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Posts Tagged ‘Louisville’

‘Tis the season to winterize your facility

The Ohio Valley skipped right over fall and went straight to winter, it would seem. Aside from being unpleasant to go from 80-degree afternoons one week to 30-degree highs the next, such rapid shifts posed a threat to business continuity.

The ice storm that rolled through the region recently might not have wreaked the havoc it did if it had showed up in, say, January rather than mid-November. Why? Many trees were still holding on to most of their leaves. Ice clung to the leaves, weighing down the limbs and causing them to break off. The crashing limbs and trees took out power lines across the region, and left tens of thousands without power. It took as much as four days for power to be restored to some.

The early ice storm was a wake up call. Is your facility ready for unexpected weather events? Here’s how you can prepare:

Stock up now on surface treatment supplies. Make sure you have the proper equipment and chemicals available for treating parking lots and walkways. And don’t forget the inside of your facility, too – melting snow and ice tracked in through door ways can create a slip and fall hazard. Be ready with the necessary tools to keep those areas clean and dry, too.

Inspect shrubs, trees and roofs. Keep foliage trimmed back so it doesn’t hang over power lines or roofs. Check roofs for potential trouble spots, and make sure gutters and drainage systems are clear and functioning properly.

Take care of routine HVAC system maintenance. Evaluate performance and replace any filters or worn parts as needed to maintain efficient performance.

Review business continuity plans. If your business loses power, do you have a back up plan? If key personnel lose power at home are unable to get to work, do you have a back up plan? Now is the time to document and cross train to ensure smooth functioning.

Need help reviewing the safety and security of your facility? We can help. Call (800) 567-1180 for a consultation.

Shut the door for fire safety.

When it comes to fire safety, fire alarms and sprinkler systems are the first pieces of safety equipment that come to mind.

But could the humble door actually be key to slowing or preventing the spread of a fire and saving lives?

The UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute, a non-profit which studies and trains both firefighters and the general public on fire safety, kicked off a campaign this year encouraging people to close their bedroom doors before turning in at night. Closed doors depress oxygen flow, which starves fire and slows its progress. Slowing a fire down gives occupants time to escape and gives fire crews more time to arrive on scene and fight the fire.

That same thinking translates from residential applications to office buildings, hospitals, schools and other public spaces. Facilities managers and building owners should think carefully about door placement, and how strategic door placement and use can slow or block fire progress and prevent loss.

The issue is especially urgent for hospitals, nursing homes and rehabilitation centers where moving patients may take more time or might even be impossible. In those cases, specially designed fire doors must be in place so buildings can be compartmentalized and occupants can shelter in place if necessary until the fire is suppressed.

Fire doors must be inspected at least twice a year. Fire doors are deceptively complicated, and even small defects can threaten their integrity and heighten risk, so inspections should be carried out by someone trained to recognize and correct any defect or misuse of the door.

Door monitoring can be integrated along with all other building systems such as security video, fire alarms and suppression systems and more. Maintaining awareness of these key systems all in one place provides key insights that can help identify and reduce risks.

Interested in learning more about integrating building systems? ECT Services can help. Call (800) 567-1180 for a consultation today.

Did Kentucky lawmakers do away with unnecessary regulations, or did it compromise public safety?

During the current Kentucky General Assembly, lawmakers passed HB 100, which included an amendment allowing Kentucky to issue its own amendments to the National Electrical Code.

Senator Jared Carpenter (R-Richmond) spoke in favor of the amendment, citing the practices he endorses as the owner of KJC Properties, LLC Real Estate and Rental Properties.

If a tenant calls and says they plugged in a curling iron and now their lights won’t come on, the solution is typically to change the GFCI outlets, said Carpenter. Ground fault control breaker outlets just don’t work well, says Carpenter, and cause needless service issues that drive up costs. Federal regulations reduce efficiency and increase costs for businesses, he said, while not necessarily keeping people safe.

“There’s no electrician that wants to come to your house that wants to do faulty, unsafe work,” said Carpenter. They don’t want to risk the liability if something goes wrong, he said.

The National Fire Prevention Association takes a different view. Keeping current with the latest nation standards is critical for safety, NFPA maintains, and neglecting or opposing national standards could lead to property damage and loss of life.

The political and regulatory environment has shifted significantly in the last few years, however, and now national standards like the NEC face greater scrutiny. Adoption of updates is taking longer.

What does that mean for facilities managers? Facilities managers might have to work a little harder to keep up with the latest regulations, particularly in states like Kentucky which may amend the NEC or other federal standards. State code changes might not always be less strict, sometimes they may be more stringent depending on local context. It’s important to take nothing for granted. Keeping an eye on local codes is key, too.

Organizations like NFPA can be helpful in keeping up with the latest, but developing a good relationship with your local code enforcement office is key. They are the experts when it comes to knowing what is permissible, what is not, and why. Look to your local code enforcement office as an educational resource.

10 energy-saving tips for dark, cold months

The recent arrival of cooler temps dovetailed with the end of Daylight Savings Time, making it feel like the world suddenly went dark and cold and the same time. Is your business or organization still making the adjustment?

These tips will help you maximize energy efficiency during the winter months:

Contact your energy provider and ask if they will help you conduct an energy audit. Many providers provide free audits to customers.

Review your energy usage from last winter season and set targets. How much energy did you use? What was the average daily temp and other conditions? Setting a goal for reducing use might help you keep costs in check.

Check insulation. Make sure it is adequate to meet your needs. Check seals on all duct work to make sure it is sound and air isn’t leaking.

Schedule regular maintenance for your HVAC system to keep it running at peak efficiency. Be sure to change or clean filters, too. Dirty filters make systems worker harder and less efficiently.

Check all vents and returns to make sure they are clear of obstructions. Arrange furniture so air flow is maximized, and keep paper and other debris clear.
Look for leaky doors and windows and seal them. Use caulk and/or weather stripping to seal up energy-sucking gaps throughout your facility. Gaps around plumbing access, electrical outlets and lighting fixtures are often leaky, too. Seal them up and you’ll better maintain temps in your facility.

Use programmable thermostats to maintain temps. Set temps no higher than 67 degrees when your facility is occupied, and drop temps several degrees overnight or when facilities are not in use. You’ll realize substantial savings by dropping your thermostat just two degrees.

Limit the use of space heaters. Not only do they present a fire hazard, they use significant energy and make it difficult to regulate temperatures. Encourage layering clothes or wearing sweaters for personal comfort.

Maximize use of natural light. Open blinds and curtains to allow sunshine in during the day, and close them at night to retain heat.

Monitor lighting use. Use sensors or timers to turn lights on and off automatically. Switch to LED lighting wherever possible. Use smart power strips and sleep settings to operate office equipment efficiently.

Need help monitoring and integrating your HVAC and other key building systems? We can help. Call (800) 567-1180 to learn more.

Is your community center at risk?

Louisville’s Jewish Community Center was the target of a bomb threat and had to be evacuated recently.


The threat appears to be part of a recent wave of threats and vandalism aimed at Jewish organizations. Since the first of the year, at least 134 bomb threats have been made against 100 locations across the country. Targets include Jewish Community Centers, schools and offices of the Anti-Defamation League.
The Jewish Community Center of Louisville is a vital part of the community, hosting an array of recreational opportunities ranging from swimming classes to art classes to theatre productions. The activities are open to all.
Why would anyone target such an institution?
It’s actually not unusual for religiously-affiliated institutions to be targets of violence and threats. Some are targeted for their beliefs, ethnic or religious makeup. Some are targeted because they are open and accessible by design, so it’s easy for those who wish to do harm to gain entry. Some are simply caught up as collateral damage in situations of domestic violence.
What can religiously-affiliated organizations do to protect themselves and the communities they serve? Here are a few ideas:
Gather stakeholders. Bring together organizational leaders, key staff, community members, legal counsel, insurance representatives and law enforcement. It is important to have a variety of perspectives represented; the different points of view will help you balance addressing risks with the purpose of your organization.
Assess potential threats. Think as comprehensively as possible about risks, which may include bomb threats, active shooters, vandalism, arson or more.
Develop response plans. Local law enforcement and insurance companies may be a good resource here, as well as your facilities maintenance team. Once you’ve developed response plans, communicate them appropriately. Hold regular emergency response training and drills, and distribute plans among key staff members in several locations.
Evaluate monitoring and response systems. Is your security system adequate and up to date? Are cameras, alarms and other elements fully integrated and securely accessible from remote locations? Should your facility consider a shot detection system that automatically detects gun shots and alerts first responders?
ECT Services can help you evaluate your security monitoring and response systems. Call us at (800) 567-1180 for details.

Louisville Metro Police invest in gunshot detection system

Louisville Metro Police announced plans last week to buy an outdoor gunshot detection system and install it within the next year. The system will be installed in areas of the city with high reports of shots fired, and high reports of violent crime.

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The systems will use microphones to triangulate gunshots quickly, according to a WLKY report, which will help police “pinpoint location, aid in the collection of ballistic data, provide aid to victims quickly and lead to quick arrests.”

The announcement highlights the growing interest in the use of gunshot detection systems to provide instant, accurate information to law enforcement.

“We applaud the city’s efforts to reduce response time in cases where shots have been fired,” says Jeff Murphy, CEO of ECT Services. “Kudos to the city for taking this important step.”

While the city’s proposed solution is designed to work outdoors, ECT Services offers a similar gunshot detection system for use in schools, office buildings, shopping malls and other public locations.

Guardian by Shooter Detection Systems works by using acoustic and infrared sensors to instantly identify gunshots. The precise location of the gunshots is noted, and warnings are instantly sent out to people in the facility and vicinity advising them to evacuate or take cover. Authorities are also alerted immediately. Guardian can also be integrated with other building systems like door locks and video surveillance. This video shows how Guardian works.

The Guardian system has the ability to dramatically reduce response times in active shooter situations. A recent independent live-fire study in a two million square foot facility reduced reporting and first-responder dispatch time from as much as 18 minutes to just five seconds.

Interested in learning more? Register to attend a live fire demonstration event.

ECT Awarded for Innovation and Creativity!

ECT Services snagged the Innovation & Creativity Award at the 16th annual Inc.credible Awards sponsored by Greater Louisville Inc., the metro chamber of commerce.

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“The Inc.credible Awards are a chance for Greater Louisville to really celebrate all the small businesses that make our region unique and vibrant,” said Kent Oyler, president and CEO of GLI, according to the Courier-Journal. “We are always excited to see the innovative business solutions that are being pioneered by the smaller players in our community.”

The award recognizes a small business that executes business initiatives which demonstrate innovative solutions for new and existing business needs.

“I’m so proud to be part of this team who takes every project we work on to the next level. They consistently listen to the real pain points of our customers, so we can be sure our services hit the mark and eliminate those pain points. Of course, we have fun while we’re doing it and are very honored to be recognized by GLI,” says Jeff Murphy, CEO.

Among our most innovative recent offerings is the Guardian gunshot detection system developed by Shooter Detection Systems, which works by using acoustic and infrared sensors to instantly identify gunshots. The precise location of the gunshots is noted, and authorities are alerted immediately. Warnings are also instantly sent out to people in the facility and vicinity advising them to evacuate or take cover. Guardian can also be integrated with other building systems like door locks and video surveillance. This video demonstrates the basics of the system.

ECT Services is also proud to provide integrated temperature control systems for the newly-renovated Speed Art Museum. The interior of the entire museum must be maintained at a constant temperature of 72 degrees to protect the collection, which includes paintings, sculpture, furniture, textiles and other objects, some of which are thousands of years old. Glass walls, integrated old and new construction and other factors are also challenges.

According to a report by the Courier-Journal, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and regional business leaders were among the more than 300 people who attended the event, which was held at the Galt House on Aug. 19.

Thanks to all who voted!

ECT Services has been providing innovative solutions to make Louisville-area buildings sustainable, maintainable, energy efficient and safe since 1981.

The Speed of Light: Renovation yields brighter, more energy efficient museum

After a three-year, $60 million renovation and expansion project, the Speed Art Museum reopened last week.

Check out time-lapse video of the project posted by the Courier-Journal:

The 30-hour opening celebration included music, dance and more, with partner organizations from across the community joining in.

The museum’s new glass façade buildings, which wrap around the original structure, are designed to maximize natural light and showcase the museum’s collection. Too much, light, however, could be damaging to the collection, so the glass walls are embedded with metallic rectangles that filter the light and deflect the harsher rays of the sun. The metallic rectangles are more dense at the top of the building, and graduate as they cascade down the wall.

Most of the interior lighting has also been switched to more energy-efficient, less harsh LED lighting, too.

The interior of the entire museum must be maintained at a constant temperature of 72 degrees to protect the collection, which includes paintings, sculpture, furniture, textiles and other objects, some of which are thousands of years old.

Glass walls, integrated old and new construction and other factors could make temperature control a challenge in such a facility. The Speed is overcoming that challenge with an integrated control system designed by ECTServices.

The Speed is also pursuing LEED building certification.

For more information about the Speed, visit their website.