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THE COVER Fayetteville Builds Community Solar Farm – story on page 10
CHANNELS ENVIRONMENTAL + SUSTAINABILTY 12 Towards More Fish-Friendly Hydropower Plants 13 4 Trends In Sustainable Site Design 15 Connected Construction: The Next Frontier for Sustainability 18 Stabilizing Soft Soils at a Dredge Disposal Facility Using 3D Soil Confinement 20 Managing the Development of the World’s Largest and Most Sustainable Net-Zero Campus STRUCTURES + BUILDINGS 22 USACE Fulfills a Tall Order 24 Columbus State's Mitchell Hall Providing Value Beyond Campus Boundaries 26 Breaking Ground in Sustainability 28 Improving Baltimore Harbor's Water Quality with Nature- Based Solutions TRANSPORTATION + INFRASTRUCTURE 31 Innovatively Tackling Raleigh’s Bold, Ambitious ‘Complete 540’ WATER + STORMWATER 33 Living with Water in New Orleans 34 The Hidden Gems of Eastern Glades 36 Calling in the K-9 Unit for Water Loss: Tennessee Home to Nation’s First Private Water Leak Detection Dog for Hire 38 Best Practices for Designing Large Wastewater Treatment Systems BUSINESS NEWS 41 We Must Invest in Africa's Engineers to Help Solve the World's Climate Crisis 42 Minimizing Environmental Impact While Maximizing Productivity 44 Land & Water Safeguards the Environment with its Innovative and Sustainable Solutions SOFTWARE + TECHNOLOGY 46 Design Automation is the Necessary Future for Civil Infrastructure SURVEYING 48 5 Essential Elements of a High-Productivity Survey Controller departments 8 Events 50 Benchmarks: By the Data: How Covid-19 has Impacted the AEC Industry 51 Reader Index Columns 5 From the Publisher: Sustainability Perspectives Jamie Claire Kiser 6 Looking Back, Moving Forward: The Great Stink Luke Carothers
VOLUME 7 ISSUE 4 csengineermag.com
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With this month’s issue focused on sustainability, an alternative view on what it truly means to be a sustainable organization seems to be a relevant topic. “Sustainability” is the avoidance of depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance. A common theme in our data, year after year, report after report, is a legacy of AEC firms stretching too thin as they grow, confusing the right blend from leadership of their time, energy, and money. The growing pains compound down the organizational structure as well as during times of perceived market uncertainty, like we saw in 2020. This isn’t confined to AEC industry CEOs, to be sure. A 2018 McKinsey study of CEO optimization found that a whopping 47 percent of CEOs say their company expects them to be “on” too long and too responsive to emails and calls. Imagine that study in today’s world of Zoom demanding undi- vided attention, camera on, while emails pile up, and calls that you cannot answer keep coming in. It’s been an energy drain of a year for many. Our 2020 Principals, Partners, and Owners Survey showed a mean number of direct reports to prin- cipals of AEC firms topping out when firms are at the 100-249 employee size, with the average prin- cipal having 11 direct reports. Principals at firms with 25 to 99 employees have a mean of six direct reports; principals at firms with 250-499 employees have a mean of seven. The spike to eleven direct reports might not seem that dramatic, but it doubles the one-on-one interaction needed to have a meaningful relationship with staff as a mentor and to help coach employees to their own next step in their careers. We see this spill over in employee experience survey results, when staff get to weigh in on the impact that having leaders who are “too busy” has on their own engagement and satisfaction. Comparing the time management data at AEC firms with CEOs of companies with revenue of over $1 billion is interesting, with about half of the time spent on the analytical side of the spectrum, such as growing business units or working on company strategy, and about half spent on people, through organizational cultural initiatives or tending to relationships, in a recent study by Raconteur. Without making time to develop team members or to delegate in pursuit of higher-order tasks, lead- ers spend too much of their time on things that others can do, which strains the ability of any team or organization to grow. Lack of growth creates other management dynamic issues, including myopic focus on performance of a team to squeeze more out of an eight hour day, versus thinking longer term about a growth-minded organization. When leaders become stressed about performance, the de- fault is often to hyper-focus on productivity metrics – like utilization – without pulling back enough to notice the serious productivity issues that can arise when we emphasize working more billable hours over communicating effectively and working as efficiently as we can – as we would see if the default was revenue factor. Within our industry, principals of engineering firms report spending 35 percent of their time on firm management compared to an ideal time commitment of 29 percent of their time on firm manage- ment. Interestingly, principals of engineering firms actually would like to spend more of their time on marketing and business development activities, reporting an ideal time commitment of about 21 percent of their days, compared to actually spending 14 percent of their time on marketing and BD. The culprits for too much of their real time compared to their ideal days? Design and technical work and project management. That feeling of being stretched too thin working in the business versus on the business is a vicious cycle that we haven’t done a great job of training leaders to navigate as they rise in their careers. Throughout this issue of civil + structural, as you read about the contributions firms in our industry have made to the environment and to sustainable design, consider some of the factors that were at play that allowed these project teams to think creatively, to have some room to pull back from the day-to-day and to come up with fascinating solutions, and consider how your team could flourish by allowing some space for innovation and some time to be thoughtful instead of being too busy and rushing from task to task and calling it productivity.
Jamie Claire Kiser
JAMIE CLAIRE KISER is managing principal and director of advisory services at Zweig Group. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Great Stink Luke Carothers Looking back, moving forward
For as long as humans have congregated into communities, there have been attempts to manipulate nature’s forces in a way that benefits the health and quality of life of the members in that group. For the ancient civilizations of the Indus Valley, this meant controlling water resources through public works projects such as wells, storage tanks, public baths, and early sewage removal systems. Later civilizations, such as the Greeks and Romans, designed and constructed aqueducts to ensure the flow of water into agricultural works and public spaces even when a drought was present. However, environmental engineering considerations remained largely unchanged from the time of Rome’s fall to the Industrial Revolution. As human populations became more and more dense, engineers were struggling to design systems capable of providing a clean living environment, particularly to those living in working class communities. This situation came to a head in London in the mid-1800s. Starting in the late 1700s, London’s popula- tion exploded as more and more people flocked to the cities for work in the burgeoning factories. With the population nearly tripling from 1 million residents to 3 million and the invention of flushing toilets, city engineers were facing a waste problem bigger than they had ever anticipated. To accommodate this popula- tion influx, engineers built hundreds of brick sewers that were designed to dump the waste on the shores of the River Thames. In many places, these brick “sewers” were nothing more than covered portions of the Fleet and Walbrook rivers. By the middle of the 18th century, these tributaries of the Thames were entirely bricked over for use as sewers, flowing directly into the Thames. Furthermore, the city was filled with some 200,000 cesspits where residents dumped their waste. The result of such poor planning was an immense loss of human life. London experienced three separate Cholera outbreaks from 1831-1854 that claimed the lives of over 31,000 Londoners. Additionally, because the prevailing theory of disease was based on the presence of noxious odors, city officials dumped dangerous chemicals into the cesspits to control odor. The resulting gases led to fires and poisoning deaths. To begin fighting back against these deaths, the city of London established the Metropolitan Commission of Sewers (MCS). This was significant because it consolidated commissions that had been operating since the time of King Henry VIII; it also paved the way for the passage of a law that required new buildings to be connected to the sewer system. The most significant member of the MCS began as an assistant surveyor, but eventually came to lead the organization. Joseph Bazalgette was no stranger to London’s growing sewage problem. By 1856 Bazal- gette completed plans for a new vision of London’s sewage system; his plan was hinged upon splitting the city into two zones on either side of the Thames. It also specified that small, local pipes that were roughly 3 feet wide would feed into larger, central pipes as large as 11 feet wide. The plan also included a series of pumping stations throughout the city. Once Bazalgette’s plans were revised and made official, the need was dire. In the Summer of 1858, London experienced some of its hottest weather on record coupled with a prolonged drought. The resulting drop in the water level turned the river into what famous novelist Charles Dickens described as “a deadly sewer”. In fact, the smell coming from the Thames was so bad that the window curtains in the Parliament Building had to be soaked in chemicals to lessen the smell. The onslaught of noxious fumes eventually wore the legislators down, and they quickly passed legislation to begin work on Bazalgette’s plan. Workers and draftsmen soon began work on the over 1,100 miles of additional sewers that spanned 82 miles. By the time London experienced its next Cholera outbreak, much of the city was connected to the new waste system. The outbreak occurred in one of the only remaining sections of the city that had not been connected to the new system, and the spread was largely confined to that disconnected area. In fact, Bazalgette’s completed system is still used by the population of London today after two subsequent expansions in the 20th century. Although it is now struggling to contain the waste of London’s, Bazalgette’s system is a milestone in the history of environmental engineering, standing out as a pivotal moment where engineering rose to the challenges of rapid urbanization.
LUKE CAROTHERS is the Editor for Civil + Structural Engineer Media. If you want us to cover your project or want to feature your own article, he can be reached at email@example.com.
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events + virtual Events
uncompromising aesthetic, living buildings represent a new species of buildings that blends boundaries between the built environment and the natural world and necessitates creative, integrative engineering and architecture solutions to meet rigorous design challenges. https://www.aei-conference.org/ The Engineering Manager: Engaging Today’s Workforce april 12-13 This program focuses on providing a toolbox of essential skills any supervisor, manager, or team leader who needs to assist individuals and teams in their quest to reach high levels of performance. The course provides simple, direct solutions to the most common challenges managers encounter, such as, how to motivate others, when and how to coach, and dealing with non-performance. The most useful concepts in the behavioral sciences have been distilled into a basic approach to managing people and teams. In addition, special emphasis is placed on the changing nature of today’s workforce. https://www.asme.org/learning-development/find-course/engineering- manager-engaging-todays-workforce-(1) NASCC: The Steel Conference is the premier educational and networking event for the structural steel industry, bringing together structural engineers, structural steel fabricators, erectors, detailers, and architects. In addition to 150+ practical seminars on the latest design concepts, construction techniques, and cutting-edge research, the conference also features 200+ exhibitors showcasing products ranging from structural design software to machinery for cutting steel beams, and plentiful networking opportunities. One low registration fee gains you access to all of the technical sessions, the keynote addresses, the T.R. Higgins Lecture, and the exhibitor showcase. https://www.nascc.aisc.org/ NASCC: THE STEEL CONFERENCE april 12-16 ICIBE 2021: International Conference on Industrial and Business Engineering april 19-20 – Paris, france The International Research Conference is a federated organization dedicated to bringing together a significant number of diverse scholarly events for presentation within the conference program. Events will run over a span of time during the conference depending on the number and length of the presentations. With its high quality, it provides an exceptional value for students, academics and industry researchers. http://icibe.org/ Expand Your Vision of Simulation at Ansys Simulation World 2021. Simulation World is for visionaries determined to solve the world’s most challenging problems. Learn how engineering simulation and digital mission engineering enable creators to explore limitless product system designs, freeing them to transform the world according to their vision. https://www.simulationworld.com/?utm_campaign=brand&utm_ Simulation World 2021 april 20-21
2nd INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ONUNMANNEDAERIAL SYSTEMS INGEOMATICS april 2-4– India The UASG-2021 aims at bringing together different groups of organization representatives, experts in photogrammetry and remote sensing, surveying, robotics, computer vision, artificial intelligence, aerospace engineering, geoscience, people from industry and academia, to discuss the current state of unmanned aerial advances, and the roadmap to their full utilization in Geoinformatics. https://new.iitr.ac.in/uasg2021/# We are just years away from reaching our goal of graduating 10,000 Black engineers annually by 2025. That means it’s time to take a holistic approach at developing the next generation of engineers and enhancing the NSBE experience for all. We are excited to introduce to you NSBE47: The Holistic Engineer – hosted virtually to bring together a showcase of the best of our talent, treasures, and more. https://convention.nsbe.org/ NSBE 47th Annual Convention april 5-9 The course introduces engineers, designers and construction personnel to the various procedures involved in the development and engineering of Piping and Instrumentation Diagrams (P & IDs), Equipment Plot Plans, and Piping Arrangements. Additional material includes pipe sizing, pump calculations and piping stress analysis as covered by the B31 Codes. https://www.asme.org/learning-development/find-course/detail- engineering-piping-systems-(1)?productKey=VCPD0421:VCPD410 Elevating Doer-Sellers: Business Development for AEC Professionals april 6 Elevating Doer-Sellers: Business Development for AEC Professionals is specifically developed to help design and technical professionals in architecture, engineering, planning, and environmental firms become more comfortable managing clients and promoting the firm and its services. Led by two retired and current CEOs with extensive experience from the design desk to the board room, this one-of-a-kind seminar presents business development techniques proven to drive real growth and value in your AEC firm. Detail Engineering of Piping Systems april 5-14 https://shop.zweiggroup.com/collections/webinars/products/elevating- doer-sellers-business-development-for-aec-professionals-virtual- seminar-starting-april-4-2021?variant=38779972485271
aei conference april 7-9
The concept of living buildings has recently emerged as the new ideal for sustainable building design and construction. Defined as a building that generates all of its own energy with renewable, non-toxic resources, captures and treats all of its water, and operates efficiently with an
International for the inaugural Business of Automated Mobility (BAM) Forum for tactical insights to get your business on the path to profitability. https://www.bam-forum.org/register july 2021
source=csengineermag&utm_medium=media-referral&utm_ content=digital_sim-world-2021_free-event-listing_event-virtual_ register_en_global&campaignID=7013g000000krNmAAI May 2021
AUVSI XPONENTIAL virtual may 4-6
International Conference on Civil Engineering and Architectural Design july 1-3 – munich, germany
At the world’s largest (virtual) event for unmanned and autonomous systems, you’ll find your momentum, that something extra that gives you a competitive edge – your X factor. https://www.xponential.org/xponential2021/public/Enter.aspx
CEAD Germany 2021 will make an ideal stage for worldwide, as it unites famous speakers, specialists, business people over the globe, with a generally energizing and important logical occasion loaded up with a lot of edifying intuitive sessions, world-class display, Oral and publication introductions. Civil engineering conference 2021 show’s a goal to furnish the development, business with a profoundly engaged entryway to learn, arrange, and exploit the significant developments and Learning. https://ic2020cead.org/ august 2021 Powered by the global reach of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), XPONENTIAL is the only gathering for leaders and end users in every industry to share use cases, experience new technology, strike up new partnerships, and solve real problems. It’s a global platform optimized to help big ideas take flight. From hands-on demos on the XPO floor to a video call with someone on the other side of the globe, personal relationships are at the heart of the experience— because a single conversation could spark your next ‘aha’ moment. https://www.xponential.org/xponential2021/public/Enter.aspx september 2021 AUVSI XPONENTIAL august 16-19 – atlanta, ga Commercial UAV Expo Americas 2021 is where the commercial drone community gathers to learn, connect, and drive the industry forward. In addition to content about new opportunities and challenges the industry is facing due to COVID-19, industries covered include Construction; Drone Delivery; Energy & Utilities; Forestry & Agriculture; Infrastructure & Transportation; Mining & Aggregates; Public Safety & Emergency Services; Security; and Surveying & Mapping. It is presented by Commercial UAV News and organized by Diversified Communications. https://www.expouav.com/ Commercial UAV Expo Americas september 7-9 – las vegas, nv
Tech+ virtual conference may 20
After a turbulent year of adjusting forecasts and changing expectations, 2021 will be a year of reemergence and growth for the AEC industry. While construction may be known for more traditional approaches that have stood the test of time, many practices have emerged that have allowed for improved communication, more complex digital fabrication, and striving innovation in the face of safety concerns and a competitive market. Tech+ Virtual Harnessing Technology for Future Practice will showcase the latest tools and research relevant to architects, engineers, and construction practices from leaders who are quantifying physical properties within the digital environment. https://techplus.co/vc21/ Drones are transforming the processes of many sectors and improving safety. More and more companies are using drones for different purposes. At the DroneX Trade Show & Conference you can reimagine the possibilities of unmanned vertical flight, and take a first-hand look into the latest technological advancements. https://www.dronexpo.co.uk/ june 2021 Drone XPO may 26-27 – ExCel, London A robotics competition held during the automatica trade fair every two years, as part of munich_i, to showcase state-of-the-art methods in robotic manipulation. This year, the Robothon® will take place at automatica sprint 2021 as a special solution regarding the current situation. Selected teams of roboticists from academic and professional spheres will converge to solve a modern day manufacturing grand challenge in a multi-day competition. https://www.robothon-grand-challenge.com/ Robothon june 22-24 – munich, germany & virtual
business of automated mobility forum june 23-24 – munich, germany & virtual
From drone delivery to driverless cars, automated mobility provides limitless opportunities and very real challenges. Join AUVSI and SAE
The Fayetteville Public Works Commission (PWC), which provides electric service to more than 87,000 customers and is the largest public power provider in North Carolina, recently completed the state’s first municipal community solar and energy storage farm. The installation provides enough energy to support the equivalent of 100 homes and is available to Fayetteville PWC customers as a shared re- newable energy option. Providing Customers with a Renewable Resource While solar is becoming an increasingly appealing option to environmentally conscious homeowners, many residences are not suitable for the installation of panels. Older roofs, shaded roofs, or those lacking a south-facing orientation may be barriers to installation, as well as up-front costs and on- going maintenance requirements. Many customers also rent their homes, preventing them from installing solar panels. The Fayetteville PWC Community Solar Program is a large- scale, ground-mount solar array that enables residents to benefit from municipal solar through a monthly subscription service. Eligible customers may subscribe to a maximum of five panels for a period of up to 25 years. The Fayetteville PWC selected Dewberry as general contrac- tor for the turnkey, design-build project. The system consists of a nominal one megawatt alternating current (MWAC) per 1.2 megawatt direct current (MWDC) solar photovoltaic array, with a nominal 500 kilowatt direct current (kWDC) lithium-ion battery bank along with wiring, inverters, and controls. The use of string inverters, which convert the 12- volt DC power produced by the solar array into useable 120- volt AC power, together with a mini-battery storage system, allowed for a significantly reduced project footprint over standard, utility-scale inverter systems. Fayetteville Builds Community Solar Farm Cutting-Edge Technology Minimizes Project Footprint By Rick Jones, Ph.D., C.P.E.
The Fayetteville PWC’s Community Solar project is among fewer than a dozen in the country that feature strin
sonal/daytime variations in the angle of the sun. The combination of the solar array with the battery system enables the Fayetteville PWC to discharge battery power during peak demand, when buying wholesale power from Duke Power is the most expensive. The lithium-ion battery will store 1,120 kilowatt hours of electricity. The Fayetteville PWC estimates that the average residential customer uses 1017 kilowatt hours of electricity each month, with the potential for five solar panels to produce an average of 196 kilowatt hours per month, or approximately 19 percent of consumed energy. The energy generated from the panels is delivered directly to the grid and credited to subscribing customers.
The string inverters are housed in two-foot by two-foot containers placed every three rows among the panels, with the entire array span- ning approximately six acres. The battery storage system and controls are sited on a concrete pad measuring approximately 30 feet by 15 feet, and the cabling and conduits are run underground. The ground-mounted array consists of 3,384 Tallmax 72-cell multi- crystalline 330-watt modules with a single-axis tracking system that features a two-hour battery discharge capacity duration. Each solar panel produces an average of 39 kilowatt hours per month, or close to 470 kilowatt hours per year, subject to weather variations and sea-
The solar array spans six acres and provides enough energy to support the equivalent of 100 homes.
PWC with a technical and economic analysis to gauge viability, costs, and project value, and assisted with the evaluation of program options. Although the Dewberry team was challenged by adverse weather in- cluding two hurricanes, the project was completed in 11 months. The Fayetteville PWC Community Solar project now serves as a pilot for other municipal and cooperative electric utilities to develop similar installations. “This is about the future. It’s long-term sustainability,” stated David Trego, Fayetteville PWC CEO and general manager, at the ribbon-cutting. “While our current customers will enjoy the ben- efits of this, it is our children who will truly have the benefit of a project like this in the long run.” Completed in 11 months, the design-build solar farm now serves as a pilot project for other municipalities.
ng inverters and a mini-battery storage combination.
Dewberry also assisted the Fayetteville PWC with establishing a maintenance program, primarily focused on cleaning the panels twice a year. With much of the equipment protected in waterproof conduit underground, extending from the inverters to the batteries to the trans- former, the system is designed to be low-maintenance and resilient from extreme weather. A Model for Community Solar Installations The Fayetteville PWC collaborated with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Community Solar for the Southeast project, led locally by the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) and several partners to assist public power utilities in identifying solutions to provide community solar systems. NCCETC provided Fayetteville
RICK JONES is a construction manager in the Raleigh office of Dewberry.
Over the course of the EU project “FIThydro”, research and industry partners studied the ecological impact of hydropower plants. ETH Zurich’s Laboratory of Hydraulics, Hydrology, and Glaciology (VAW) has developed a protection and guidance system that can help migra- tory fish to safely bypass hydropower turbines. Hydropower plants can have a major environmental impact. They dam up rivers, change aquatic habitats, and hinder migrating fish, which can be injured or killed by the turbines, trash racks, and flood relief systems. The Swiss Waters Protection Act and the EU Water Framework Direc- tive aim to mitigate these negative effects. However, many older hy- dropower plants in particular do not meet the new requirements – and have to be retrofitted. For each power plant, cost-effective measures must be individually determined considering its specific case. “It’s important to incorporate specific regional fish passage design that take into account the vital needs of local species, the hydraulic conditions at the site and the layout of each particular power plant,” explains Robert Boes, Professor of Hydraulic Engineering and head of the Laboratory of Hydraulics, Hydrology, and Glaciology (VAW) at ETH Zurich. A pan-European survey of hydropower plants VAW was involved in the four-year Horizon 2020 “FIThydro” project funded by the European Research Council. The project team, comprised of 26 European research institutions and companies, studied 17 sites in eight countries to examine the impact of hydropower plants on river ecosystems and in particular on fish. VAW contributed several labora- tory and field studies, some in collaboration with regional partners. By looking at the Schiffmühle plant on the Limmat river and the Ban- nwil plant on the Aare river, VAW and the project partners initially studied existing methods and approaches to assess the environmental impact of hydropower plants and refurbishment measures. “We wanted to identify knowledge gaps and find out how we can improve the cur- rent situation and the already implemented measures,” says Boes. Fish migrate upstream and downstream It was unclear, for instance, which upstream and downstream bypass systems are most suitable for which fish species and which conditions are ideal for fish to find them. VAW researchers and their partners measured the flow velocities and monitored fish movements by tag- ging a few thousands of fish with passive integrated transponders (PIT) around the Schiffmühle hydropower plant. The monitoring showed Towards more fish-friendly hydropower plants By Michael Keller
that many fish species in the Limmat are able to effectively use the technical and near-natural fish passage solutions to move upstream. Fish migrating downstream have to swim through the turbines of a hydropower plant if no other downstream option is available. This is where fish can injure themselves on the turbine blades, and they are also exposed to strongly fluctuating pressure. At Bannwil hydropower plant, the project partners used high-tech sensors, monitoring technol- ogy and various models to study the passage of downstream migrating fish through the turbines and over the weir. It turned out that the passage at hydropower plants can be hazardous to fish not only because of the turbines. When descending over weirs, they can also be injured by the strong currents in the stilling basin A safe guidance system for fish: a specially designed bar rack effectively guides downward migrating fish past the turbine, only slightly limiting the power plant’s operations. Illustration: VAW / ETH Zürich
The Schiffmühle hydropower plant on the Limmat river. Photo: Limmatkraftwerke AG
or lose their orientation, making them easy prey for predators. “Our results can help, for example, to develop fish-compatible turbines, to adapt power plant operations during periods of fish migration and to improve weir design for safe fish passage" explains Ismail Albayrak, senior scientist and project manager at VAW. A new guidance system for fish VAW researchers also conducted extensive hydraulic testing with fish guidance racks in the laboratory to better understand the behaviour of local fish species in turbulent currents. They then used the results to develop an innovative protection and guidance system for downstream migrating fish called the curved-bar rack bypass system (CBR-BS). The core of the CBR-BS is a vertical bar rack with specially shaped bars; these create strong local eddies that steer fish away from the bar
rack and towards a bypass. In this way, the CBR-BS is able to guide a variety of fish species of different sizes safely past the turbine. The bypass system is also designed so that the plant's operations are only slightly affected. “FIThydro” was officially completed at the end of 2020 and an online final international conference will take place on 17-18 March, How- ever, the researchers stress that there is still a lack of tried and tested solutions for fish protection and guidance in Europe, in particular at large hydropower plants. It's clear to Boes and Albayrak that they must continue with their research. “The next logical step is a pilot and dem- onstration hydropower plant, where we want to test a CBR-BS under real conditions,” says the professor of hydraulic engineering.
4 Trends In Sustainable Site Design By Mike Makris, P.E.
Sustainable site design is a hot topic in the AEC industry. As Civil Engineers, Landscape Architects, and Planners, we are challenged to integrate conservation into site design, preserving the natural features of the land. We must also think about ways to improve design to pro- mote a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle. Many Architects are embracing the WELL Building Standard (WELL) to address issues of human health and wellness. The importance of incorporating lifestyle into design does not stop at the walls of a building. Skilled site design- ers excel at creating an engaged outdoor environment that meets the needs of the project users. BHC is committed to sustainability and here are four integrated site planning trends to consider for your next project. 1. Parking Layout Parking lots take up a great deal of space and play a big role in site design. Site designers can integrate several sustainable design ele- ments into these spaces and ensure site designs meet the needs of the customer. Sustainable design options for parking lots include shared parking agreements, designated electric vehicle parking spaces, and integrated green space. Shared parking is a creative way to add green initiative’s into site design. Shared parking benefits include: • Allow for more green space and less heat-island effect • Promote alternative mobility and ride share options
• Offset the cost of maintenance • Better stormwater management
As automakers begin to shift production from traditional fuel burn- ing vehicles to fully electric trucks and cars, the demand for electric vehicle charging stations will increase all over the United States. Incorporating electric vehicle (EV) charging stations into your site design, or even a redesign to an existing property, is a good way to go green. EV charging stations are necessary to attract and accommodate EV owners who commute for work, school, shopping or dining. More EVs = less greenhouse gases from fuel vehicles = better public health and a better environment. 2. Green Space You don’t need a green thumb to go green. Maximizing green space into your site design is easy to do and even easier to maintain.
Landscape Architects are masters at designing green space. Consulting a Landscape Architect early in the design process can result in better function and utilization of the site. A straight-forward design of park- ing islands with trees and shrubs not only hide site features like utility infrastructure they also provide shade to cool the field of pavement and improve air quality. The right landscape design can elevate a code required stormwater detention space into a usable community amenity through simple additions of walking paths and grassed areas. 3. Alternate Mobility Kansas City, like most major cities, has embraced the alternate mobility shift. Examples include leaders on both sides of the state line committing to a sustainable future beginning with the merger of metro bus lines to form The Kansas City Area Transit Authority and the installation of the downtown streetcar with recent voter approval for expansion. Designing sustainable infrastructure to accommodate all different modes of transit is a good way to plan for the future. As mobility meth- ods evolve, so can our existing roadways. As the number of cars on the road reduces, less lanes will be needed and can easily be converted for: • Designated bike lanes • Wider sidewalks to promote walkability • Bike share and electric scooter parking • Enhanced streetscapes for outdoor seating and gathering 4. Stormwater Management Protecting our natural resources in the built environment is a neces- sary balance. Site designers and developers should think about the land and location of the project and adapt their design around its natural features. Sustainable site design can offer cost-savings while being ecologically responsible. Stormwater management and mitigation offers a number of sustainable Best Management Practices (BMPs) in site design. Low Impact Development (LID) is a design practice that site designers use to integrate a site’s natural features to emphasize conservation and protect water quality.
In the built environment, stormwater quality is reduced by pollutants from manmade surfaces and structures. Incorporating water quality op- tions such as rain gardens or bioretention basins and bioswales main- tain stormwater runoff effectively and help offset pollutants absorbed into the watershed. To better help us understand sustainable design, we sat down with Mike Makris, P.E., who is one of our go-tos for sustainable design. Makris’ knowledge has landed him several speaking opportunities to local architects, professional and college organizations. We asked Makris, “where do you see sustainable design in the next three to five years?” Speaking to site sustainability, I believe it has followed, and will continue to follow changing lifestyle trends. The millennial genera- tion consumed mixed use space, and present indicators are that Gen Z will too. This has created opportunities for urban design to consider alternate mobilities, electric vehicles, parking reduction, and outdoor engagement spaces. Alternate Mobilities – the goal of mixed-use development is to create a place that people can live, work, play, and shop without the use of a car. This type of development fosters walkability and is supplemented by other mobilities such as e-scooters, bikeshare, rideshares, and public transit. Alternate mobilities are seeing growth not only from the physi- cal space being built to support them, but from technological advances and 5G adoption. Rise in EV adoption – As Electric Vehicles (EVs) are becoming more affordable, we are beginning to see 25 percent year over year growth in EV ownership. Sustainable designers need to think beyond just the charging station. They need to consider how people’s travel habits will change. EV drivers will not stop at the local gas station, as they will charge at home. On long road trips, the stop to refuel will not be five minutes, but an hour, changing the role of travel centers. Real Estate Owners are beginning to consider the role of EVs at their property, chargers are quickly becoming essential amenities in multifamily and hotel developments.
Parking Reduction is among the most basic sustainable solution we can implement as it allows us to replace blacktops with greenspaces. This reduces heat islands and impervious area which helps with stormwater control. Emphasis on outdoor engagement is being adopted in sectors of devel- opment beyond mixed use. We have seen healthcare facilities include things as simple as a walking trail around their property to something substantial like an outdoor therapy garden . On the office side, compa - nies have begun to encourage and teach mindfulness, outdoor spaces give employees a place of refugee from the technology overload that now exist within our office buildings. In the retail realm, the pandemic has created a heightened desire for outdoor dining and entertainment. These design types are better connected to nature and bring with them creative landscape opportunities. Millennials are the experience lifestyle generation; our Gen Z coun- terparts share many tendencies and are the most environmentally concerned generation. As Gen Z enters the work force and their buying power increases, I do not see the consumption of these lifestyles slow- ing down. Sustainable design is forward thinking, but when done right it can be future proofing. Makris also had thoughts to share on rating systems. These days it's hard to find a company that isn’t talking about adopting more sustainable practices. Although it’s become a buzzword, envi- ronmental sustainability is critical for making the Earth a better place to live and work. And, as it turns out, the construction industry has the potential to make a significant impact. According to the World Green Building Council, buildings account for 39 percent of global carbon emissions. Of that, 28 percent is caused by operational carbon – the emissions that result from heating, cool- ing, lighting, and operating a building once it’s complete – while the energy used to produce building and construction materials makes up 11 percent. The construction industry can have a substantial positive Connected Construction: The Next Frontier for Sustainability By Eric Harris
Early sustainability rating systems focused heavily on building design and left the outdoor space to the creativity of site designers. More recently the American Society of Landscape Architects led an effort to implement The Sustainable SITES Initiative (SITES) rating system that is now administered by the Green Business Certification, Inc. (GBCI) along with LEED and WELL rating systems. Regardless of sustainable certifications, there is always value in incor - porating some of these site planning strategies we mentioned. Sustainable site design is achievable and the possibilities are endless. If you’d like to learn more about sustainable design and how to incor- porate these methods into your next project, No Problem. Connect with our experts and get started today.
MIKE MAKRIS, P.E., is Project Engineer at BHC. Mike has been with the firm since 2016. Mike has a bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University and is currently pursuing his MBA at the University of Missouri–Kansas City.
impact on both fronts by creating buildings that are environmentally friendly to own and operate, and by reducing material and resource waste during the construction process itself. Waste is all too common on construction projects today and is not only bad for the environment, but also cuts into budgets and diminishes a
Before construction begins, architects, engineers and designers can use software and analytics technology such as SketchUp PreDesign and Sephaira to create eco-friendly models, while also considering other aspects of the project’s environmental impact such as material, water, and energy needs. With advances in technology, users can explore dif- ferent concepts nimbly and with ease, without fully defined parameters, to make sustainable design decisions. Advances in building performance analysis tools are also allowing architects to better understand how building design concepts will use energy, even in the earliest phases of the construction lifecycle. By answering questions early on about heating and cooling loads, lighting, appliances and other energy demands of the completed project, owners can make more informed decisions about the long-term environmental impacts of their projects. Companies are finding that most construction waste can be reduced or eliminated by adopting a constructible process utilizing digital tools and data in building information models (BIM) at the outset of a proj- ect. With this approach, all phases and trades are connected, models and workflows are content-enabled, and data-rich constructible models drive smarter workflows. These models include construction-ready content that is easily accessible through open formats. A key part of this process is the constructible, data-rich 3D model that goes beyond simple geometry and contains accurate and intelligent information that can be used throughout the project lifecycle. File-sharing systems such as Trimble Connect and Quadri can ensure that everyone has the most recent set of plans and is working toward the same goals. By collaborating with all stakeholders, knowing what is expected and having the right equipment in place, there is less room for error. Reducing Rework Across The Construction Continuum The cost of rework in construction is high and can be measured in terms of project quality, price, scheduling and environmental impact. Rework can be the result of mistakes or poor construction, but it can also be caused by factors outside of the contractor’s control – such as clients just changing their mind about what they want. Technology can provide big benefits across multiple project phases when it comes to reducing rework and eliminating waste. First, extended real-
project’s overall return. The culprits are typically disconnected work- flows, inefficient processes and old ways of working that lead to waste or don’t allow project teams to compare material and design options early in the design phase to determine the most sustainable approach. One of the most common causes of construction waste arises from the “order more than we think we'll need" mindset. This is evident, for example, in planning concrete pours. In lieu of not ordering enough concrete, contractors purchase more material than they need to avoid jeopardizing timelines with material holdups. Another problem is rely- ing on inaccurate data to determine production quantities, which often results in excess material that can’t be reused and is simply discarded as the "cost of doing business." Additionally, when a single source of data isn’t available to all project parties so that everyone is working from the same, up to date information, errors are inevitable and lead to wasted time, materials, and resources. Sustainability Starts With Connected Construction The answer to increasing sustainability and lowering the construction industry’s carbon emissions, costs, and material waste lies in connected construction. However, in order to eliminate waste, boost productivity, and truly enable a connected team, changes must be applied across the entire construction continuum.
ity and 3D modeling tools that help stakeholders visualize designs as completed projects enable customers to commit with confidence from the get-go. This clear and early visualization can significantly reduce changes orders – and material waste – throughout the project. In addition to reducing change orders, technology also helps provide greater visibility into project details during the entire project lifecycle. When a constructible model is shared and accessible in real-time, all stakeholders can coordinate more closely. This improves communica- tion, saves time and vastly reduces the potential for error, which has its own waste reducing benefits. The transparency that is gained by enabling shared access to data among multiple stakeholders also saves materials and shortens construction timelines. These savings can be seen in various stages of both building and civil construction projects. When it comes to concrete pouring, for example, a constructible model includes information such as areas, volumes, concrete mix, cost codes, detailed rebar, embeds and formwork, lead- ing to more accurate pours and eliminating wasted material. During site prep, augmented reality on excavators give operators the ability to view 3D models in a real-world environment at a true-life scale, right inside the cab in the context of their existing surroundings. These machine control systems are improving the accuracy and effi- ciency of heavy earthmoving equipment, thereby enabling job comple- tion in less time, and using less fuel. 3D scanning technology in the field is also reducing waste throughout a project’s lifecycle. Field layout is an essential task in which accuracy
is a necessity and errors can lead to rework and delays that can come at significant economic and environmental costs. Using advanced 3D scanning technology provides more precise data, and exporting the ex- act point data from a constructible model to a total station can eliminate errors and dramatically increase productivity in the layout process. Prefabrication is also contributing to more sustainable models by enabling companies to build components in a controlled environ- ment with all necessary tools and equipment readily on hand, which increases speed and predictability. In addition, the concept of “nesting” allows companies to get the most out of raw materials by optimizing material cuts for maximum output. With intelligent data fueling fabrication, prefabrication, and lean con- struction, companies can generate more accurate material estimates that reduce waste, improve productivity, and increase profitability across the project. Connected construction is the greatest defense against the inefficiencies that stem from data locked up in silos. Breaking down communication barriers and encouraging collaboration and data sharing across project teams is critical for reducing waste and wasted effort. A constructible approach helps streamline construction throughout all phases of a proj- ect, eliminating waste and leading to greater sustainability, which will benefit businesses and the environment for years to come.
ERIC HARRIS is Director of Strategic Communications at Trimble.
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