve been able to help the Foundation bring its hopes to life. It has also been through our experienced and dedicated project team that we were able to ensure the Foundation would be capable of its sustainability goals.

Often, business leaders believe that a choice needs to be made between comfort and care for their building’s inhabitants and being an environmentally-friendly place to work. However, we would challenge this assumption whole-heartedly. We believe that comfort and environmentally-friendly design do not need to be a choice, but can be built and operated successfully hand-in-hand.

The Packard Foundation building is a physical manifestation of the Foundation’s and our long-term commitment to sustainability.

October 16, 2013

Doing More with Less in Healthcare

Healthcare owners continue the conversation on doing more with less and providing more value. During The Registry’s “The New Health Care Environment” event in San Francisco, the panel--made of healthcare owners and experts--provided insight on how the Affordable Care Act is affecting the healthcare industry.


Panel members from left to right: Carladenise Edwards from Alameda Health System, Heather Chung from SmithGroupJJR, Pete Delgado from Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System, John Kouletsis from Kaiser Permanente, and me (Hamilton Espinosa from DPR)

Here are 10 big takeaways from the event:
1. Building may be different than it has been in the past. 

2. The A/E/C industry needs to provide flexible building infrastructure so owners can use buildings for as long as possible (60 years rather than 25-30 years).

3. Healthcare owners are looking to reuse existing building stock where possible.

4. Value is important to owners (lean project delivery was mentioned as an example).

5. Reform is incentivizing owners to incorporate technology. 

6. Providers want to use technology to tailor the experience to patients’ preferences (integration into phones/social media, home care, etc.). This will result in the need for IT infrastructure and potentially more data centers.

7. The trend will be more towards outpatient facilities with hospitals reserved for the sickest patients.

8. With healthcare reform, people will be getting more choices and providers are looking to move to a consumer model.

9. The system is transitioning to wellness care. 

10. Hospitals will need to provide evidence-based data to show what treatments are successful. 

October 5, 2013

DPR Hosts Events to “Mentor the Mentors” in Maryland

DPR’s Washington, DC, office spent the past few months providing the kids enrolled in the Maryland Multicultural Youth Center (MMYC) summer program with new and different experiences – from introducing them to Indian cuisine during a series of international presentations to hosting a series of sports clinics to whisking them away to the Chesapeake Bay for a camping weekend. In late August, the office decided to turn its attention to the team of AmeriCorps members who work at MMYC and help keep its tutoring program running smoothly throughout the year.

“The initiative – dubbed ‘mentoring the mentors’ – is a way to recognize MMYC staff who commit so much of their time and energy to leading the youth at MMYC,” said Jenn Bollenbacher, a marketing coordinator in DPR’s DC office.

Bollenbacher was among six DPR employees who organized and led two activities for the AmeriCorps members and MMYC staff. On Aug. 23, she, along with DPR’s Henry Ashton, Tim Maffett and Dan Crutchfield, brought a group of 14 AmeriCorps members to Torrid Paintball Sports in Clarksburg, MD, for a friendly battle on the outdoor field course.

A day earlier, the group was invited to Earth Treks’ Climbing Center in Rockville, MD, by DPR’s Information Technology Capability Lead, Bill McCracken, and Mike Kessler, a project manager, both whom have been climbing for more than 20 years. There, the group was treated to two hours of instructions, warm up and rock climbing, capped off by pizza for lunch.

According to Dianna Petitt, the DPR Foundation liaison for the Washington, DC, office, the events were paid for with discretionary funds provided to the office by the DPR Foundation in 2012 to help raise volunteerism within DPR and provide extra support to the designated organizations.

“There is a synergy when you take dedicated, motivated people, such as the AmeriCorps members, and pair them in an activity with successful people in the workforce,” Petitt said. “By using these discretionary funds, we hope to get more people from DPR involved while focusing on the people who do so much for MMYC.”

Both McCracken and Bollenbacher said the events were met with enthusiasm and appreciation from the AmeriCorps members. According to McCracken, the rock climbing event was such a success that they hope to repeat it for the AmeriCorps team and possibly host a similar event for the MMYC kids in 2014.

“We definitely plan on organizing more events like these in the future. Part of our 2014 planning process is to include activities geared toward developing the MMYC team,” Bollenbacher said.

McCracken added that he and Kessler originally met in a rock climbing facility in the 1990s and have been long looking for a way to introduce the activity to the DPR Foundation’s slate of events.

That thinking aligns perfectly with these types of mentor events, according to Bollenbacher. “I hope it also showed other employees that the DPR Foundation is able to support any type of engagement they want – it can be athletic like paintball or rock climbing, or it can be academic, artistic, historical, etc. We want our employees to know that the foundation cares about getting them involved in any way they want to be.”

MMYC, which provides educational support/tutoring, cultural enrichment, nutrition, summer programs and physical activities to middle school youth, is a member of the Latin American Youth Center (LAYC) family of organizations. LAYC is a multicultural, regionally based organization whose mission is “to support youth and their families to live, work, and study with dignity, hope, and joy.” Founded in 1968, LAYC was incorporated as a nonprofit in 1974 for the purpose of serving “at-risk” immigrant Latino youth. Since its inception, the agency has grown from a small grassroots recreation center serving primarily for Latino youth to a nationally recognized organization with a broader focus encompassing all youth and families across the District of Columbia and Prince George’s and Montgomery counties in Maryland.

The Maryland Multicultural Youth Center is one of 15 youth organizations nationally awarded a total of $845,000 in grants by the DPR Foundation in December 2012. To date, the DPR Foundation has supported MMYC with grants totaling $285,000. In addition to participating in the summer program, DPR employees provide support and first aid/CPR and other training throughout the school year.

September 30, 2013

Kids’ Bikes Back on the Road Thanks to DPR Volunteer Efforts in Nor Cal

More than 180 bicycles were returned to road-ready condition thanks to a pair of recent bike repair clinics held in Northern California in conjunction with the DPR Foundation-supported TurningWheels for Kids (TWFK).

On Aug. 17, for the third year in a row, volunteers from DPR’s San Jose office hosted a free bike repair clinic in the office’s parking lot. Working under canopies and fueled by hot dogs provided by DPR, 15 volunteers and their families fixed 102 bicycles for community youth. The four-hour event had kids lining up for the clinic, bike maintenance tips and barbecue.

DPR’s Phil Bartkowski, who sits on the TWFK board of directors along with DPR San Jose Regional Manager Scott Greubel, noted that the San Jose event is quickly becoming one of the most popular for the organization, which is dedicated to providing bicycles for underprivileged children in the local community. “The bike repair clinic at DPR San Jose consistently draws the biggest crowds of any of the repair clinics. We have a really tight community right around our office,” Bartkowski said.

As in past years, a master mechanic attended the clinic to address the most serious repairs. DPR volunteers are trained through a primer class created by Bartkowski to help them remedy simpler problems, like changing tires or inner tubes and replacing seats.

A few weeks later, on Sept. 7, Bartkowski was among a handful of DPR San Jose volunteers who joined the San Jose Fire Department in a second bike repair clinic, held at the Moose Lodge in San Jose. That event resulted in more than 80 bicycles being repaired for area kids.

Founded in 2003, TWFK is a dynamic program that provides new bicycles for underprivileged children in the local community. The goal of TWFK is to entice children back outdoors, away from TV, computers and snacking, and reintroduce outdoor activity and play. Additionally, TWFK strives to provide a bit of joy to children from low-income families, who are all too familiar with the pressures of living in an environment of uncertainty and often chaos. Each year TWFK works diligently to collect funds, purchase and assemble bikes and then distribute them to worthy, established children’s charities for their holiday giving programs.

TurningWheels for Kids is one of 15 youth organizations nationally awarded a total of $845,000 in grants by the DPR Foundation in December 2012. Since 2008, the DPR Foundation has supported TWFK with grants totaling $138,000. Its 2012 grant of $60,000 represents the organization’s single largest donation to date. Additionally, DPR served as the title sponsor for the 2011 and 2012 Big Bike Build, the organization’s signature event.

September 26, 2013

Smile Across the Nation Grows Bigger

In mid-April, we acquired Hardin Construction, an Atlanta-based company founded in 1946. We added to our portfolio of projects and enhanced our presence throughout the Southeast.

Combining operations in Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and Texas, we’ve added not only some of the best builders these regions have to offer but also a legacy of notable projects!

See how DPR’s “smile across the nation” has grown bigger and wider. Read Doug, Peter and Ron's DPR Corner from the DPR Review to learn more about legacy projects, what this addition means and what's on the horizon. 

September 18, 2013

Sutter Health on BIM, IPD and PAMF Sunnyvale Center

Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) and Building Information Modeling (BIM) are important pieces of today's design and construction landscape. 

Sutter Health Project Manager, James Pease shares his insights on IPD, BIM and innovation in the Q&A section of the DPR Review Spring/Summer 2013 newsletter.

Pease explores these topics on the Palo Alto Medical Foundation’s (PAMF) Sunnyvale Center project. The IPD team replaced an existing 55-year-old medical building with a fully-modernized, three-level, world-class cancer treatment center. It opened in August.

Learn about lessons learned on the project (including DPR's in-house creation of QR code delivery tracker software), the importance of community relations as well as his advice to other owners.

To learn more about the construction of PAMF Sunnyvale, in addition to reading the Q&A article mentioned above, watch time-lapse footage of the construction here (click the "Time-Lapse" button at the top of the screen).