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The Move into “Better Buildings”!

The Move into “Better Buildings”!

by Frank Kohout

June 21, 2016

The secret of change is to focus your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.

–Socrates

One of the main reasons I enjoy working at Cyclone is that we are a company of Building Authenticators. With our core services of building energy modeling, building commissioning, and real estate services, we help clients ensure their investments in energy saving initiatives are optimized during their building’s design, construction, and ownership and operation. Our role is to provide our expertise; we do not design, construct, or operate buildings.

Which brings to mind a current topic that every building owner, developer, and manager is considering: sustainable building design. There are many different certifications, of which LEED is the most recognized in the US, and BREEAM in Europe. These certifications focus on the areas of reducing new and existing buildings’ impact on natural resources (i.e., energy, water, and building materials), and improving the indoor environment quality (IEQ) by incorporating ventilation and lighting measures. As part of their approach, they reward credits for incorporating certain prescriptive design elements that make the building more sustainable. The benefits can include lower operating costs, resulting potentially in an increase in the building’s market value, which could be realized in a higher resale value or rental income. The IEQ benefit, meanwhile, creates a better environment for the occupants.

Although measuring the benefits of IEQ can be challenging, the demand for healthier buildings has been on the rise. As an example, the emergence and growth of the Well Building Standard in the past year is reflective of this trend.

Furthermore, demographics have been driving the movement for healthier lifestyles at home and in the workplace.  Over the past two years, Millennials have not only became the largest generation in the U.S. by population [1], they also surpassed Gen Xers to make up the largest percentage (34%) of the U.S. workforce [2]. Their preference to live and work in buildings that reflect their values and that contain desired amenities, such as rooms for socializing, have made significant impacts on current building design.

Based on these trends, we feel healthy workplaces and residences is the next area of focus for building design.

While we’re supportive of what these certifications are trying to accomplish, at Cyclone we feel healthy spaces can be further expanded upon and customized to have the greatest impact on the occupants by following a customized and optimized approach instead of a “check box” approach.

In August, Cyclone will hold an innovation summit with building managers, developers, and owners to further explore these possibilities and determine the best opportunities and approaches for helping their current and future buildings reach this goal.

Stay tuned.

 

You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.

– Steve Jobs

 

 

[1] Fry, Richard. “Millennials overtake Baby Boomers as America’s largest generation.” Pew Research Center. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/04/25/millennials-overtake-baby-boomers/ (accessed June 17, 2016).

[2] Fry, Richard. “Millennials surpass Gen Xers as the largest generation in U.S. labor force.” Pew Research Center. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/05/11/millennials-surpass-gen-xers-as-the-largest-generation-in-u-s-labor-force/ (accessed June 17, 2016).