This summer, vacation travelers are more likely to stop to use the bathroom than any other activity, including buying gas or food and drinks, according to results of a nationwide consumer survey conducted by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS).
Nearly three in four American drivers (72%) say that they stop to use the bathroom when driving on a vacation, compared to 68% who purchase gas and 66% who buy food or drinks. Female drivers are more likely than male drivers to stop to use the bathroom (77% vs. 66%).
Vacationers are also particular about the stores that they visit: 41% say that cleanliness and bathrooms influences their decision to visit a store, an increase from 36% who said so two years ago. Overall, the top two reasons that drivers say they select a place to stop are the gas price and the proximity to the area that they want to stop (48% for each). Quality food options was tied for third with bathrooms at 41%.
Nearly three in ten Americans (29%) say that they will take more time on vacation trips this summer and 86% of these vacationers say that they will travel by car. Vacationers are more likely to travel out of state (38%) than in state (26%).
Affordability is the primary reason the vast majority of vacationers plan to travel by car, cited by 59% of drivers. That’s up from 54% two summers ago, when gas prices averaged more than $3.60 per gallon. Two thirds of drivers in the Midwest (67%) cited affordability as a main reason to drive by car.
The ability to spend time with family was the second most-mentioned reason to travel by car, cited by 45% of Americans. However, there was a noticeable split by gender: while 51% of females say that car travel allows them to spend more time with family, only 39% of men say the same.
Wherever they’re headed, millions of Americans will be stopping and going inside convenience stores as part of their vacation. The top reasons that they will go inside a convenience store are to use the bathroom (70%), buy a drink (63%), buy a snack (57%) or buy a sandwich or other meal (26%). One in eight drivers (13%) say that they will not stop at a convenience store or gas station on their summer travels.
Overall, 17% of American drivers say that they are driving more because of low gas prices. Younger consumers ages 18 to 34 are most likely to say that gas prices allow then to drive more (29%) and older drivers ages 50 or more are least likely (6%).
“The classic long summer drive is evolving from stopping to take care of the car to stopping to take care of the travelers, whether that means using the bathroom or picking up food and drinks,” said NACS Vice President of Strategic Industry Initiatives Jeff Lenard. “Americans are seeking out stores that are more appealing inside with fresh food and an emphasis on cleanliness, and convenience stores are delivering, serving 160 million customers every day — and even more over the summer months.”
Overall, nearly nine in ten consumers (89%) say that low gas prices are good for the U.S. economy, down slightly from the 91% who indicated so in 2015.
Lighting systems have long been a target for maintenance and engineering managers seeking to reduce the energy use in their institutional and commercial facilities. Lighting systems tend to be low-hanging fruit when it comes to energy-saving opportunities. New lighting technologies and fixture designs, as well as improved control systems, have combined to provide relatively quick paybacks while allowing managers to improve the quality of lighting.
But managers also have opportunities to improve the quality of lighting and reduce energy use and maintenance costs outside of facilities. Lighting systems for parking lots, walkways, signage, and façades all offer potential savings for managers who are willing to invest time and effort. Most exterior lighting systems in use today are more than 20 years old. Technology changes and improvements in light-source efficiencies offer managers the potential for reducing energy use and maintenance costs by 40 percent or more.
With such potential savings, the first impulse is to rush into a lighting retrofit program that simply replaces existing lamps and ballasts or the entire fixture with new, higher-efficiency products. While a one-for-one replacement program is quick and easy, it might not offer the best return, and it might not solve existing lighting issues. One-for-one replacement assumes an existing system is the ideal system for its application and that managers only need to upgrade fixture efficiencies.
If managers are to maximize an upgrade to an exterior lighting system, they must consider such issues as light distribution, glare control, color rendering, and time of operation. Lighting system upgrades need plans, and a plan starts with an audit of existing systems and issues.
Energy costs consume a major portion of every facilities budget. Recently a new law went into effect that could provide a tax break when energy management systems are installed in certain buildings.
The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act, has been extended along with more than 50 expiring provisions of the tax code. The bill included a two-year extension of the Energy-Efficient Commercial Building Deduction, or section 179D of the tax code.
The owner of an eligible building can claim 179D and qualify for what can be a $1.80 per square foot tax deduction. Owners of these buildings can allocate the accrued tax savings to the businesses responsible for the energy-saving enhancements. In order for a building to qualify for the deduction, the energy based improvements must be made to either the HVAC, hot water or interior lighting systems or to the building’s envelope.
HOUSTON, Feb. 11, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Near the end of last year, Congress passed and President Obama signed into law the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act, a broader, bipartisan tax bill that extended (and in certain instances, made permanent) over 50 expiring provisions of the tax code. Among a host of other pro-business tax provisions, the bill included a two-year extension of the Energy-Efficient Commercial Building Deduction, or section 179D of the tax code. alliantgroup applauds both the PATH Act’s extension and modification of section 179D, citing the tax deduction as not only a vital incentive for U.S. job creation and economic growth, but also as sound environmental policy.
“By extending 179D, Congress has done architects, engineers and contractors a major favor as we have seen firsthand how this incentive has helped companies expand both their workforce and the scope of their services,” said Dean Zerbe, alliantgroup National Managing Director and former Senior Counsel to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee. “Not only is 179D critical to the success of U.S. designers and builders everywhere, it is simply just good tax policy, taking a completely technology neutral approach to incentivizing energy-efficiency.”
Section 179D was originally passed by Congress as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 in response to data from the U.S. Department of Energy showing that 73 percent of all electricity consumption was by buildings, with about half of that coming from commercial buildings. The owner of an eligible building can claim 179D, but in an effort to allow architects, engineers, construction companies and energy service providers to qualify for what can be a $1.80 per square foot tax deduction, section 179D allows eligible designers and builders to qualify through energy-efficient enhancements made to government-owned buildings at the federal, state or local levels. As government entities do not traditionally pay tax, the owners of these buildings can allocate the accrued tax savings to the business responsible for the energy-saving enhancements.
In order for a building to qualify for the deduction, the energy based improvements must be made to either the HVAC, hot water or interior lighting systems or to the building’s envelope. The PATH Act retroactively extends section 179D for 2015 and into 2016, but stipulates that buildings placed into service this year must meet ASHRAE 2007 standards as opposed to the old ASHRAE 2001 baseline. The bump up in the standard is a policy nod to modernizing energy-usage techniques and the need to raise the thresholds accordingly.
“The extension of 179D is tremendous news for our clients,” said alliantgroup Senior Managing Director Rizwan Virani. “Even with the higher baseline beginning in 2016, 179D will remain broadly applicable to architects, engineers and contractors across the country. The deduction will continue to provide these companies the funds necessary for broader reinvestment and will allow them to be more competitive not only in their bids, but serve to make them more competitive in the marketplace as a whole.”
Powerhouse is always seeking team members who embrace our core values of great service, honesty, integrity and making a positive impact on others’ lives. Our company is dynamic and growing, and we regularly post job openings nationwide. Below are our current positions open for application:
PROJECT MANAGER Overview: The Project Manager is responsible for overall management of the client relationship and the project from development and review of the estimate to project completion and closeout. Full job description HERE.
ASSISTANT PROJECT MANAGER Overview:The Assistant Project Manager assists in the implementation of the guidelines and requirements to complete a project within budget and time frame. Full job description HERE.
PROJECT COORDINATOR This position, under the supervision of the Project Manager(s), and in collaboration with the Assistant Project Manager(s) assists in the implementation of the guidelines and requirements to complete a project within budget and time frame. Overview: The Project Coordinator is responsible for working closely with the APM and PM assigned to specific projects to complete paperwork, processes and tracking duties. Full job description HERE.
CONSTRUCTION SUPERINTENDENT Powerhouse Retail Services is a progressive company looking for high energy, positive people! Attention to detail, ability to work as a team and a positive attitude are a must! May require work in the evening or overnight. Must be able to travel extensively. Experience in Retail/Restaurant Construction environment preferred. This is a hands-on position! Full job description HERE.
The Professional Retail Store Maintenance Association recently released their 2016 Trends Report. Among the top forecasted trends was the “Internet of Things.” To put it simply; how facilities maintenance crews are integrating technologies to gain true business intelligence.
“Technological advancements have transformed the work of facilities maintenance and the management of facilities operations. Smartphones and tablets have unleashed numerous innovations to help business get done, but these advancements have not gone far enough. There’s too much data – produced and gathered from too many different resources, and not enough integration to make sense of it all or capitalize on potential savings.” PRSM 2016 Trends Report
Big projects equal big data, but what good is the data if you’re not putting it to use to better understand your business & make decisions that equal better efficiency?
Powerhouse built a dynamic system that we use to create successful projects, but also allows clients to access site data they don’t typically get. Powerhouse clients are able to review and evaluate that data through our real-time information management system, Infinity by Powerhouse. Through Infinity, you can access graphs, charts and other information that shows exactly how each component of the project is progressing. Photographs and renderings are all conveniently accessible, right at your fingertips.
We developed Infinity to be the most comprehensive data management available. Each time new data is entered at a work site, Infinity is updated as the information is collected, providing you with up-to-the-minute information. Infinity can also send status reports to your email inbox.
Communicate the most recent data
Expedite issue resolution
Ensure quality control
Monitor progress so deadlines are met
Evaluate future needs & opportunities
PRSM’S full 2016 Trends Report is available to read online HERE.