Covid left its mark on us all in more ways than we can count. Energy efficiency, increased costs for building materials, and urgent demand for healthy environments all play into 2022 industry trends for commercial buildings. How are we coping? With innovation, technology, and an environmental conscious.
From building materials to smart technology commercial building construction is an evolving process. It is often easier to build it right, new. But the need for energy efficiency and healthy buildings can also be obtained after they are built. We have the latest on what is available and gaining momentum in commercial building construction. Let’s go!
Internet of things
IoT (Internet of things) is a rather new phrase in the commercial building industry. The Internet of things describes physical objects with sensors, processing ability, and/or software. These entities connect and exchange data with other devices and systems via communications networks or the internet. As we are applying IoT to Commercial buildings in this article, let’s review how it would be implemented within a building.
HVAC systems with IoT can be monitored for malfunctions that can catch issues before the entire system goes down. IoT can also be applied to lighting; adjusting interior requirements according to the time of day, people present, or other pertinent factors. IoT provides businesses with an “at the moment” look into how their systems are working. Thus, delivering insights into everything from the performance of machines to logistics operations. IoT is impressive when monitoring or manipulating mechanical and electrical systems within a building. It can save a commercial building owner tens of thousands of dollars – if not more, over the life of the building.
Although available in North America since 2018, hemp offers a sustainable, eco-friendly insulation alternative. Hemp insulation is a product that consists of 51 percent plant fibers and 49 percent plastics and chemicals, along with non-toxic bonding agents and fire treatment. Moreover, compressible hemp insulation is much thinner than traditional fiberglass insulation. Produced in 2.5 to 5.5-inch thick batts, hemp insulation is an outstanding option that proves safer in its fire resistance, as well as superior in its energy efficiency to fiberglass insulation.
Furthermore, the permeability of hemp insulation provides another significant benefit by allowing vapor to travel through the insulation, preventing condensation, unlike fiberglass insulation. Thus, mold is less likely to develop in the building over time. This can also increase the “health” of a commercial building.
During Covid, we all began to think a lot more about germs and airborne viruses than we ever had before. Returning to the office seemed like a nightmare for many, particularly if they had prevailing health issues already. Interestingly, a solution arose that will undoubtedly become a standard in commercial buildings. HVAC systems with bipolar ionization eliminate allergens, pollutants, and viruses more proficiently than other air conditioning options. Therefore, these HVAC systems help prevent the transmission of disease while working more efficiently overall.
Curious as to how this process works? Bipolar ionization technology cleans the air within a building by introducing ions into the area via a ventilation system. Ions are positively and negatively charged molecules that either gain or lose electrons to become neutral.
When ions enter an area, they combine with particles in the air. Consequently, the particles continue to cluster with the ions as they grow in size. Eventually, they become so large that filtration systems can capture them. With bipolar ionization, your HVAC system becomes part of the solution instead of part of the problem. In other words, it isn’t spreading germs so much as catching them.
Self-healing concrete is as interesting as it sounds. This concrete contains saturated bacteria that bind surrounding materials into a new structural material that can grow in the pores of the concrete. Yes, it actually mends itself. As a result, the durability and lifespan of the concrete is increased exponentially. It’s expected that the self-healing concrete market may reach $1.37 billion by 2025.
Self-healing concrete offers a sustainable solution for a costly solution. By creating a more durable and long-lasting concrete product, we reduce carbon pollutants. A long-held issue has been that concrete begins deteriorating from the beginning of its service. Furthermore, traditional concrete often requires expensive and labor-intensive repairs. Self-healing concrete solves these problems “naturally” with no after-cost or maintenance.
Switchable smart film
Switchable smart film is becoming more prevalent in office spaces across the country. It has a rather long list of attributes: UV protection, light and heat control, as well as provides a form of insulation during the day. Most beneficial is its ability to automatically adjust or block the level of heat and light entering a space. This helps regulate the amount of air conditioning or heat needed to keep the office comfortable year-round.
Ultimately, switchable smart glass can save commercial building owners up to 30 percent in energy costs. What is most impressive about this smart technology is that it can also be used to project presentations or videos onto the glass. The glass actually becomes a screen. Ideal for conference rooms and also beneficial for individual offices, the electrochromic smart glass market could reach $3.75 billion by 2026.
Commercial building facts
With these relatively new innovations being implemented we can expect to see smarter buildings being built, as well as improvements in older structures. Each advancement puts us one step closer to a carbon-neutral future. Commercial buildings produce approximately 20% of carbon emissions in the United States. If these types of buildings were retrofitted, they could achieve an energy savings of 20%.
Consequently, the U.S. could save approximately $80 billion annually and reduce carbon emissions by 17% overall.
Those are numbers that can’t be ignored. When we apply technological advancements to our lives, in commercial buildings or otherwise, we make major strides towards a better world.
Build a Better Building with NGS
At NGS, we are proud to partner with clients to improve building security, energy efficiency, and design. From the switchable smart glass mentioned above to solar window film and more, we are a part of the solution. Reach out today for our expertise on energy-efficient retrofits for your commercial buildings.