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January 2011
Solid State Lighting in the Built Environment

Advancements in Light Emitting Diode, or LED, technology represent the most significant development in lighting since the invention of electric light well over a century ago. Offering superior light quality and unprecedented design freedom, LEDs are changing the way architects and designers use light. LEDs are a type of solid-state lighting, so-called because light is emitted from a solid object, a semiconductor, instead of a vacuum or gas tube as in incandescent light bulbs and fluorescent lights. LEDs consume less energy and last much longer than conventional light sources, do not heat illuminated surfaces or emit ultraviolet light, contain no toxic mercury, and require little maintenance. Whether revitalizing bridges and landmarks, turning building walls into large-scale customizable art installations, energizing city skylines or creating dazzling and dramatic ambiance for contemporary interiors, read on to find out how LED lighting technology is transforming the built environment.

Nanotechnology in Architecture: Intelligent Coatings

Nanotechnology, the ability to manipulate matter at the scale of less than one billionth of a meter, has the potential to transform the built environment in ways almost unimaginable today. Nanotechnology is already employed in the manufacture of self-cleaning windows, graffiti-resistant concrete and solar energy-collecting paints. But these already impressive advances offer only a glimpse of what's incubating in the world's nanotech labs today! There, work is under way on nanocomposites thin as glass, yet capable of supporting entire buildings, photosynthetic coatings that can make any building surface a source of free energy, and paint-on lasers that could one day allow materials to send information to and from one another.

March 2012
Architectural Sun Control & Shading Devices

The use of sun control and shading devices is an important aspect of many energy-efficient building design strategies. There are many different reasons to want to control the amount of sunlight that is admitted into a building. In warm, sunny climates excess solar gain may result in high cooling energy consumption; in cold and temperate climates, winter sun entering south-facing windows can positively contribute to passive solar heating; and in nearly all climates controlling and diffusing natural sunlight will improve visual comfort by controlling glare and reducing contrast ratios, contributing to increased user satisfaction and productivity. Specifying daylighting and sun control solutions can also help you earn LEED credits for your sustainable building project.

April 2011
Smart Adaptable Design: Moveable Walls

The American Heritage College Dictionary defines a wall as “an upright structure serving to enclose, divide, or protect an area, esp. a vertical construction forming an interior partition or exterior siding of a building”. Flexibility of walls is a growing trend and need. Moveable walls allow architects and designers maximum spatial adaptability. Long used to create flexible, multi-purpose spaces in commercial interiors, offices and institutional settings, today’s versatile weather resistant exterior models can also be specified to blur the line between indoors and out, in houses, condominiums, restaurants, stadiums, schools, hospitals, hotels and more.

May 2011
Community Connectedness in the 21st Century

Throughout history, the traditional definition of community is a geographically circumscribed entity. Today, social networking sites like Facebook, Myspace and Twitter have become a new sort of community, virtually connecting people and ideas, and perhaps even having a positive effect toward revitalizing our ‘brick and mortar’ cities and public spaces. People are moving into downtowns, driving less, walking more, living in smaller homes they can actually afford, choosing local businesses and slower food, prioritizing health, going green and valuing community and social networking like never before.

June 2011
Acoustic Design & Green Building

Acoustical design is regularly impacted by green building and the LEED certification program. While this relationship may not be immediately obvious, these two design elements are connected in many ways. The connection can be simple, such as selecting environmentally friendly acoustical materials. It can also be subtle, such as mitigating the various sound isolation concerns that are often created as a byproduct of the specification of green systems. The most direct association between acoustical and green design comes in the form of acoustical performance criteria that are required under the LEED for Schools standards, as well as the new LEED for Healthcare program, launched in April 2011. Under these programs, a minimum level of acoustical performance is mandatory in educational and health care environments.

July 2011
Universal Design

Designing and building a home that will fit the lifestyle of the next generation is a significant challenge for today’s design professionals. Successfully integrating accessible design elements, sustainable products and practices and up-to-the-minute technological amenities is a daunting task indeed. But that's exactly the challenge that was successfully met by Champion Home Builders when they designed and built the 2011 NextGen National Demonstration Home, on display at the International Builders' Show (IBS) in Orlando, Florida earlier this year and pictured below.

August 2011
The Built Environment

CONSTRUCT and the CSI Annual Convention is the only dedicated national event specifically designed to provide the commercial building team with real-world, practical product and education solutions. This year’s event takes place September 13th – 16th in Chicago, a city justly celebrated for its iconic architecture. Frank Lloyd Wright once said that, "Chicago may eventually be the last beautiful, great city in the world." What Mr. Wright didn't know, is that Chicago would also become one of the greenest cities in the world, with more LEED-certified buildings than any other city on the planet. In this article, we look at just a few of Chicago’s landmark sustainable spaces and places.

September 2011
Cultural Landscapes

Cultural Landscapes provide us with a sense of place and identity; they map our relationship with the land over time and form an important part of our national heritage. Ranging in size from historic homesteads to master planned parks & gardens to thousands of acres of rural land, they are associated with a significant event, activity, person or group of people.

October 2011
Best in Green Technology

Cultural Landscapes provide us with a sense of place and identity; they map our relationship with the land over time and form an important part of our national heritage. Ranging in size from historic homesteads to master planned parks & gardens to thousands of acres of rural land, they are associated with a significant event, activity, person or group of people. Earlier this month, the U.S. Green Building Council hosted Greenbuild outside the borders of the United States for the first time in the event’s proud 10 year history. Held in Toronto, Ontario, October 4th – 7th, the International Conference and Expo celebrated ‘What's NEXT?’ for green building, while also commemorating the monumental strides the industry has made over the past decade.

November 2011
Active Minds, Healthy Nation

The National Recreation and Park Association’s (NRPA) Congress and Exposition is the flagship event of the NRPA, and the premier annual event of the park and recreation community. The three-day conference brings together more than 6,500 park and recreation professionals, citizen advocates, and industry suppliers for amazing networking opportunities, hundreds of educational sessions, and the industry's largest trade show showcasing the products and services of nearly 450 exhibitors. This year’s Congress was held November 1st- 3rd in Atlanta, Georgia. The theme of the congress was “Active Minds, Healthy Nation”, and featured professional skateboarder Tony Hawk as an inspiring keynote speaker.

December 2011
Architecture 2030

Architecture 2030 is an independent, non-profit research organization that was established in 2002 in response to the energy and global-warming crisis. The organization’s mission is to transform the building sector from the major consumer of fossil fuels and contributor of greenhouse gas emissions, to a central part of the solution. In 2006, Architecture 2030 issued the 2030 Challenge for buildings, calling on the global architecture and building community to incrementally eliminate the fossil-fuel energy consumption of new buildings and major renovations by the year 2030. The 2030 Challenge was immediately adopted by the American Institute of Architects, U.S. Conference of Mayors, U.S. Green Building Council and the National Governors Association.