Sunday, April 22, 2012

1M square-foot Tremont Crossing Proposed for Roxbury

The $300 million project would include 500,000 square feet of retail, 200,000 square feet of office space, an 11-story apartment building with 240 units, and a new museum for the National Center for Afro-American Artists. The development will also include a large public plaza and a multi-level parking garage with 1,700 spaces.

Elma Lewis Partners and Feldco Development have proposed "Tremont Crossing," a 1-million-square-foot, mixed-use development in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood.

If approved by the city, the $300 million project would include 500,000 square feet of retail with smaller shops and boutiques along Tremont Street, 200,000 square feet of office space, an 11-story apartment building with 240 units, and a new museum for the National Center for Afro-American Artists. The development will also include a large public plaza and a multi-level parking garage with 1,700 spaces.

Tremont Crossing will be located on the 8-acre parcel bounded by Tremont, Whittier and Downing streets. 

According to the filing with the Boston Redevelopment Authority, the project seeks to integrate a mix of uses in a “highly-functional, urban context; creating a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly environment that is conducive to the success of its commercial and cultural tenants, as well as enhancing the quality of life in the neighborhood of which it will become a part.”

The museum and cultural space will be at the center of the development with a public plaza to include sculptures and outdoor seating. The office tower will rise above the museum, but will maintain its pedestrian access on Tremont Street and offer unobstructed views of downtown Boston.

The Gund Partnership in collaboration with and Stull and Lee Inc., created the design for Tremont Crossing.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Epic Solar-Powered Fenway Project to Start: 5 Buildings, $450M

A court ruling has removed the most significant legal barrier standing in the way of the long-delayed Fenway Center development, a $450 million complex of apartments, stores, and offices to be built over the Massachusetts Turnpike.  Fenway Center calls for development of 550 apartments, retail stores, parking garages, and a 27-story office and residential building, to be built on parking lots near the ballpark.  A new commuter rail station is also slated to be built next to the site.

Massachusetts Land Court Judge Harry Grossman dismissed a zoning challenge that halted the project nearly three years ago. Grossman, in a ruling made public Tuesday, found that a project neighbor, HRPT Medical Buildings Realty Trust, failed to prove the project would improperly infringe on its property.
The ruling means that the $450 million Fenway Center project can now get under way. The first phase will involve a 102-unit apartment building along Brookline Avenue, a 750-space parking garage on a deck over the Mass. Pike, a pair of apartment building with 316 units total along Beacon Street, and retail that will include the organic grocer Harvest Co-op. Yup.

A lot going on right near the ballpark, and it all can move forward now that a judge has ruled that a neighboring property owner has no chance of winning its case over public street extensions.

The decision clears the way for one of the city’s largest and most transformative construction projects.

Fenway Center will be transformative in two ways. First, as we've seen, there's a lot of stuff going up, notable in itself even in a Boston that is seeing one of its busiest construction sprees in living memory (the project's next phase includes a 27-story tower over the Mass. Pike with additional retail, office space and apartments). Second, the five buildings total planned for the project are supposed to be powered electrically largely by solar panels. Fans on their way to a Sox game will see apartments, restaurants, stores, etc., humming with the same sunshine powering Bobby Valentine. How about that.

The five-building complex is designed to be unlike anything now standing in Boston, with solar panels to generate much of its electricity. Part of the development will straddle the turnpike between Brookline Avenue and Beacon Street, where many Red Sox fans now walk to the ballpark through crumbling parking lots.

State and city officials cheered the decision, noting that Fenway Center will result in hundreds of construction jobs and advance the redevelopment of the neighborhood around the ballpark.

“It is great news that this lawsuit has been decided,’’ Mayor Thomas M. Menino said. “I am pleased that the $450 million Fenway Center can now move forward and put 1,700 construction workers back on the job.’’

Friday, April 20, 2012

$500 million, 47-story Copley Tower Gets Go-Ahead

City officials have approved construction of what would be Boston’s tallest residential building, a 47-story tower at Copley Place with 318 condominiums above a retail base that houses an expanded Neiman Marcus store and other shops. Supporters said the tower will be a striking addition to the skyline and will create jobs and improve the neighborhood.

The board of the Boston Redevelopment Authority OK’d the $500 million project by Simon Property Group, of Indianapolis, after a long debate involving residents, union laborers, and public officials. Opponents argued it won’t provide enough affordable housing and will worsen traffic and cast shadows on nearby Copley Square. In the end, however, the board voted that the project should move forward.

Simon Property Group hopes to begin construction later this year.

The tower was just one of several large projects to win approval.

Others included a 404-unit apartment tower next to the Jacob Wirth Restaurant on Stuart Street near Boston’s Theatre District and a mixed use-project project on Boylston Street that will be developed by Abbey Group.  It will have 210 apartments, offices, and stores in a building that will replace a McDonald’s.

Union workers said the project would alleviate a 35 percent unemployment rate in the building trades in Massachusetts. Others said the project would bring $7 million a year in tax collections and upgrades of nearby public spaces.

Opponents, including Democratic state Representative Byron Rushing, argued the developer is shortchanging the city on affordable housing.

The tower, designed by Elkus Manfredi Architects, would add nearly 800,000 square feet to the Copley Place complex. Currently the complex has 100 apartments, the Westin and Marriott hotels, four office buildings, a shopping mall, and a 1,400-space garage.

In addition to new residences, the project would include a renovation and expansion of Neiman Marcus.

A public winter garden would also be built, along with a redesign of the entry to Southwest Corridor Park and up to $1 million in public art displays.

Simon plans 10 apartments in the tower to be affordable housing and is negotiating to build another 35 units in the South End. It is seeking a location for another three units it needs to build to comply with city rules mandating affordable housing in such projects equal to 15 percent of the total residences.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Jailhouse Chic: Cambridge Courthouse Destined for Apartments

Seven suitors stepped forward for the chance to redevelop the old Edward J. Sullivan Middlesex Courthouse in East Cambridge into an apartment tower. However, the state has rejected all seven proposals to redevelop the 22-story, 595,000-square-foot tower on Thorndike Street. The state’s Department of Capital Asset Management determined that it was in the best interest of the commonwealth to issue a revised RFP.

Last month, seven commercial real estate firms filed competing plans with the state’s Department of Capital Asset Management (DCAM) to redevelop the 22-story Edward J. Sullivan Courthouse. Among the teams that met the deadline included Amerimar Acquisition, Boston Properties, The Congress Group, The Gutierrez Company., HYM Investmemnt Group, Leggat-McCall Properties and Trinity Financial. An eighth developer, Bulfinch Thorndike Investors LLC, was rejected early in the process.

Responding to a request for proposals, prominent developers in late February put forth plans that would have mixed rental apartments with thousands of new square feet of retail and green space as well as parking; and all swore off lab space. Still, the state said no a month later and returned deposits.

In a letter to the developers, Dana Harrell, acting deputy commissioner of real estate, read to a BBJ reporter by one of the recipients, said, “The commonwealth has elected to reject all proposals which were submitted in response to the RFP dated Nov. 2 for the Edward J. Sullivan Courthouse at 40 Thorndike St. in Cambridge.

DCAM has determined that it is in the best interest of the commonwealth to reissue a revised RFP and all interested parties are invited to submit proposals. This is an opportunity for your team to review and revise your proposal if you wish to do so. Within a few days, revised RFP information will be posted on the DCAM website.”

The state has now set a new date for bids, May 14, but the target date for closing a deal with a developer, July 1. The state, then, expects that this latest round of proposals will produce a developer willing to undertake the asbestos removal necessary to start any redevelopment and deal with community concerns surrounding the scope and size of any new project.

And, as for those in the community (who don't really have a say on which developer wins the bid as the state controls the courthouse's fate), they are still pushing the idea of housing coupled with green space and, of course, parking.

Also identical this time around: the moving day for the jailbirds. The state would commit to moving them by Dec. 31, 2013.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

New Luxury Housing and Two-Story Chanel Planned for Back Bay

A new luxury building will soon get underway on Newbury Street, offering six condominiums and a new storefront for one of the street’s high fashion staples. The corner of Newbury and Arlington Streets is set to house two, new four-story 49,000-square-foot buildings, collectively called No. 6 Newbury. The project, will include construction of a 10,000 square foot ‘House of Chanel’, on the first two floors.

The new condos slated for 4-6 Newbury Street --two, two-bedroom duplexes and four, three- to four-bedroom units ranging from 3,000 to 4,500 square feet - and having floor to ceiling windows -- will be built where a garage currently stands, are expected to ask $3.5 million to $6 million each, depending on their sizes and design requests.

That would make them among the most expensive listings in Boston when they come online next winter.

News of the project, which its developers, including Irish investor Aidan Brooks, are calling No. 6 Newbury (which is actually being called Chanel No. 6 among those in the Boston real estate community), emerged last week after its approval by the city. The Chanel store will take up the first two floors.

Chanel's new 10,000 square foot home has been designed to resemble Coco Chanel’s famed Paris apartment with an exterior fa├žade of French white limestone and black etched moldings designed by architects Peter Marino and Richard Bertman.

Construction of the building is expected to begin in late spring with units expected to be ready for February 2013. No date has been set for Chanel's move.

Monday, April 16, 2012

S+H Construction Receives LEED-Certification on Residential Project in Cambridge

S+H Construction, Inc. of Cambridge, Massachusetts, one of the greater Boston area's premier residential renovation and custom home building companies, is pleased to announce a recently completed residential project in Cambridge received LEED-certification by the U.S. Green Building Council for achievement in green homebuilding and design.

The 6,435 square foot home, built by S+H Construction and designed by AndersonPorterDesign, took approximately six months to design and two years to construct. It incorporates durable construction details, sustainable landscaping, water-efficient plumbing fixtures, recycled materials, and enhanced indoor air quality features including HEPA filters, a heat-recovery ventilation system and Energy Star rated ventilation fans. It also includes the infrastructure to add solar voltaic panels in the future.

The project achieves a 61 HERS (home energy rating system) index score, meaning it is nearly 40% more energy efficient than a home designed to building code requirements. Helping to achieve this level was the use of Icynene foam insulation for the exterior walls and the roof and high efficiency and renewable energy measures such as a ground source heating and cooling system and a rooftop solar hot water heating system.

"The design and construction of an energy retrofit project like this renovation requires careful attention to detail and a well-coordinated team in order to successfully achieve LEED-certification," states Daniel Anderson, of AndersonPorterDesign. "I appreciated the skill and expertise brought to the project by S+H and am pleased that together we were able to meet the program's stringent requirements. This project is significant in being only the 6th gut-rehab project to achieve LEED for Homes certification in Massachusetts."

A multi-award winning firm, S+H Construction collaborates with architects and other design professionals to offer residential renovations, custom building, historic restorations, energy conservation, renewable energy, site work and landscaping solutions. Serving the greater Boston area for over 30 years, S+H provides a dedicated team who share a commitment to customer satisfaction. Their work is consistently seen in both regional and national home and design publications. Additionally the company recently received the 2012 Best of Boston Home Award which is the fifth "Best of" honor for S+H.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Construction Worker Injured in Hopkinton Fall

A electrical construction worker was flown by medical helicopter to a Worcester hospital today, after falling from a Hopkinton building he was helping to construct on Clinton Street.

The man was conscious and alert, but complained of back pain after he fell about 20 feet, Hopkinton Fire Lt. Carl Harris said. The man, whose identity was not available, was working with a construction crew at 135 Clinton St., Harris said.

A LifeFlight helicopter landed at the nearby New England Laborers Training Center on East Street and flew the man to UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester.

“It was a construction-type accident so we’re really not sure what happened,” Harris said. There was also a language barrier so it was difficult to get information, he said.

Police notified the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration Boston office who are investigating the incident.


Friday, April 6, 2012

Shawmut Design and Construction Launches Sports Venues Division

Boston design and construction firm announces  the launch of a dedicated Sports Venues division that will specialize in the management of construction projects at stadiums, arenas, and other athletic facilities across the country.

The launch of Shawmut’s Sports Venues division is the result of momentum established by the completion of more than two dozen projects at some of the nation’s marquee stadiums, including: MetLife Stadium, home of the National Football League’s New York Giants and New York Jets; TD Garden, home of the National Hockey League’s Boston Bruins and the NBA’s Boston Celtics; Yankee Stadium, home of Major League Baseball’s New York Yankees; Oriole Park at Camden Yards, home of Major League Baseball’s Baltimore Orioles; Fenway Park, home of Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox; and Alumni Stadium at Boston College.

Shawmut’s Sports Venues division will be overseen by Randy Shelly. Shelly joined Shawmut in 2002, and has more than 25 of years of experience in the construction industry where he has cultivated relationships and managed projects with some of the most prestigious names in sports venues, restaurants, and retail, including Delaware North Companies, MetLife Stadium, Apple and Louis Vuitton.

The Sports Venues division is currently managing a series of Capital Improvement Projects at TD Garden, and has already been awarded multiple projects for 2012, including Upper Level Concessions at Camden Yards, which will be completed during Major League Baseball’s off-season.

The Sports Venues team has a unique understanding of stadium specific considerations, such as the integration of stadium systems; the complex audio/visual requirements; and structural parameters associated with stadium work. Another area of Shawmut’s expertise is suite development and conversion, a critical component for both new and existing stadiums.

Shawmut is also experienced in navigating challenging work environments; utilizing mitigation practices for occupied spaces; and furnishing high-end custom finishes.

Shawmut, an employee-owned company with offices in Boston, Providence, New Haven, New York City, and Las Vegas, is regarded as one of the premier construction management firms in the United States, with annual revenue of $650 million.

Shawmut has cultivated a reputation for delivering exceptional, personalized service to every client, and promises absolute scheduling predictability. Up-front budget and value engineering exercises, along with the development of specific phasing and delivery methods allow Shawmut to complete each project on time and on budget.

Along with the Sports Venues division, Shawmut also specializes in Academic; Commercial; Corporate Interiors; Healthcare and Life Sciences; Hotels; Restaurants; and Retail.

Shawmut expects to experience continued growth in 2012.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Building Activity Rebounds in Bay State

Construction in the area rebounds after years of anemic activity. Higher education and health care projects are expected to keep Bay State contractors busy in 2012. Construction activity is expected to rebound to the highest levels since the recession.

The education and health caresectors are expected to be the top sources of construction activity again in 2012, said Mary Gately, director of market services for Associated General Contractors of Massachusetts.

With office and retail construction at a near-standstill in recent years, the construction industry has fallen back on public sector jobs as a cushion during the economic downturn.

Partly because of public sector work, Massachusetts construction companies are the nation’s most optimistic for the second straight year, according to a survey of members by Associated General Contractors of America.

The survey released this week found 58 percent of Bay State respondents expect business to grow in 2012. The state had the survey’s highest rates of optimism about public building projects, as well as construction in the retail, warehouse and lodging sectors.

Industry figures see potential for health care, life sciences and multi-family housing to help lead a rebound in 2012 and ensuing years.

Lee Kennedy Co. of Quincy is on a pace for $200 million in construction this year, twice its billings in 2011. The company is working on such high-profile projects as the $42-million Edward M. Kennedy Institute in Dorchester, Berklee College of Music’s new $70-million mixed-use building in Back Bay and a $30-million, 130-room Marriott Residence Inn in South Boston’s Seaport District.

Higher education accounts for 40 percent of the company’s business this year, CEO Lee Kennedy said. “For a long while, it’s been public higher education that’s been carrying the day. Now, recently, private higher-ed is starting to gain momentum,” Kennedy said.

About five million square feet of commercial development is being built in Greater Boston this year, according to research from commercial real estate brokerage Jones Lang LaSalle.

The state’s biotech industry, long held up as a prime economic catalyst, will be in the thick of building projects in 2012. Bay State biotech companies received $1 billion in venture capital funding in 2011, helping fuel expansions, said Peter Abair, director of economic development for the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals’ new 1.1-million-square-foot headquarters in South Boston is the highest-profile project among several major projects. Biogen Idec is building two structures totaling 500,000 square feet as it moves lab and corporate space from Weston to Cambridge.

In a sign of confidence in the market’s future, Skanska USA is building a 100,000-square-foot lab space in Cambridge’s Kendall Square on speculation. The flurry of activity is the industry’s busiest since the middle of the last decade, Abair said.

Quincy-based J. Calnan & Associates, a construction management firm, expects its 2012 business to be steady or slightly above that of last year, President Jim Cahill said.

The company is counting on life science and technology companies for many of its nearly 30 projects this year. Calnan recently oversaw the build-out of new headquarter space for Joule Unlimited, a biofuels start-up that moved from Cambridge to Bedford. “While people aren’t expanding necessarily, that’s still a good market to be in,” Cahill said.

Construction starts in Massachusetts increased 24 percent in 2011 compared with 2010, according to Reed Construction Data.

Bernard Markstein, Reed’s chief economist, said the region’s activity should continue to grow this year. “Where Boston has a real advantage is health care,” he said. “Boston is known as a leader there, and the needs continue to grow there.”

Ownership changes in the health care sector could spur more work for contractors as deep-pocketed investors acquire local hospitals.

Steward Health Care, which is backed by Cerberus Capital Management, acquired Quincy Medical Center last year and plans to spend nearly $31 million to remodel the hospital and install new equipment.

Public school building construction projects continue to be a major source of work, as they had been during the recession.

The Massachusetts School Building Assistance Fund is contributing to 23 projects that will be completed this year, at a total cost of $802 million, spokesman Matt Donovan said.

Projects scheduled for groundbreaking this year include a $61-million middle school in Hingham and a $101-million high school in Marshfield.

Multi-family housing is another potential growth area, Lee Kennedy said. Apartment construction is rebounding in Boston, as home ownership declines and more people join the rental market.

AvalonBay Communities broke ground last year on the 220-unit Avalon Cohasset apartment complex. The project had been delayed for years because of permitting battles and the housing downturn. Condo projects are on the drawing board in downtown Boston for the first time since the recession, which Kennedy described as a reaction to rising rental rates.

Kenneth Simonson, chief economist for Associated General Contractors of America, has predicted that it won’t be until 2015 that construction levels recover to pre-recession levels.

But Massachusetts has fared better than most states because public sector projects, particularly at the state universities, helped pick up the slack during most of the recession, Gately said. As the industry looks ahead, the question is whether the private sector can sustain the momentum.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Ban on Incandescent Bulbs Upheld Despite Dangers of CFL Lamps

The House of Representatives again failed to pass the “Better Use of Light Bulbs Act,” aimed at repealing legislation mandating energy efficient replacements - such as LED-based lamps - for 100W incandescent lamps which were phased out on January 1st.

The Republican sponsored bill - which ran contrary to the escalating green movement - failed to achieve the two thirds vote required to repeal the 2007 legislation. Despite the fact that energy efficient lighting will help to significantly energy use, party members believe the government has no place legislating what type of light bulbs citizens buy.

The law does not ban the use or manufacture of all incandescent bulbs, nor does it mandate the use of compact fluorescent or LED lamps. It simply requires that companies make their incandescent bulbs work better. In reality, only technologies such as LED and CFL will meet the new government requirements.

Lighting is responsible for nearly 20% of the world's energy consumption, and is one of the easiest places to save energy. But the savings will come with higher upfront costs, which will be recovered over the long lifetime of the lamps.

Failure of the bill is good news for proponents of LED-based solid-state lighting.

Recent studies have linked CFL lamps to a number of health problems including fatigue, eye strain and migraine headaches, and if broken, compact fluorescent are hazardous to your health. Some manufacturers have started to label their boxes with warnings on how to deal with a broken bulb. In fact, some states will now require that you recycle these bulbs at special facilities because of the large amount of mercury contained in each bulb.

In 2007, President George W. Bush signed into law the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA), requiring more-efficient light bulbs. The legislation - which takes effect on January 1st - specifically requires that light bulb manufacturers improve the efficiency of 100 watt incandescent lamps (lamps with a light output of 1700 lumens), by 25 percent.

The legislation will apply to 75W, 60W, and 40W lamps in successive years between 2012 and 2014., followed more stringent efficiency requirements beginning 2016.

By Peter Coyne

Friday, March 23, 2012

Cops say Cooper Thief Butt-Dialed 911

Connecticut State Police used GPS to pinpoint the location of the cell phone call and found a burglary in progress. A man wearing his cell phone accidentally dialed 911 in the early morning hours on Thursday, while allegedly stealing copper scrap from a residential housing complex construction site.
According to police, the 911 dispatcher heard noises in the background and - thinking that maybe someone was in some type of medical distress - used GPS technology to pinpoint the caller's location.

Officers arrived at the construction site and found the thief loading more than 700 lbs. of copper scrap, which he had hidden in a dumpster, into the back of his pickup truck.

A spokesperson from the Connecticut State Police said "the thief thought he was going to get away with something, but instead he butt-dialed his cell phone and put himself away."

Charged with grand larceny and criminal trespass, the 'butt-dialing thief' was released on $5,000 bond.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

T12 Fluorescent Bulb Phase Out: How Much Time Do I Have Left?

Are you still installing T12 fluorescent lamps? If so, time is running out on the opportunity for your customers to take advantage of rebates and tax incentives for upgrading to more energy-efficient alternatives.

The National Lighting Bureau has estimated that more than 500 million T12 lamps are still in use. However, recent regulations by the Department of Energy have initiated a plan to phase out traditional T12 lamps and ballasts by July 2012.

T12s were originally designed to respond to demand for more energy-efficient fluorescent lamps back in the 1970s during the energy crisis. Unfortunately, for a number of technical reasons, T12s have proved to have shorter lamp life, poor color and low lighting output.

Despite continued use, T12s are widely known as inefficient, dead technology that is easily replaced by T8 or T5 fluorescents, which are more energy-efficient, longer lasting and have better quality light.

“With available rebates and tax incentives, plus the monthly energy cost savings that occur when retrofitting to energy-efficient T8s or T5s, the upgrade virtually pays for itself within a year,” said Sean Neman, director of operations at ReGreen Inc., an energy conservation company. “People need to act fast to cash in on the available rebates and incentives while they are still available. With recent regulations virtually eliminating traditional T12s by 2012, these incentives will not be available for long."

The simplest retrofit for T12 lamp and magnetic ballast is a T8 lamp and electronic ballast. This switch-out can save 30 to 40 percent on energy costs. In qualifying areas, rebates from utilities can subsidize the cost for upgrades anywhere from 60 to 100 percent. Additionally, using the Commercial Building Tax Deduction, owners and managers can receive tax benefits up to 60 cents per square foot.

If you'd like to know more about this tax deduction, go here:

Saturday, March 10, 2012

U.S. Construction Projects Are Now Made In China

Rebuilding America's crumbling infrastructure is a growing priority, with President Obama highlighting construction jobs as part of his $447 billion jobs plan. Nevertheless, more $400 million in federal funds to renovate the Alexander Hamilton Bridge here in New York has been awarded a Chinese government owned construction company. The company uses U.S. labor but the coveted skilled jobs, such as engineering and design work, are being done in Beijing. The profits will also go overseas.  

However, that is only the tip of the iceberg. China Construction America - a subsidiary of the China State Construction Engineering Corporation - has been awarded $100 million in contracts for the 50th Street Ventilation Facility as part of the Long Island Railroad East Side Access project.  CCA also holds a $65 million contract to build a ventilation building structure on the 7 Line Extension project, as well more than $42 million in current NYC Housing Authority contracts. 
At a time when we do not have enough work to support our own industry, how can our government officials justify giving away the little we do have?  
The Port Authority last year announced it was looking to the private sector to construct the replacement for the aging Goethals -- a project expected to cost $1.5 billion with a slated completion date of 2017. 
The Tappan Zee Bridge, long overdue for an overhaul, is one of 14 projects chosen by the Obama administration for expedited federal review and approval — possibly allowing work on a new $5.2 billion replacement bridge to begin as early as the spring of 2013. China Construction America is already high on the short list for both projects. 

'Savings' don’t tell whole story
Politicians have justified awarding the contract to China Construction based on numerous savings they claimed it would produce. That does not take into account the wages lost by workers who otherwise would have been employed on the project. It does not take into account the taxes those workers would have paid — from state and city income tax to Social Security and unemployment taxes. 

It does not take into account the multiplier effect, all the related benefits derived across the economy from the daily purchases made by people with jobs. It does not count all the state and local taxes that employed workers pay for schools and highways. Nor does it take into account all the tax revenue that New York State and City government will have to expend for unemployment, health care and other costs run up by people who have no jobs. In short, what may look like a "savings" is anything but

      • If people don't have jobs, they don't make money.
      • If people don't make money, they don't buy things.
      • If people don't buy things, there is less demand.
      • If there is less demand, then companies don't produce goods.
      • If companies don't produce goods, they don't need employees. 
      • If people don't have jobs, they don't make money... 

What is clear is that New York has lost an exceptional opportunity to create good-paying jobs at home during a time of high domestic unemployment.

With 25 million Americans unemployed, underemployed, working part time because they cannot find a full-time job, or so discouraged they gave up looking for a job; when millions are out of work for the longest period in our history; when millions are in the process of losing their homes because they were unable to keep up with mortgage payments after corporations eliminated their jobs or they were forced to absorb runaway medical bills, New York is providing work for a Chinese construction company, and shipping more our tax dollars oveseas

by Peter Coyne,

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Mercury vapor released from broken compact fluorescent light bulbs can exceed safe exposure levels

Once broken, a compact fluorescent light bulb continuously releases mercury vapor into the air for weeks to months, and the total amount can exceed safe human exposure levels in a poorly ventilated room, according to study results reported in Environmental Engineering Science.

The amount of liquid mercury (Hg) that leaches from a broken compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) is lower than the level allowed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), so CFLs are not considered hazardous waste. However, Yadong Li and Li Jin, Jackson State University (Jackson, MS) report that the total amount of Hg vapor released from a broken CFL over time can be higher than the amount considered safe for human exposure.

They document their findings in the article “Environmental Release of Mercury from Broken Compact Fluorescent Lamps.” (

As people can readily inhale vapor-phase mercury, the authors suggest rapid removal of broken CFLs and adequate ventilation, as well as suitable packaging to minimize the risk of breakage of CFLs and to retain Hg vapor if they do break, thereby limiting human exposure.

Tests of eight different brands of CFLs and four different wattages revealed that Hg content varies significantly from brand to brand. To determine the amount of Hg released by a broken CFL, Li and Jin used standard procedures developed by the EPA to measure leaching of mercury in liquids and used an emission monitoring system to detect Hg vapor.

“This paper is a very nice holistic analysis of potential risks associated with mercury release from broken CFLs and points to potential human health threats that have not always been considered,” according to Domenico Grasso, PhD, Editor-in-Chief and Vice President for Research, Dean of the Graduate College, University of Vermont.

By Mary Ann Liebert / Environmental Engineering Science  

Monday, March 5, 2012

Thomas & Betts Sold for $3.9 Billion

ABB, the world’s largest maker of power-distribution equipment, agreed to buy Memphis, Tennessee-based Thomas & Betts Corp. for $3.9 billion to expand its North American offerings of low voltage equipment.

ABB is paying $72 per share in cash for Thomas & Betts – 24% higher than Friday's closing price on the New York Stock Exchange. Thomas & Betts employs 9,400 people, generating more than $2.3 billion in revenue last year.

Thomas & Betts marks the second major acquisition for Zurich-based ABB under Chief Executive Officer Joe Hogan, who joined the company in 2008 from General Electric. 

He bolstered ABB's market position in the U.S. with the January 2011 purchase of motor giant Baldor Electric for $3.1 billion. That deal added industrial motors and drives and gave ABB heft in automation, where it competes with Siemens.

“Because our products are complementary, we’ll go to market with one of the broadest offerings in the industry,” Hogan said in the statement. “Strategically, it’s a great fit.”

ABB said it plans to reap $200 million annually from the purchase by 2016, mainly from sourcing and purchasing. Thomas & Betts CEO Dominic Pileggi will be in charge of the new global business unit, ABB said.

Thomas & Betts was founded in New Jersey in 1898, as a sales agency for electrical wire and raceway.  It now makes cable ties, electrical fittings and steel outlet boxes used in the electrical, telecommunications, construction and utility industries. 

ABB has said the Thomas & Betts purchase may boost annual sales growth by as much as 4 percent until 2015. 

By 2015, ABB wants to generate as much as 30 percent of revenue from the region, compared with 19 percent in 2010. 

The company has said that it will continue to focus on power and automation and does not intend to divest assets.

Friday, March 2, 2012

ElectricWeb-Boston | Website Launch April 1st

ElectricWeb Communications, LLC is pleased to announce the opening of our new Boston office on March 1, 2012. The Boston office will focus primarily on providing information and online services. We are excited about this new opportunity to expand our business and better serve our customers in the New England region. The scheduled launch date for is April 1, 2012.