We find ourselves at the apex, of what can only be considered a Green Revolution within the global building industry. This direction is born out of necessity and is fostering the development of new and innovative green technologies. Shouldering collective responsibility, as a nation of peoples, both first and third world countries alike are seeking better and more sustainable ways to build their cities.
In the continuing research and development by leading global institutions, it has been shown time and time again, what we deep-down already know… that nature knows best. It is best that we as human beings, born of a natural world, strive to keep rooted in our earthly environment as much as is feasible. What does this mean you might ask, and what does it have to do with our built environment?
Well, let’s consider just what it is that life needs to thrive in this world, what are these elements? How about Natural Sunlight, Clean Air, Fresh Water, and Protection Against the Elements. A recent study, looking at just one of these elements (natural daylight), crucial for the quality of life in our modern age, provides us with some interesting data. According to the study conducted by Alan Hedge, a professor in the Department of Design and Environmental Analysis at Cornell, workers in daylit office environments reported an 84 percent drop in symptoms of eyestrain, headaches and blurred vision symptoms, which can detract from productivity.
Furthermore, key findings from the study include:
Controlled daylight unlocks significant health and wellness benefits for office workers. Workers in office environments with optimized natural light reported an 84 percent drop in symptoms of eyestrain, headaches and blurred vision symptoms, which often result from prolonged computer and device use at work and can detract from productivity.
- More natural light translates to more alert employees. Workers in offices with smart glass reported a 10 percent decrease in drowsiness.
- Enhanced individual performance is tied to access to natural light. Workers sitting close to a window that optimized daylight exposure reported a 2 percent increase in productivity – the equivalent of an additional $100,000/year of value for every 100 workers or around $2m over the window’s lifetime.
- Natural light creates a better indoor experience. Workers in offices with smart glass reported a 40 percent increase in daylight quality. Lack of daylight and access to views decreases the ability of the eye to relax and recover from fatigue. Additionally, workers in proximity to windows report 80 percent higher daylight satisfaction.
It is data derived from studies such as these, as well as, the acknowledgment that we are responsible for safeguarding our world for the generations to come that is fuelling our Green New Future. Recently, when pushed on the subject matter, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio had the following to say, “All-glass facade skyscrapers, are incredibly inefficient, as so much energy escapes through the glass. Our glass buildings are the No. 1 cause of greenhouse emissions in New York.”
According to sources, the Mayor intends on introducing a bill banning new construction of glass skyscrapers, as part of his efforts to reduce citywide greenhouse emissions by 30 percent. De Blasio says the bill would require existing glass buildings to be retrofitted to meet new stricter carbon-emissions guidelines. This is part of what is being called “The Green New Deal”, proposed by the Democratic Party, and is a looking-glass for our collective future.
So where does this leave us, how do we get both the benefit of natural daylight, whilst at the very same time, reduce our reliance on traditional glass-façade buildings? Here, we must be bold and seek out those solutions that will not compromise on delivering both our much needed natural light, as well as, reduce the carbon footprint of our buildings. At Danpal, we have made it our responsibility to develop these daylight solutions, and we have made it our business to deliver these systems to the market place.
There are a few key points to consider how we have done this:
- The Danpalon panels, integral to our building envelope solutions, have been purpose engineered to reduce the immense heat-gain that plagues traditional glass façade buildings.
- The microcell structure inherent in the panels also serve to minimize heat-loss via usual conduction, convection, and radiation
- Our extrusion processes of the Makrolon thermoplastic material is energy efficient and uses a fraction of the power needed for traditional glass smelters.
- All systems have been purpose-designed to offer the best performance for both durability and weight reduction.
We believe that by spearheading the development of our low carbon-footprint daylight systems, we have taken the responsibility of taking the ‘road less-traveled’ as a serious undertaking. Each new project undertaken, is an opportunity to make a better decision, not only for us…but for our environment. Together as a collective, we can all make better decisions, and provide our people with the natural healthy environments they deserve – without compromising our earth.