Keen Is Working To Keep Our People Safe

covid-19

COVID-19 has been a challenge for everyone. At Keen Technical Solutions, we value our relationships more than anything. From our team, to our partners, to our suppliers, and especially to our clients, we always put people first. As all of us face the growing concerns and dangers of the coronavirus, we wanted to update on our efforts to protect the people we care about. 

First, we highly recommend that everyone adhere to the most up-to-date guidelines and recommendations from the CDC. Your state or local government may also have additional recommendations or insight based on the current conditions in your area. 

We’re doing our part. Internally, we’re all working from home or from the road more than usual to reduce any risk of passing along the virus internally. We’ve always depended on mobility to effectively serve our clients, relying on telecommunications for years to keep our team connected. That has put us in a position to take our office closure almost entirely in stride. 

It has become even more of a priority for us to protect our team and our clients on the job site. Many of our on-going maintenance and continuing projects are classified as essential. We’ve worked hard to responsibly balance health, safety, and progress. Any and all staff have been instructed to stay home if they feel sick in any way, or if they have family members who aren’t well. Workers with travel to known outbreak areas have also been instructed not to come in for work. 

On each project, we’ve also made a renewed effort to clean and disinfect the job site when we start work and when we finish. Any contact with clients respects the six-foot distance recommended by health officials, and we’ve adopted as many digital forms and communications to reduce the need for in-person discussion as much as possible. 

We are constantly reviewing the latest information on the pandemic in order to make the best decision for our clients and our workforce on a day-to-day basis. We’re also carefully tracking our own practices in order to do even more to keep everyone safe. 

From the whole Keen Technical Solutions family, be safe, be healthy, and if we can do anything to help you during these tough times, please reach out.

solar

Solar Project Scale: The (New) Biggest Solar Installation in the US?

We like to aim high and go big. So how big is the largest solar project in the United States? Find out how much power one plant in California creates! 

Late in 2019, the federal government gave its stamp of approval to the Gemini solar project. Located in Las Vegas, Nevada, the proposed site would span over 7,000 acres and generate nearly 700 mW. It would also tap into the emerging efficiency of energy storage capacity by holding onto a minimum of 380 mW on-site. At $1 billion, Gemini would become the biggest solar facility in the United States. 

In the competitive world of energy, the current record holder for power generation would almost certainly like to add an asterisk. The storage capacity of Gemini would push it into the lead. At the Solar Star solar project in California, its 579 mW of generation does not include storage capacity. When Solar Star came online in 2015, it was the world’s largest solar energy generation site. It was surpassed four years later by a plant in India, which uses 13,000 acres to produce over 2,000 mW. 

Current plans for Gemini would have it operational by 2023 and work with two other solar power facilities that are already in service. The project is a vital part of Nevada’s commitment to zero carbon emissions by 2050. Along the way, the state has committed to getting at least 50% of its electricity by renewable sources by 2030. 

It’s going to take big ideas, big investments, and a lot of hard work to successfully tackle the immense challenges in climate change and energy consumption. But not every project needs to set a record in order to contribute; from a more efficient light bulb to the biggest solar project in the United States, every step forward gets us closer to sustainability.

solar power

An Opportunity To Invest In A Brighter Future

solar power

The government is talking about an unprecedented stimulus package. It’s fitting; we live in unprecedented times. The impact of coronavirus over the past three months has been startling; the effects of three months could be exponentially more challenging. Out of this situation, we have to seize every opportunity possible. 

Out of the wreckage of our economy, the proposed stimulus packages that have been floated from both the House of Representatives and Senate are more than just a lifeline for those affected by closures and shutdowns across the country. They’re a chance to redirect the entire economy and specific industries. Among those priorities should certainly be a commitment to alternative energy and an investment in rewarding those who pivot to cleaner, more sustainable energy options. 

On Capitol Hill, there is a predictable split between parties between those who advocate for the inclusion and even the requirement that some of the $1 trillion or more earmarked for the stimulus plan be invested specifically in green technologies. Two giants of the alternative energy industries, Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), have both been vocal in emphasizing the immense opportunity the nation has to make the most to a brighter, cleaner energy future. 

Without that support, the growth of the past decade could be at risk. A recent study forecasted that as much as 50% of residential solar jobs could be lost, while as much as $43 billion in investment in the field could also be on the line. That money could be diverted or held back, stopping work on solar project fields across the country. 

Additionally, as many as 35,000 jobs in wind could be at risk, according to the AWEA. Industry advocates argue that a number of options to support alternative energy exists, including creating new tax credits or extending current tax credits that are beginning to phase out over the next five years. 

Instead, the Trump administration has asked Congress to approve as much as $3 billion to fill the national oil reserves and prop up US producers who have been steamrolled by the price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia. Of course, the obvious argument here is that it’s a short term fix; it’s a solution only until those reserves are met, or until the next time foreign countries decide to lower prices. 

By refusing to invest in alternative energy sources, our country faces the prospect of spending billions to get out of one global health crisis only to face the realities of the climate crisis even further behind the eight ball.

Learn more; contact us today to see how these investments could affect your business.

HVAC

HVAC Efficiency For Health

HVAC

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been inundated with calls from businesses looking for ways to offer their employees clean, safe air. Fall, winter, and spring put indoor air quality under the microscope, and there are a lot of issues to consider beyond the current health crisis. From efficiency to allergies, investing in high-efficiency indoor HVAC is always smart. 

Improve efficiency, lower energy costs, up your productivity, and take care of your workforce? It’s not a magic bullet, it’s your air. With a whole world of authors and experts exposing a new gospel on how to do more in less time, and do it for less, something as simple and important as air quality is too often overlooked. It’s not as flashy as a new desk or a remodeled conference room, but clean air can make a world of difference. 

Lower Repair Costs. It should come as no surprise that a new system will lower your monthly, quarterly, and annual repair costs. With new fixtures, smart tools, and regular maintenance, you’ll breathe a lot easier at night when the weather changes or puts more strain on your HVAC system. Spend more time thinking about where you’ll invest the money you saved! 

Lower Operating Costs. Here’s even more cash to tuck below the bottom line. Energy efficiency has improved in leaps and bounds in just the past few years. While just how much you can save depends on a lot of factors, we offer energy audits that will help us identify how much you can save with an upgraded HVAC system, plus opportunities to reduce other operating expenses like indoor and outdoor lighting. 

Improved Air Flow and Comfort. How is it possible that one employee is cold and another is boiling hot just a few feet away? It’s probably not your people; it’s your airflow. Upgrade systems distribute hot and cool air evenly and efficiently, which means you can all step away from the thermostat and leave the space heaters at home. Not only will it save you money, but it’ll also keep your team focus on their work, not trying to get feeling back into their fingers. 

Better Health For Your Team. A lot of our calls have focused on COVID-19 concerns over the past few weeks, but there are more factors that make HVAC vital in keeping your employees health. New efficient forced air systems offer updated filtration systems that offer clean air with fewer particles to breathe in. While the current health scare is worth looking at, ask any allergy sufferer just how important clean air is to their mood, energy level, work attendance, and general productivity. 

Lower Carbon Footprint. HVAC upgrades contribute to the bigger picture, too. Modern high-efficiency systems save you money and save the planet by lowering carbon emissions. For many companies, investing in a green initiative has been integral in focusing on sustainability and being accountable to their communities. This is one piece of a larger puzzle that can add up to a big difference. 

Want to learn more? Contact Keen today to talk HVAC, energy, and your first consultation.

Keen Joins National Cancer Prevention Workshop in Washington D. C

Standing in front of a solemn history of our nation is humbling. There can be nothing casual about walking through the Library of Congress, climbing the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. If there is a Congressperson or leader who can see the site of the Capitol Building without feeling small, no matter how mighty they may be, they have lost a very important sense of perspective. Continue reading “Keen Joins National Cancer Prevention Workshop in Washington D. C”

No Access To Banks Hurts Marijuana Companies. It Also Hurts The Environment.

The number of states with new cannabis regulations on the books is nearing twenty. States like Colorado, Illinois, and Michigan have seen tens of millions of dollars worth of sales in a single week. But the financial institutions are still wary. That hesitation doesn’t just hurt this growing industry; it also hurts the environment. 

Last month, Michigan began selling legal cannabis products for the very first time. In just six weeks, retail sales surpassed $10 million and generated $1.7 million in new tax revenue. All of that success came from businesses that relied on personal or small-scale venture rounds to handle the substantial investments that go into a successful grow facility. From the ground up, many of these firms have had no access to the financial support that nearly any other business would rely on to get started. 

Marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, and banks rely on federal rules, licensing, and regulations to operate. At the end of the day, most banks won’t touch cannabis companies for fear of breaking federal law. In some cities and states, smaller credit unions and banks have very quietly financed cannabis operations. However, that liquid capital stream has been almost entirely out of reach for marijuana firms. That’s put a massive brake on growth, but it has bigger consequences, too. It’s also hurting the environment. 

As we’ve discussed many times, marijuana growers face immense energy demands. Its lighting and HVAC demands are a massive strain on the grid, and that electrical need is expected to nearly triple by 2023. When companies cut corners and rely on outdated technology or press lamps designed for recreational use into industrial-scale applications, they don’t just waste their own money. They’re also wasting staggering amounts of electricity, and that added strain hurts both the grid and the planet. 

Looking ahead, we see banking protections as one of the most important pieces of legislation in Michigan and in any of the twenty states with legal marijuana laws. There is traction on that front. The SAFE Banking Act passed the US House of Representatives way back in September of 2019, though with some reservations. Critics of the bill maintain often confuse the banking regulation with marijuana regulation more broadly, a misinterpretation that has slowed acceptance of the Act in the Senate which, as you may have noticed, has had other pressing issues pushed to the center of its attention. 

We’ve seen first hand just how important cannabis’ reliance on energy is now, and with growth in the industry projected to skyrocket, what businesses have in place right now will dictate not just which companies will survive, but if our aging grid system will continue to be able to handle the load of growers and the general public successfully. By allowing banks to safely loan necessary funds to these firms, state and federal governments will benefit even more from tax revenue and let market forces work, without putting the environment at risk.