Sixty percent of U.S. commercial buildings were constructed before 1980. Retrofitting them for energy efficiency is essential to achieve the Department of Energy (DOE) Building Technologies Office’s (BTO) goal of halving building energy use by 2030. Most existing buildings have masonry construction with uninsulated wall assemblies, which offer good potential for wall improvement strategies.
Goals such as increasing a facility’s sustainability take a different spin for new construction and renovation projects. Although any building—new or existing—can strive for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, the approaches to feasibly achieve that goal change based on the building.
Whether a developer is constructing a new facility, or an owner wants to update an existing building, plumbing choices come into play. Yet, the plumbing decisions for new construction versus renovation can be different based on priorities, objectives, and practicalities. This piece looks at the selection process of faucets, sinks, and fixtures.
Given most employees spend the majority of their time on individual tasks, phone calls, and conversations in their workspace, the workplace should provide them with speech privacy, comfort, and freedom from distracting noises. When planned during the design phase, creating such an environment is as simple as ‘ABC’—absorb, block, and cover.
In newer commercial buildings, employees may express dissatisfaction with being able to hear people talking, as well as concern over their own level of speech privacy. Additionally, they may be frequently disrupted by noises such as ringing telephones, mechanical equipment, exterior traffic, and footfall. If the organization had considered acoustics from the start, they would have had the opportunity to apply various strategies. However, at this stage, they typically need to adopt solutions offering the greatest opportunity for improvement while creating the least upheaval in an already-occupied environment. One such solution is a sound masking system.