Wolgast Blog

Expert Says Take Advantage of Large Rebates to Convert to LED Lighting

Posted by Cory Sursely on Tue, Sep 01, 2020 @ 02:14 PM

LED1

Light-Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs are the most efficient light option on the market, and energy companies are making them more affordable for residential and commercial clients. The market cost can seem prohibitive for business owners with hundreds of bulbs to convert, despite the fact that LED lights last much longer and use significantly less energy. In 2019, 10.4% of electricity costs in the U.S. came from lighting our businesses.1   This figure has been trending downward from 38% in 2003 for commercial buildings2.

For some time now, energy companies have realized that overall energy usage would only continue to grow if users didn’t take precautions to save on energy. One way they set out to achieve this was by encouraging more LED lighting which uses “75% less energy and lasts 25x longer than incandescent lighting”3.


Rebate savings and incentives offered by the energy companies

Most energy companies across the country, including those in Michigan, are underwriting the cost of LED lights (and other energy saving measures) to help slow down the need to build costly energy plants, burn more coal, or maintain aging generators. Programs include interior and exterior lighting for businesses. It is beneficial to check with your energy company to find out what they’re offering and what qualifies for rebates.

I consulted with Standard Electric’s Lighting and Energy Program Specialist, Chelsea Wisniewski, who helps their clients with energy rebate applications. Chelsea said, “Most of these programs are actively providing large incentives at this time. We don’t know how long they’ll last. The incentives could decrease or go away eventually depending on program budgets, goals, and ever changing building codes. Clients should take advantage of these programs as soon as possible so they can receive enhanced incentives for the materials they are purchasing.”

Wolgast has been a Business Solution Trade Ally with Consumers Energy since 2013. We’ve helped our clients save money, including the largest amount for one School District that received over $125,000 to help offset the money they invested in a new heat-conserving roof, energy-efficient lightbulbs and other energy saving renovations they made to their buildings. This School District also gets to reap the benefits of future energy savings from these products, but also decreased bulb replacement costs. While schools have a large footprint and use a lot of bulbs to light their building that is used vastly throughout the day, Chelsea said, “the average dollar amount saved usually depends on how many items and what items a client is purchasing. Rebates change from anything as low as $5.50 instant savings on each bulb to possibly thousands of dollars through a prescriptive rebate”, or one that is customized for the client. She also said that it’s best to find out if your energy company has a specialist to help with the prescriptive application to make the process smoother and more efficient.


Hot Topics for Energy Saving Lighting Products or Programs

Right now, there is a “huge incentive for purchasing DLC approved exterior lighting”, according to Chelsea. You can receive “70 cents per watt reduced”. DLC stands for Design Lights Consortium and provides a list of products prequalified for energy efficiency standards. Also Chelsea shared that currently, K-12 schools that make outdoor lighting upgrades, “can account for up to 88% of product cost”.

Additionally, I spoke with Steve Ferrier of Gasser Bush, a lighting and controls company, about what is hot right now in lighting products for commercial use. He said that “OLED is newer technology available in light fixtures.” Also known as Organic Light Emitting Diode, it is the same light that illuminates your cell phone. The panels are flexible and emit beautiful light with great resolution. The down side is the OLED light is very costly, there are no rebates at this time, and also it burns faster than LED, so replacement costs will be higher. They could be useful in a luxury, display lighting situation.

In closing, if you haven’t done so already, look at your energy company’s website to find out more about their incentives and other cost saving ideas to start reducing your energy costs, today for your home or business. Or if you have any questions about lighting your building or any other energy saving ideas, feel free to contact us for guidance going forward. We have LEED Certified professionals on staff to help, too.

If you’ve found this information valuable for managing your building, please let us know.

 

1 https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/electricity/use-of-electricity.php, “Electricity Explained”, 8/28/2020.

2 https://www.eia.gov/consumption/commercial/reports/2012/lighting/, "Trends in Lighting in Commercial Buildings", 5/17/17

3 https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/save-electricity-and-fuel/lighting-choices-save-you-money/led-lighting, “LED Lighting”.

 

Sustainability

Tags: Energy Savings, Good for Business

Five of the Best Reasons for a Commercial Building Renovation

Posted by Cory Sursely on Fri, Jul 17, 2020 @ 03:00 PM

Commercial Renovation to Stay Put

renovationYou either really like your building the way that it is, your location is part of your long-term plan, or financially speaking a new building is out of the question.  Those are all good reasons to stay where you are.  However, I’d like to share with you a few of the best reasons to consider renovating where you are currently.

1)  Improve traffic to your business – we have seen it time and again that renovating a commercial space peaks the interest of local people.  It also provides additional promotional opportunities because having a renovated space to talk about creates a whole new advertising campaign.  Whether you’re a doctor, restaurant or a school, you consistently want to attract new people to your space, right?  This is a great way to do it while improving your building investment.

2)  Make your current operations more efficient – a company’s business and flow of work obviously changes over time.  A renovation or redesign can help improve efficiency and provide the right amount of space for staff to complete their tasks.  Whether you need more or repurposed space, a redesign should be well thought out to improve your operations.  Through a needs analysis meeting, your architect will be able to determine the spatial needs of your organization.

3)  Accommodate the addition of new equipment – you know that piece of equipment that will allow you to do more with less effort?  You've been thinking about it for a while.  Now is the time to make room for it and improve your bottom line.

4)  Incorporate new energy efficient changes to save on costs – the green market is expanding every day and continues to offer products to make your space more energy efficient.  An update of your heating/cooling system, electrical system, windows and/or insulation could save you a lot of money on energy costs each year.

5)  Take advantage of competitive pricing/low commercial loan rates – should you need a loan to complete your commercial renovation, interest rates are remarkably low at the moment and there is the option of the SBA 504, too.  Take advantage while you can. Also, currently, construction competition is high and material prices are a little lower, so it may be a great time to get even more value for your project.

Pretty much, it all boils down to your business being relevant, efficient, and interesting.  If you already have all those things going for you, you’re all set.  If you need a construction consultant to help you start planning, call Michael Shepard at 989-790-9120.

 

Inquire Here

Tags: Design/Build, Professional General Contractor, the Wolgast Way, Good for Business

How the Condition of Your Facility Could Attract the Best Successor

Posted by Cory Sursely on Mon, Feb 24, 2020 @ 11:54 AM

successionMost of us want to retire as soon as we’re ready and able, but business owners have a unique situation of preparing for a successor to take over their operation.  Ideally, they’d have started planning for successorship early so the transition can happen during high times when business and the economy are strong.  This way the owner was able to choose the best candidate and get the anticipated value of the company.  The best successor is one that will take care of employees and clients as well or better than the predecessor did. And the best way to find them is to remove all obstacles to entice a successor who’ll continue the business legacy.

As part of your planning, consider the condition of your building (being a lesser known limitation) when seeking the right candidate.  Think about it, how valuable is it to your clientele how your building looks, or what do you think when you visit a business establishment if their building is outdated, dirty, or run down?  The condition, cleanliness and design say a lot about the capabilities of who is providing the goods or service.  Furthermore, whether or not there’s a family member to take over, there’s a lot involved in preparing to make the transition.  They won’t want to start their new leadership focused on remodeling rather than on improving the business.  Having a building in good condition could set you apart from other potential businesses by a successor.  The most common advice offered to owners is to start looking early.  In addition, we advise to maintain an attractive building kept in good repair.  We know that there is a lot more involved with succession planning, but since we’re building contractors we will focus on our area of expertise.

A well located and good looking building can attract traffic and result in a higher valuation, as well as be more enticing to a potential successor.  Of course the successor will want to research the company’s books, systems, earning potential, and corporate culture to make a decision about buying a business.  However, if they have to do a lot to the building to make it suitable, or relocate due to a building’s poor status, the anticipated expense could kill the deal. 

Small aesthetic changes due to the successor’s design tastes is one thing, but a major overhaul like repairing the building envelope, code violations, and outdated systems or infrastructure ought to be addressed by the predecessor well before the succession happens, so that they can recoup some of their cost.  Building updates and repairs as part of the succession plan can be timed right so the owner gets the most value for the company.  There is a balance to achieve when an owner can have a couple years to generate sales and cover some of the expense, but also still be up-to-date so the successor will be proud to take ownership.  Working with a contractor, like Wolgast, to update the commercial building will bring the most value to the predecessor.  We will help guide the owner to make cost effective decisions while supplying great quality construction.  Call Wolgast today to get your building improvements started.

 

Tags: Good for Business

What Should a Business Owner Know before Hiring an Architect or Contractor?

Posted by Cory Sursely on Tue, Jan 21, 2020 @ 10:23 AM

Calculator2-1The Jack Miller Group was a former industry network for General Contractors across the United States.  In 1988, Mr. Miller had published a paper called, “Rules You Should Know before You Build Your Important Project”.   He started by stating that there are a few basic questions that business owners should ask themselves as they start to plan a construction project1:

  • Why expand?
  • Why own…why not lease?
  • What do I need?
  • What can I afford?
  • Where is the best place to build?
  • Where can I get financing?
  • When should I start?
  • When should I occupy the new facility?
  • What is the best way to build?
  • How can I be sure I get maximum value for my investment?

These questions are still a good place to start planning prior to contacting a designer or building team.  However, I asked our project team what they thought was most important to see if there were any updates to Mr. Miller’s list.  Their response was 1) a budget and 2) who will do the financing.  This is because knowing the budget early will help a business owner to know if what he or she wants to do is reasonable and having the financier in place will help speed up the start date.

Next, our team thought that the business owner should know that their contractor and architect have good liability insurance and that they are capable of handling the entire project.  When making a contractor or architect selection, the business owner should inquire about insurance coverage, bonding ability, safety records, customer/ trade/bank references and financial proof that the project team can complete the building.  Additionally, it’s good for an owner to know that he or she has construction delivery optionsDesign/Build is a better option for certain types of buildings because the architect and contractor are on the same team under the same contract.  It provides time and cost savings and results in less disputes as to the responsible party when there is an issue during construction.  However, Design/Build isn’t suitable for all projects, so other options we offer are General Construction for simple projects or Construction Management for complicated projects that are long in duration.  Investigate which method will provide the best outcome for the type of building.

It’s good to know the area or type of property desired to build or renovate.  A business owner doesn’t need to settle on a property before meeting with a contractor.  The contractor may even be able to suggest a property that hadn’t been considered, but could meet the business’ needs while being more economical because the utilities already exist or the zoning has already taken place.

Additionally, a business owner can benefit from knowing that bidding in the winter and building in the spring/summer, or even early fall, can save money on a construction budget.  In the winter contractors are less busy relatively to spring/summer, so they’re looking for projects in the off season to fill their calendars during the prime construction season.  Scheduling design to be completed in time for winter bidding will get the most value for the construction dollar.

A professional contractor will then handle the other critical items that need to be complete before construction on behalf of the business owner, such as conducting site inspections, determining zoning requirements, obtaining construction permits, conducting utility checks and calling Miss Dig among many other necessary activities to get construction complete efficiently and accurately for the most value.  Wolgast is a full service contractor and we will professionally deliver your building.  Call 800-WOLGAST to get started.

1Miller, Jack. 1988.  “Rules You Should Know before You Build Your Important Project.” Group Communications, Inc.

 

Tags: Professional General Contractor, Good for Business

Your Building Envelope’s Role in Reducing Energy Costs

Posted by Cory Sursely on Tue, Nov 12, 2019 @ 09:54 AM

BldgEnv-1Keeping your building’s protective barrier, a.k.a. its envelope, intact, leak free, and in good repair is a great way to avoid spending your hard earned profits on energy costs.  The envelope entails any part of your building structure that keeps outside elements from coming inside when closed.  Otherwise, your roof, EIFS, windows, doors, walls, and even floors can leak and make your HVAC work harder, or worse let water leaks damage equipment and causing microbial growth.

Michigan’s temperate climate brings its own stresses on building materials including the seasonal flux in temperature.  Expanding and contracting flashing can create holes in your roof where the nails have been used to keep sheeting in place or cracks in caulking around windows.  Additionally, rain and wind can cause erosion where different types of materials are connected and hail can poke holes in roofing or siding, as a few examples.  When these types of leaks happen, your AC has to work harder in the summer to cool your office and regulate the humidity, while in the winter the heater also works harder to warm up the space and add necessary moisture for comfort.  Furthermore, rain leaks can do major damage to your ceiling, your structure, or result in microbial growth which can create headaches, allergies, or asthma for occupants.  Mold that is hidden or has a moisture source that isn’t completely fixed is costly for a building owners in the long run.  The quality of air your staff breathes or the exposure from outside elements can affect their health and, in turn, their attendance.

In conclusion, it’s important to check the caulk around your building exterior annually for cracks.  Caulk may have a 5 year life cycle, but there are too many variables that can cause ware and tare.  Hire a reputable caulking company to fix any caulking leaks.  Also check your roof and roof flashings annually for any visual damage that could lead to leaks.  Or if you’re experiencing a leak, contact a reputable roofer who will ensure that leaks are fixed to find and eliminate microbial growth.  Should you have mold or be concerned about mold, or any structural issues, call Wolgast.  Our Restoration and Construction Teams will be able to help you get your office back to a leak free status to keep your energy costs down.

Tags: Energy Savings, Good for Business

Top 7 Guarantees of Using Design/Build Construction Delivery

Posted by Cory Sursely on Thu, Oct 17, 2019 @ 08:45 AM

CopusDB

  1. Fast Track Construction
  2. Less Risk for the Owner
  3. Single Point of Responsibility
  4. Guaranteed Schedule & Budget
  5. Team Collaboration
  6. Quality Construction for Better Value
  7. More Bids Collected by One Entity to Narrow down the Lowest Price

As business owners become more aware of the benefits of Design/Build Construction, the delivery method continues to chisel a bigger piece of market share throughout the U.S. and is expected to reach 44% usage rate by 2021, according to FMI1.  In their Design-Build Utilization: Combined Market Study June 2018, they evaluated the United States Census Bureau, stakeholder surveys, industry reports, associations, and government agency databases, and determined the usage of delivery methods within the construction industry and found that the Midwest region will experience a 5.5% growth in Progressive Design-Build projects by 2021.  Also, manufacturing will take on the highest increase in adopting Design-Build project delivery. 

It makes sense to partner with a combination of contractor and architect team at the inception of your project.  Additionally, the Progressive Design-Build approach has proven to help with efficiency in scheduling and budgeting when the contractor joins with the architect and project stakeholders during the planning and design phase.  The early meeting of the minds and knowledge of each role has shown to save on costs and schedule.  In this method, the Design/Builder takes on more risk to guarantee the outcomes desired.

Since there is one, single source of responsibility it condenses the effort of the building owner to coordinate their needs.  The owner can be as involved as they’d like to be or can be.  It’s the role of the Design/Builder to deliver a high quality building from design through completion that meets all the needs of the owner at an agreed upon price, and when they need it to be ready.  No surprises!

FMI, June 2018, Design-Build Utilization: Combined Market Study June 2018, viewed 4 October 2019, https://dbia.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Design-Build-Market-Research-FMI-2018.pdf

Tags: Design/Build, Good for Business, Risk Management

Four Things You Should Know When Planning a Groundbreaking Ceremony

Posted by Cory Sursely on Tue, Sep 10, 2019 @ 10:23 AM

groundbreaking_1When building a new business or relocating, it pays to start your publicity early.  An inexpensive way to create buzz is to host a groundbreaking or a “kickoff” ceremony at the beginning of your project.  I’ve had clients who’ve broke ground both before starting a project or soon after a project has started, with construction being the backdrop during the ceremony.  We call it a project “kickoff” instead of “groundbreaking” when we renovate an existing building.

There are many ways to conduct your event; however there are four key items that will help you when planning a groundbreaking ceremony:


1.  As I mentioned previously, promotion and, of course, thanking the people who helped make your project possible are usually the purposes of having a groundbreaking ceremony.  However, the origination of these ceremonies predates time.  Whether it was a primitive tradition to ask for forgiveness and protection from the earth or a spiritual ritual of making a “sacred deposit” to bless the site, every culture on each continent has engaged in a groundbreaking ceremony to begin a construction project. 

2.  You don’t have to worry about inclement weather.  Of course, you hope for the best, but plan for the worst, which means that you have shelter and a container full of dirt on standby to use for the turning of the soil.  As the contractor, we provide a tent, podium, shovels, hard hats, umbrellas and a container full of soil, just in case of rain (or because we’re in Michigan, snow).  Additionally, you should have chairs, tables, trash bins and food service items if your contractor doesn’t already provide them (we do).

3.  Provide plenty of time when sending invitations.  At least two weeks before should be the cut-off for sending.  Include all people who made the project possible, i.e. community officials, banker, staff, networking groups, clients, contractor, architect, etc.  Note: be sure to announce key people during your speech.  And, of course, don’t forget to invite the media to the occasion.  Radio stations, TV news programs, and newspapers are all interested in showing business growth in their community; however, if they aren’t able to attend, be sure to send a press release and pictures that you take of your speakers and the turning of the soil.

4.  I’ve mentioned that you or a representative of your company will be making a speech about the project.  Quite often, we are asked what should be said during this speech, so I’ve included a sample agenda of a groundbreaking ceremony with a duration of 15-30 minutes.

 

Sample Groundbreaking Ceremony Agenda

 

Wolgast is a comprehensive general contractor located in Saginaw, Michigan.  We are specialized in Design/Build, Construction Management, General Construction, and Insurance Restoration in the markets of Restaurants, Schools, Medical, Dental, and Manufacturing.  For more than 70 years, we have provided our professional construction services throughout Michigan and beyond.  We are happy to discuss The Wolgast Way with you at 800-WOLGAST!

Tags: the Wolgast Way, Good for Business

Repurpose Your Commercial Office to Be More Modern

Posted by Cory Sursely on Thu, Aug 22, 2019 @ 11:38 AM

What Ideas Will Work for You?

Repurpose-1Appearance is one of the triggers that leads to remodeling, but isn’t the only good reason to remodel.  Other reasons like efficiency, reorganizing unused space, right-sizing, and new technology can make a big difference in attracting or retaining talent, saving money and improving productivity.  Furthermore, modern designs that are created with goals of safety, appearance, efficiency, and increased focus or productivity can help you to make your space more useful for staff and enticing to clients.

I did an image search on Google for “Modern Office Design” and what I saw was a lot of glass walls, greys/brown/white shades combined with bright accent colors, short cubicles or no cubicles, wood floors, slat wood paneling, high ceilings, natural light, recreational areas, conference rooms and white boards.  What was missing was fluorescent lighting, storage, and surprisingly, privacy. 

Open floorplans with no offices and high ceilings have become popular for some businesses, especially for those in urban areas where real estate is costly and space is limited.  More staff members can be fitted with a desk when there are no walls involved, but the productivity results are mixed.  If you’ve been wondering, any operation that relies on phone calls or focus for creativity (to name two) doesn’t work well with open floorplans or high ceilings.  Also, the original goal of collaboration has fallen short among those using the open concept due to the introduction of texting and private messaging via social media.1  Instead of collaboration, employees are seeking more privacy and turning to messaging instead of open collaboration, according to researchers in “New Harvard Study: Your Open-Plan Office is Making Your Team Less Collaborative”.  They were able to determine that “Face-to-Face” collaboration decreased by 70% while email and messaging formats increased1

So, what can you do to address the current needs of your future work force and clients?  Whether you plan to have less employees or expand your staff, right-sizing your space to make it more comfortable or to accommodate new equipment can lead to increased productivity as better work flows are streamlined.  Extra space in your building can be repurposed to be a quiet area away from phones and computers, or additional meeting space for focused collaboration.  Additionally, this area can be automated so that lighting and heat controls are adjusted to actual use and to save money on energy costs.

In fact, incorporating the Internet of Things (IoT), or building automation of systems is good to incorporate during an office remodel.  Your office temperature, access control, lighting, and other systems can be controlled from your desktop, laptop, or even smartphone.  Incorporating natural light has also proven to improve morale and cut costs on lighting bills.

We know that the bottom-line is how much more revenue will a remodel bring to the business, or the return on investment.  We can’t tell you exactly how much, but considerations to make include the impact on attracting or retaining talent, the energy cost savings, increased productivity through well thought redesign based on work flows and repurposing unused space, peace of mind from access control, and attracting clients or prospects who are interested in seeing your newly remodeled space.

Wolgast can design your new floorplan and oversee the construction of your remodel, or new build if you prefer.  We will be the single-source of your project applying our building expertise, while you focus on the operation of your business.

1https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/new-harvard-study-you-open-plan-office-is-making-your-team-less-collaborative.html

Tags: Design/Build, Energy Savings, Good for Business, Remodel

How to Promote Your Business Move

Posted by Emily Landry on Tue, Jun 18, 2019 @ 08:52 AM

RibbonCutting1Businesses move for many reasons - for example to accommodate growth, save money, get closer to consumers, or possibly secure a better value of a new building. Additional perks can also happen when relocating including improving your service and also advancing new growth. It’s all about using the move as a promotional opportunity. Encouraging your existing clients to move with you is a must, but you also want to attract new ones, so here are a few tips that will help anyone take advantage of their new business location:

  • Be sure to communicate Pre-Move and Post-Move- Utilize all the touch points you can to communicate with existing consumers about your move early. With social networks, email and traditional media, you can generate a message connecting not only with your existing consumers, but potential ones as well. A few examples to keep in mind during this message could contain uploading progress pictures of your new site coming along, a RibbonCutting2countdown to when your new location will open, as well as directions to the new location. Overtime, these gestures will motivate healthy growth in your new location. There is also the traditional Ground Breaking or Project Kick-off Ceremony to host at the start of construction or renovation.

  • Provide an Incentive to visit your new location- Your existing consumers are a key part of your business, so celebrate them. Offer incentives for them to stop by your new location. The incentive could be a raffle giveaway, or simply a discount of your choice. This will target not only your active customer base, but those who may not have purchased from you or visited in a while. Make sure the offer is time sensitive so they have a reason to check out your new spot!

  • Take advantage of the fresh start by hosting a Grand Opening Event- Give your consumers and new community the opportunity to enjoy your new location. This allows you to show off all your hard work you put into the project. This also provides a great networking opportunity to give a demonstration of your product or services. See also our blog, Planning a Grand Opening Ceremony to Promote Your Business.

Even with careful planning relocating can be stressful and filled with unknown variables. However, when promotion is included, it can translate into a great marketing tool, a fresh start, and increased business. If it’s time for your business to move, contact our Development Team at 800-965-4278 to get started.

 

 

Tags: Good for Business

Knowing Long Lead Items Early Speeds up Construction Schedules

Posted by Cory Sursely on Tue, May 28, 2019 @ 02:01 PM

FPHorakhelicopterCertain building materials or products that have to be ordered, imported, and/or manufactured specifically for a building can take longer than the natural progression of a construction schedule.  These are considered Long Lead Items (LLIs).  They commonly occur with pre-engineered buildings, elevators, generators, mechanical equipment that is heavy enough to need a helicopter lift, electrical switch gear, fancy finishes, or imported products to name a few.

Knowing these LLIs as early as possible will help your contractor manage the construction schedule better.  Can you guess what the best construction method is to identify LLIs the earliest and in turn gets them ordered quicker?  It’s Design/Build Construction, where the architect and contractor are on the same team working together to identify the client’s schematic, budget, and schedule on a fast-track.

Since the Design/Builder is under contract to complete the construction while design is being created, they can order LLIs as soon as the items are decided and or specified. If the contractor has to wait for plans to be completed, and then go through the bid process, as they do in a General Construction or Design/Bid/Build scenario, the purchasing and ordering process could be delayed by weeks or months.  Then if a LLI requires 2 months or more to arrive, your start date could be pushed back months to help manage the flow of the construction schedule.  For instance, a pre-engineered building can take 12 - 16 weeks to build and then needs to be shipped to your site.  Site work and foundations can start prior to the delivery of the building, but the rest of the project will be held up until the building arrives.

Delays caused by LLIs can be mitigated by using substitutions or by paying incentive fees to manufacturers, but in our experience, substitutions can sometimes impact several other systems adversely and paying more to meet timelines doesn’t always guarantee results.  So the best and quickest case scenario is to work with your Architect and Design/Builder to determine LLIs as soon as possible, make your selections, and get them ordered right away.

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Tags: Design/Build, Professional General Contractor, Scheduling, Good for Business