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The importance of indoor air quality

Indoor air quality (IAQ) is an important consideration for building owners and design teams. IAQ can easily decrease within elevator cabs and machine rooms. Photos courtesy ThyssenKrupp Elevator

by Sasha Bailey, LEED AP

Indoor air quality (IAQ) has become increasingly important for building owners and occupants in recent years. With more information available to the public on air quality issues—including the potential negative effects of off-gassing and the evaporation of volatile chemicals and other emissions—it is imperative for building product manufacturers to focus on eliminating issues associated with their products.

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Navigating automated fault detection and diagnostics

Building automation systems can control mechanical systems, but ault detection and diagnostics  are critical for efficient success. Photo © BigStockPhoto/Pedro Sala

The U.S. market for building automation equipment is set to increase by more than 40 percent within the next five years. Buildings have become more intelligent, and engineers and energy managers have millions of data points on building operations within their control systems. Still, data is essentially useless if it cannot be turned into actionable information and prioritized in terms of what is most important.

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Using daylight analysis in building envelope strategies

A high-performance daylighting system was employed at this new East Baltimore School. Photo courtesy Duo-Gard. Photo © James Singwald

by Tim Metcalfe

Structures of all sizes can benefit from bringing natural light into a space and connecting the building’s occupants to the outside environment. The use of natural light on its own, or integrated with architectural lighting, provides energy savings and creates an aesthetic environment.

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Understanding environmental product declarations

This is an excerpt of an environmental product declaration (EPD) transparency brief for sprayed polyurethane foam (SPF) from the Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance (SPFA), filed with EPD program operator Underwriters Laboratory (UL) Environment. Image courtesy SPFA

by Paul Bertram, FCSI, CDT, LEED AP, GGP

Buildings designed with energy efficiency in mind are becoming the norm. In fact, according to a 2013 McGraw-Hill study, “firms are shifting their business toward green building, with 51 percent of respondents planning more than 60 percent of their work to be green by 2015.” As a result, design/construction professionals are constantly seeking methods to verify the ‘greenness’ of buildings.

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Solar power: Focusing on quality and long-term reliability

When specifying photovoltaic (PV) assemblies, it is important to know the modules and cells themselves offer long-term quality. The photo above shows ‘snail trail’ formation resistance of different cell/ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA)/backsheet combinations. All images courtesy Motech Industries

by Sam Tsou

For construction specifiers making client recommendations when moving to a renewable energy system, photovoltaic (PV) solar power can be a daunting challenge. This is especially the case when one only considers the impressions of earlier years that do not reflect today’s economic picture. Current U.S. government statistics aggressively support the reality commercial and residential installations are proving to be a valuable approach—with a return on investment (ROI) that means the client payoff is becoming shorter and shorter.

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Designing Smarter Urban Buildings

Building management devices are becoming increasingly digital—from sign-in at security to the destination-control feature of elevators. Images courtesy KONE

by Robert Moler

Well-designed and properly managed public spaces—such as high-rises, airports, shopping malls or hospitals—can enable social interaction and promote a better lifestyle. Already, half the world’s population lives in urban areas, and the United Nations estimates that five billion people will be living in cities by 2030—up from 3.6 billion in 2010. This means the need for well-managed ‘flow’ will only increase.

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