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More than Just Beauty – The Many Benefits of Landscaping

More than Just Beauty – The Many Benefits of Landscaping

When people think about the value of landscaping, curb appeal is often the first thing that comes to mind.

In a previous post, we talked about how visual impact can influence real estate purchasing and rental decisions. In addition to providing that curb appeal, landscaping can enhance the safety and sustainability of your property. However, to realize these benefits, it’s important to consider layout, the types of soil and plantings you are using, and to maintain your landscaping on a regular basis. In our recent article for Facility Executive magazine we shared more in depth insights about the essential benefits of landscaping. We share a few other important considerations below.

Beyond beauty you will find safety and sustainability

There’s no question that a well-designed landscape can beautify a commercial property. Flowers and shrubs add a pop of color and variety while concealing functional but unsightly elements like air conditioning units, electricity meters, and water pipes. Shade trees provide cool, sheltered places to sit and walk, and lighting can provide a focal point for eye-catching design elements.

Many of the features that enhance curb appeal also perform important safety functions. Lighting reduces accidents by increasing visibility at night and directing the flow of traffic. A good landscape design improves access to emergency vehicles by providing open, drivable spaces as well as proper drainage and run-off to prevent standing water, which can attract bugs and increase the potential for slips and falls. Certain kinds of plants—like rosebushes—placed in strategic locations can even deter crime.

Landscaping also enhances the sustainability of your property. Shade trees reduce the need for air conditioning and prevent soil erosion, while a little organic mulch extends the life of your plants by retaining moisture. Microbes in certain kinds of soil reduce reliance on chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Decreased energy consumption isn’t just good for the environment; it also lowers operating costs and offsets the expense involved in launching green initiatives.

Good planning and maintenance are important

For all the virtues of landscaping, there are some challenges that managers of commercial properties need to keep in mind. Before you invest in plants and design features, evaluate site conditions like the availability of water and sunlight and any local ordinances or other restrictions. Choosing the right plants and design makes a big difference in terms of drainage, pest control, and affordability, so you need to get a realistic assessment of your property’s features.

Even the best landscaping design won’t stay that way for long unless you properly maintain your plants. Removing leaf litter and debris is essential to keeping plants healthy, promoting good drainage and run-off, and preventing accidents. Inspecting trees for tell-tale signs of insect damage can stop an infestation from spreading to other trees. Regular inspections will also tell you whether your plants are receiving adequate sun and water. In addition, ongoing maintenance allows you to switch things up throughout the year to coincide with the holidays and other seasonal changes.

When looking for a landscaping vendor, it’s important to select a company that understands the unique requirements of your region in terms of climate, local ordinances, and other factors. Engaging a vendor that offers a full complement of facility services offers additional benefits, like consolidated billing, that can streamline property maintenance.

Managing a commercial property involves a lot of moving pieces. Investing in the right landscaping and finding a service provider who can maintain your investment is one important step you can take to increase the beauty, safety and sustainability of your property.

Click here to download a PDF with more information on landscaping services from RWS.

Make Plumbing Maintenance and Repairs Part of Your Facility Management Strategy

Make Plumbing Maintenance and Repairs Part of Your Facility Management Strategy

All too often, people wait until an emergency to address their plumbing needs. However, adopting a more proactive approach to plumbing as part of a comprehensive facility management strategy can provide significant convenience and cost savings.

Anybody who has faced an overflowing toilet or the gurgling of water from hard-to-reach pipes knows the sinking feeling that accompanies a plumbing emergency. From standing water to bad smells, plumbing problems can inspire panic and visions of skyrocketing repair bills. For property owners and facility managers, getting on top of plumbing repairs can’t be an afterthought, because you are responsible for the well-being of every person who comes on your property.

When addressing plumbing problems, there are two lines of attack—snaking and hydro-jetting. Snakes are long metal tubes, also known as plumbing augers, with blades or a corkscrew auger attached to one end. Using a hand crank, the plumber inserts the snake into the blocked drain or toilet to remove clogs.

While snakes are often a good option for minor to moderate clogs, hydro-jetting offers a more powerful solution for more stubborn stoppages. Hydro-jetting uses special nozzles attached to machines that pressurize water. The nozzle directs a high-powered stream of water into the clogged area to remove the stoppage. Because hydro-jetting can cause further damage if you’re dealing with burst or cracked pipes, plumbers insert a small camera into the clogged area before applying the treatment. For this reason, while some snaking jobs can be done by laypeople, hydro-jetting is best left to professionals.

At best, clogged sinks and backed up toilets are messy inconveniences. At worst, black water contamination from damaged pipes and sewer mains pose a very real health hazard. Under the circumstances, the temptation to hire a plumber and call it a day is understandable. However, adopting a more proactive approach to plumbing as part of your comprehensive facility management strategy can provide significant convenience and cost savings in the long run. For example, a facility service company with qualified plumbing professionals can analyze your property and recommend the most advanced and cost-efficient solutions for a needed repair or preventive maintenance.

If you decide to engage a facility service provider, it’s important to find a company that can provide on demand service in case something goes wrong. The last thing you want is to leave a voice mail and wait for help to arrive. Service area is another important consideration. At the very least, you need a service provider with a local presence who can deploy a team to your facility as quickly as possible. For companies that operate multiple facilities in different regions, having a service provider with a national footprint can provide responsive service no matter where your facilities are located.

Another big advantage of engaging a facility service company is the ability to address multiple maintenance needs through a single provider. For example, RWS offers grease trap cleaning, power washing, junk removal, HVAC repair and maintenance, and much more in addition to plumbing services. This kind of one-stop shop offers convenience as well as reduced costs from bundling services.

Investing in ongoing plumbing maintenance and repairs as part of an overall facility management strategy makes sound business sense, providing convenience, peace of mind and savings that are tough to beat.

For more information about plumbing maintenance and repair services from RWS, download our PDF here.

 

Got Junk? Sustainable Waste Disposal Programs Can Solve Your Trash Woes

Got Junk? Sustainable Waste Disposal Programs Can Solve Your Trash Woes

If you are a property owner or facilities manager, sooner or later you’re going to have to deal with unwanted junk. Maybe you have a construction project winding up and need to get rid of debris or you’re landscaping your property and have a small mountain of yard waste sitting on your property. Perhaps you’re a landlord trying to unload an unwanted refrigerator or abandoned furniture.

If any of these scenarios ring a bell, you’ve got plenty of company. Each year, the US generates approximately 220 million tons of trash. That amounts to 2.1 kg of trash per person per day and that figure is expected to rise by 2025. Moreover, while most local sanitation companies can readily remove everyday trash, they may not take bulkier items or hazardous wastes.

All too often, facilities must fend for themselves when hauling and disposing of junk and without the right equipment, this can be a grueling task. What’s more, unless you have personnel trained in the proper procedures for lifting and transporting heavy items, your workers can seriously injure themselves or other people. The problem becomes even more acute when you’re dealing with items that contain hazardous wastes, which can lead to corrosive burns, breathing problems, and other health problems.

The patchwork of local, state, and federal regulations for waste disposal add another layer of complexity to junk removal. The federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) lays out requirements for disposing of hazardous wastes, but gives states broad discretion for managing nonhazardous, industrial and municipal solid waste. On top of state and federal regulations, local ordinances dictate which items can be recycled or taken to the local landfill. Knowing where and how to get rid of junk can be confusing but failing to comply with environmental regulations can take a big bite out of your budget in the form of fines and other penalties.

Resolving operational challenges is only part of the problem. America’s trash problem is reaching critical mass, with the number of landfills projected to reach capacity in less than 18 years. Although recycling programs have taken up some of the slack, they only process 35% of overall waste. Waste that doesn’t get recycled or end up in landfills is often incinerated, which can release harmful chemicals into the atmosphere.

Fortunately, you don’t have to tackle junk removal by yourself. Many companies will haul unwanted items for a fee, but don’t always dispose of junk in an eco-friendly way. RWS offers a comprehensive junk removal program that includes experienced technicians to help you design, implement, and manage a recycling and waste program. Our U.S. based National Call Center is staffed 24/7/365 to manage thousands of service requests and deliver timely services at low national rates.

If junk removal is becoming a burden, consider hiring a professional to manage your waste disposal. The right service provider can help you negotiate the complex web of environmental regulations while disposing of your junk in an eco-friendly, sustainable way.

For more information about junk removal services from RWS, download our PDF on Sustainable Junk Removal here.

How and Why to Keep Your Grease Traps Clean

How and Why to Keep Your Grease Traps Clean

In the right context, grease can be the key ingredient to some truly delicious meals—think mouthwatering fried chicken and crispy bacon. However, for operators of large-scale and commercial kitchens, grease can wreak havoc if you’re not keeping your grease trap cleaned and maintained on a regular basis. Left untended, those fats, oils and greases congeal into a semi-solid mass filled with food and other debris that can make cleaning your grease trap a real chore.

While you might be tempted to put off cleaning your grease trap, neglecting this task is risky. When grease accumulates, it can clog drainage pipes, obstruct the flow of wastewater and cause sewage to back up. Left untended, accumulated grease can pollute public waste systems and the septic tank attached to your business. In addition, grease can attract flies and vermin and draw the ire of neighboring residents and businesses. Before you know it, you may be dealing with complaints to local health agencies, inspections, and fines for violations of environmental laws.

Running afoul of municipal and state agencies for non-compliance can add up to fines ranging from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand per violation depending on your jurisdiction. When you factor in bad press and negative word of mouth from repeated environmental and health violations, neglecting your grease trap is more trouble than it’s worth.

Investing in preventive maintenance makes sense from a financial perspective. The cost of repairing clogged drainage pipes and pumping septic tanks can add hundreds of dollars to your annual budget. Businesses have two choices when it comes to cleaning grease traps. You can either go the DIY route or hire a professional. While DIY options might seem like a less expensive alternative, it’s not always a viable solution. Establishments may not have the proper equipment to properly clean grease traps and dispose of the waste.

If you’ve been putting off cleaning your grease traps, consider bringing in a professional team to handle the dirty work. Keeping your traps running smoothly eliminates unnecessary costs and any risk with health regulations. The peace of mind that comes from knowing you’re in compliance is worth every penny.

For information on grease trap cleaning from RWS, download a PDF here.

Maximize Benefits and Reduce Costs with HVAC Preventive Care and Maintenance

Maximize Benefits and Reduce Costs with HVAC Preventive Care and Maintenance

It’s official. 2019 was the second-hottest year on record, registering a worldwide average temperature that was 1.71 degrees above the 20th century average. Far from an isolated incident, 2019 was part of a warming trend that goes back to 1880 and accelerated after 1981. With temperatures rising, demand for air conditioning is also climbing, even in traditionally temperate countries like Germany. In fact, some experts predict that demand for electricity stemming from residential and commercial air conditioning will increase more than 140% by 2050.

Climate experts have long recognized the harmful effects that air conditioning can have on the environment. In 1989, the Montreal Protocol mandated the phase-out of numerous chemicals harmful to the Earth’s ozone layer, including R-22, a refrigerant commonly used in older HVAC units. More recently, climate advocates have proposed running air conditioning on solar power to further cut carbon emissions.

In response to the Montreal Protocol, HVAC manufacturers have switched to R-401A, a more environmentally friendly refrigerant. In addition, manufacturers are producing more energy efficient units that cut carbon emissions while yielding significant savings in energy costs, not to mention keeping tenants, employees, and customers comfortable. Approximately 50% of a home or building’s energy use stems from heating and cooling use, so these changes have the potential to make a serious dent in carbon emissions.

While buying energy-efficient units is a good first step, you also need to keep your HVAC units well-maintained to realize maximum benefits to the environment and your business. Hiring a professional company that provides a wide range of services, including emergency repairs, zone cooling, heating, and new installations, can help with both the cost savings and environmental benefits of investing in an energy-efficient HVAC. In addition, keeping your HVAC units in good working order will reduce the number of needed repairs and the amount of energy they consume, which can, in turn, significantly reduce unexpected expenses that adversely affect your budget.

As more people rely on air conditioning to cope with global climate change, facilities will need to make some smart investments in sustainable technology to reduce their carbon footprint. Acquiring energy-efficient HVAC units or keeping what you have well-maintained is an excellent way to contribute to a healthy environment while keeping your bottom line in check.

RWS offers facilities a variety of services to keep your HVAC units performing at peak levels. Check them out here.

The Benefits of Temporary Fence Rentals: Peace of Mind and Affordability

The Benefits of Temporary Fence Rentals: Peace of Mind and Affordability

Do security and safety top your list of concerns for managing your commercial and residential properties? If so, you are in good company. In 2019, there were 7 million property crimes in the US, ranging from larceny and burglary to motor vehicle theft and vandalism. While property crime has decreased in recent years, it still cost the US an estimated $16.4 billion in 2018.

Preventable injuries and deaths are another headache for property owners. In 2017, an estimated 127,300 preventable injury-related deaths occurred in homes and communities and over 38 million people sought medical assistance for nonfatal injuries. In total, preventable, injury-related deaths and medical incidents cost the US $472.6 billion that same year.

Installing fencing is an effective way to protect real estate from unwanted intruders and prevent property-related crimes and injuries. While securing your property with fencing is often a smart move, it can be expensive, depending on size and type of the fence. Add the cost of installation and you’re looking at an expenditure of thousands for new fencing. Even if you save money by handling the installation yourself, you’ll still need to invest a significant amount of labor, time, and materials to secure your property.

Such a sizable investment may make sense if you need a semi-permanent option, but many properties only require fencing during construction projects or special events. When you factor in the time and expense of installation and removal, purchasing temporary fencing doesn’t always provide great value.

For property owners seeking a cost-effective solution, renting fencing can save a lot of money and hassle. At RWS, we offer high-quality portable fencing options, reliable delivery, set-up and pick up and reasonable pricing. Our qualified technicians can quickly deliver and assemble fencing, making the program an efficient and affordable way to direct crowds during events or section off areas while construction is under way.

RWS fencing solutions come in a variety of sizes and different materials. Your options include:

• Durable steel fence panels available in 6‘ x 12‘ and 8‘ x 10‘ sizes.
• Resilient post-driven, chain link temporary fence that can be installed on any surface.
• Free-standing security fencing that is lightweight and adaptable for barricades, making this option ideal for crowd control.
• Privacy screen temporary fencing that provides protection from the weather, blocks visibility and creates a neutral and professional background.

They say good fences make good neighbors, and this is particularly true when your property requires temporary fencing and pedestrian barriers to divert crowds during special events or construction. Whatever your fencing needs, RWS has got you covered.

For more information about fencing services from RWS, download a PDF here.

Boost Your Property’s Street Appeal with Well-Maintained Curbs, Sidewalks and Gutters

Boost Your Property’s Street Appeal with Well-Maintained Curbs, Sidewalks and Gutters

The old saying “you never get a second chance to make a good first impression” certainly applies to curb appeal for your residential or commercial property. According to one study, 76% of real estate clients said that the curb appeal of a property played a major role in their shopping experience. What’s more, half of all real estate clients drive to a place to view it for the first time. The last thing they want to see is a run-down, poorly maintained property.

For most property managers, the first thing that comes to mind when you’re talking about curb appeal is the landscaping. An often-overlooked aspect of creating a visually appealing purchase or rental is the condition of your building’s curbs, sidewalks, and gutters. Cracked sidewalks and crumbling curbs give prospective tenants the impression that the property is poorly maintained and can be a deal breaker for buyers looking to invest in a prime piece of real estate.

Clogged gutters can also damage buildings, foundations, concrete surfaces, and even landscaping, so it’s important to keep them well-maintained to avoid expensive repairs down the road.

Depending on the jurisdiction, property owners can also be penalized for failing to maintain curbs and sidewalks. While cities and towns have varying rules and regulations about sidewalk repairs and maintenance, most jurisdictions hold home and business owners responsible for maintaining the sidewalks in front of or adjacent to their properties. If someone slips and falls due to poorly maintained curbs and sidewalks near your property, you could be liable for municipal fines, not to mention becoming the target of expensive litigation.

While some owners prefer to handle repairs and maintenance themselves, bringing in a professional can help ensure that your property meets local safety requirements and head off costly damage to your buildings and landscaping. At RWS, we offer a full complement of services for keeping the curbs, sidewalks and gutters on your property in good working order.

Whether you’re trying to head off potential problems associated with cracked curbs and sidewalks or clogged gutters, or you’re doing damage control to remediate existing problems, RWS is here to make your maintenance and repairs a seamless experience.

Do your curbs, sidewalks and gutters need some TLC? For more information on how RWS can help keep your property looking its best and safe, download a PDF here.

How do you prevent HVAC break downs during the summer?

How do you prevent HVAC break downs during the summer?

Keep your building’s tenants (and your chillers) happy this spring & summer

They say the best medicine is preventive medicine – and this adage can and should be applied to commercial HVAC systems everywhere. With the spring and summer months quickly approaching, now is the perfect time to ensure your systems are ready to take the heat.

According to Minnesota’s Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs), more than 50% of business owners still operate with a philosophy of reactive maintenance. While you may incur costs and spend time investing in preventive maintenance, you’ll end up saving time and money in the long run.

Replacing air filters, cleaning and lubricating parts and taking a thorough inspection will go a long way in reducing the chance of a costly summer heat emergency. Whether you choose a company like RWS Facility Services to streamline the process or have your own maintenance team, inspecting for even small issues is important because they can turn into big ones.

Areas to consider for inspection:

  • Air filtration & indoor air quality
  • Control system
  • Chiller & cooling towers
  • Insulation of ductwork & refrigeration piping
  • Ventilation
  • Testing, calibration and air balancing

Well-maintained units keep your HVAC systems running more efficiently, an important goal for many businesses dedicated to reducing their carbon footprint. RWS Facility Services provides businesses like yours, and especially those with multiple locations, with a convenient way to take care of this “preventive medicine” on your HVAC systems — call us today and schedule seasonal check-ups or make sure your maintenance staff have this important task on their calendar.

Download a PDF with information about RWS HVAC services here.

A New Name, Expanded Services, Same Customer Care

A New Name, Expanded Services, Same Customer Care

By Anthony Dilenno

As you may have learned by now, Recycling Waste Services (RWS) has changed its name to RWS Facility Services, and with that name change comes broader capabilities designed to serve a wider range of needs with best-in-class facilities services alongside our comprehensive waste management and recycling programs. This rebranding coincides with our recent acquisition of SSG (Sustainable Solutions Group), based in Woodstock, GA, a company that offers services like our own but in different industry segments, including retail centers, enclosed malls, office buildings, hotels and mixed-use properties.

Moving from Recycling Waste Services (RWS) to RWS Facility Services continues the same significant value we have offered our customers with our recycling and waste services: focused execution and significant cost reduction. By folding in the experience and expertise of SSG, we now have more boots on the ground to support our customers in establishing and sustaining these best practices and offer expanded environmentally conscious facility services.

Additionally, we have put into place a one-call, one-team approach to ensure your company can count on us to be its 24/7 single point of contact for all its facility service programs. We also have invested in advanced technology that provides the real-time data needed for smart decision making and a positive ROI.

Monitoring and maintaining a physical facility’s day-to-day operation provides a significant way to reduce often overlooked sources of waste and expense, such as outdated and energy-hungry heating and air conditioning systems, and proactively prevents situations that can snowball if left untended, requiring costly repairs or even causing liabilities down the road. I am excited that our broadened spectrum of services offers those benefits and can be customized to your facility’s specific needs, guaranteeing we can serve your long-term needs – and improve your bottom line in the process.

So please check us out at www.rwsfacilityservices.com and let us know how we can help your business meet your sustainability and budget goals. We look forward to partnering with you.

Approaching the Global Climate Crisis

Approaching the Global Climate Crisis

by Anthony Dilenno

You’ve seen the daily headlines on the climate change crisis and its consequences…

How climate change primed California’s power shutdown (National Geographic); Climate change threatening two-thirds of species in U.S. with extinction, report says (USA Today) …and on and on they continue…

According to the Wall Street Journal, a U.N. panel reviewed thousands of research studies that all came to the same conclusions: Oceans are warming, and ice sheets are shrinking due to greenhouse gas emissions trapping heat. The report, signed by 195 countries, urges these nations to act and meet the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement goals. These consequences threaten coastal communities around the globe, with rising sea levels and the potential for more severe weather. Carbon dioxide is also being absorbed by the oceans causing acidification and threatening global fisheries. Additionally, heat waves are taking place on scales not seen in recent history. These examples just scratch the surface.

As I read these articles, one of the first things I think of as a company in the environmental field is how do we lend our voice. We are in an industry that diverts materials from landfills. And while commercial commodity markets are depressed and under financial pressure, we still have an environmental responsibility.

No matter the industry you’re in or whether its regional or global, there are opportunities to lower the pollution and waste its supply chain produces. RWS has helped many companies become leaders in sustainability. For example, we worked with UPS on diverting 165 million lbs. of palettes before they reached landfills, where decaying waste causes CO2 emissions. This effort also resulted in waste collection being reduced from five to two times per week, lowering carbon output from trucks.

On the foodservice side, there are ample strategies for companies along the supply chain to become a leader in stopping global warming. RWS partnered with a major fast food restaurant chain to dispose of excess frozen orange juice, but not in landfills. RWS arranged for the excess juice to be sent to anaerobic digesters, where waste is converted to energy. This also saved the restaurant operator more than 62,000 gallons of gasoline – one of the main sources of greenhouse gasses causing the earth to heat up.

At RWS, we know it is important to get on the right side of history and contribute to a better, cleaner future. Working with us as your full-service facilities provider is a great method to start the process. We offer data-driven reporting on how we are maximizing waste streams and reducing trucks on the road to reduce emissions in the atmosphere. We can audit the kind of waste and emissions your organization is producing each day. With that data in hand, we have the intel needed to set new and exciting goals to lower your facility’s environmental impact.

Picture your organization becoming part of the solution to these global climate issues – you’ll not only feel the satisfaction of having a positive impact on the welfare of people and wildlife, you’ll be able to tout all the good actions your business has taken and reduce operating costs in the process.