Potentially record cold will inundate most of the United States this week—following a relatively warm November, according to forecasters.
“This is definitely a huge cold air outbreak for the western U.S.,” Jason Furtado, an atmospheric scientist with the University of Oklahoma, told Mashable. “We’re talking temperatures 12 to 15 degrees Celsius below average for a few days in the West.”
“This is going to be a real shock to the system.”
Currently, Alaska is experiencing frigid temperatures, and some of that weather system might be sent into the western U.S. The temperature is minus-31 degrees Fahrenheit in Fairbanks, representing the coldest day in the city in nearly two years, the Washington Post reported. Other Alaska towns—like Bettles—saw even lower temperatures.
Arctic air will make inroads to the Lower 48 this week after its current visit to Alaska. Slips down into the western U.S.
A ‘Tale of Two Continents’ mid-late this week. Extreme cold air outbreak in Western North America but mild in the East.
Between the start of 2016 and October of this year, Alaska was having its warmest year on record.
Forecasters say the cold will start in the western U.S., but it will eventually move east progressively.
“It’s gonna be a whiplash for sure,” Furtado told Mashable, referring to the plunge in temperatures.
There are so many reasons to celebrate in December, as Hanukkah begins the night of December 2nd, followed by Christmas on the 25th, Kwanzaa on the 26th, and of course, the New Year on the 31st. So how to share the holiday spirit with your tenants?
You may not be big on decorations, but if you don’t decorate your building or host a party, you may be viewed as a modern-day Scrooge. On the flip side, if you add too many holiday symbols (Christmas trees, wreaths, lots of tinsel, yards of lights, menorahs, and Kwanzaa’s traditional Kinara candle holders), you might be accused of going overboard.
How can you strike a happy balance? According to Ginny Decker, vice president of property management for Monument Capital Real Estate Services, Miami and Katherine Furniss, marketing manager at CFH Group, another property management group in Miami, founding the middle ground has helped them keep tenants happier and encouraged them to renew.
Question: What is your company’s approach to decorating so building owners or property managers show they care—without making the building look like Santa’s workshop?
Decker: We let the on-site staff at each building decide based on tenant demographics. You want to have some decorations but not so much tinsel—for example—that it makes it hard for prospective tenants to see the building and sign a lease. We encourage an “understated ” look.
Q: How does that translate into decorations?
Decker: Generally, we say you can’t go wrong with simple, classic, white holiday lights that make residents feel good when they return home from work or when prospective tenants drive up to the building. Lights always add cheer.
Furniss: We take the same approach of keeping decorations simple and using maybe one color of lighting so they look generic, and maybe light the entrance and corporate leasing office. We might also put a wreath at the front door. We refer to all the celebrations as “the holidays” rather than to specific events.
Q: Anything else you do beside lights?
Decker: Because we try not to celebrate one denomination, we like other generic symbols such as snowflakes, snowmen, silver colors, as opposed to red and green, a tree, menorah, or Kwanzaa symbols. We want to be inclusive, especially since we often don’t know which holidays our residents celebrate.
Q: Have you had tenants complain about too much or too little?
Decker: Not so far.
Q: Do you also host holiday parties this time of year on- or off-site?
Decker: We do, and they’re on-site. The specifics vary from community to community based on the resident profile. For buildings with young children, we might bring in a Santa Claus for photographs with the kids. For other sites, we might have gift wrapping parties where we supply the gift paper. We’ve also organize pot-luck suppers where we provide a ham or turkey, and residents bring side dishes and desserts. At some buildings with mostly lower-income residents, we may give away turkeys. We try to find out what residents want most by doing a lot of surveys throughout the year.
Furniss: We’ll host a party in the common area of a club house or maybe on a pool deck of a building. We might have a movie night and ask residents for suggestions, and if their movie is picked they’ll get a prize. We’ll set up “Santa’s workshop” at each building with all the supplies needed to wrap gifts–paper and bows, and make it available the entire month of December. Many of our managers have been with us for years so they tend to know what works and doesn’t.
Q: How about saying thanks with contributions to a favorite charity in your tenants’ honor?
Decker: We try to do something like that during the season, or ask tenants to donate canned foods and toys so we all give back to our community beyond the building. We also let tenants know where their community may be hosting dinners they can attend.
Q: When do you suggest taking down decorations?
Decker: Usually, by the middle of January.
Furniss: We’ll take them down right after Christmas.
Q: Do you decorate for any other holidays to build camaraderie and good building morale?
Decker: We try to do things consistently year-round and in each quarter such as Halloween decorations come fall and a pool/barbecue around July 4th or some time during the summer. Again, we ask for tenant feedback to find what they want.
Furniss: We decorate for Halloween, and sometimes the staff dresses up, often with a theme such as witches.
Q: Do you set a budget for these types of expenditures, and if so would you share?
Decker: I can’t give you a dollar amount since it varies so much by community and the number of units and occupants, which influences the amount.’
Furniss: Our buildings tend to spend between $500 and $1,000 for such events.
Q: Any parting advice?
Decker: Yes, keep decorating and hosting these kinds of celebrations and polling residents regarding what they want so they’ll take advantage. If we get 30 to 50 residents at an event, we consider that a good turnout and a success. We find that by taking time to do these things residents tend to renew their leases and remain longer with us.
Furniss: We often try to have an event that offers children an activity when we can.
Now we’d love to hear from you! What do you do at your buildings to keep spirits up through the holiday season and even into the long month of January?
This amazing home once belonged to Bob Hope, and was designed by legendary architect John Lautner. The property has entertained dignitaries from all over the world and is viewed by many as one of the most iconic pieces of architecture in the world. The home’s most distinct feature is its giant domed roof, which opens in the center to shed light on a courtyard within.
Click here to see pictures and read about 4 more unique roof designs from a last year’s article by The Huffington Post.
Preparing your roof for solar panels means removing every possible barrier to the installation. A certified professional must get onto the roof for a thorough inspection, and then perform the appropriate maintenance and adjustments before the solar panels can be installed.
1. Contact a structural engineer, architect or other certified building professional to confirm that your roof can accommodate the added weight and stress of the solar panels.
2. Inspect your roof — or invite a roofing professional to inspect your roof — for damages and potential leaks. Repair any problems, or install a whole new roof if necessary. Most solar panels are designed to work for 20 to 25 years, and the roof will need to last that long as well.
3. Measure the area of your roof. Begin at the eaves and measure the length of the roof and its width. Multiply these numbers to determine the area of the roof. A 200- to 400-square-foot area is suggested on the roof for an effective solar array.
4. Examine the trees that overhang or cast a shadow on the the building. Trim away any limbs that shade the area of the roof that will be occupied by the solar array. Contact a professional to handle large branches or tree removal, if needed.
5. Locate new positions for the roof vents, antennas, satellite dishes and any other roof fittings that may be in the way of the proposed solar array. Building codes may require that relocation of some roof vents can only be performed licensed plumbing contractor.
The structural analysis may contain recommendations for reinforcing and/or improving your roof before mounting the solar panels. The improvements help the roof handle the additional weight of the panels, including the added stress of wind uplift.
Flat roofs with enough surface area, structural support and weatherproofing membranes are ideal for solar arrays. The level surface allows you greater flexibility in choosing the angle of the panels.
Do not attempt to climb onto a sharply pitched roof. Contact us to prepare your roof instead.
Drones were invented specifically for military missions. Now, any person, military or not, can fly these unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs. Because of the recent interest in drones, businesses are becoming more aware of the practical benefits drones can provide for their industry. The roofing industry is no exception to this.
Below are 5 ways drones are impacting the roofing industry:
1. Provide Accurate Estimates for Customers
One challenge for roofers is providing an accurate estimate for their clients. There might be areas on the roof that are unaccessible. Other roofs have extreme heights, creating more risk for the roofer to climb up the ladder and inspect the damage. With a drone, these problems can go away quickly. Drones can provide accurate visuals with a high-resolution camera to tape and take pictures of the roof, especially in the hard-to-reach areas. Roofers can estimate more accurately because of the drone’s ability to gather general and specific information on that particular roof’s damage.
2. Less Liability
Every time a roofer is on the roof, he or she is taking a risk. They could fall off and break their leg. A broken leg should be the least of everyone’s worries, but this and other injuries — and lawsuits — that follow will create problems for both the client and the roofer. Drones can prevent these injuries from happening to roofers. Drones record the roof from a bird’s eye view, keeping everyone on the ground during the initial quoting process. Not only will this prevent broken legs, drones will also be faster than setting up a ladder and climbing on the roof.
3. Great Return on Investment
Most drones are inexpensive for businesses, coming in at $1,000 or less. Drones also take less time to gather data from multiple buildings. One company in Nebraska was able to record videos for 11 apartment buildings in one hour, all from their drone; before the company bought the drone, it would have taken six hours to assess those same apartment buildings. Even though companies save time on the quoting process, there is still a learning curve for any person willing to fly their brand new UAV. Alex Evans, a drone pilot for his own roofing company, estimates that after 35 hours of practice, he felt comfortable enough to fly it around for clients. Even if roofers don’t have enough time to practice, there are some drones who can fly on autopilot, using software and other technology to fly without a pilot.
4. Unclear Guidelines
Even though drones are great for businesses in general, the government has been behind on passing regulations concerning drones and other UAV’s. As of now, there are 17 states that regulate drone flights, and there are other states considering the same legislation. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) cannot track and monitor these devices, and they also don’t have enough manpower to regulate the restrictions. The FAA has provided a few exceptions for businesses. State Farm has been granted one of these exeptions, using drones to assess roof damage for insurance purposes. With clearer guidelines, expect drones to be used not just in the roofing industry, but in other industries as well.
5. Fun Factor
More businesses are purchasing drones because they are fun to fly. No further explanation is needed. Today’s technology makes it easier for roofers to provide accurate estimates to their clients. Drones create less liability for roofers, have a great return on investment, and are fun to fly. Once clearer regulations are passed, drones will be on the rise for businesses across the country.
It’s year five of the California drought. A few remote communities have already run out of water. The governor announced aggressive water restrictions. But what will happen to the state if the drought doesn’t end?
The possibility of a megadrought—lasting two decades or longer—is actually fairly likely in California. The last 150 years have been unusually wet, and at a few earlier points in history, the state had droughts lasting more than a century. NASA predicts that a decades-long drought will be even more likely to happen this century due to climate change.
Still, that doesn’t mean that Angelenos and San Franciscans will have to pack up and move. Surprisingly, when researchers at the University of California-Davis mad a computer model of a 72-year drought, they found that the state would emerge battered but with an economy almost as strong as before.
But to survive, the state will have to get a lot smarter about managing the little rain that falls. Here are five things California can do differently.
1. REPLACE YOUR FRONT LAWN
The traditional bright green lawn doesn’t make much sense in a dry climate. In some communities, as much as 50-80% of water is used just to irrigate outdoor landscapes like lawns and golf courses. Cities like L.A. already offer rebates to people who tear up their front lawns and put in succulents and other drought-tolerant native plants, and in a megadrought, this will happen more. Now, the governor’s new executive order will require the state to replace 50 million square feet of lawns with new landscaping.
2. SPONGE UP THE RAIN
Even in a drought, there’s a little bit of rainfall. The problem is that much of that rain runs off rooftops, driveways, and roads, and drains into the ocean instead of going into the ground, where it could replenish groundwater supplies, or into storage containers.
Researchers at Woodbury University are working with architects and urban planners to figure out how every building in a city can act as a sponge instead, soaking up and storing water for later use. In a city like L.A., as much as 82% of the water the city needs could be provided by a combination of conservation and capturing stormwater.
3. RETHINK AGRICULTURE
The vast majority of the water used in California goes to agriculture, growing food that is sold around the country. In the UC Davis study, the researchers found that agriculture would be hardest hit in a drought. It’s possible that as much as half of farmland could go fallow, as farmers run out of water or choose to sell their water rights to cities instead (L.A. is already offering farmers $700 per acre foot of water, more than most would make if they chose to grow crops).
Some water-intensive crops, like the almond, may be replaced by others that can thrive in drier weather. Others, like grapes grown for wine, will shift to more drought-tolerant varietals. Farmers may also choose to grow the crops that can earn the most money for the water used, rather than low-value crops like corn or wheat that can more easily be grown in other parts of the country.
4. FIX LEAKY PIPES
When a pipe burst at UCLA a couple of years ago, spilling 20 million gallons of drinking water in the middle of the drought, it pointed to a bigger problem: Across the state, leaky pipes lose about 228 million gallons of water every year, more than the city of L.A. uses annually. While some cities are starting to replace pipes completely, others are reducing water pressure so less water is lost, or using new technology to find specific leaks. Eventually, more cities may experiment with technology like new “smart” pipes that can both find leaks and generate energy as water rushes through.
Over the past two decades, there have been technological advances in waterproofing materials, including more advanced membrane materials which seek to overcome shortcomings in older methods like PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) and HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene). New technology in waterproof membranes relies on polymer-based materials that are extremely adhesive to create a seamless barrier around the outside of a structure. Acrylic coatings are water-based and among the most popular materials on the market for commercial projects. Urethane coatings are solvent-based and while they have some of the same advantages as acrylics, some features are different.
Acrylic coating advantages:
· Fewer odor and toxin emissions
· Lower price tag
· Easy to clean (with soap and water)
· Good color retention
· Shiny and polished; great for concrete
· Resistant to UV damage
Urethane coating advantages:
· Fewer odor and toxin emissions
· Shiny and polished
· Strong resistance to traffic
· Toughness, flexibility, and less risk of chipping over time
· Less vulnerability to spotting and discoloration
· Ability to level out well thus making it a great product for metal
· Ability to adhere to previous finishes
· No susceptibility to water damage