New Tools for Architects to Take on Climate Change
Amid growing concerns about rising energy costs, energy independence and the impact of climate change, it’s important to consider building with sustainability in mind.
More often than not, architects and engineers look to the future and consider more sustainable, eco-friendly, and smarter buildings. There is a lot to consider here. But, while it might seem a bit overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be. Fortunately, innovative solutions leverage technology to integrate sustainability more seamlessly in the design process.
According to the AIA report, Sustainability in the Architect’s Journey to Specification, “Buildings are responsible for 40% of energy-related CO2 emissions globally.” Of which, seventy-nine percent of architects want to reduce this number by specifying more sustainable materials than they do today. However, only one in three architects feels they are meeting their responsibility for sustainable design, because a sustainability-focused practice can be such a time-consuming process.
So how do you take on climate change when additional barriers like staff capacity, client education, and fast-paced schedules hold you back? Start small but think big. First, identify what sustainability means to your practice and set project goals that meet your firm’s sustainability vision and make sure all stakeholders are onboard with the plan.
One place to start going green is with construction materials. Many materials today are engineered to be smarter, stronger, sleeker and easier on the planet. It’s important for architects to stay up-to-date on these material innovations in order to remain competitive. Buildings crafted with intelligent material selections will be better equipped to solve ongoing challenges, reduce the carbon footprint, and positively impact the environment. Still, there are many considerations when selecting materials in the built environment. For example, materials may be sourced for low environmental impact or renewable resources that are easier to break down at the end of life for a building.
According to The Architect’s Journey to Specification, 2022 AIA Report, architects consider sustainability throughout the project. However, sustainability is often top of mind during specification, indicating that architects see sustainability as connected to product selection and six in ten firms research sustainability at least 50% of the time when selecting products or materials.
Reach Sustainability Design Goals with Automation
It can be challenging for architects to know what makes a product sustainable. Plus, developing specifications can be a time-consuming process. Automation is key to helping meet today’s demanding project schedules and achieve high-quality results without burdening the project team with increased RFIs, change orders, and schedule disruptions. Additionally, with the vast amount of building products in the market, it takes time to stay current on the latest product offerings.
Fortunately, there is industry-specific software, which allows you to effortlessly search, sort, and filter product characteristics and performance properties, making it easy to find the right product to achieve sustainable design goals. Modern specification software such as Deltek Specpoint, gives the architect convenience, speed, and tech-based intelligence for getting the work done. It provides in-depth product data points around performance, options, and sustainability to foster better-informed product decisions.
“With Deltek Specpoint, rather than wading through product listings on the internet, we can search and identify products with ease within the software.”
– John Graham, Principal Architect & Co-Founder at Kingdom Design Group
Go Green and Reap the Rewards
Sustainability presents a significant opportunity for many firms to grow their business. According to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), 61% of corporate leaders believe that sustainability leads to market differentiation and improved financial performance. Owners of sustainably designed buildings report a 10% or more increase in the value of their assets.
In addition, a growing number of architects recognize the advantage of winning more work through smart building design. Nearly half of the architects surveying in the 2021 AEC Hinge Report cited Smart Buildings as a topic they plan on researching in the coming year.
With the right tools and sustainability in mind, architects are poised to solve ongoing challenges and make an impact on the industry.
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