Cogeneration Plant to be Constructed in New York City

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The New York City Energy Efficiency Corporation (NYCEEC) recently announced that it will provide $6.3 million of construction and permanent financing for a cogeneration project at a new manufacturing plant in Staten Island, New York.

The cogeneration plant will maximize the production of electricity to sell to the grid and the use of waste heat for onsite manufacturing processes.

“We are excited to enable a project with significant environmental and economic benefits, from substantial energy savings and greenhouse gas reduction to impactful job creation and grid resiliency,” said Jay Merves, director of business development at NYCEEC. “We are proud to be part of a project that serves as a new model for distributed generation.”

The cogeneration project is expected to reduce the manufacturing plant’s energy use by 34 percent and its greenhouse gases by 12 percent as compared to traditional processes. The project will also create construction-related and permanent jobs in Staten Island.

“We share with NYCEEC a commitment to developing cost-effective, energy-efficient projects that strengthen the local economy,” said Leighton Powell, president of Cubit Power Systems. “In NYCEEC, we found a true partner. NYCEEC’s flexible financing and deep engineering expertise were instrumental to getting our project off the ground in a timely manner.”

Source: http://www.reliableplant.com/Read/30012/new-cogeneration-plant

Modular hospital prototypes unveiled at Arab Health Exhibition

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Dubai: KEF Holding, a UAE-based multinational company, announced on Monday a joint venture with Australia-based TAHPI to design and build hospitals at a manufacturing facility in Jebel Ali as part of a game-changing initiative seeking to reduce healthcare costs and build time by 50 per cent.

At the Arab Health Exhibition and Congress that is currently under way at Dubai World Trade Centre, the new partnership, KEF-TAHPI Design Studio, showcased its first modular hospital concept.

Faizal E Kottikollon, chairman-founder, KEF Holdings, and chairman of KEF-TAHPI Design Studio, said the new concept — assemble rather than build solution — is the world’s first industrialised approach to healthcare design and construction. “It is innovation at an industrial scale.”

The new Jebel Ali factory, to be built with an investment of $100 million, will complement the first such plant being built at the KEF Industrial Park in Krishnagiri, India. The Jebel Ali production unit is scheduled for completion in 2016.

As part of the launch, KEF-TAHPI unveiled on Monday catalogues for five prototype hospitals, each offering a complete turnkey package comprising the facilities, equipment, commissioning and manuals. The ‘Catalogue Hospitals’ range from 18 beds to 500 beds and any size in between.

Present at the event were T.P. Seetharam, Ambassador of India to the UAE, Pablo King, Ambassador of Australia to the UAE and Qatar, as well as Aladin Niazmand, director, TAHPI.

Kottikollon said the Design Studio aims to offer a smart approach to the planning and execution of healthcare infrastructure (hospitals) across the region.

Implementing a full industrialisation of processes for design, construction and delivery, the Studio will offer clients the convenience of choosing options from a design catalogue. The company creations also include designs that can be pre-approved by local health authorities, exceeding the GCC’s high benchmarks for quality and excellence.

Niazmand, whose company was involved in capacity planning for healthcare for Dubai and Abu Dhabi, said access to good hospitals and healthcare facilities is a basic human right that countries are striving to provide for citizens. “However, demand from increasing populations in the Middle East and India far outstrips supply of durable, affordable, quality infrastructure. KEF-TAHPI Design Studio’s cost and time-effective modular solutions cater to this supply gap for smart infrastructure offerings in the healthcare industry.”

He predicted that the UAE would require 40 new hospitals within 10 years when the population almost doubles.

The stand at Arab Health Exhibition and Congress features a prototype of the KEF-TAHPI Design Studio, showcasing a realistic modular rendition of three standard hospital room types, including an in-patient bedroom, bathroom and utility room.

TAHPI is currently a strategic partner for KEF’s 500-bed tertiary hospital currently under construction in Calicut (Kerala), India. When complete in 2016, the PMHP Hospital will be India’s first healthcare facility designed and developed entirely using offsite construction.

Source: http://www.khaleejtimes.com/biz/inside.asp?xfile=/data/uaebusiness/2015/January/uaebusiness_January252.xml&section=uaebusiness

By Blocking View of the Brooklyn Bridge, a Building Incites a Battle

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To many people, it might not make much difference. Looking toward the Brooklyn Bridge from a point on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade roughly between Clark and Pierrepont Streets, pedestrians used to be able to watch cars flow along the bridge’s roadbed, and see the Chrysler Building behind the bridge’s intricate web of cables.

Now, though, the cars disappear behind the top of a new hotel and condominium complex rising in Brooklyn Bridge Park, and the Chrysler Building’s Art Deco spire is nearly hidden altogether.

Minor differences, perhaps, but for those who were intimately familiar with the view, the complex is nothing less than a blight.

And, they say, that view was supposed to be protected by an agreement hammered out with park officials a decade ago that was designed to limit the maximum height of the new building, called Pierhouse.

“We knew that anything over 100 feet would obscure the roadbed,” said Otis Pratt Pearsall, who served on the Brooklyn Heights Association’s advisory committee and said he had negotiated a 100-foot cap on the Pierhouse complex in 2005. “We were trying to create a certainty that the roadbed and necklace would remain unobscured from tower to tower.”

Photo

The view from about the same spot in 1998 shows the building that stood there before, with a more complete view of the skyline and the bridge. CreditChester Higgins Jr./The New York Times

Mr. Pearsall and other preservationists insist that the agreement covered mechanical structures for housing fixtures like boilers, cooling systems and generators. And it is Pierhouse’s 30-foot-tall mechanical structures that now block the view.

Their solution: They want the developer to take them down.

The Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, which oversees the park, said it was not aware of the agreement, which predates the organization’s current leadership, and that the building meets current zoning rules. The views, officials added, are still spectacular.

The controversy dates to 2005, when the park was still in its planning stages. That year, a draft environmental impact statement related to the Pierhouse was released; it called for a 110-foot structure. The complex was to replace a warehouse located on the spot, which would be torn down in 2010. Under an unusual model, the cost of maintaining and operating the park is to be borne by the private developments along the park’s perimeter, including Pierhouse, a three-building complex where a penthouse apartment recently went into contract for $11 million.

Concerned about the possible effect on the view, Mr. Pearsall said he worked out an agreement with the park’s landscape architect, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, acting on behalf of the park corporation, that mechanical structures were to be counted against that cap. Mr. Pearsall has email from Mr. Van Valkenburgh’s office memorializing the agreement.

The final environmental impact statement for the project, which was completed in 2005, confirms the height limit and, in the comment and response section, says the mechanical structures are included. But the general project plan, which came out the next year and is supposed to reflect the impact statement, mentions only the 100-foot cap. Last fall, as Pierhouse rose, Mr. Pearsall grew alarmed.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/26/nyregion/by-blocking-view-of-the-brooklyn-bridge-a-building-incites-a-battle.html?_r=0

My House is not a Hotel! NYC Council holds Hearing on airbnb / Home Sharing

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New York City Council’s Committee on Housing and Buildings, Chaired by Council Member Jumaane D. Williams (D-Brooklyn), Deputy Leader, held an eight hour oversight hearing on Tuesday titled “Short Term Rentals: Stimulating the Economy or Destabilizing Neighborhoods” to allow Council Members an opportunity to better gauge the effects of illegal hotels on New York City’s affordable housing stock. The Council received testimony from representatives of the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), tenants, tenant advocates, representatives of home-sharing websites including Airbnb, elected officials and others on how illegal hotels operate and effect New Yorkers.

During the hearing, Council Members received an overwhelming amount of complaints that illegal hotels pose a grave threat to New York City’s already limited stock of affordable housing, and further encourages landlord harassment, and creates building-wide security, safety, and nuisance issues that disrupt the quality of life for tenants and illegal renters alike.

“With a housing vacancy rate of only 3.12%, steadily increasing rents, and widespread income stagnation, it goes without saying that New York City is in a housing crisis, fueled by home-sharing websites like Airbnb that account for more than 14,000 illegal rentals in the five boroughs. This is a fundamental problem not just in New York City but across the country. As Chair of the Council’s Housing and Buildings Committee, it is my hope we work to combat illegal hotels by expanding our Administrations resources, strategies, and further penalizing bad acting landlords. These efforts will aid to ensure the Mayor’s Affordable Housing Plan does not fall short of it’s 200,000 unit goal and that New York City remains affordable for all,” said Council Member Williams.

For over a decade, there has been debate on the issue of the conversion of long-term occupancy residential buildings into short-term rentals or illegal hotels. Those in support of allowing conversions argued that short-term rentals help bring in additional revenue for homeowners and tenants, stimulate the economy, and provide greater affordability for visitors. Opponents argued that short-term rentals are often illegal and that they deplete the supply of affordable housing, while possibly violating numerous city laws/ codes, including various building and fire codes that present safety hazards to occupants and their neighbors.

Local Law 45 of 2012 bars illegal conversions of dwelling units from permanent residences. It also classifies the illegal conversion of more than one permanent dwelling unit, or a subsequent violation for an illegal conversion at the same dwelling unit or building, as an immediately hazardous violation. In November 2006, the City established the Office of Special Enforcement (OSE) in response to the spread of illegal hotels in New York City. During the hearing, representatives from the OSE discussed their continued efforts to coordinate enforcement between multiple agencies to inspect illegal hotel complaints.

Complaints relating to illegal hotels are referred from the City Service Center at 311 to
OSE. Upon receipt of a complaint, OSE investigates the conditions by sending an inspection team to the location. If a violation exists, OSE can determine the proper enforcement action and issue Department of Buildings (DOB) violations, Environmental Control Board (ECB) Notices of Violations (NOV), Fire Department violations, and Department of Health violations. ECB violations issued by OSE are referred to DOB’s Administrative Enforcement Unit for prosecution.

“With New York City’s stock of affordable housing units shrinking, Airbnb should come clean about the harmful impact its operations have in our neighborhoods. While there is nothing wrong, or illegal, about live-in property owners legally renting in accordance with housing code, Airbnb facilitates absentee landlords turning rooms into illegal hotels and sucking up units that should otherwise go towards permanent affordable housing. I support the idea of a shared economy but we must share with an eye towards fairness and economic sustainability for all New Yorkers,” said NYC Public Advocate Letitia James.

“I sponsored Local Law 45, and a large coalition worked together to pass the Illegal Hotel Law, because the City needed tools to fight the illegal conversion of residential housing for transient use. New York’s housing crisis is real, and our City needs every tool available to keep more residential units, especially affordable rent-regulated units, from slipping away,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, who as a Council Member sponsored legislation allowing City agencies to impose larger fines for illegal hotel activity.

“Airbnb and other short-term rental platforms exacerbate the problem of illegal rentals on the Upper West Side and throughout the City. Over the past five years, Airbnb rentals grew from 900 to 21,000, and according to the NYS Attorney General, 72% of these units are illegal. Until short-term rental platforms accept responsibility for their users who profit from illegal rentals, we have to equip the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement to shut them down, one by one,” said NYC Council Member Helen Rosenthal.

“With rents rapidly rising but wages remaining stagnant, sharing a spare bedroom can help you earn a little extra money to make ends meet. In reality, the explosive growth of the short-term rental market has created a “sublet economy” that’s seriously hurting tenants and bleeding units from our already scarce affordable housing stock. The testimony we heard today puts a human face on the destructive impacts of illegal hotels. It is abundantly clear that we must provide the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement with the tools and resources it needs to hold these illegal hotel operators accountable,” said NYC Council Member Mark Levine.

“Illegal hotels are not just a problem in Manhattan – with the demand for tourism in the outer boroughs, they are becoming an issue there as well. I am primarily concerned with property managers and owners who warehouse apartments and rent them out illegally, taking those units completely off the market for renters who need housing. The businesses that host these listings should not be benefitting from this illegal behavior. We need to find legislative and enforcement solutions that allow for legal sublets while cracking down on illegal hotels and getting much-needed housing back on the rental market,” said NYC Council Member Antonio Reynoso.

“Right now hundreds of residents in Washington Heights, Harlem and Crown Heights are being pressured by their landlords to vacate in order to make room for these profitable illegal hotels. The residents of our communities are already being pushed out, we don’t need private companies coming in, operating illegally and further pressuring our communities to leave. We must protect those most vulnerable to these pressures, seniors and working class New Yorkers, and crackdown on these illegal activities that have such destructive ripple effects in our communities,” said NYC Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez.

“We must not allow working class New Yorkers to be entirely squeezed out of our neighborhoods – but that is exactly what may happen if we do not confront our City’s affordability crisis. Just as important as building new affordable housing is preserving the units we already have. Unfortunately, illegal hotels are endangering our affordable housing stock. I am proud to be part of the Share Better coalition, as neighborhood activists, community and housing groups, elected officials, business and labor come together to stop illegal hotels from proliferating in our neighborhoods,” said NYC Council Member Corey Johnson.

“Illegal hotel rooms pose a threat to residents throughout New York City, by increasing noise, overcrowding and leaving residents feeling unsafe in their very homes. We need to empower tenants to take action against illegal hotels when they are victimized,” said NYC Council Member Rory Lancman.

“The safety and affordability of our city must be protected. We need to ensure that AirBnB is not putting profit over people by allowing unsafe or illegal practices that threaten New Yorkers and the affordability of our neighborhoods. Thanks to the proactive leadership of Chair Jumaane Williams and others, the New York City Council can ask the hard questions about what the sharing economy really means for residents,” said NYC Council Member Ben Kallos.

“We can’t allow short term rental sites to operate contrary to the law and to damage New York’s affordable housing stock. Illegal hotels present a real risk to these units and that is why we are so committed to fighting back,” said NYC Council Member Dan Garodnick.

“For years, tenants have been fighting to rid our city of illegal hotels.  Now companies like Airbnb are using their hotel brokerage services to promote illegal hotel use.  Their misleading propaganda tries to paper over the fire and safety violations, harassment of tenants and loss of needed housing that comes with illegal hotels.  We want to protect the illegal hotel law and get increased enforcement of the law, and more resources and strong penalties for violating the law.  Illegal hotels are bad for New York, bad for tourists, and bad for housing,” said NYS Assembly Member Richard Gottfried, the Assembly sponsor of the 2010 illegal hotel law.

“Preserving and expanding affordable, available housing is New York City’s greatest need, and illegal hotels exacerbate the crisis. Some companies are ignoring our laws at the same time as they spend millions of dollars in an attempt to change or scrap them,” “As you will hear today, the work of the city agencies enforcing the illegal hotel law is vital — they are working to preserve residential housing and put those who are converting housing into illegal hotels out of business,” said NYS Senator Liz Krueger, the Senate sponsor of the 2010 Illegal Hotel Law.

“Airbnb is like an invading army. It comes into a city, floods the market with illegal units and only after the incursion is complete does it come to the government, hands out, looking for ways to legalize its illegal hotel activity.  Legalizing Airbnb’s activity in New York would further destabilize communities and contribute to the already meteoric loss of affordable housing,” said NYS Assembly Member Linda B. Rosenthal.

“I’m happy to have the opportunity to testify about the pernicious impact of illegal hotels on New York City. While operators like Airbnb and VRBO, and their private capital backers, earn huge amounts of money, everyday New Yorkers must suffer the consequences from their illegal operation. Illegal hotels have exacerbated the affordability crisis of New York’s housing stock, not to mention have increased the safety and security risks for all New Yorkers who live in a building where this activity takes place. I hope the City Council offers a strong legislative response to end this illegal activity,” said NYS Assembly Member Deborah J. Glick.

“Illegal hotels give unscrupulous landlords an incentive to drive up apartment prices and drive out longtime residents, reducing our city’s already limited affordable housing stock,” “According to data released by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, my district has one of the highest concentration of illegal hotels in the City and I applaud my colleagues at both the state and local level who are working to ensure that our fire, building safety and zoning laws are enforced,” said NYS Senator Brad Hoylman.

Source: http://ourtimepress.com/?p=15945

A 50-Percent-By-2025 Renewable Energy Standard Can Help Gov. Cuomo Realize His “Opportunity Agenda”

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In the wake of Governor Cuomo’s courageous decision last month to ban fracking in New York State, the state is poised to become even more of a leader in clean energy, if it puts in place the right policies. Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address Wednesday didn’t address clean energy, but there are some great clean energy proposals in the policy book that accompanied the speech, called the “2015 Opportunity Agenda.”

In it, the governor fleshes out many of the plans that can continue to make New York a clean-energy leader. There’s much for advocates to cheer–a Five Cities Energy Plan that will help large municipalities save as much as $400 million a year, all while cutting their carbon emissions by 20 percent; an international competition to bring clean energy businesses to the Southern Tier; a $5 billion commitment to the state’s Clean Energy Fund; expanded battery R&D at Brookhaven National Laboratory; and, a community solar program that will allow renters and others who can’t install solar on their roofs to reap the benefits of clean energy from the sun.

8164351795_ac9b732843_z.jpgNew York’s ample renewable energy resources, including sunlight harvested here at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island, can help the state lead the nation in renewable energy and energy innovation, if the state adopts a 50-percent-by-2025 renewable energy standard. (photo: Brookhaven National Laboratory)

One crucial piece is still missing, though: a call for a 50 percent renewable energy standard, which, by 2025, would mean that half our electricity would come from clean energy sources such as solar power and on- and offshore wind power. And it is doable because it would build on New York State’s ample hydropower resources, as well as on the large amounts of wind and solar power that have already been installed in New York state. Such a standard would make our electric grid more resilient during times of stress (think: scorching summer afternoons); give our kids cleaner air to breathe; create thousands of new jobs; and, further prove New York’s leadership in the effort to spur energy innovation and fight climate change. (Already, California’s governor, Jerry Brown, has promised his state will get 50 percent of its electricity from clean sources by 2030. Should California vanquish New York? Let’s beat him to the punch!)

In his first term, Governor Cuomo helped New York maintain its status as a clean energy leader, developing and supporting such programs as the NY-Sun Initiative that will help install 3,000 megawatts of solar in New York by 2023; the $1 billion New York Green Bank, a public-private lending institution designed to break down financial barriers for clean energy; and, the Reforming the Energy Vision plan to redesign New York’s electric system so that it’s better tuned in to today’s realities.

As announced in the State of the State book, the governor plans to build on that legacy, with programs that include:

• A $5 billion Clean Energy Fund to spur clean-energy investments throughout the state over the next 10 years. While the fund will underwrite existing programs such as NY-Sun and the Green Bank, it will also “pay particular attention to expanding opportunities…in segments of the market that may be underserved…such as low- to moderate income communities.”

• Shared Solar: Here in New York, with our high concentration of renters and multi-family buildings, rooftop solar is often inaccessible to tenants and others who want it. Shared solar allows people and businesses who can’t build solar onsite to subscribe to local solar arrays that offer all the benefits of solar, without the roof.

• Five of the Empire State’s largest cities–Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Yonkers–will cut their energy use by 20 percent by 2020, through the Five Cities Energy Plans. The program, administered by the state’s New York Power Authority, will not only save these cities as much as $400 million a year on energy, and cut their carbon pollution accordingly, it will also serve as a model for local governments across the country.

• Expanded battery storage research: New and improved battery energy storage is crucial to scaling up renewable energy and enhancing resilience during times of stress on the electric grid. Under the governor’s plan, Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island will receive $65 million to help commercial developers expand the battery research and development that’s critical to a clean-energy future.

• First-Of-Its-Kind Southern Tier Clean Energy Business Competition: In a win-win effort to bring clean-tech entrepreneurs to places like Binghamton, Elmira, Jamestown and Corning, the state will sponsor a $20 million challenge and offer “funding, technical assistance, and other services to help [entrepreneurs] turn their proposals into real opportunities.”

That’s an impressive collection of initiatives. And it could be made all the more compelling by the addition of a 50 percent by 2025 renewable energy standard. Such a standard would help New York fulfill its existing commitment to cut greenhouse gas pollution by 50 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050. And it would offer the necessary market certainty that clean-energy developers and related businesses need to bring their businesses to New York state and grow them here. That same kind of certainty, provided by the NY-Sun Initiative, has helped lure large solar developer Solar City to the Buffalo area, where the company is building a manufacturing facility that will employ at least 3,000. (Solar City plans a separate research and development program in the Empire State, too.)

New York has great clean-energy resources that are ripe for the picking: strong winds (both onshore and off); more sunshine than world-solar-leader Germany; and low-hanging fruit galore when it comes to energy efficiency. Creating a 50 x ’25 renewable energy standard can not only help the state meet its clean energy goals, but its social ones, with new, good-paying jobs, rural development, and economic growth that can help lift up poor.

On Wednesday, the governor spoke eloquently of increasing opportunity for all New Yorkers–his opportunity agenda. “The farmer in the Southern Tier who is struggling to make ends meet–that farmer is our brother,” he said yesterday. “The child who lives in poverty in Rochester today is our child.” A 50 x ’25 renewable energy standard can help make that opportunity agenda more than a plan. Clean energy will help make the governor’s agenda a reality.

Source: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/kkennedy/a_50_percent_by_2025_renewable.html

New Construction Starts in December Pull Back 16 Percent; Annual Total for 2014 Advances 7 Percent to $575.3 Billion

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NEW YORKJan. 23, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — New construction starts in December retreated 16% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $568.2 billion, according to Dodge Data & Analytics.  The decline follows the 13% increase reported for total construction starts in November, when activity reached its highest level in 2014 with the lift coming from several exceptionally large projects, including a massive lithium ion battery manufacturing plant, an airport terminal redevelopment program, and a liquefied natural gas terminal.  Both nonresidential building and nonbuilding construction in December witnessed substantial percentage declines relative to their robust November amounts.  At the same time, residential building managed a modest gain in December with the help of further growth by multifamily housing.  For 2014 as a whole, total construction starts climbed 7% to $575.3 billion.  This continues the pattern of moderate expansion for total construction starts reported during the previous two years – 2012, up 10%; and 2013, up 9%.

The December statistics produced a reading of 120 for the Dodge Index (2000=100), compared to 143 in November.  For all of 2014, the Dodge Index came in at 122, so while December was down considerably from the previous month it still held close to the average for the full year.  “The construction start statistics can often be volatile on a month-to-month basis, given the presence of large projects in any one given month,” stated Robert A. Murray, chief economist for Dodge Data & Analytics.  “The month of November included four projects valued each in excess of $1 billion, while the largest project in December was a $700 million steel mill.  A better sense of the progression of construction starts over the course of 2014 comes from looking at the data on a quarterly basis.  Activity weakened during the first quarter of 2014, falling 10% from the end of 2013, but then showed steady improvement as 2014 proceeded, with gains in the second quarter, up 9%; the third quarter, up 5%; and the fourth quarter, up 2%.”

“The continued expansion for construction starts in 2014 carried several notable features,” Murray continued.  “The nonresidential building sector showed more growth for commercial building, the first increase for institutional building after five years of decline, and a surge of manufacturing plant projects.  Residential building was supported by the strengthening multifamily market, but was not able to offer the same upward push as in 2012 and 2013 given the flat performance by single family housing.  Nonbuilding construction showed a slower pace for public works, and while electric utilities lost further momentum the decline was much less severe than in 2013.  Looking ahead to 2015, nonresidential building should benefit from more private investment directed at commercial building and more financing for school construction given the passage of recent bond measures.  However, the rate of increase for nonresidential building will be dampened by a slower pace for energy-related manufacturing projects.  Residential building should see more multifamily housing while renewed growth for single family housing will need the banking industry to provide potential homebuyers with greater access to home mortgages.  Nonbuilding construction will be helped by the fact that federal spending levels for fiscal 2015 were set in December, but Congress needs to address the stopgap federal transportation legislation that expires at the end of May.”

Nonresidential building in December fell 23% to $196.6 billion (annual rate), following its 32% increase in the previous month.  Manufacturing plant construction plunged 73%, given the comparison to November that included the $2.5 billion lithium ion battery factory for Tesla Motors in Nevada and a$1.3 billion nitrogen urea plant in Oklahoma.  While December did include the start of a $700 million steel mill in Arkansas, the next largest manufacturing projects were valued at $70 million or less.  The commercial building group in December slipped 5%, given a steep drop for hotels, down 34%; and much smaller declines for warehouses, down 3%; and offices, down 2%.  The office category did include several noteworthy projects as December starts, such as the $304 million office portion of a $675 million mixed-use project in Miami FL, a $191 million office complex in Mountain View CA, a$150 million office building in Boston MA, and a $124 million office complex in Seattle WA.  Store construction in December showed improvement after a lackluster November, rising 10%.

The institutional building group in December fell 10%.  Much of the decline came as the result of a sharp 71% drop for transportation terminal work, which had been boosted in November by the start of the $1.6 billion airport terminal redevelopment program in Salt Lake City UT.  Educational facilities slipped 4% in December, although the latest month did feature the start of seven high schools valued at $50 million or more, including a $126 millionhigh school in Irvine CA.  Healthcare facilities fell 5% in December, despite the start of a $328 million hospital in the Houston TX metropolitan area and a$143 million hospital addition in Avon OH.  On the plus side, the public buildings category jumped 62% in December, with the lift coming from a $168 million prison project in San Diego CA.  Also reporting large percentage gains were church construction, up 41%; and amusement-related work, up 40%, with the latter being boosted by the start of a $100 million convention center in Casa Grande AZ.

For 2014 as a whole, nonresidential building climbed 17% to $208.2 billion, following the 11% gain that was reported in 2013.  The manufacturing building category surged 74%, lifted by the start of numerous energy-related plants located in the Gulf Coast region of Texas and Louisiana, such as the$3.0 billion Chevron Phillips cracker ethylene plant and the $3.0 billion Exxon petrochemical plant expansion.  If the manufacturing plant category is excluded, nonresidential building in 2014 would be up 11%, after an 8% increase in 2013 on a similar basis.  The commercial building group in 2014 advanced 15%, led by a 28% increase for the office category that featured the start of such projects as the $2.3 billion office portion of the $2.5 billionApple corporate headquarters in Cupertino CA and the $806 million office portion of the $933 million Comcast Innovation and Technology Center in Philadelphia PA.  The top five metropolitan areas ranked by the dollar volume of new office starts in 2014 were – New York NYSan Jose CAHouston TXPhiladelphia PA, and Chicago IL.  The other commercial categories showed this performance in 2014 – hotels, up 23%; warehouses, up 18%; and stores and shopping centers, unchanged from the previous year.

The institutional building group for all of 2014 increased 8%, marking the first gain since 2008.  The educational facilities category rose 12%, and featured greater activity for these major segments – K-12 school construction, up 18%; and college and university construction, up 19%.  Increases were also reported for public buildings, up 13%; amusement-related work, up 12%; and transportation terminals, up 10%.  The healthcare facilities category in 2014 did not participate in the broad upward trend, as it slipped 1%.  Church construction in 2014 continued to be depressed, falling an additional 10%.

Residential building in December improved 3% to $247.3 billion (annual rate).  Multifamily housing climbed 14%, lifted by groundbreaking for two residential towers in New York NY, valued at $384 million and $275 million, respectively.  Additional multifamily projects in December included $208 million for the multifamily portion of a $675 million mixed-use tower in Miami FL and $171 million for the multifamily portion of a $200 million mixed-use tower in Boston MA.  Single family housing in December settled back 1%, as it maintained the essentially flat pattern that was present throughout 2014.

The 2014 amount for residential building was $227.8 billion, up 8%, and a much smaller increase than what was reported in 2012, up 31%; and 2013, up 26%.  Single family housing grew just 2% in dollar terms, considerably less than its 27% jump in the previous year.  The regional pattern for single family housing in 2014 was mixed.  Gains were reported in the South Central, up 7%; the South Atlantic, up 3%; and the Northeast, up 2%; while declines were reported in the West, down 1%; and the Midwest, down 2%.  Multifamily housing in 2014 climbed 28%, and has now shown annual dollar gains in excess of 20% for five straight years.  By major region, multifamily housing revealed this performance in 2014 – the Northeast, up 41%; the South Atlantic, up 30%; the South Central, up 23%; the Midwest, up 20%; and the West, up 17%.  The top five metropolitan areas in terms of the 2014 dollar amount of multifamily starts were New York NYMiami FLWashington DCLos Angeles CA, and Boston MA.  Metropolitan areas ranked 6 through 10 were – Chicago ILSeattle WASan Francisco CAPhiladelphia PA, and Dallas-Ft. Worth TX.

Nonbuilding construction in December plummeted 32% to $124.3 billion (annual rate), following its 21% hike in November.  A large share of December’s decline was due to a 79% plunge for the electric power and gas plant category, which had been boosted in November by the start of the$3.6 billion Dominion Cove Point LNG Liquefaction project in Maryland and a $571 million natural gas-fired power plant in Virginia.  Although December did include a $500 million retrofit of four coal-fired power plants in Alabama, this was not enough to cushion the category’s steep December drop.  New public works projects in December fell a more moderate 10%, and reflected decreased activity for water supply systems, down 25%; and miscellaneous public works (site work, mass transit, pipelines), down 43%.  On the plus side, highway and bridge construction in December increased 2%, and included the start of the $555 million Kosciuszko/ Newtown Creek bridge rehabilitation project in Brooklyn and Queens NY.  Growth in December was also reported for river/harbor development, up 3%; and sewer construction, up 6%.

For the full year 2014, nonbuilding construction dropped 6% to $139.2 billion, which followed the 9% decline reported for 2013.  Public works construction overall in 2014 was down 7%, sliding back after its 12% gain in the previous year.  Highway and bridge construction retreated 15% from a very strong amount in 2013 that included several substantial bridge projects, such as the $3.1 billion Tappan Zee Bridge replacement in New York.  Declines were also reported for river/harbor development, down 6%; and water supply systems, down 7%.  Annual gains were reported for miscellaneous public works, up 4% (with much of the support coming from increased mass transit work), and sewer construction, up 8%.  The electric utility and gas plant category in 2014 retreated 2%, a much smaller drop than the 55% plunge in 2013.  While alternative power generation projects (primarily solar and wind) were down sharply, more traditional power generation plants held steady, and natural gas plants increased with the start of the Dominion Cove Point LNG Liquefaction project.

The 7% gain for total construction starts at the national level in 2014 was the result of greater activity in all five major regions.  Leading the way was the South Central, up 14%, followed by the South Atlantic, up 11%; the West, up 7%; the Northeast, up 2%; and the Midwest, up 1%.

Source: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/new-construction-starts-in-december-pull-back-16-percent-annual-total-for-2014-advances-7-percent-to-5753-billion-300025046.html

Jones Stephens two-finger closet flange

For all of your NYC plumbing needs, contact Franco Belli Plumbing & Heating & Sons – the best Brooklyn plumber there is. Call us at (917) 410-4233 or contact us using the form to the right

Jones Stephens’ Two-Finger Flange is perfect for PVC, ABS or cast-iron pipe. This patented closet flange is equipped with an ASTM C-564 double-lip seal rubber gasket and is available in PVC, ABS and cast iron. It pushes easily into 3” or 4” cast iron or Schedule 40 DWV PVC pipe to form a positive seal and fits flush to the floor. Redesigned to fit oblong horns, the flange features a long shank providing up to 4” of clearance below the floor to seal breaks or cracks in the pipe.

Source: www.pmmag.com/articles/96927

General Pipe Cleaners drain-cleaning tube distributor

For all of your NYC plumbing needs, contact Franco Belli Plumbing & Heating & Sons – the best Brooklyn plumber there is. Call us at (917) 410-4233 or contact us using the form to the right

The inner drum of  General’s Speedrooter 92 is molded to surround and contain the Flexitube distributor tube to prevent cable tangling, while still allowing the operator to see how much cable is left in the drum. The large steel drum holds up to 100’ of 3/4” or 5/8” Flexicore cable for clearing 3” to 10” drain lines; the small drum carries up to 100’ of 9/16” cable for clearing 2” to 4” lines. It features a grease fitting and a heavy-duty 1/2 hp motor with thermal overload protection.

Source: www.pmmag.com/articles/96922