Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Happy Earth Day Today… and Every Day

April 22 only comes once a year, but we should celebrate the earth every day. The EPA offers some suggestions on taking action to help make a difference:
  1. Wash clothes in cold water
  2. Try the Energy Star online home advisor
  3. Plug into power strips
  4. Change HVAC filters
  5. Insulate water heaters
  6. Give your car a break
  7. Compost
  8. Turn off the tap
  9. Spread the word about climate change
  10. Replace light bulbs with Energy Star-qualified bulbs
  11. Save energy at home
  12. Clean the HVAC area
  13. Check tire pressure
  14. Reduce food waste
  15. Fix a leak
  16. Fill the dishwasher with a full load
  17. Use smart thermostats
  18. Think life cycle when choosing products
  19. Use WaterSense label shower heads
  20. Maintain your car
To read the full descriptions on each of the tips, please visit the EPA website. The ideas can be enjoyed all year and we hope you celebrate Earth Day today and every day.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Work with HCA Health Centers and Stand Alone ERs

As the preferred civil engineering provider for HCA Midwest Health System, we’ve been working on several projects in recent years as they expand and invest in facilities across the KC Metro. The latest is a free-standing Emergency Room in Shawnee, which will be a 10,000 sf ER facility located just east of Nieman on Shawnee Mission Parkway. Demolition of an existing building and the need to address stormwater and the adjacent creek were paramount to our role on the project as planning and city council approvals were met.

Also underway is a major expansion at Overland Park Regional Medical Center. Since 2010, GBA has been working in partnership with Perkins + Will. As the civil engineer of record, we’ve been working behind the scenes on site design, grading plans, utilities, surveying, temporary access points, and landscaping. The process involved an extensive approval process through the City of Overland Park and neighboring residents. Construction drawings have been completed and our team is responding to questions and emerging needs as JE Dunn builds the new facility.

Looking back over the past decade, GBA has been involved with new or renovation projects at many HCA sites, including:
·         Belton Regional Medical Center
·         Centerpoint Medical Center
·         Centerpoint Cancer Center
·         KC Pain Clinic
·         KCMO Ambulatory Surgery Center
·         Lafayette Regional Medical Center
·         Lee’s Summit Medical Center
·         Research Medical Center

Thursday, April 10, 2014

GBA Energy Group Attends KU Energy Conference

The GBA Energy Group recently traveled to Lawrence, Kan. to participate in KU Energy Club’s Fourth Annual Energy Conference. This is the fourth consecutive year GBA has attended the event, which attracted more than 130 registrants from across the industry.
Jay Hakes, author of “A Declaration of Energy Independence,” served as the keynote speaker for the event, discussing the need for the U.S. to reduce its dependence on foreign oil and turn to alternative methods of energy in the near future. Panel discussions included the country’s journey toward energy independence, the future of wind energy in Kansas and beyond, and the rise of oil and gas.

Throughout the conference, the future of wind, specifically in the state of Kansas, was a hot topic of discussion. Second only to Texas in wind energy generation, Kansas has vast opportunities in the wind sector. Recent improvements in the technology used for wind turbines are only expanding those opportunities. Additionally, the panelists discussed alternative forms of energy, including solar and waste heat, along with distributed energy solutions like Combined Heat and Power (CHP). Hakes, in particular, stressed the importance of taking advantage of all opportunities available in order to get closer to the goal of achieving energy independence.

For more information on the topics covered by the industry leader panelists, visit kuenergyclub.com.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Make a Pledge Today

April 1st kicks off the National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation. Communities across the U.S. are competing to determine who can be the most “water wise.” In an effort to dramatically decrease water usage, energy consumption and hazardous waste from entering watersheds, residents are being challenged to conserve water by dramatically reducing their daily usage. A commitment can be made at

In 2013, residents from more than 1,000 communities in all 50 states, pledged to reduce their annual consumption of freshwater by nearly a billion gallons. This prevented more than 70 million pounds of harmful waste from entering the water system.

This year, entrants from winning cities will have an opportunity win prizes, ranging from a Toyota Prius Plug-In to water saving fixtures, gift cards for a shopping spree and more. The friendly competition runs until April 30.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Dynamic Message Signs

Pretty soon, drivers in one of the most popular places in Kansas City, Kansas, will have a little extra help in getting where they’re going—and knowing when to expect delays.

GBA traffic engineers and our subsidiary, gbaSI, are working with the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, to create permanent dynamic message signs (DMS) throughout the Village West area.

“The signs are currently planned to be multi-color and will be used to help manage traffic during major events in the Village West area,” said Mandy Anderson, project manager for GBA.

DMS are permanent electronic signs displaying information to drivers. Kansas City metro area drivers are probably most familiar with similar signs seen along the region’s major highway corridors, but these signs will be on major arterials where drivers are going at a lower speed. The City of Overland Park has a number of these signs in place on arterials in a similar fashion to this project.

Village West houses a number of the county’s highest traffic attractions, including The Legends shopping center, Sporting Park and the Kansas Speedway.

GBA and gbaSI have long run helped manage traffic flow at Kansas Speedway events. These new signs will both inform event traffic where to park and tell non-event traffic how to avoid the congestion.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Kansas Legislation and Renewable Energy

At GBA, we provide our clients a wide variety of capabilities related to many project types.  But, one of the areas GBA works in is currently under consideration in the Kansas legislature. We’re hoping you’ll be as interested in it as we are.  It’s in regards to renewable energy and the impact on schools, businesses and the individual.

The bill (Sen Sub HB 2101) would reduce the financial incentive for a school, or business or individual to install a renewable energy device, such as a wind turbine, solar panel, or biogas generator.  Rather than capturing renewable energy sources in the State to the benefit of end users, the proposed bill makes it more difficult. 

If you favor encouraging investment in renewable energy, we ask you to contact your State Representative or Senator to let them know you are against passage of Sen Sub HB 2101 and inquire about how they intend to vote and why.  It could make a difference to Kansas.

Follow the link: www.openkansas.org and type in your address. A list of your local representatives will be provided with their contact information.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Project Commissioned by GBA/ViroCon Achieves LEED® Platinum Certification

Copyright Michael Robinson Photography
The $28 million Johnson County Sherriff’s Office Criminalistics Laboratory, located in Olathe, Kan., was recently awarded LEED® Platinum certification by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). The facility, which was commissioned in 2012 by GBA/ViroCon, contains sophisticated buildings systems and controls. Space is provided for laboratories, a bullet testing chamber, and offices of the department. Sustainable design elements include a storm water management system, environmentally friendly landscape and hardscape materials, and an energy-efficient design that boasts over $10,000 per month in energy savings.

GBA was delighted upon selection and honored to assist the design/construction team by providing reviews during the design phase, rigorous testing of major building systems, as well as all testing, training and implementation needed to fulfill the necessary LEED® commissioning requirements, including: EA: PR1 Fundamental Commissioning of the Building Energy Systems, EA: CR3 Enhanced Commissioning, EA: CR5 Measurement and Verification and EQ: CR3.2 Construction IAQ Management Plan: Before Occupancy.

The 62,500 sf crime lab was built to serve all of Johnson County, a suburb of Kansas City with 500,000+ residents including 20 communities. GBA and ViroCon were involved with the project throughout all phases – from schematic design to warranty—and commissioned the following systems:
  • Building management systems
  • All HVAC equipment and systems, including exhaust systems
  • Lighting
  • Electrical primary, emergency, uninterruptible power (UPS) distribution and metering systems
  • Fire alarm and detection systems including FM 200 systems
  • Fire suppression systems
  • Under floor leak detection systems
  • Fuel systems and fuel leak detection monitoring systems
  • Lab systems and their controls including but not limited to, hoods, high purity water system, containment devices, exhaust/intake system and gas lines
Located at the County Government complex at 119th Street and Ridgeview Road, the building holds nine accredited forensic analysis labs all under one roof. The state-of-the-art facility is one of just a few crime labs in the nation to receive the USGBC's highest honor.