Are We Thinking About Daylighting All Wrong?

The daylighting advantages for this Manassas Park classroom go far beyond reducing reliance on electrical utilities—there is much to be said about natural light’s benefits in health and productivity. Photo © Sam Kittner Photography

Daylighting is an integral part of architectural design. After all, building occupants want a physical and psychological connection to the outside world. We evolved under sunlight; our Circadian rhythms—governing daily living cycles, influencing our mood, and controlling our sleep patterns—developed in response to a connection to the outdoors. Unfortunately, how many design/construction professionals approach daylighting can be problematic.

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Richardsville Elementary – NET ZERO

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September 2010 marked the grand opening for Richardsville Elementary, the First Net-Zero Insulated Concrete Form School in the U.S. Warren County School district, the school board responsible for Richardsville, has been building energy efficient schools that are being recognized for their innovation across the United States.

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The Ins and Outs of Revolving Doors

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The built environment is an energy-guzzler. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) states in this country alone, buildings account for 41 percent of energy use, 73 percent of electricity consumption and 38 percent of all CO2 emissions, and 13.6 percent potable water consumption. Globally, buildings use 40 percent of raw materials, or about 3 billion tons annually.1 Fortunately, the type of doors we select can have a big impact on a building’s energy profile.

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Air-loop window walls

Some windows walls  employ designs that include exposed slab edges, but these can lead to potential problems. Rethinking the basic design concepts could have important benefits. All images courtesy Raymond Ting

In this second part on a two-article series on air-loop window walls, the author discusses nine potential problems with traditional exposed and covered slab-edge design and explores how to eliminate the causes of concern.

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Specifying Custom Curtain Walls

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Custom curtain wall assemblies provide an excellent way to create a true architectural signature on a building. These systems are most often used to make a key statement at the entrance or podium level, and to convey the design language of the building. The ‘investment’ made in them is as much about the firm’s design reputation, as it is about actual project budget.

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More great walls of fire: Exterior separations

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by Jeff Razwick

Fire-rated curtain walls can prevent a fire from traveling to or from neighboring buildings without restricting visibility. Unlike gypsum, masonry, and other opaque fire-rated materials, this multi-functionality can bring fire and life safety goals in line with the aesthetic design intent where building codes deem the threat of fire is significant from adjacent construction.

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