Join the environmental construction movement with these simple checklists!
In 2011, the City of Edmonton began its sustainable building initiative. Starting with the development of a new environmental sustainability policy for its public schools and the Station Pointe Project.
Edmonton public schools have since then embraced the responsibility to make environmentally conscious decisions by following LEED design practices, retrofitting plumbing/electrical systems, and encouraging environmental education through learning programs.
In fact, Edmonton’s Queen Elizabeth High School currently remains tied for first place as ‘Canada’s Greenest School’. For more information click here.
Station Pointe began when the Communitas Group $481,000 federal research grant to build energy-efficient, affordable housing in Edmonton. Currently undergoing construction, Station Pointe Village will be Edmonton’s first multi-generational, age in place, open market development. The project is designed to accommodate diverse households, and consists of at least 80% post-recycled material. Communitas aims to evolve current sustainable building practices, with a target of a 75-per-cent reduction of energy use in comparison to traditional buildings.
Interested in following a similar eco-construction path?
These three sustainable building checklists will help you assess your Green Home/Condo, and Environmental Construction Operations; useful for green designers, contractors, and urban planners:
- City of Edmonton – Condo Green Home Guide: Asses the sustainable characteristics of your condo by reviewing your electrical system, window-to-wall optimization, water-heat recovery, bicycle utilities, green landscaping, and waste management.
- City of Edmonton – Single Family Green Home Guide: Perform the same assessment as the one above, but for Single-Family homes! Oh the versatility!
- Alberta Environmental Construction Operations (ECO) Checklist: Use this checklist during your decision-making process to identify the environmental setting of your project, potential environmental issues, and mitigation measures.
Phil Atkinson, Co-Owner, Managing Director, The A.C.T Group
Pontefract, West Yorkshire, UK
As the Co-Owner and Managing Director, Phil is responsible for the operational aspects of the A.C.T Group. He is concerned with matters of technology and seeks to increase efficiency within the A.C.T Group.
The A.C.T Group provides expert compliance solutions that mitigate risk and fulfill legal and moral obligations. With its internal team of trained auditors, the A.C.T Group strives to remain at the forefront of technology and efficiently engage in risk management services.
With a strong presence in the automotive and events industries, A.C.T requires a mobile compliance solution that ensures efficiency and ease of use. As the company continues to expand its client base and its workload increases, having a simple and streamlined auditing tool is of utmost importance.
- Phil and his team at A.C.T have experimented with several audit procedures in the past – from the traditional pen and paper, to Word and Excel and to other online platforms such as CS Stars and iAuditor.
- The main issue with these other solutions was the final output – A.C.T Group clients were not fully satisfied with the look and content within these reports.
- Through a quick search on Google for an alternative auditing software, Phil came across the Nimonik solution and downloaded the free trial. He uploaded few sample questions so he could see how it worked and was pleased with function to automatically generate a report once the audit is completed. Phil also noted that the option to download the report in various formats was useful to him and his team.
- “Efficiency is a big thing – our target is to visit a site, arrive at 9:15am finish at 3:30pm and then push a button and say that’s the audit completed.” The Nimonik team is working hard to help the A.C.T Group realize this goal.
- Phil explains that while he appreciates the user interface, the ease of use, the vast template library and the price point of the Nimonik solution, one of the most attractive features is the customer service.
- The team has an on-boarding training with Luciano and “he was great, he showed us how to use the system.” Nimonik also makes sure to reply to emails quickly and is always welcoming any comments or feedback on user experience.
- While the time spent conducting the audit is similar to the methods previously used, report creation is much more efficient with Nimonik. It now takes an administrator 20-30 minutes to do a report, it used to take 1-2 hours.
- Creating checklists and uploading checklists from Excel is a seamless process.
- On a scale of 1 to 4, A.C.T. rates Nimonik’s customer service a 4.
- “From an efficiency and portability point of view, it’s enabled us to win more business!”
The EPA has announced that, on November 5, “countries across the world took the historic step to work together” in reducing hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in the environment (EPA press release).
Every year, the 197 countries that are Parties to the Montreal Protocol meet to discuss how best to manage, reduce or eliminate substances that deplete the ozone layer. This year, the Parties agreed to develop an HFC phase-out plan, to be added to the Protocol in 2016.
HFCs are not directly ozone-depleting substances. In fact, they were originally introduced as replacements for the extremely ozone-damaging chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). However, the international community is taking action against HFCs because these chemicals contribute dramatically to climate change. HFCs may have a “global warming impact at up to 10,000 times that of carbon dioxide,” according to UN Environment Programme Executive Director Achim Steiner.
Director Steiner describes the urgency of phasing-out HFCs: “If we don’t get this genie back into the bottle quickly then, by 2050, we could be looking at as big a problem as the one we have just solved” (UN press release).
These moves toward international cooperation on HFCs may be brought about, in part, by recent technological breakthroughs. HFCs are most frequently released into the atmosphere through leaks, servicing and disposal of air-conditioning equipment from buildings and automobiles (EPA source). New technologies have introduced feasible HFC alternatives, particularly for refrigerants. The Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) presented findings to the Parties this year that “viable replacements exist” for HFC refrigerants in air-conditioning units (ORNL report). ORNL found that, in some respects, alternatives performed even better as refrigerants than HFCs, even for possible use in the world’s hottest climates.
The EPA has already amended its regulations to recognize the potential of emerging HFC alternatives. In April, the EPA revised its rules at 40CFR-82 to list these climate-friendly chemicals as acceptable replacements of HFCs for several uses: ethane, isobutane, propane, hydrocarbon blend R-441A and HFC-32 (difluoromethane). As the EPA reports in their fact sheet, “The substitutes are not ozone-depleting, and they have lower global warming potentials than currently-used refrigerants.” Nimonik posted a notification about the ruling here.
These new advances bring some hopeful momentum to the UN Conference on Climate Change in Paris this month. Of course, as substituting HFCs for CFCs demonstrated, replacing one pollutant with another can sometimes be like a battle against a hydra, the mythical beast grew two new heads for every one the hero severed. We cannot always see in advance the consequences of our technologies, but we can stay diligent and responsibly adapt to the latest challenges and opportunities.
Although China’s tragic Tianjin explosion earlier this summer is no longer in the public eye, the damages remain. This explosion resulted in the death of 173 and a 5km affected radius. Investigations into the blast concluded that the disaster was a direct result of warehouses storing more hazardous material than permitted, including 700 tonnes of highly toxic sodium cyanide, and being closer to residential buildings than legally allowed. One cannot help but think what preventative measures could have been put in place to avoid such a catastrophe.
Closer to home, an estimated 900 large building fires are reported annually in the United States alone, resulting in dozens of deaths and $2.6 billion in damages. However, technological advances in fire prevention, proper planning, and design, can thwart the causes of these misfortunes.
This series of Fire Safety Audit Checklists will help you assess your commercial and residential fire safety obligations:
- Fire Protection Design Documentation Guidelines: Monitor conceptualization, preliminary, developed, detailed, and construction phases of fire protection design.
- Fire Sprinkler System – Chesterfield Fire and EMS: Design and implement the most efficient sprinkler system for buildings by keeping track of necessary Plan documents, hydraulic calculations, Storage Occupancy, and MSDS.
- Fire Protection Underground – Chesterfield Fire and EMS: Whether you’re dealing with underground storage or fire mains/hydrants, let this simple checklist guide you through assessing your drain lines, field pump, and backflow designs.
- Inspection checklist and Notice of Violation: Evaluate a building’s means of egress, structural/electrical systems, fire alarms, smoke/heat detectors, sprinkler and standpipe systems, extinguishers, fire pumps, commercial cooking equiptment risks, and fire department access.
- Miami Township Fire Dept. Final Inspection: Asses building occupant safety regarding emergency lights, sprinkler systems, fire alarms signaling, and hood systems.
- General Fire Safety Checklist: Audit a building’s exterior, maintenance requirements, assembly occupancies, fire protection systems, and potential hazards.
With our compiled Fire Safety Audit Checklists, one can design for potential fire hazards, or simply spruce up emergency procedures.
Don’t rely on Stop, Drop and Roll: Let our checklists extinguish the threat!
A new version, 5.3, of the Nimonik EHS Audit tool for iPad and iPhone is now available in the App Store. This new version has a number of improvements including:
- 70% faster synchronization of data;
- completed audits are no longer editable on iOS;
- removal of prompts related to data access; and
- more powerful search for audit items.
Nimonik is always striving to improve audit efficiency, contact us at 1-88-608-7511 to discuss your business requirements and how we can help you save time auditing.
CASE STUDY – How to keep oil rigs safe and operational with an iPad and Android Solution
Finance and Operations Manager
PSI – Petroleum Specialized Inspections Corp
Deseronto, Ontario, Canada
Petroleum Specialized Inspections (PSI) is an independent specialized company providing professional consulting and inspection services. PSI helps its clients mitigate risk and downtime by providing fast, customized inspection services.
PSI has successfully utilized the Nimonik solution in a recent pilot project based in Australia, and is working closely with Nimonik to revamp their business methodology and provide their clients with greater access and understanding into the inspection process.
- Vicki and her team at PSI had been struggling to find a solution that could take their list of deficiencies and combine it into a report.
- With their original software creating too many technical issues, PSI resorted to Excel spreadsheets as their main tool for inspections.
- Through browsing on the Internet, Vicki came across the Nimonik App, downloaded the free trial and showed the tool to her colleagues. The PSI team immediately realized the potential for Nimonik to be the tool they were searching for, and the team behind the solution they could collaborate with.
- When asked about the components of the tool most appreciated, Vicki notes the importance of due diligence for PSI clients – the Nimonik solution allows the PSI team to show its clients the thousands of questions that are passed every day.
- Another great feature is the app’s history logs – “you can see when things were completed; one of the biggest selling features.”
- Once PSI subscribed to Nimonik, CEO Jonathan Brun visited the PSI office in Deseronto, ON to give the team a walkthrough of the app and its full features.
- “The implementation of the Nimonik solution within the pilot project worked really well!” PSI is excited to see what will come next in this collaborative effort.
- The technical assistance from the Nimonik IT team is going to allow PSI auditors to feel reassured that they are covering all their bases. “Other processes (out there) were so overwhelming.”
- Graham Towers, PSI’s lead field auditor, said, “the reason we want to use the app is to ensure that competent persons could conduct an audit with all of the questions at hand rather than bring trainees into the office. Putting the questions into a format where a person can answer directly and create the final report simultaneously…makes it much more efficient.”
- Vicki appreciates the personal aspect of Nimonik’s customer service. “You’re speaking to real people on the phone” who are dedicated to helping you get the most out of the Nimonik solution.
- On a scale of 1 to 4, PSI rates Nimonik’s customer service a 4!
- It also helps that the “cost is phenomenal and so worth it.”
Nimonik is happy to announce a brand new design for Legal Registers, otherwise known as Legal Profiles or Requirements for Compliance.
In ISO 14001:2004, 4.3.2 Legal and Other Requirements requires two key elements from an organization, broadly summarized as follows:
This is a requirement for a procedure that explains how the organization obtains information regarding its legal and other requirements, and makes that information known to key functions within the organization.
The intent of this element is to identify the environmental legal and other requirements that pertain to its operations and activities so that the organization can ensure that they are taken into account in the EMS. In doing so, the organization must also determine how these requirements apply to the significant aspects.
In the new ISO 14001:2015 (October 2014 Revision), this requirement has been moved to 6.1.3 and 9.3 and it states
6.1.3 Compliance obligations
The organization shall:
a) identify and have access to the compliance obligations related to its environmental aspects;
b) determine how these compliance obligations apply to the organization.
The organization shall maintain documented information of its compliance obligations.
9.3 Management review
Top management shall review the organization’s environmental management system, at planned intervals, to ensure its continuing suitability, adequacy and effectiveness.The management review shall include consideration of:
a) the status of actions from previous management reviews; react to the nonconformity and, as applicable:
- external and internal issues that are relevant to the environmental management system;
- compliance obligations;
- its significant environmental aspects and risk associated with threats and opportunities; the extent to which objectives have been met;
information on the organization’s environmental performance, including trends in:
- nonconformities and corrective actions;
- monitoring and measurement results;
- conformity to its compliance obligations;
- audit results;
communication(s) from external interested parties;
opportunities for continual improvement;
the adequacy of resources required for maintaining an effective environmental management system.
Nimonik is happy to announce a new version of EHS Audit, v. 5.2.4. This important upgrade resolves some issues with the new Apple mobile operating system, iOS 9.
Another upgrade with synchronization improvements will be available in October 2015.
Hard work and profitable incentives go a long way toward creating a prosperous business. There is another factor that has made US businesses prosper in spite of the mixed feelings that it brings: OSHA.
OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Act which was created by the U.S. Department of Labor, may have a tendency to strike fear in the hearts of CEOs and management teams with nerve-wracking inspections, fines, and demands for equipment upgrades or modifications. Yet, the end result of such monitoring has proven beneficial in the area of saved lives and increased production – making businesses more profitable and successful than ever before.
The U.S. Department of Labor states,
“Studies have shown that a direct correlation exists between a company’s performance in safety and its subsequent performance in productivity and financial results. Injury and Illness Prevention Programs will help…businesses remain competitive in a global market.”
A Five-step Injury and Illness Prevention Plan
OSHA encourages the use of an injury and illness prevention program that is based on a universal set of key elements. These elements are:
–Management initiative and involvement: A successful EHS program starts at the top. CEOs, members of the board of directors and management teams must demonstrate awareness and desire for a safe workplace if an illness and injury prevention program is going to succeed.
–Worker participation: A successful illness and injury prevention program is possible only when the work force actively pursues the safety culture instituted by the management. This team effort saves lives and increases production.
–Hazard management: This involves identifying potential hazards, developing a plan for dealing with them, and putting that plan into action.
–Education and training: Bring your management team together and get them operating on the same page with a mobile training program and shared software that promotes uniformity throughout the entire corporation.
–Program evaluation and improvement: Sometimes a fresh look from the outside is needed to spot areas that need improvement. (Our expert consultants can help your team pinpoint those potential areas and help you develop solutions for improvement.)
Spending the time and money needed to enact this five-step prevention program is a smart move. As Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor, stated,
“According to the National Safety Council, workplace injuries and illnesses cost our economy 198.2 billion dollars a year. That’s over half a billion dollars each day!”
OSHA has made employers responsible for providing a safe, healthy work environment for their employees. Businesses which take the time and money to invest in programs that prevent illness and injury on the job are doing their part to offset this catastrophic loss in the labor force. Not only is it the morally right thing to do, but it is also a wise move towards building a prosperous company!
Nimonik is working hard to improve the NimonikApp.com website, to ensure a high level of ease of use along with easier navigation. Below are three screenshots, one of the home page that lists your Facilities and operations and the next two are screenshots of the new auditing and inspection interface. With this redesign, we aimed to provide a cleaner and more intuitive design that allows you to quickly ensure your audit is done and your facility is compliant. Please let us know what you think and we hope this redesign makes your work that much more efficient!