New Tech Better Buildings
Two Growing Trends in Sustainable Building Technology
Well-being forms the interaction between business and human beings whereas sustainability forms the interaction between business and nature. These trends, when applied to the construction and fabrication of new buildings, improve existing buildings for any business. The applications of these technologies are called environmental building material intelligence and they yield substantial financial and energy savings. Studies on environmental well-being have shown that “Poor indoor air quality costs the U.S. economy over $17-26 billion annually”. Thus, can a business really afford not to look into these new technologies?
The Benefits of Growing Green
The Company Benefits
Money saved per employee
Increase in performance
Increase in attendance
So what makes well-being so important and so profitable? Recent studies in Underwriters Laboratories reveal that a business saves up to $2,000 per employee per year when the environment and well being of the business is improved. This makes sense because performance increases an average of 20% and attendance improves by 10%. It is no wonder that more of a profit is turned within that business. Happier employees make for better employees.
Well-being is proven to have remarkable effects on productivity and efficiency within a workplace. The new technologies mentioned in this article create better lighting and comfort and better temperature control. Jerrold Wang of Lux Research shared that in tested hospitals, it was found that better lighting resulted in a quicker patient recovery. Improved lighting and air quality was even reported to reduce pain perception by 22%. The improved well-being and comfort also increase traffic amongst stores with customers. Vice President of Pleotint reported that retail businesses with improved lighting and windows can develop a 40% advantage in their market.
The resultant improved air quality and lighting that come from these new technologies is shown to increase cognitive function and productivity as well. This becomes apparent when hearing from this Harvard University study:
“The results were alarming: employees’ cognitive performance scores averaged 101% higher in green building environments with enhanced ventilation compared to a conventional building environment. Indeed, participants’ cognitive function test scores doubled in indoor environments with improved indoor environmental quality.”
The fiscal savings are not limited to higher productivity either. A company will thicken their wallet simply by using more energy efficient technology. Lux Research has found that advanced insulation materials can influence energy consumption on air conditioning (HVAC), heating, and ventilation, which accounts for 40% of the total energy consumption in buildings. Current companies seek to find the sweet spot between performance and affordability. The trend of supportable and continuous energy uses a business’ carbon footprint to reduce the resource consumption and its supply chain impact. This results in many cost benefits because energy savings yield financial savings. In business buildings, obtaining Green LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the Green Building Council provides additional monetary benefits by yielding a higher rental value and improving the overall property value. There are now many new technologies within upcoming companies that help a business gain these LEED credits. So what are the newest technologies for an energetically supportable and continuous business?
The Latest in Construction Materials
Within the construction industry there are countless areas of applications for sustainability. Brick companies such as RavenBrick and Fox Blocks include powder coating within their concrete and cement to improve indoor air quality, which is essential for productivity. These new coatings also enhance structural durability. Paint and coatings now have lower volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and better water efficiency. Polymers for roofing and siding have evolved to be conservative of water and heat, saving on energy costs across the board.
The Greatest in Insulation
Aerogel, the newest product in insulation, is a synthetic, porous, and lightweight material that is increasingly popular in insulation because it is more fire resistant, moisture resistant, and sound dampening. Aerogels are often referred to as a “super material” as they can be used in a wide variety of industries such as building, construction, solar, automotive, aviation and even personal care. JIOS Aerogel is a company that has become the vanguard of the aerogel industry because of how they integrate aerogel into so many applications, such as paints, coatings, cement, plaster and gypsum.
“We don’t make products that you use everyday. We make the products that you use everyday better”, says Patrick Stobbs, Executive Director of JIOS Aerogel.
Aerogel insulation has a higher thermal efficiency that provides significant energy savings. Many projects are paid back on energy savings alone after 12-18 months. JIOS Aerogel’s Cool Roofing solutions block most UV and IR radiation, which also contributes to energy savings due to easier thermal regulation. The moisture resistance reduces mold and improves air quality within a home or a place of business. Aerogel technology even improves the efficiency of planes and automobiles by making lighter composites and more temperature control.
The Advanced Green Window
Moving from within the building to the building’s exterior, window technology is of increasing importance. Dynamic windows are applicable to both automobile and building industry for increased efficiency and energy savings. There are numerous innovative technologies applied to this field. Thermochromic and electrochromic windows are most applicable to businesses and their buildings.
Inks or dyes that are temperature sensitive, so that they can temporarily change color with exposure to heat.
|Electrochromic||Optical properties, such as color or shading, are controlled by voltage which can be set through a dimmer or similar switch.|
|Photochromic||Windows that darken on exposure to specific types of light of sufficient intensity, most commonly ultraviolet (UV) radiation. In the absence of activating light the lenses return to their clear state.|
They respectively focus on heat and electric regulation to increase the thermal and electrical efficiency of buildings. Photochromic windows are more applicable to automobiles as they reduce glare and create better window resolution. Low-e windows reduce energy use as well by creating a surface condition whereas low levels of thermal energy are emitted. These more resourceful and effective technologies reduce energy use and result in long term fiscal savings.
One of the unrivaled thermochromic window companies, Pleotint, has been expanding rapidly due to their cost saving dynamic windows. These windows not only block heat but also balance the temperature and lighting of a room without the need for blinds or shades. They use the best low-e options to create an atmosphere with improved lighting and improved air quality. Business buildings that use such dynamic windows receive LEED credits, some of which come from their bird safety characteristics that reduce bird collision with the windows.
The work they do with business results in significant financial savings in the long run. And they are involved in a wide variety of industries including commercial, retail, educational, medical and residential. There are significant cost reductions in air conditioning and heating, but some of the biggest savings actually comes from the productivity of the people because of the better lighting and air quality. After understanding the significance of well-being in the work place, it is easy to see how this could result in a big pay off.
The Applied Window Technologies
One of the companies on the cutting edge of both well-being and sustainability is PURETi. Their photocatalytic cleaning solution uses ultraviolet light activated technology, which is applied to the surface of windows, building exteriors, and even solar panels. This UV-PCO technology is activated by a specific wavelength of light in order to become self-cleaning and purifying. Their product is becoming hugely popular in real estate, schools, stadiums, and hospitals. This sustainable cleaning tool greatly reduces water usage and cuts the frequency of cleaning in half. According to PURETi President Glen Finkel, the time of labor is reduced by 60-90% and the energy efficient yields that come from this product can allow a business to obtain those LEED certification credits. Now they are even using this treatment on photovoltaics, or solar panels, in order to keep them cleaner, cooler, and therefore more efficient.
These new technologies within building materials intelligence create great opportunity for both profit and savings. This creates endless opportunities for chemical and material companies and any company that seeks to improve their infrastructure space for more efficient energy use.