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MEREDA’s Morning Menu Breakfast Event “148 Years in the Making… Maine Medical Center’s $512 Million Expansion Project”

4 months ago · · Comments Off on MEREDA’s Morning Menu Breakfast Event “148 Years in the Making… Maine Medical Center’s $512 Million Expansion Project”

MEREDA’s Morning Menu Breakfast Event “148 Years in the Making… Maine Medical Center’s $512 Million Expansion Project”

This Spring, Maine’s largest hospital project ever, will commence at Maine Medical Center in Portland. Its purpose is to expand and modernize the hospital to provide the best possible patient care.

The Maine Medical Center Phase IIB Master Facilities Project is a $512 million investment in the care provided at Maine’s largest and most advanced medical center. The project will relieve a severe shortage of beds at the hospital, not by adding more beds, but by providing 128 new single patient rooms, allowing MMC to better meet the growing demands of acutely ill patients. It will also add 19 new procedure rooms, increasing capacity and replacing older operating rooms no longer able to accommodate the latest technology.

The project calls for the replacement of the existing employee parking garage with a larger parking facility that will alleviate an acute shortage of parking on the campus. It also creates a new main entrance for the hospital on Congress Street. A $50 million investment in ambulatory facilities in the Portland region is also planned. Construction is expected to get under way in early 2018 and be completed in 2022.

Join the Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA) and Jeff Sanders for breakfast on April 26, 2018 from 7:30 AM – 9:00 AM at the Clarion Hotel in Portland to learn more about the rationale, scope, timing and challenges of this massive expansion project.

4 months ago · · Comments Off on The Future of Buildings

The Future of Buildings

We are all involved in the world of real estate.  For some of us, it’s our profession. The rest of us live and work in homes and buildings of all scales, sizes, and quality. All buildings use energy and impact our health and wellness. The decisions we make on a daily basis have an impact on our pocketbooks, our health, and climate change. The small choices we make in our homes and workplaces can contribute to a healthier built environment. In a world of ever-diminishing resources, thinking globally, acting locally resonates more now than ever. What better legacy to leave for future generations? Buildings that are healthy, attractive, have low embodied energy, and have low maintenance and utility costs.

Is this the future of architecture? Being green and sustainable doesn’t sound like anything new. So, what’s the buzz?

At a recent MEREDA breakfast event, Alan Kuniholm from PDT Architects and Gunnar Hubbard and Mike Pulaski from Thornton Tomasetti offered forward-thinking ideas and case studies on where the real estate and architecture profession is going in terms of innovation and high-performance, low-energy buildings. Rating systems and initiatives that determine performance standards have quickly evolved from Energy Star, Green Globes, and LEED, to Passive House and Net Zero, and soon may very well be a Net Positive standard.

Mike Pulaski shared the success of a new performance standard called Passive House. Maine is one of the states leading the applied thinking of this rating. The Passive House Standard has been gaining a lot of momentum in the industry and has only recently been applied in the U.S. to large-scale commercial projects. This standard is the most rigorous energy standard in use now and typically results in buildings that can save over 50% of the energy used in conventional buildings. But often teams start out with intentions to achieve this standard, falling short due to the inability to realize first cost savings in the mechanical design. Now there are solid case studies and tools for identifying cost-effective design approaches to achieve PH on large-scale projects. Thornton Tomasetti has completed over 500,000 sf of PH projects, and are seeing projects achieve these ambitious energy goals with less than a 2.5% cost premium and a typical payback of 4-8 years.

Gunnar Hubbard reported that Maine is very active when it comes to high performance and has some great case studies to build on. The development and affordability of building information modeling (BIM) and other new software makes it possible for design teams to be more accountable and intentional about outcomes. The “master architect” of days gone by that was responsible for an “aesthetic” is now being redefined as the “master collaborator” with greater access to expertise and tools. Larger teams with more expertise brought in earlier in the formative stages of project development can reap greater rewards.

Being in the moment, experiencing a sense of place, delight, community, and feeling protected evokes an emotional tie to our environment. Alan Kuniholm shared his story of making forts in the woods as a child in a deep pine forest, using fallen pine boughs to shape natural igloos, layering pine needles inside and out with leaves to shed rain and for insulation, and freezing water in flying saucers to make windows in the winter. Experiencing the quiet, the smell of pine, the laws of thermodynamics, the wind whistling through the tree canopy, and the sight of multiple igloos in a cathedral of white pines, its young creators called it cool country.

Many of us feel that making high-performance buildings is a moral imperative and see the future built environment through that lens. As professionals involved in the development of buildings, we know we can do better and we are anxious to apply new technologies and research. While the buildings we are designing today may have lifespans over a hundred years, and we will be using technical expertise unimaginable just decades ago, cool country evokes the emotional tie we develop to the world around us, a sense of participation and authenticity, that we need to cultivate in ourselves and encourage in our owners and colleagues.  

When it comes to the future of buildings, that is the way forward to preserve our world for our children.  

4 months ago · · Comments Off on How Drones Are Helping Traditional Industries Take Flight Into the Future

How Drones Are Helping Traditional Industries Take Flight Into the Future

Not long ago, the mere thought of drones was reserved for the military and sci-fi movies. Today, they’ve become a part of everyday conversation among friends, in the media and beyond. While drones aren’t swarming the skies yet, many companies across industries are using them more and more to increase efficiency and productivity.

“Drone technology is going to disrupt businesses,” says Elaine Whyte, head of drones (UK) at PricewaterhouseCoopers. “They’re agile, inexpensive, and rapid to respond. So, they can go and reach places that are difficult for a business to get to.”

Ultimately, implementing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) will make jobs easier, safer and more cost-effective, which is a win-win across sectors. 

“Now, companies can afford to figure out how to implement those technologies into their existing workflows, to make decisions faster,” says Kevin Lang, vice president of Enterprise Services at PrecisionHawk, a Raleigh, N.C.-based company that provides advanced commercial drone technologies.

With the ability to fly, gather data and capture images—all without humans manning the vehicle—it should come as no surprise that drones will soon become commonplace.   

Below, we look at how drones are set to streamline and possibly revolutionize industries.


While autonomous delivery technology is primed to become one of the central sources for major retailers shipping goods, it’s certainly not the only area where drones are taking flight.

“The more that regulation opens up and we find convenient ways and safe ways to fly drones that can impact infrastructure, insurance and construction industries—use cases are going to continue to grow,” says Lang. “It’s a really exciting time to be in the industry.”

Having a bird’s-eye view will reap many benefits. “Whether it’s a tall structure or a floor plan change, having the ability to have a fresh perspective allows companies to possibly make a different business decision moving forward.” 


Aerial drones are increasingly being used to enhance the crop cycle in a myriad of ways throughout the agriculture industry. From crop-monitoring and spraying, to irrigation, soil analysis, planting and beyond, multispectral UAVs are bringing the ancient practice of raising crops for consumption into the modern age. Soaring with the potential to increase productivity, sustainability and boost food production, drones are revolutionizing the legacy agriculture industry in ways never seen before. Farmers are also embracing drones as an efficient means to discover pest problems and other patterns that might otherwise be challenging to uncover without perfect vision from above.


Drones are shaping the construction sites of the future. The lightweight winged gadgets are taking the industry to new heights, in some case acting as the watchful eyes in the sky for larger machines on the ground. 

“We see it as really useful before you even start to put a shovel in the ground, to understand what you’re getting into from a project management standpoint, and from a cost standpoint,” says Lang.

In fact, San Francisco-based tech startup Skycatch deploys the buzzy deft flyers to help construction companies more efficiently and safely guide unmanned bulldozers. Off to a promising start, Skycatch’s sensor-loaded drones have already given Japanese machinery corporation Komatsu gather, process and analyze 3D visual data from the sky in ways that enable automated diggers to more accurately complete construction tasks.


Another industry achieving more with less via disruptive drone technology is the niche structural inspection sector. More and more high-tech UAVs are being deployed to execute extraordinarily close-up inspections of structures of all kinds, skyscrapers, bridges and even industrial wind turbine blades included. In a single flight, camera- and sensor-equipped precision drones are quickly, efficiently able to thoroughly examine large, tall structures in ways that the naked human eye often cannot, at least not without considerable safety risks to inspectors at times. In fact, drones from Detroit-based Skyspecs inspect industrial wind turbine blades in fewer than 15 minutes per examination, leading to lower overall maintenance and operations costs, and to much safer inspections overall.


Recent advances in autonomous drone-captured imagery gave birth to the term “drone journalism” — and, of course, to the resulting controversy surrounding the emerging field. The use of drones to give journalists a leg up on reporting news as it unfurls is taking flight in ways we couldn’t have imagined just a few short years ago. Legal and ethical complexities are hampering widespread adoption of the emerging practice of reporting and information gathering via drone, but that isn’t stopping many journalists from exploring this exciting new arena. The esteemed Poynter Institute is an early leader in the space, offering groundbreaking “Drone Boot Camp” courses through its freshly unveiled Drone Journalism School. Students learn how to use drones to tell colorful, compelling stories in ways—and from heights and angles—not seen before. Drones can also help journalists report from on high from breaking news scenes that might not be safe for them to venture into, such as during natural disasters like mudslides and wildfires. Unique angles from journalist-guided drones’ eyes in the sky are just the beginning. 


Drones are also bringing big changes to the transportation industry, modernizing how we send and receive goods at every level, industrial and consumer alike. Through every phase of transport, UAVs are trimming costs, saving time and enhancing worker safety. Drone technology is particularly effective in the transportation logistics sector, and across many modes of transport. By land, by sea, by rail and by air, autonomous drones are shaping the future of manufacturing, assembly, research and development, distribution and warehouse facilities and more.

For example, drones are streamlining ocean freight inspections. They collect key data that can be automatically integrated into existing transportation logistics systems as cargo is loaded and unloaded in real time.

There’s no denying that drones are profoundly transforming industries of all scopes and sizes, and at a considerably fast pace. They’re enabling companies—and the people who lead and work for them—to streamline operations, better collect information, prepare for and accomplish tasks faster, safer, and more efficiently and affordably. 

Article originally published on February 1, 2018 –  https://blueprint.cbre.com/how-drones-are-helping-traditional-industries-take-flight-into-the-future/

“Blueprint, presented by CBRE, is an online magazine dedicated to telling timely and insightful stories about the transformational role real estate plays in the world."


MEREDA Takes the Final Installment of its 3 part Morning Menu Breakfast Series, ‘A Presentation by FocusMaine” on the Road to Lewiston on April 10

4 months ago · · Comments Off on MEREDA Takes the Final Installment of its 3 part Morning Menu Breakfast Series, ‘A Presentation by FocusMaine” on the Road to Lewiston on April 10

MEREDA Takes the Final Installment of its 3 part Morning Menu Breakfast Series, ‘A Presentation by FocusMaine” on the Road to Lewiston on April 10

Join the Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA) for breakfast on April 10th from 7:30 AM – 9:00 AM at DaVinci’s Eatery in Lewiston for a presentation by FocusMaine, a 10-year initiative to strengthen and revitalize opportunity and prosperity in Maine by accelerating the creation of quality jobs in the areas of agriculture, aquaculture, and biopharmaceuticals.

FocusMaine also focuses on knowledge workers, who enable growth in these sectors and has centered its efforts on traded sectors, which sell goods and services outside of the state, thereby generating more full-time work, higher wages, and more new jobs in the local economy. Importantly, they also work alongside talented partners, including Coastal Enterprises Inc., Gulf of Maine Research Institute, the Maine Aquaculture Association, and the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development, and are led by a dedicated leadership team of private sector leaders and others deeply committed to sustainable economic growth in the state. Andrea Cianchette Maker, a partner at Pierce Atwood, and Michael Dubyak, chairman of WEX, Inc., co-chair FocusMaine. Kim Hamilton is the president.