Mick Rich Contractors | Solving Complexity With Creativity
An Albuquerque, New Mexico general contractor, Mick Rich Construction specializes in medium scale commercial building projects in all phases of construction: new construction, building renovations, special unique construction, tilt-up construction, and design-build. To serve our clients' needs, we also have a service department for repairs and alterations.
Mick Rich Contractors has been committed to sustainable construction for more than 25 years.
• We started with recycling metals, wood, concrete and asphalt.
• We progressed to matching salvaged materials with organizations that need them. Examples include a sawdust collection system for a new high school; skylights for a new nonprofit office and for our own office; and doors, door hardware, windows, mirrors, and cabinets for the Habitat for Humanity Renew Store in Albuquerque and Espanola.
At the Jack Miller Network meeting in Orlando, Florida last January, I was impressed with Jeff Van Hoose’s seminar on geothermal heating and cooling systems. He offered to take us on a tour of an installation, and I thought, “Why not?”
Last week I flew into Oklahoma City, met the president of Climatec, and toured their fan coil manufacturing plant. Afterwards, Jeff walked me through the new Kenworth Truck Dealership building to view a new geothermal installation.
Here are notes from my brief tour of the Climatec Geothermal Heating/Cooling System.
As discussed in my last blog, heat pump systems are efficient methods for cooling and heating offices. The only energy necessary is to power the compressor. However, not all heat pump systems are created equal. Some use the outside environment as a “heat sink,” and some use the ground.
We recently completed a building addition that had a heat pump system for heating and cooling that utilized the outside environment for a heat sink. I did not care for the system, because:
Mechanical systems (heating, air conditioning and ventilation) are an important part of sustainable construction, because they use a large portion of the total building energy. Let’s review the different systems.
Forced air furnaces fueled by natural gas, propane, or heating oil.
Fuel is burned in the furnace, and that heat is “blown” into the building. These systems are inexpensive to purchase and operate. Energy efficiency is high with regards to energy burned and heat provided.
Boilers fueled by natural gas, propane, or heating oil.
Now that we’ve looked at the leading sources of renewable energy, let’s explore sensible approaches to green energy use.
In increasing our use of renewable energy, it’s important to keep energy costs as low as possible. This benefits all citizens, especially those who have low income. Low electrical costs also attract industry, which creates jobs. A prime example is the Pacific Northwest, where low cost hydro-electrical power attracted aluminum smelters.
This blog continues my examination of “green” power sources.
Nuclear power today is reliable, but because it is somewhat expensive when compared to hydroelectric, coal and natural gas, it is used mainly for base load needs.
The environmental issues are a mixed bag. On one hand, nuclear power creates zero air pollution and zero green house gases. However – as illustrated by the recent tragedy in Japan, as well as previous incidents in Chernobyl and Three Mile Island – natural disasters, accidents, and terrorism are real risks.
I am neither an electrical engineer nor an electrical subcontractor. So where did I learn about electricity? As a general contractor on high energy-demand buildings; as a building owner; and as a power generation systems student of an electrical utility senior power engineer.
At 11, I toured my first hydroelectric power plant. At 12, I toured one of the only geo-thermal electric power plants in the United States. At 18, I toured a nuclear power plant. How was that possible?
Houses are too big! People don’t need homes this large. Why do they keep getting bigger and bigger? Big homes on small lots look odd. More importantly, big houses use a lot more energy than small homes. How did we get in this situation?
Years ago, a good friend’s brother moved to Albuquerque from New Hampshire. He was a homebuilder, and was able to purchase one of the last home lots in Nob Hill. Prior to closing, he met with a banker to discuss financing. The banker told him that the cost of the lot could not be more than 25% of the sales price of the lot and house combined.
State construction RFP’s evaluate many qualities of the firms bidding for the work. Obviously, price is a primary criterion. But the state’s evaluation of the pricing component is not straightforward. Let me explain by use of an example.
Pricing is stated as being worth 450 of 1,000 total bid points. The current policy is to divide the low bidder’s price by 450 points. This yields a point-per-dollar bid. This amount is then prorated for the higher bidders.
Almost all requests for proposals require general contractors to provide information on their safety record. The information requested is the general contractor’s Workman’s Compensation Experience Rating Modifier, its OSHA 300A log, and its safety plan. This information is important, but provides a limited picture of the general contractor’s safety record and safety program.
A more thorough understanding of each bidding contractor’s safety record would be gained by requiring the following information:
o Workman’s Compensation Experience Rating Modifier for five years