Remote Work Solutions We’re Making Routine Even After the Pandemic

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Remote Work Solutions We're Making Routine Even After the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic forced many companies to improvise as the sudden shift to remote working disrupted “business as usual” for a lot of employees. At Stellar, we had emergency plans in place to allow for an easy shift to remote work — and it was so successful that the company adopted a full-time work-from-home model for the majority of its workforce.

With restrictions easing and vaccines more readily available, we’re slowly returning to some sense of normalcy. And while there are plenty of things we won’t miss about pandemic life, there are tools and strategies that flourished over the past year that yielded more efficient, predictable and accurate project results for our clients. Let’s look at a few that are here to stay:

 

Vertical Farming Can Bring Sustainability and Steadiness to the Supply Chain

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Vertical Farming Can Bring Sustainability and Steadiness to the Supply Chain_v2

As we explained in this previous post, vertical farming is a farming technique where crops are grown indoors in a laboratory-like, climate-controlled space. Instead of a crop being limited to geographical regions that provide the ideal growing conditions, vertical farmers can fine-tune the level of water, nutrients, humidity and temperature, as well as light frequency, duration and intensity to create the most ideal environment possible for the crop to grow.

A handful of rural conventional farms are the mega-producers that supply vast swathes of the country with fruits and vegetables, generally located far away from the urban and suburban areas where their crops are shipped to be made available to consumers. The shipping journey — often spanning thousands of miles of highway or open ocean — leads to large amounts of waste and product loss, in addition to creating a large carbon footprint. 

 

Vertical Farming Could Bring the Farm to Your Block

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Vertical farming is a soilless method of farming that takes place inside a climate-controlled, laboratory-like environment. Farmers are able to fine-tune indoor spaces to the crops they want to grow, instead of being limited to growing crops that a particular outdoor area can support. 

The ability to grow in-demand produce without the massive footprint of an outdoor farm, regardless of climate, has led to more vertical farming facilities in urban areas, where produce is grown, harvested and quickly shipped to retailers in the same city. This cuts down on product loss and shipping damage while increasing the shelf life and quality of produce once it hits the shelves.

 

The Benefits and Basics of Building Management Systems for Food Plants

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The Benefits and Basics of Building Management Systems for Food Plants

We live in a world where we have unprecedented access to a wide variety of data — and food and beverage plants are no exception. Owners increasingly want to know what’s going on in their facilities from water and electricity consumption to other processing and mechanical data.

Building management systems can monitor and control various elements throughout a building, such as:

  • HVAC systems
  • Lighting
  • Plumbing
  • Processing equipment
  • Security systems

While these systems are utilized in various commercial buildings, they’re especially important in food manufacturing facilities, which use a significant amount of energy and water in their processing.

 

6 Points, One Stone: How Low-Impact Development (LID) Can Help Achieve LEED Certification

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6 Points, One Stone: How Low-Impact Development (LID) Can Help Achieve LEED Certification

If you’re not familiar with low-impact development (LID), you may want to keep reading before building your next facility or warehouse. Thanks to recent changes in LEED requirements, we’re going to see an increase in projects utilizing LID in the near future.

What exactly is low-impact development? How can you make the most of LID and maximize it when applying for LEED certification? Let’s unpack what it means for your next project.

 

Understanding LEED v4’s Energy and Water Use Prerequisites and Credits

What you need to know about v4’s focus on energy efficiency, as well as new credits to consider pursuing for your project

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Understanding LEED v4’s Energy and Water Use Prerequisites and Credits

When it comes to green building, LEED v4 is the new standard. As of October 31, 2016, the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) will only accept new LEED registrations under LEED v4. Although the registration date was extended, the last day projects can submit for v3 certification — the sunset date — is still June 30, 2021.

The latest version of the LEED rating system features more rigorous standards, and while some of the credits and prerequisites are essentially the same as the 2009 version, there are some significant changes.

I outlined those changes in a previous post, but now let’s take a closer look at some of the new prerequisites and credits ushered in by LEED v4, specifically those involving energy use and environmental impact.

 

How to Achieve LEED Certification Without Sacrificing Process Performance

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How to Achieve LEED Certification Without Sacrificing Process Performance

So you want your building to be LEED certified, but what level should you pursue? Does a more energy-efficient facility mean completely revamping your processing? What about food safety?

LEED certification is a good thing, but it should not dictate every decision in a new-build or plant renovation. Checking credits off your LEED checklist shouldn’t come at the expense of performance and food safety.

Let’s look at some factors to designing a sustainable facility that go beyond the traditional aspects like electricity and water use. But first things first: where to begin?

 

6 Ways to Optimize Your Facility’s Energy Consumption

How to achieve water, electric and refrigeration efficiency that translates to long-term ROI

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6 Ways to Optimize Your Facility’s Energy Consumption

Energy costs typically account for 30 percent of a facility’s operating budget. That means nearly a third of all the money you funnel into your plant goes straight to the utility bill.

We already know about the popularity of green building and sustainable practices, but is it possible to go too green? In short, yes. You don’t want to go so overboard with efficiencies that you’re overspending on unnecessary improvements.

 

Is LEED Certification More Achievable for Refrigerated Facilities in LEED v4?

What two credit interpretation rules mean for temperature-controlled plants

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Food processing and cold storage facilities have historically faced challenges when pursuing LEED certification. Refrigeration and process systems require a lot of energy, and there has never been a specific path or program for these types of facilities under the LEED umbrella. However, LEED v4 and its two specific credit interpretation rules are now making the path to certification more achievable.

 

What’s New in LEED v4: Big Picture Changes, Updates for Building Design and Construction

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What’s new in LEED v4: Big picture changes, updates for Building Design and Construction

LEED v4 is here. This latest version of the LEED rating system is “bolder and more specialized for building projects worldwide,” and it features more rigorous standards. While some of the credits and prerequisites are essentially the same as the 2009 version, there are some significant changes you should know about if a new build or renovation is in your future.