Mobile Microgrids

| I was reminded recently that, as contemporaries, Henry Ford and Thomas Edison worked in tandem on the development of motor-driven vehicles and energy distribution. Today, in a stroke of synchronicity, those industries have an opportunity to collaborate once again. In 2018, US EV sales totaled 361,307 units, up 81% over 2017, according to an industry ... READ MORE

I Should Be on the List

| Imagine you’ve cleaned yourself up nicely for a fancy evening event that is invitation only. You’re wearing your best “invitation only fancy evening event” duds. You may have even bought a new pair of shoes for the occasion. When you drive up, you pass the parking lot and go straight to valet parking. You tip ... READ MORE

About This Shutdown

| I do not want to talk about how it came about or why, or who is ultimately responsible for the partial government shutdown. What I would like to mention is a headline for a recent article in The Washington Post titled, “Highway and Transit Projects Grind to a Halt as the Shutdown Continues.” According to ... READ MORE

A New Use for an Old Nuisance

| Algae is rehabilitating its public image. Although we tend to think of it as a water-quality problem—driving away tourists, threatening drinking water supplies, and creating dead zones—different varieties are being put to work for all sorts of beneficial uses. It’s being touted as a sustainable source of protein; proponents claim that algae can produce seven ... READ MORE

New Zealand’s Unwanted Mammals

| In both Erosion Control magazine and our sister publication Stormwater, we’ve covered many different types of invasive species—plant and animal—and the ways people have attempted to get rid of them. In the early years of the 20th century, for example, it briefly seemed like a good idea to release nutria (very large rodents) throughout the ... READ MORE

PG&E Presses the “Pause” Button

| In a dramatic series of events, San Francisco-based PG&E announced Monday that it will file for Chapter 11 of the US bankruptcy code on January 29. The company’s CEO, Geisha Williams, also stepped down amid the disturbance as its stocks plummeted. For months investigators have been working to determine whether the power supplier’s equipment sparked ... READ MORE

Lead Pipes and Machine Learning

| More than three years after it was determined that lead from distribution pipes in Flint, MI, was leaching into drinking water and affecting residents’ health, thousands of homes in the city still have lead pipes. The pipe replacement effort has been complicated by both politics and residents’ mistrust of a machine-learning model designed to help ... READ MORE

Seemingly Out of Nowhere

| When the China Waste Ban went into effect, the recycling industry was turned almost completely upside down. That may be overstating it a bit, but let’s be honest, it was an extremely difficult pill to swallow. I declared that we needed to discover new ways of doing things and not just new markets for recyclables. ... READ MORE

The Storm Is Still Coming

| I really love finding out about all the new technology that’s going into heavy equipment these days. But I’ve always been wary of going too far with machine control, advanced telematics, artificial intelligence (AI), and predictive analytics. Every now and then in this blog I would sneak in a warning about how we could one ... READ MORE

A 60-Foot Setback

| The ban on plastic straws is now a reality in many places, with mixed reactions from the public. Some cities are phasing the ban in slowly, requiring customers to ask for straws rather than receiving them automatically with their drinks. (You might have seen this news item about a fast-food restaurant in St. Petersburg, FL, ... READ MORE

Disordered Particles

| I’ve often marveled at the many happy accidents that lead to great discovery. There’s something unexpectedly thrilling about the tangle of used Scotch tape that helped scientists discover graphene’s nano-scale capabilities. There’s quotidian brilliance in the sandwich-style layering of gold particles to produce high-efficiency solar cells. Fortuitous advancements such as these are also producing extraordinary ... READ MORE

Under Fire

| Among the many consequences of the increasingly severe wildfires throughout the western US, homeowners in the areas of highest risk are finding that they may no longer be able to insure their property. Mortgage lenders generally insist on a property being insured, creating a catch-22. As this article describes, insurers like State Farm classify properties ... READ MORE


| Three new Cat® MP332, MP345, and MP365 Multi-Processor models are heavy-duty, high-production tools that accept multiple interchangeable jaws for taking on a variety of specialized demolition tasks. The new models, compared with previous models, can cycle 50 percent faster and generate up to 19 percent greater cutting/crushing forces. An innovative locking system enables a single operator to typically ... READ MORE

Hyundai Upgrades and New Attachments Focus of Exhibit at World of Concrete 2019

| Hyundai HX130LCR Excavator Model to be Shown for First Time NORCROSS, Ga., Jan. 17 – Hyundai Construction Equipment Americas will feature a variety of recently upgraded models and newly available third-party attachments Jan. 22 through 25 at its World of Concrete exhibit (Booth C7027) at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The company also is displaying ... READ MORE

New Report Identifies Corrosion as Major Threat to Public Health

| NACE International Offers Solutions to Nation’s Water Treatment Woes NACE International, the nonprofit association and leading resource for corrosion expertise and education, today released its Spotlight on Corrosion Report: The Critical Need for Corrosion Management in the Water Treatment Sector. Based on input from more than 1,300 corrosion professionals, the report identifies aging water infrastructure ... READ MORE

Cedar Park Streamlines Customer Communication through Sensus Solutions

| Texas utility offers insight on usage and billing to 23,000 customers The City of Cedar Park, located near Austin, Texas, is changing the way it communicates with its water customers. Instead of putting an invoice in the mail and taking questions over the phone, the city has upgraded its system with technology that puts customers ... READ MORE

CostTrax introduces world’s first time and materials tracking software with built-in cost-control and compliance

| Atlanta, Ga (January 17, 2019) – Construction project owners have a powerful new tool to manage cost-plus, time and materials, and force account construction projects. CostTrax, powered by EquipmentWatch, is a new software solution that streamlines reporting, automatically flags questionable expenses, and ensures every reimbursement request is 100 percent compliant. CostTrax is entirely web-based and ... READ MORE

Reader Profile: Nolan Rutschilling

| As 24/7 critical operations, energy reliability is the lifeblood for hospitals. Because of their extensive energy use, efficiency also is critical to the bottom-line. ENERGY STAR hospitals save about 35% on energy costs as compared to typical hospitals. Ohio leads the nation in ENERGY STAR-certified hospitals, with 12 achieving the necessary score for national recognition. Leading the charge to ... READ MORE

Advertiser’s Index

|   Arctic Chiller Group Broad USA Continental Control Systems LLC CxEnergy Conference & Expo DCL America Easi-Set Worldwide ... READ MORE


|   Kohler Kohler is introducing a comprehensive lineup of high-performance batteries specifically designed for use in residential, commercial, and industrial power generators. The new Kohler Genuine Batteries are engineered to deliver optimal performance in generator applications, helping end-users to minimize the unplanned maintenance costs associated with battery underperformance and frequent replacement. The new Kohler Genuine ... READ MORE

City of Utica Community Microgrid System

| Amicrogrid is a group of interconnected electric and thermal loads and distributed energy resources within a defined boundary that acts as a single controllable entity with respect to the grid. The major purpose of the microgrid is to secure energy supply to customers most viable for the community. This paper outlines a microgrid system being ... READ MORE

Floating Solar

| Lake County Special District in Northern California faces the same problem that all water management districts face—rising energy costs. The biggest expense for any wastewater treatment plant is electricity, and energy providers continue to raise their rates at 3–5% per year, sometimes more. The only way to control rising energy costs is to find another source of ... READ MORE

HVPS Selection

| In the high-stress world of today’s system power design engineer, defining the optimal strategy of the selection of high voltage power supplies (HVPS) can be daunting, because cost-effectiveness, need fulfillment, and overall operations are fully reliant on that selection. The benefits of HVPS are understood, which include a wide range of flexible options (such as a variety ... READ MORE

Interoperability and Integration

| If there’s one thing electric utilities can plan on, it’s change. With the emergence of Distributed Energy Resources (DER), the industry is evolving quickly along with consumer requirements for energy supply and management. These developments have already had significant implications for grid modernization and ultimately, they point to a continuing shift in the utility business ... READ MORE

Sound Off

| Sound is what we hear. The sensation of hearing results from a reaction to rapid pressure fluctuations in the air that cause the eardrum to move tiny bones, which transmit the movement to a fluid-filled sac that contains hair-like nerves. When those nerves are stimulated by motion, they send signals to the brain. Different lengths ... READ MORE

Get Smart

| Buildings are getting smarter and this has transformed the energy management business thanks to artificial intelligence. Reducing energy use through automation saves hours of manpower and makes the drudgery of energy audits and spreadsheets a thing of the past. Digitalization has made all of this possible. In the past decade, businesses and industry giants have ... READ MORE

HVAC Advances

| Not only has HVAC technology undergone changes yielding greater efficiencies, but the way building owners and operators are able to leverage the changes to improve the bottom-line and occupancy comfort is seeing a boost. “These days, we are starting to see HVAC solutions taking the Facilities as Strategic Assets approach,” says Dan Diehl, CEO, Aircuity. ... READ MORE

Roadmaps to Higher Efficiency

| We spend a lot of time and ink within the pages of this magazine discussing the latest advances in distributed energy technology. Microturbines and microgrids, electric vehicle energy storage, loadbanks, sound enclosures, solar and wind generation, and combined heat and power are all very interesting topics and vitally important technologies. But we often neglect the ... READ MORE

Editor’s Comments: Narrative Maps

| Aboriginal creation myths indicate that in Australia, ancestors charted the geography by singing out the name of landmarks in their path. In doing so, they created songlines—musical maps—that have been passed down from generation to generation. Tribal members still use these songs today to navigate the landscape as they sing their way from place to ... READ MORE

Hyundai Construction Equipment Adds Butler Equipment LLC to Growing North American Distribution Network

| NORCROSS, Ga. (January 2019) – Hyundai Construction Equipment Americas announces the expansion of its North American authorized dealer network with the addition of Butler Equipment LLC. Butler Equipment is family owned and operated and can provide you with the latest and best in outdoor power products. Butler will be offering Hyundai Construction Equipment at their ... READ MORE

Desalination: Worth its Salt?

| Desalination plants provide fresh water to thirsty populations around the world. And in the face of global water scarcity, this technology is considered increasingly valuable. However, the brine that these treatment processes discharge can also be detrimental to the environment according to a new study. For every liter of freshwater output, desalination plants produce about ... READ MORE


| DEARBORN, Michigan – (January 2, 2019) – Carhartt, America’s premium workwear brand since 1889, will launch its Carhartt Company Gear™ program on Jan. 16, 2019. With the new Carhartt Company Gear™ service model, the 130 year-old brand will provide a wide range of businesses with its familiar rugged, durable products. In addition to Carhartt’s most ... READ MORE

President Signs Integrated Planning Bill into Law, NACWA Touts Greater Long-Term Certainty for Clean Water Investments in Communities

| Enables Safer, More Affordable and Reliable Clean Water Services for All The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) applauds the President’s signing of the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act into law on January 14 2019. This bill codifies the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Integrated Planning (IP) approach into law, providing local communities with critical ... READ MORE

Brown and Caldwell adds to smart water resume by joining the SWAN Forum

| Brown and Caldwell, a full-service environmental engineering and construction firm, has solidified its smart water sector standing by joining the Smart Water Networks Forum (SWAN), the leading global hub for the smart water and wastewater sectors. Water and wastewater utilities increasingly face challenges associated with rising water demand and aging infrastructure, adding pressures to already ... READ MORE

Cummins Inc. Launches New 125-200kw Generator Sets

| Cummins Inc. launches new 125-200kw generator sets that enable the implementation of efficient power solutions to reduce investment costs and replace the current QSB7 diesel genset series models Cummins Inc. (NYSE: CMI) has announced the launch of a new generator set series. The C125D6D, C150D6D, C175D6D and C200D6D diesel generator sets are replacing the current ... READ MORE

Ampac USA Reports Reverse Osmosis Systems May Get Biofoul Resistant Membranes Soon

| Be it household RO or industrial and military level desalination systems, almost every one of them is prone to biofouling. While avoiding membrane fouling can be achieved through strict and timely maintenance procedures, advances in technology that reduce the effort are always welcome. Such technological innovations have probably led to resistant materials that will thereby ... READ MORE

Study Confirms Micro-Algae’s Cleaning Ability in Wastewater Treatment

| Environmental engineers found Chlorella vulgaris, a single-celled algae, excelled at removing nutrients from wastewater discharge. Environmental engineers have discovered that Chlorella vulgaris, a single-celled fresh water algae species, effectively removes pollutants from wastewater even at fluctuating levels, making it an effective tool for wastewater treatment. The study, published recently in Water Environment Research, indicates that ... READ MORE

Shannon Introduces Rapid Rise Fire Blanket for Valve Protection and Fire Safety

| Shannon Enterprises of W.N.Y., Inc., the world leading designer and maker of reusable thermal and acoustic insulation, has designed a new self-contained, removable protective enclosure called the Shannon Rapid Rise Fire Blanket to protect petrochemical, oil & gas, power generation, marine and military equipment from extreme temperatures. Shannon custom fits its Rapid Rise Fire Blankets ... READ MORE

LG Redefines VRF HVAC Systems with Innovative Year-Round Solution

| Unveiled at AHR Expo 2019, LG’s Multi VTM 5 Now Features LGRED° Technology for Superior and Efficient Heating Down to -22°F Air conditioning technologies leader LG Electronics is unveiling a robust enhancement of its flagship Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) system, the Multi V 5 – now standard with the powerful LGRED° (Reliable to Extreme Degrees) ... READ MORE

New B2W Software Production Targets Capability Enhances Daily Field Performance Tracking Accuracy in Heavy Construction

| Portsmouth, NH – January 14, 2019 — B2W Software, a leading provider of heavy construction management software, has delivered a new B2W Production Targets capability that empowers heavy construction contractors to assess job progress more accurately at any given point in time. Using B2W Production Targets, contractors can easily set specific, variable targets for expected ... READ MORE

Reader Profile: Scott Rackham

| Today’s construction industry often calls for diversification not only into new service areas but new ways of providing those services. Such has been the experience of Scott Rackham, vice president of underground operations for Weckworth Electric Group in El Dorado Hills, CA. The company serves as an electrical design/build subcontractor for small to large construction projects. Rackham ... READ MORE

Advertiser’s Index

|   B2W Software Bobcat Co Caterpillar Construction ClearSpan Fabric Structures E2 Systems LLC Efficiency Production Inc Hitachi Construction Insite Sitework John Deere Construction Equipment KOBELCO Construction Liebherr Liugong Construction Machinery USA Loftness Attachments National Trench Safety (NTS) Rogers Brothers Corp ... READ MORE


|   Vac-Tron Enviromnental Vac-Tron Equipment’s Competitive Vac Series offers the performance you have come to expect from Vac-Tron, while keeping the cost of operation to a minimum. The CV GT is powered by a 27-horsepower Kohler EFI gas engine of 580 CFM at 15 Hg. The CV SGT High CFM models are powered by a 37-horsepower Kohler ... READ MORE

Project Profile: Putting Safety Data to Work

| B2W Software Heavy civil construction work carries safety risks, and anyone who’s spent even a day on the job likely recognizes diligence is important to staying safe. But outside of relying on just the personal responsibility inherent in preventing both minor and serious accidents, heavy civil construction companies can do a lot at the management level to minimize ... READ MORE

Compaction—The Smart Way

| Intelligent compaction encompasses a suite of technologies that are designed to help contractors meet density specifications on asphalt and soil compaction projects. “Compaction measurement tools allow contractors to more accurately compact asphalt mats to specification density for their customers, while saving the contractors time and money by avoiding unnecessary additional passes. These tools help to ... READ MORE

Slick Moves

| Popular online videos typically don’t include the words “concrete pavers.” But views don’t lie. One video of a concrete paver laying a highway route boasts 528,000 views, showing just how fascinated some people are with the process of spreading gigantic mounds of sand-like concrete into a satisfyingly flat slab. Concrete pavers aren’t just eye candy for YouTube ... READ MORE

Hauling the Heavies

| From pipelines to roads to skyscrapers and private homes, construction projects are booming across the country and the need to move equipment and supplies to these sites is greater than it has been in years. And whether they own their own or hire out heavy transport companies, contractors, pavers, landscapers, and everyone in between will ... READ MORE

Step Up Your Trench Shoring

| Trenching and shoring equipment has evolved over time, with more options available now than ever before. “If it’s properly used, the equipment saves time as a production tool in that there are fewer machine cycles, less wear and tear on the machine, a lot less time in terms of having to move the soil, and ... READ MORE

The Machine Control Bump

| Advanced precision construction technologies continue to proliferate in today’s market because they provide greater predictability and control over job costs. They also improve productivity and reduce the amount of re-work needed on a job site. Use of intelligent equipment through machine control can also reduce wear and tear on components and ground-engaging tools and attachments, ... READ MORE

Not Swept Away

| One of the key factors on an earthmoving job is not only moving it but controlling it in such a way that it doesn’t erode. Erosion control is a permanent measure to keep land from eroding due to water or wind. It augments sediment control, a temporary measure to keep dirt on a construction site ... READ MORE

Saving Time and Money

| The dictionary defines “recycling” as: “to treat or process (used or waste materials) so as to make suitable for reuse.” When the general public thinks of recycling, it is typically in terms of waste materials from household and commercial waste that are extracted, separated, processed, packaged, and resold as raw materials (ferrous and non-ferrous metals, office paper, cardboard, ... READ MORE

Editor’s Comments: The Pieces Are All in Place

| This can be the year we put it all together. Consider that we’re in the midst of evolving construction technology. It coincides with a skilled labor shortage. Add to that the anemic percentage of women in the construction workforce. I’m also hearing cries for more migrant labor. At the time of this writing, the Associated General Contractors ... READ MORE

Training: Mood and Presentation Trump Content and Information

| In its simplest terms, training involves the communication of information and/or procedures and techniques from those in the know to those who don’t know as much. The objective is to make employees familiar with new or different technology or other resources, make them more efficient and productive, and generally make the entire organization fiscally successful. One ... READ MORE

Training: Mood and Presentation Trump Content and Information

| In its simplest terms, training involves the communication of information and/or procedures and techniques from those in the know to those who don’t know as much. The objective is to make employees familiar with new or different technology or other resources, make them more efficient and productive, and generally make the entire organization fiscally successful. One ... READ MORE

Training: Language Alone Is Not Enough

| I live on one of those old-time Southern California streets where developers planted trees in the parkway, the strip of ground between the sidewalk and the street. Over the years, I have been repeatedly warned by gardeners not to touch the tree in my stretch of the parkway. Now a 15-foot-high, very well-filled out specimen shades my ... READ MORE

Training: Getting it Write

| A few months ago, The New York Times took a hit for reporting on a recent confrontation between Palestinian and Israeli armed forces along the Gaza Strip border. The Tweet read: “Dozens of Palestinians have died in protests as the US prepares to open its Jerusalem embassy.” ... READ MORE

Training: Universal Basic Income

| Some time back, in a discussion on the changing nature of work, we introduced the concept of universal basic income (UBI). The idea is that the government (federal, state, local) provides citizens with a fixed income. A number of factors appear to have been responsible for the resurrection of this quirky idea: the snail’s pace of wage growth in recent years (less than the GDP per person), fears that digital technology—primarily robots and artificial intelligence—will be causing significant job loss in the not too distant future, and continually rising income inequality. ... READ MORE

Training: What’s Up With Simulators

| A couple of weeks back, a friend who maintains an ambitious program of forwarding emails about subjects she considers important (in this case, life after 50) sent an email with the subject line “Reaction Test.” It turned out to be an exercise in predicting your age based on your reaction time. You’re in the driver’s seat of a car heading down a two-lane highway. Trees appear and a few deer munch grass on either side of the road when suddenly a red hand appears telling you to stop. You apply the brakes, pounding a random key on the keyboard. ... READ MORE

Training: Compensation and Employee Satisfaction

| Over and over in this column, we have talked about employee development, from selecting the right employees right out of the box to partnerships with technical schools to develop potential hires with the skills you need. We’ve provided advice about online learning and email protocols and evaluated easy access to software updates, dealer sponsored courses and workshops, and the use of simulators and on-the-job learning. But by and large, we’ve said little about compensation and its role in developing an effective workforce and in employee satisfaction. This hit me the other day when an article on the “psychology of inequality” caught my eye. I picked it up thinking I would be reading about the difference between the 1% or the top 10%, or whatever it is in this country, versus the rest of us toiling away at various levels closer to the bottom than the top. ... READ MORE

Training: Getting What You Want

| A couple of years ago, we gave a heads up to Caterpillar’s high school internship program, which was established in partnership with a local community college and the North Carolina Department of Labor’s Career and College Promise Program. What caught our eye was that the program reached down into a potential labor pool that corporate recruiters typically neglect—high school students. The idea was hatched when Cat moved a skid steer assembly plant from Mexico to Sanford, NC. The new plant basically doubled the size of Cat’s Mexico facility and created the demand for an expanded workforce. What the plant needed particularly was welders, lots of welders. ... READ MORE

Training: Morale, Teamwork, and Job Satisfaction

| In past columns, we’ve examined the importance of employee development, the nature and meaning of work in the face of expanding technology (do we humans find meaning in work or is that secondary to $$$?) and the role of training in advancing job satisfaction while concurrently increasing the value of employees to an organization. How these issues intersect was recently brought home to me in spades. ... READ MORE

Training: Social Endeavors

| If you can’t beat ‘em, should you join ‘em? With everyone on your office team and your work site crews equipped with some kind of mobile device, could you be making better use of them than you are? Should you be developing social learning modules? A social media policy? Are you neglecting untapped potential? Is it worth the effort? An Internet search (where else?) suggests the affirmative on all counts, but within conditions. ... READ MORE

Training: To Be or Not To Be – And So What?

| When you’re building something smarter than you, you have to get it right on the first try,” says Eliezer Yudkowsky of Machine Intelligence Research Institute. In the last issue of this magazine (September 2017), we took a look at the expanding field of human-computer communication, one of the major benchmarks along the road to artificial intelligence (AI). We noted the advantages of computers assuming some of the more mundane tasks we humans are saddled with, freeing us up for more creative work and expanding our cognitive abilities to design a future that is beneficial and benign (and by the sound of some of it, banal). We noted that the model for building intelligent machines, whether the aim is helping us or sending us packing, is us. ... READ MORE