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Designing an Energy Efficient Future: New Building Materials in Architecture

AIA continuing education
Energy-efficient architecture is dynamic, and continuing education for architects can help professionals in the field stay abreast of important changes.

Most people want to save energy, but not usually at the expense of their personal comfort. This conundrum has sparked creativity in the industry, creating a market for sustainable building materials and practices that meet consumer demands.

There are some amazing products on the market today, but the nature of this industry is that they will continue to be replaced by newer and better options. Your challenge is to make sure you know what those options are.

According to the architecture website Arch Daily, a number of new building materials are on the market today that aid in energy efficiency.

Recycled and Composite Wood

At one time, laminates and composites were the hallmarks of tacky — only “real” wood cut it, but no more.

Reclaimed wood has become popular, giving homes an aged, authentic look, but recycled and composite woods are different. To make these products, manufacturers use old wood that would otherwise be relegated to the landfill, break it down, and mix it with products such as adhesives to create a new material.

This isn’t like MDF (particleboard) Ikea products that quickly break; this type of manufacturing creates a stronger product than either real wood or plastic.

Transforming Windows

It’s no secret that the heat of the sun has an effect on a building’s internal environment. The rays of the sun can significantly heat a building. The problem is, it doesn’t feel significant in the winter when we want the sun to heat our homes, but it can get unbearable in the summer. Over the years, homeowners have invested in products such as awnings, roller shades, and insulated blackout drapes in an attempt to exercise some control over their home’s temperature.

Now, smart windows may be able to do the job for you — and quickly! Previous prototypes of smart windows darkened upon contact with sunlight like a pair of photochromic glasses, but it could take up to 20 minutes and lost effectiveness over time. Newer versions keep their integrity longer and get darker in less than a minute, according to a release from Stanford University about their engineers’ latest version of the technology.

AIA Continuing educationGreen Roofs

Green roofs are mostly built on commercial buildings because they must be built on a relatively flat slope and can be heavy. Also, in urban areas where the color gray abounds, a roof of green is a welcome sight.

But they don’t just look pretty. They help reduce building temperatures, thereby helping to cut down on HVAC costs.

A green roof is more expensive than a regular roof, but a cheaper alternative is a cool roof, one that reflects heat away from the home rather than absorbing it.

PDH Academy offers a continuing education course for architects on green roofs. It’s approved by the American Institute of Architects and it covers the benefits and expected performance of green roofs and delves into the technical side, with information on warranties, building codes, and standards.

Why not take a moment right now to check out our wide variety of courses for architects?


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