The architecture, engineering and construction fields have been at the center of sustainability advances in recent years, and innovation is only getting bigger and better. The GIANTS 300 study performed by Building Design and Construction found that a wide array of firms are moving ahead on sustainability advances that could transform the AEC market moving forward.
Leading firms driving AEC changes
According to the study, architectural and engineering firms have begun pushing the sustainability envelope in diverse ways. Some of the most ambitious ideas include:
Applying a custom solution for analyzing and designing LEED certified, cold-formed roof trusses, which traditionally have not been viewed as capable of resisting blast loads.
Establishing an on-campus LEED Platinum–registered Engineered Biosystems Building packed with energy-saving features and technologies, including energy-recovery wheels, a two-stage runaround loop for vivarium systems and chilled beams.
Developing a modular hospital prototype for developing countries that utilizes a proprietary panel product for the construction that can be executed by local laborers. The prototype is energy and water efficient and effective for use in locations where there is no infrastructure.
Implementing on-site energy storage and renewable generation capabilities to create and support microgrid systems.
Using emerging 3-D printing technologies to create sophisticated, sustainable structures. One pilot project in Dubai is aiming to have a quarter of the buildings in the city 3-D printed by 2030, something that demands new approaches in terms of design.
Deploying 3-D laser scanning to more easily and accurately capture the state of existing structures when performing renovations.
Establishing technologies to use robots in firefighting alongside other autonomous fire suppression tools to resolve longstanding fire prevention challenges in facilities.
This is just a sampling of the types of initiatives that are bringing the AEC industry into the future, but their ambitious nature highlights a simple overarching trend – sustainability has become important enough that AEC firms are looking to new methodologies and technologies to solve problems that have held back the industry in years past.
Ongoing training and professional development can prove instrumental as AEC firms work to get ahead of the sustainability curve. Thorough training ensures that employees have an intimate understanding of sustainable design and building innovations and regulations, allowing them to drive innovation that improves sustainability while continuing to comply with codes.
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