Thursday 29 September 2016

Office 365 Groups - How to Add Multiple Email Addresses And/Or Create Office 365 Groups for Secondary Domains

One of the great new collaboration features from Microsoft's productivity cloud offering is Office 365 Groups.  The new "groups" give you a bundle setup option for creating a collaboration space that includes:
  • Group Inbox - communication and email in one space
  • Group Calendar for scheduling group meetings and events
  • Group Sharepoint Library for storing and working on group files and folders
  • Group OneNote notebook for taking project and meeting notes
  • Planning tool - For managing and assigning tasks
Normally these office 365 groups are created from Outlook, or from the admin portal of O365.  Although, as of this post, there is no way to create a group for a secondary domain... at least with a graphical interface.

So if you have and you also have registered with your office 365 tenant, how do you create these amazing groups for

Powershell of course!

Start by opening up powershell with admin permissions.  You will need your powershell to have your execution policy set to Remotesigned (or less secure).

Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned

Then you can use the below commands to connect to office 365's powershell session.

$user = get-credential

$Session = New-PSSession -ConfigurationName Microsoft.Exchange -ConnectionUri -Credential $user -Authentication Basic -AllowRedirection

Import-PSSession $Session

Next setup your variables and create the group! 

$displayName = "desired group display name"
$members = @('member1','member2')
$owner = "owner name"
$primarySmtp = ""
$alias = "the alias you want"
$emailAddresses = @("","")

New-UnifiedGroup -DisplayName $displayName -Members $members -Owner $owner -PrimarySmtpAddress $primarySmtp -Alias 'Contact' -EmailAddresses $emailAddresses

That's it!  You can add more options if you like or you can run the above and then manage the group from the admin portal.

One day Microsoft will enable domain select from their GUI... one day..

Friday 9 September 2016

Electric Vehicles Are Not Just The Future, They Are A Great Present

As LEED consultants, energy modelling professionals and sustainability consultants; we need to practice what we preach. Edge has been using a Nissan Leaf for the past 3 years and we’ve all come to love it. Here are our top 10 reasons for loving electric cars.

Charging at Hillcrest Community Centre
Reason 1: The City of Vancouver gives electric cars priority parking throughout Vancouver. There is Hillcrest Community Centre, Granville Island, and Vancouver Aquarium to name a few. These are great perks when the lots are full during busy time. They also give you free electricity

Reason 2: Electricity is cheaper than gas. In BC 1 kWh is roughly 8 cents. Gas is a 1.15 per litre or 12 cents per kWh. That means in an electric car its costs $3.48 to drive 100 miles. Some people even consider it a free car in comparison to the maintenance requirements of a gasoline engine.

Reason 3: As opposed to ‘filling up the tank’, charging our electric car is child’s play. While the city of Vancouver manages 78 charging ports, there are an estimated 175 other ports managed by shopping malls, hotels, parking garages etc. Apps like Chargehub and Plugshare can help you find the nearest charging station. In addition to the growing availability of charging ports throughout the city, charging at home is also a feasible option. Currently, 85% of electric car owners plug in over night at home. Most electric cars come with a charging cable (sometimes called a trickle charger), which plugs into the same outlet you’d use for your TV or vacuum.

Reason 4: Free charging around Vancouver. The majority of stations are free to use, all you have to do is sign up for the service or become a member. Simply swipe your member card, scan your phone app, or in some cases your credit card. The 3 most common charging providers in BC are ChargePoint, VERNetwork, and GreenLots.

Reason 5: BC’s electricity is 96% carbon free. Most of British Columbia’s electricity comes from Hydroelectric Dams (86%) with most of the remainder generated from Wind Farms, natural gas fueled thermal plants, and biomass power plants. BC Hydro offsets the remainder. This makes it a 100% carbon free car!

Reason 6: It can go well over its range of 135 km. We personally took our Leaf on a 170 km tour to Sechelt for a water audit. We were delightfully surprised that our Leaf was able to travel this distance from a full charge.

Reason 7: The Nissan Leaf has amazing torque and traction on icy roads. It has ABS, traction control, and Vehicle Dynamic Control. VDC is unique to Nissan vehicles. The system can help prevent under and over steering by reducing engine speed and applying the brakes individually on specific wheels. This means it can sense your wheels slipping on the road, and then engage to help you maintain control of your car. The Leaf is also on the heavier side, measuring at 3300 pounds. This is a great characteristic to have if you are worried about sliding out, as it has less body roll while turning and a more balanced center of gravity.

Reason 8: It charges as it goes downhill. Coasting and regenerative braking allow for the Leaf to charge itself. For example, if you got to the top of Mount Seymour with only one bar of charge left, on the way back down you could be back up to four and make it home with charge to spare.

Reason 9: No oil changes and almost no maintenance.  Electric cars have fewer moving parts than gas powered cars. This means less can go wrong. The majority of your time spent at the shop will be for battery inspections and software updates, which will happen about once a year. When you think of all the usual parts that need to be fixed/ replaced in gas powered vehicles such as spark plus, alternator, muffler, exhaust pipe, transmission, timing belt, you’ll be laughing all the way to the bank, and enjoying all the extra free time you will have.

The New Nissan E-NV200 Van
Reason 10: The Nissan Leaf will soon have a sibling, the E-NV200 Van. This will be a great addition as now a zero emission option will be available to taxi services, business, delivery, and much more. 

Our world is already starting to steer more toward electric vehicles, and in no time they will be the new normal. Every year their range gets longer and more charging stations appear in great locations. If you have range anxiety about long trips, the Chevy Volt, Tesla Model 3 and it’s rumoured the 2017 Leaf will have greatly extended ranges at an affordable price. Plus the BC government will give you cash back if you buy an affordable electric car. 

By switching to an electric vehicle, you could be saving 45 g/km-70 g/km of CO2 being emitting into the earth's atmosphere. There is really isn’t any need to wait to switch to electric vehicles. We’ve loved the last 3 years of driving one and will continue to follow and blog about our adventures with our Leaf. 
All smiles as we wait for charge at Hillcrest Community Centre

Monday 5 September 2016

The Importance of Energy Modelling

In a recent article published by our energy expert Eoghan Hayes, he outlines how plug and lighting energy can have a major impact on building energy use.

In high-rise residential or multi-unit residential building, appliance plug and lighting energy account for 20%-25% of total energy use in the building. Eoghan explains that ‘the by-product of their electrical consumption of heat, which helps heat the suite in winter but becomes a hindrance during the summer, when we want to keep the suite cool.’  Over estimating in these energy modelling simulations can reduce heating energy and increase cooling, while underestimating them will do the opposite.

The article compared four different standards of energy modelling, analyzing the impact of underestimating and overestimating plug and lighting load power densities and schedules. ASHRAE 90.1-1-2007, LEED for Homes, Measured Utility Data, and BC Hydro New Construction Program Energy Modelling Guideline were used to compare the different methods and schedules used to simulate plug and lighting loads in residential buildings. While ASHRAE 90.1-2007 is the most common standard for lighting and plug standards, the LEED for Homes rating system is the most comprehensive for residential situations.

The LEED for Homes appliance calculator is used to calculate the annual energy usage per appliance. In the LEED rating system, points are rewarded for energy savings from appliance energy whereas most ratings systems do not. LEED for Homes requires Energy Star ratings for appliances. This usually accounts for upwards of 8% energy improvement from the baseline.

The results from all four standards ranged from 50.97 kWh/m2/year with Measured Utility Data to 56.16 kWh/m2/year with the BC Hydro guideline. The results indicate that 53.5 kWh/m/2year (+/-5%) would be an appropriate specification for lighting and plug power densities and schedules.

The article outlines how municipalities should state the appropriate energy density to ‘ensure consistency among energy models submitted for code and LEED compliance and prevent mistakes from submitted simulations’.