These are exciting times for those of us in the field of architectural technology. Not only are advancements changing the way buildings can be built, but they’re also changing the way buildings are being built.
As technology advances, facility functionality can be precisely controlled. In new construction, lighting controls are the norm. While this has been driven by energy codes, the benefits extend to building marketability. Remote controlling is common for many types of building systems and products, and products are being consolidated and simplified for end-users, allowing greater functionality at the push of a button.
Facades are increasingly used as functional tools, not just pretty faces. In “Double Take” on page 34, for example, the façade responds to the environment. The double-skin façade on the south side works with an automated shading system to control solar gains. It’s an energy-saving feature common in Europe that could benefit buildings in North America as well.
Remember when digital signage was the wave of the future? Well, my friends, the future is here. From exteriors to interiors, from branding to public information to education, digital signage is a standard consideration in facilities new and old.
Costs of sustainable products and systems have decreased, increasing their use in commercial facilities. The U.S. Green Building Council estimates that the only additional upfront costs for LEED certification come with two of the categories - Gold and Platinum - and that those costs, which equal 1 to 7 percent of the total construction budget, can be recouped in the first year or two of building life because of water and energy savings.
Building technologies that were once considered impossible to implement or pay for are becoming commonplace. The future of old is here, and in some ways it’s better than expected. Like a child sitting before a room of unopened presents, I can’t wait to see what this year brings.