Michigan is in the midst of a water affordability crisis that could follow a troublesome trajectory without equity-based actions, such as banning water shutoffs for low-income households and requiring greater data transparency from state utilities, according to a new report. Average inflation-adjusted water costs in Michigan have roughly doubled since 1980, and those costs tripled in Detroit and Flint between 1980 and 2018, the report found.
The cost-saving temptation to use other engineers' design documents for steel fabrications can present problems when they're not as adaptable to new projects as expected, project engineer Jason McCool writes. McCool reviews three of the top 10 issues that tend to crop up: inapplicable details, contradictory specifications and outdated references.
Architecture firms that hesitate to adopt new technologies run the risk of losing clients, according to a new report by the American Institute of Architects. The AIA report reviews adoption inhibitors and common technology usage, noting that while larger firms are more likely to adopt new technologies, technology makes it easier for small and medium firms to compete with them.
Roadway hazards posed by rockfalls can be mitigated with a framework developed by researchers at West Virginia University. Using prioritization and sensitivity analysis to assess the degree of hazard, the study concludes that soldier piles and precast concrete panels are the most preferred option.
The first humanoid robot is considered to be the Kaufman Trumpeter designed by German engineer Friedrich Kaufmann. The robot had leather bellows for lungs and reeds which imitated the sound of a trumpet.
The ability to adapt to changing situations is a feature of 4D printing that could be a boon to the development of prostheses, including lowering costs. However, the technology faces challenges such as ensuring the printed material responds appropriately and bringing it to production that generates profits.
Renewable energy sources are expected to constitute 95% of overall power capacity growth globally over the next five years as the industry surges, according to a report by the International Energy Agency. But to meet net-zero carbon emission goals by 2050, the rate of annual additions of renewables must double, the report states.
SmartTake: By 2026, renewable energy capacity will equal that of fossil fuels and nuclear, combined, according to the IEA report. That’s a major turning point with potenially wide implications for civil projects. In the short-term, though, the renewables industry must tackle high commodity and transport prices. US-specific data is on pages 37-40. -- Jaan
Nevada should align with the Biden administration's efforts to protect the nation's wetlands and waterways, writes the Las Vegas Sun editorial board. The board argues that recurrent drought and climate change add urgency to this mission, especially since Nevada ranks second in the nation for the amount of toxic chemicals released into the environment.
Precast concrete units are serving to accelerate flood defenses in the UK's Avonmouth Severnside Enterprise Area. Development in the area had been hobbled by a 60-year forecast of rising flood risk due to climate change, spurring a $106 million initiative to build flood defenses along just over 10 miles of coastline.
Modern construction in London is leading to more complex types of building blazes that pose problems for firefighters, according to London Fire Brigade Commissioner Andy Roe. Speaking during an inquiry into the Grenfell tragedy, Roe said he didn't want to constrain innovations in construction, but noted that "60% of the building consultations that come into our fire engineering team get sent back because we have concerns about the way that building is either being designed or being built."
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