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4 Judges from TFMoran at 2017 NHSEE

NHSEE is the annual New Hampshire Science & Engineering Expo held at NHTI – Concord’s Community College in Concord, NH. This year’s Expo on March 16th, once again proved to be an exciting and fun day for four of TFMoran’s engineers and professionals to serve as judges of some of New Hampshire’s most brightest and innovative high school students. The gymnasium was full of very impressive projects of all kinds, presented by some very serious student scientists and engineers.

“The Exposition is intended to give Granite State students the opportunity to do science related activities, and to choose whether they do them as inquiring scientists, engineers, or technicians.” according to the NHSEEA website. “Students then communicate their results through an appropriate combination of journals, posters, equipment, and interviews. Additionally, in collaboration with other organizations, NHSEEA seeks to expand interest in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. As students interact with mentors and judges, they will get a closer look at these fields as possible careers.”

There were two types of competitions, the “Open” and the “Challenge” competition. The eight categories for the Open Competition were Behavioral Science, Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, Engineering, Environmental Science, Mathematics, Physics and Electronics. The judges took into consideration how the student’s research was presented in their poster displays and oral presentations, as well as their answers given to the judge’s questions.  The Challenge Competition required teams of up to three students to compete against each other in solving a structured problem by using scientific principals. All research and development efforts were done prior to the Expo; materials supporting the research and development were presented at the Expo.

TFMoran is honored to have been a part of this special science and engineering event. Congratulations to all student presenters and especially the 2017 Winners!  We’ll see you next year!

 

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TFM at the 17th Annual Bob Baines Blarney Breakfast

On March 17th Annual Bob Baines Blarney Breakfast15, 2017 the Annual Bob Baines Blarney Breakfast was held for the 17th consecutive year at the Center of NH at the Radisson hotel in downtown Manchester.  This Saint Patrick’s Day tradition raises money for  three local charities that make a difference in our community, Special Olympics New Hampshire, the American Red Cross and the Shirley Brulotte Fund for the International Institute of New Hampshire. Many local businesses and individuals generously support this event through sponsorship and attendance, and it is a great way to kick-off the Saint Patrick’s Day festivities!

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TFM’s President writes for “Trends and Hot Topics” in High Profile’s March Issue

An article written by TFMoran’s president Robert Duval was published in the March issue of High Profile in the “Trends an Hot Topics” section. To view the pdf of the article click here HP Trends and Hot Topics March 2017 or you can read the text below.

 

HIGH PROFILE Trends and Hot Topics

New Trends in Commercial Land Development

by Robert Duval

Over the past few years, TFMoran has been tasked to design several large development projects with major retail and other commercial components based on the “mixed-use development” (MUD) model, rather than the more traditional “shopping center” or “office park” formats. The difference is significant. Mixed-use developments feature a blend of distinct functions, often including — besides office or retail — residential, institutional, cultural, and industrial components, that are physically and functionally integrated, along with effective pedestrian connections.

The key concept here is the combination of multiple functions that complement each other and are linked with effective pedestrian connections. From an engineering perspective, if the various functions are truly complementary and have effective pedestrian connections, you can expect to see substantial benefits for a MUD over conventional developments.

For example, traffic volumes developed by shopping centers or office parks are fairly well understood, and can be easily determined by calculations based on the total square footage of floor space. On the other hand, calculating traffic for mixed-use centers involves a second step that considers interaction between pairs of related uses — for example restaurants and cinemas, cinemas and apartments, apartments and offices, offices and restaurants, and so on, based on the concept that one vehicle trip may have multiple purposes, and these trips are shared among the various uses, rather than totaled up.

These multipurpose trips can often reduce total trip generation by a third or more, thus significantly reducing offsite traffic impacts and costs of mitigation. Similar analyses of parking demand will also show reductions in parking demand, often in the range of 5% to 10%. These parking reductions can reduce costs and increase efficiency beyond just the pavement savings; as impervious surface area decreases, so too does the cost and extent of stormwater infrastructure to capture, detain, and treat all that unnecessary pavement.

Also, by integrating multiple uses into a single property or adjacent properties, sites can be master-planned in a way that can ignore lot lines, thus greater land use density, by avoiding internal lot line setbacks, inefficient parking layouts, as well as unnecessary driveways and utility connections.

At the former Macy’s site in Bedford, TFMoran has designed a large mixed-use development that is preparing to start construction of a 350,000sf mixed-use retail, office, and entertainment development named “Market and Main.” Market and Main is designed to be a walkable, pedestrian-friendly place with a village green and pocket parks throughout. Proposed plans include a 600-seat deluxe cinema, an office building, a hotel, a premium entertainment venue, a variety of higher-end restaurants and retail, and a three-story parking garage.

The Market and Main development is located just south of the new Goffe Mill Plaza (former Wayfarer hotel), which contains a 40,000sf Whole Foods Market, two restaurants, and a bank, and is planning to develop additional retail space and up to 150 apartment units. The proximity of these two sites enabled TFMoran to design a more dense and efficient layout for both sites by taking advantage of the traffic, parking, and drainage benefits of mixed-use developments, providing safe pedestrian connections between the major uses.

Although in some communities, mixed-use developments may be prohibited by conventional, exclusionary zoning ordinances, the reception of mixed-use projects from planners and regulators is generally positive, as mixed-use development can provide increased tax revenue and employment opportunities with few negative impacts, and more efficient use of existing infrastructure.

As a result, many communities already allow for this type of development in their zoning codes, and others are working on it. As a result, we can expect mixed-use developments to become an important part of the revitalization of cities and towns throughout New Hampshire.

Robert E. Duval, PE, LEED AP, is president and chief engineer, TFMoran, Inc., Bedford, N.H. 

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TFM’s COO attends Governor Sununu’s State of the State Address to the Manchester Business Community

New Hampshire’s Governor Chris Sununu delivered the State of the State Address to the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce business community on March 1, 2017. TFM’s COO, Dylan Cruess attended the breakfast forum which took place at Saint Anselm College’s New Hampshire Institute of Politics in Manchester. Governor Sununu spoke about the potential for economic growth in New Hampshire, workforce wages, the Northern Pass, the state budget and more. Bellwether Community Credit Union was the presenting sponsor, corporate sponsors were AutoFair, Eversource and NYCOA.

For more information and photos of the event, we invite you to link to the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce’s website.

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TFMoran Celebrates at 2017 BOB Awards Event

Members of the TFM staff turned out at the NHBR Best of Business (BOB) Awards Celebration on Thursday, March 2nd at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord. This year’s theme was “A World of Exploration”…. a lion, elephant and monkey were seen roaming through the room full of “explorers”, stopping for a photoshoot here and there. Even a giraffe and zebra were spotted in the safari setting! Live tribal drum music added to the atmosphere of world exploration, as did the colorfully clad musicians. Kudos to NHBR for putting on another great event, a fun time was had by all!

TFMoran was honored to receive our fifth straight BOB Award as “Best Engineering Firm” in New Hampshire Business Review’s BOB Awards reader’s survey. “It is gratifying to see this recognition of the hard work and dedication our staff shows to our clients each and every day” said Robert Duval, president of TFMoran. “Thanks to NHBR for providing this opportunity to highlight the ‘Best of Business’ in New Hampshire.”

Congratulations to all the BOB Award winners!

A portion of the proceeds went to benefit Child and Family Services.

FOR MORE PHOTOS OF THE EVENT CHECK OUT THIS LINK: http://www.nhbr.com/BOB-Awards/

 

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TFM Civil Project Engineer, Maureen Kelly, promoting biodigesters in Haiti

Maureen Kelly, Civil Project Engineer

Maureen Kelly has a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering, and a Master’s degree in Structural Engineering from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. She was the Chi Epsilon Civil Engineering Honor Society Chapter President during 2014 and 2015. Maureen has a passion for engineering and for helping others. She has continued her involvement with the student engineering  group at UMass Lowell. Maureen had an opportunity in January to travel to Haiti with the group to promote biodigesters as a means of sanitation and sustainable energy production. We asked Maureen if she would share her experience with us, and with you. She was delighted to tell her story, and to share her knowledge about the situation in Haiti. Thanks to Maureen and to all the engineers in her group who are making a difference in the lives of the Haitian people, for a better future. We hope you enjoy Maureen’s story below.

For more information about Biodigester Aided Solutions in Haiti or the Haiti Development Studies Center, please contact MKelly@TFMoran.com or visit www.uml.edu/research/HDSC.

 

Working Towards a Sustainable Haiti

by Maureen Kelly, TFMoran Civil Project Engineer

On January 15th, a small group of students, alumni, and professors from the University of Massachusetts Lowell landed in Port-au-Prince for a week of teaching and research in Haiti.  Among the group was TFMoran civil project engineer Maureen Kelly, who returned to work in the country for the first time since finishing school. Each traveler had specific goals for the week ahead. A geology professor carried suitcases of instruction materials, a mechanical engineer bore designs for a biomass grinder, and the civil engineering team prepared to inspect a biodigester at Pwoje Espwa, an agricultural teaching orphanage. Their home for the week was a research oriented facility in the southern city of Les Cayes.

The Haiti Development Studies Center (HDSC) was founded by UMass Lowell physics professor Dr. Robert Giles. Aiming to encourage sustainable change from within, HDSC allows educators and researchers access to an in-country “home base.” The use of the Center as a springboard helps to ensure that the technological solutions advanced by scientists and engineers are a good fit for the Haitian lifestyle and environment. Maureen, a UMass Lowell graduate, was first introduced to HDSC in the fall of 2016 through Biodigester-Aided Solutions in Haiti (BASH), a student group that aims to promote biodigesters as a means of sanitation and sustainable energy production. Combining the efforts of faculty, students, and alumni, BASH is working to improve access to biodigester technology.

 

Biodigesters for Fuel, Fertilizer, and Sanitation

Biogas, flammable gas produced by the biological breakdown of organic material, was observed by peoples as far back as the ancient Persians1 and biodigestion plants have been used to produce biogas for fuel dating back to 1850’s India2. Methane is the main component of biogas, and its combustion produces significantly less CO2 than the combustion of coal or oil3. It can be used to power generators, cooking stoves, and even converted vehicle engines. For communities in need of a sustainable fuel source, biodigesters offer a chance to produce methane reliably and responsibly.

In addition to the possibility of a sustainable fuel source, biodigesters can provide a means of sanitation. In Haiti, close to half of the population lacks access to clean drinking water and coverage of sanitation services is below 20%4. The capital city of Port au Prince, which hosts a greater population than Boston, has no public sewer system5,6. Waste of all types is commonly left in the streets and frequently blocks drainage structures. The mixture of surface runoff with trash and sewage allows contaminants to spread into streams and roadside ditches, which are utilized as sources of cooking, washing, and drinking water. Biodigesters can act as a tool for the disposal of organic material, and they can greatly reduce the pathogen load in a material like raw sewage7. The resulting slurry can be used to return vital nutrients to over-worked and eroded soils.

Preliminary research done by BASH confirms that biodigestion technology has a chance to become a viable source of fuel, fertilizer, and sanitation in Haiti. The tropical climate is ideal, the need exists, and the technology can be scaled to fit almost any size community. Locals need not wait for political stability and government investments in infrastructure to achieve a hygienic lifestyle, and the technology even has the potential to make money through biogas sales. The assessment performed by Maureen and others in January revealed that the existing biodigester at Pwoje Espwa is a poor candidate for rehabilitation. However, BASH quickly adapted to a new order of objectives as dictated by the needs on their project site.

The team has already begun the design of a new system that will use pig manure as a substrate. Heartened by the successful use of the concept elsewhere in the world, the team is preparing designs to build and test a prototype unit in Massachusetts over the summer of 2017. Once the team has gained the necessary data to instruct others in its construction and operation, the pig manure biodigester will be installed in Haiti and the biogas will power irrigation pumps. This pilot installation will be the basis for future iterations of BASH designs, marching ever closer to a sustainable sanitation tool for the people of Haiti. HDSC will play a pivotal role in the ability of BASH team members to develop their project into a reliable, socially acceptable, means of processing waste. The project combines technical hurdles with cultural roadblocks, making the in-country resources at HDSC a key to success.

 

The Haiti Development Studies Center: Progress through Education

BASH is not the only group whose work has been facilitated by HDSC. Teams affiliated with the Center have worked on varied projects including bio-sand water purification, primary school education, biomass fuels, and plastics-to-fuel conversion. These groups can stay in Haiti, near their project site, while they gather data, install equipment, and build personal relationships with in-country contacts. The Haitian staff and American facility director coordinate meals and transportation to make research in Haiti as safe and effective as possible. HDSC also employs interns, hardworking and academically talented young adults from Haiti who work at the Center. These interns, in addition to their regular duties, work overtime when guests are present. They assist visiting groups by serving as guides and translators.

The two interns currently working at HDSC are also UMass Lowell students, thanks to many months of preparatory work. When their local high school education fell short of the standards expected by American universities, Dr. Giles coordinated supplementary instruction to fill the gap. Today they are unique and resilient distance learners, completing college level courses despite the shortages of electricity, extreme weather events, and other challenges that come with everyday life in their home country. Even Hurricane Matthew, which tore a destructive swath through southern Haiti, did not deter these students from their studies.

 

Sustaining the Forces of Change

For those hoping to make a difference in the world, HDSC is a valuable asset and a symbol of international goodwill at its finest. Because instability reigns in Haiti, organizations with a consistent and agile presence have the best chance to effect lasting change. Through damaging storms, political unrest, and challenges in funding, Dr. Giles and his HDSC staff have built a facility that is well-regarded both at UMass Lowell and in its home city of Les Cayes. The Center is gathering attention among students, faculty, and alumni, as well as interested parties outside the University. Through participation and donations, this engagement is the force that keeps HDSC alive and able to facilitate progress through research and education.

 

References

  1. “Biogas.” US Department of Energy Federal Energy Management Program. https://www.wbdg.org/resources/biogas
  2. “A Short History of Anaerobic Digestion.” Penn State Extension. http://extension.psu.edu/natural-resources/energy/waste-to-energy/resources/biogas/links/history-of-anaerobic-digestion/a-short-history-of-anaerobic-digestion
  3. “Emission Factors for Greenhouse Gas Inventories.” United States Environmental Protection Agency. https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-07/documents/emission-factors_2014.pdf
  4. “Water and Sanitation: Evidence for public policies focused on human rights and public health results.” Pan American Health Organization. 2011.
  5. “Mars 2015 Population Totale, Population de 18 Ans et Plus Menages et Densites Estimes en 2015.” March 2015. Institut Haitien de Statistique et d’Informatique (IHSI). http://www.ihsi.ht/pdf/projection/Estimat_PopTotal_18ans_Menag2015.pdf
  6. “QuickFacts Boston city, Massachusetts. United States Census Bureau. Accessed February 10, 2017. https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/PST045215/2507000
  7. Cuttica, John J. “Anaerobic Digester CHP.” Penn State Bioenergy Short Course Series. March 17, 2010. http://extension.psu.edu/natural-resources/energy/wood-energy/resources/2010-biomass-presentations/0106Digesters