When it comes to energy efficiency, the ‘green building’ revolution is well and truly under way. Sustainable building is being driven by the environmentally conscious with good cause. Modern
energy-saving construction is now a focus with the idea of bringing people and nature together in a more harmonious existence.

The renovation of buildings is dramatically reducing damaging effects on the mental health and well-being of occupants. In terms of design this is a priority.

Architectural concepts now look to harness the natural powers available with planning, construction and materials all affecting the whole lifecycle and energy capabilities of a modern commercial project.

Doors and windows in particular need to maximise the daylight and control the transfer of heat both into and out of the building. As multi-functioning products they need to guarantee that energy consumption can be considerably reduced.

Increasingly processors, architects and planners are working together to develop advanced energy efficient products that will adapt to a changing climate.

A great consideration for designers and planners is the reduction of energy consumption without losing the view through a window, particularly in relation to high rise working and living. As an essential component of a building, windows now need to be a multi-functioning material.

Looking at renewable energy sources it is also important to remember that the ‘green’ revolution also relates to the reduction of energy consumption. As buildings today increasingly optimise energy they are more sustainable and ultimately these factors are now so important not just in terms of the planners but also the occupants.

Already the UK has made a commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions to almost zero by 2050 in a bid to tackle climate change. It his hoped that emissions can be reduced by 80% as per the Climate Change Act in 2008. Some ‘green groups’ are warning however that as the global climate is changing so fast that it may already be too late to ensure that the world temperature rise stays well below 2C.

There are now 160 countries that have pledged to cut emissions but more needs to be done if the aims of the Paris Agreement are to be met.

With that in mind designers and engineering companies across the construction and glazing sector are stepping up the game revising concepts and adapting new construction projects accordingly. Across Europe almost zero-energy homes are expected to be the ‘norm’ in the not too distant future. Revisions to the EU Regulations regarding a buildings overall energy performance will initially only affect new builds but there is an expectation that all buildings should be carbon neutral by 2050.

Smart technology will undoubtedly come into play to make a building highly energy efficient. Heating, lighting and air conditioning will need to be AI managed to adapt to the changing aspects brought about by climate change. Soon through Industry 4.0 digitalisation and automation will mean buildings will be able to adapt to changing weather conditions on a daily basis.

Where previously window design had been unchanged today they can be optimised for both hot and cold weather. Smart window technology is creating the ideal product to regulate heat and light transmittance and this is an exciting time for developers in this sector.

Helen Duval 2019