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For the past 25 years, a focus on sustainability has slowly but steadily reshaped the way commercial and institutional buildings are designed and operated. But sustainability is only one of the forces transforming buildings.
Today, facility managers interested in sustainability should also be thinking about two other trends that work in tandem with green design. One is the growing emphasis on occupant health and wellness. The other is the rapid gains in smart building technology.
Occupant health has been a key principle of sustainable design since the beginning of the movement. But in the past few years, as organizations have recognized the importance of occupant experience, interest in health and wellness has climbed. That’s great news in its own right, but also for the fact that it may offer facility managers one more argument for sustainability. Implementing health and wellness measures, also presents the facility manager with a good opportunity to begin the conversation about other sustainability measures.
The other development I mentioned — advances in smart building technology — is opening the door to new levels of sustainable performance.
Design tools like energy modeling and computational fluid dynamics make it possible to move past conventional rules of thumb for the design of building systems — rules that can lead to oversized systems that waste both money and energy. Smart building systems and devices enable facility managers to gather, analyze, and act on information about how the building is actually performing. By uncovering hidden problems, this intelligent technology can help reduce costs and energy consumption.
For those of you interested in learning more about smart, healthy buildings, our NFMT Orlando conference and exposition will feature a Smart Healthy Buildings pavilion on the exhibit floor, as well as a range of sessions on smart technology and occupant experience. The event runs November 13-14 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. Visit nfmt.com for more information.
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