We use the term “smart” to describe many facets of modern homes. Often, it is a building that is computer controlled or monitored. Heat, air conditioning, appliances, perhaps security are all interconnected via the IoT (Internet of Things) network. Individual homes and complete neighborhoods can be remodeled or developed as smart.
For example, Alabama Power has developed a program called the Smart Neighborhood focused on homes that feature energy-efficient construction, energy-efficient appliances, connected devices, innovative security solutions, and home automation designed to simplify homeowners' lives and give them more control over their home and energy use.
Would healthier buildings have slowed or even stopped the growth of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)? We may never know the answer to that question, but we can begin to plan for the next virus or next wave of the current one. As lockdown and stay-at-home orders begin to lift, TCS (The Code Solution), a Los Angeles-based developer, has been highlighting its multi-tiered patented technologies, protocols, and anti-pathogen building designs specifically engineered to prevent pathogenic spread.
Being installed in four pilot projects currently under construction in L.A., the goal is stopping future pandemics before they start. TCS claims it is the only large-scale developer in the US with a comprehensive sanitization and anti-pathogen safety design planned for use in all such future housing projects. This goal will be achieved by using pathogen-resistant materials such as wall paint, flooring, copper alloy railings, HEPA-filtered ventilation, and other methods that make the building resistant to future viral or bacterial outbreaks.
I am in the middle of a blog series on what needs to happen next to propel the construction industry forward, amid a pandemic and economic turmoil. Naturally, some of the first topics I tackled were heavily tech-focused such as the IoT (Internet of Things) or process-driven such as prefab. However, I think it is just as apropos that we talk about societal changes that need to happen, specifically around women in the workplace.
It is no secret that we as a society have a need to belong. Many psychologists say we want to be part of something bigger than ourselves. Being part of a community, if done well, can reinforce that positive view and identity for the group. A strong group is able to define what it is, and what the group isn’t.
As construction businesses are preparing to go back to work amid the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, Peggy Smedley and Matt Wheelis, global business development, Geosystems Division, Leica Geosystems, a Hexagon company, highlight the four big areas that we need to be thinking about. They also identify technology that can help and how construction companies are adopting technology on the jobsite in a different way.
Sustainability requires careful planning as well as innovative design that encourages long-term viability. Construction of the end-product to the highest standards will convert theory into practice. The wind turbine is an example of the combination of design and construction bringing affordable and environmentally sustainable efforts to market.
New reports from Navigant Research and Frost & Sullivan find that onshore and offshore wind turbines are making inroads where allowed to proliferate. In some areas, legal roadblocks to wind farms are preventing them from the growth that they are seeing in locations that are more concerned about renewable energy.
Navigant Research discusses the main regional and country markets driving offshore wind and analyzes trends and forecast data on a megawatt level through 2028. Frost & Sullivan takes a look at the onshore wind turbine market and the technology companies that are working to make this form of energy generation more acceptable.
In the early days, there were concerns offshore wind farms would be too expensive to grow at a large scale and compete with traditional energy market prices. Today, factors such as higher wind speeds, higher plant load factors, more stable power generation, almost limitless offshore space for turbine installations, and rapidly declining costs are moving the market. As offshore wind farms become more acceptable, abundant clean energy for many coastal load centers will be generated where a greater proportion of population and energy demand is located; areas where onshore wind or solar is more difficult or costly to develop will be the beneficiaries. Indeed, multiple markets are moving toward construction without subsidies and with a willingness to take fluctuating market prices.
Much has changed since the original Constructech Top Products launched more than 10 years ago. Perhaps the biggest change worth noting is that the technology itself has evolved, rather quickly too.
Our civilization is in the midst of both housing and environmental crises. According to the United Nations, 68% of the world population will be living in urban areas by 2050. The implications of this in terms of climate change are considerable based on the fact that urban areas rely greatly on use of concrete and steel. In terms of the environmental footprint, the manufacturing of cement is responsible for approximately 8% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions; a figure that will increase if urban construction trends continue to rise.
Many projects are shutting down or working with reduced staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. Add to that the well-documented existing worker shortage and work risks falling behind schedule as uncertainty about the future looms. While seemingly dire, technology is enabling organizations to continue some operations and keep projects on track.
Caroline Blazovsky, president and founder, My Healthy Home, joins Peggy to share her story about how she got into the healthy home movement and how allergies led her to explore this more.
In our industry we have to be ever present of the hazards that surround us. On the jobsite, we have to contend with unanticipated site conditions, damage, or theft of materials, equipment, and tools, and the myriad of safety hazards that demand a continuous 360 degree awareness of our surroundings.