Architects of today face a common task that defies intuition – how to balance building performance and strict carbon targets against cost. Sustainability in design is certainly a worthy and necessary goal, but the amount of options can be overwhelming and the costs prohibitive, especially in the eyes of owners. How can designers best convince their clients to integrate sustainability into a project? Keeping costs low and backing up decisions with fact-based analysis are solid first steps.
Daylighting: The Latest Architecture and News
Humans spend almost 90% of the time indoors; that's approximately 20 hours a day in closed rooms and 9 hours a day in our own bedrooms. The architectural configurations of these spaces are not random - that is, they have been designed or thought of by someone, and are at least slightly "guided" by the conditions of their inhabitants and their surroundings. Some people inhabit spaces specially catered to their needs and tastes, while others adapt and appropriate designs made for someone else, perhaps developed decades before they were born. In either case, their quality of life may be better or worse depending on the decisions that are made.
Understanding the importance of carefully designing our interiors, particularly through the lens of access and enjoyment of natural light, was the purpose of the 8th VELUX Daylight Symposium, held on October 9 and 10 of 2019 in Paris. This year, more than 600 researchers and professionals attended and reaffirmed the importance of natural light, presenting a series of concrete tools that could help quantify and qualify light by designing its entry, management, and control with greater depth and responsibility.
The Daylight Award 2020, a dual prize for research and architecture, is now open for nominations. The Daylight Award is a great opportunity for the global community of architects and researchers to consider and nominate their colleagues who have expertise in advancing outstanding daylight research and the unique use of daylight in architecture.
In a study recently published by AIA, less than 13% of architectural firms have incorporated building performance as part of their practice. With buildings contributing 40% of total carbon emissions leading to climate change, just 25 projects are roughly equivalent to planting 1 million trees each year. In addition to that, teams that are able to showcase data-driven and performance-driven decision-making and feature an energy analysis in every pursuit are able to increase fees and generate more revenue. Although integrating building performance sounds like a no-brainer, it proves to be difficult at many firms, because in addition to the practical changes, it requires a culture shift. That culture shift can only happen if the tools are easy to use, accurate, and mesh well with current workflows. Right now is the perfect time to tackle these culture changes due to a few reasons:
Today in the United States, buildings account for nearly 40% of carbon emissions (EESI) and 78% of electricity usage. The most sustainability-focused firms run energy simulations for less than 50% of their projects (10% for a typical firm) and only doing so late in the process when design changes are limited and insufficient to combat red flags found in the performance report (AIA 2030 report). We can make building performance widespread once we help the entire community discuss the subject in terms of investment and return. Especially during a project pursuit, since having the buy in from the whole team helps ensure the key project metrics are met. Owners are seeking out teams who are using actual metrics and data driven processes that affect their bottom line. This new approach to practice is what makes the younger teams’ standout and will benefit both the climate and the bottom-line. Here are 5 ways to talk about building performance in your project pursuits:
Light is an important, if complex, tool in architecture. Not only does it lend atmosphere, texture, and vibrancy, but it is increasingly essential in an age where technology alienates us from nature. In this excerpt from Mary Guzowski's new book, The Art of Architectural Daylighting, she introduces the science and art of daylighting - and details six ways the masters approach the challenge.