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The Elements of Post- COVID Façade Designs
By: Makarand Kendre
With the rapid spread of COVID-19, designs for a world will never be quite the same, especially for large public spaces, like airports, hotels, hospitals, gyms, and offices. Makarand Kendre, Area Sales Manager India at Renson Ventilation comes up with a few fresh ideas on the design of facades and fenestration.
A critical aspect of designing façades is to incorporate elements that still allow natural elements like the sun and fresh air to interact with the inside environment smartly. We have learned from COVID that closing a building off from the outside world can be dangerous. In the case of a pandemic or other viruses, the inside environment is not necessarily healthy. So we need to take up the challenge to design façades that can interact with the inside and the outside of a building, and that can adapt itself intelligently to changes conditions.
New concepts like natural ventilation via curtain walls and fixed windows with inbuilt PM 10 filters, and external dynamic shading to reduce heat gain up to 10 to 12°C will gain importance in post COVID façade design.
Façade Design for Occupant Wellness
The façade is one of the key determinant factors when it comes to occupant wellness. It is literally the window to the outside world. By incorporating external sun shading, for example, you can control the inside temperature of a building and/or avoid glare.
By allowing occupants to open up a window or a night cooling elements, you can still flush the building with fresh air. These are just a few examples that show that the façade has a massive impact on the comfort level of an occupant.
Some quick wins are: incorporating external sun screens to prevent overheating of the building and incorporating elements of the façade design that we can open to allow fresh air to flow in. If you link this to a building management system, you can increase the occupant wellness immensely.
The ‘New Normal’ Concerning Sustainable Façade Design
The new normal should be that everybody has a 100% reassurance that he/she is working/living in a healthy indoor environment. Everybody should have a right to good indoor air quality. Nowadays a lot of offices are designed to fit as many people as possible, without really thinking about living or working conditions. By planning and building from the perspective of the occupant, we can impact the wellbeing of an occupant. It will result in better performance, fewer health issues and higher motivation.
Carbon Neutral Buildings –
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By incorporating sun shading, we can control the inside temperature and avoid glare
In my opinion, a total shift is not possible at the moment. The impact today of building this way is still too significant from a short term economic perspective. Meaning, as a building promotor, it is still more profitable to construct buildings that just comply with the building regulations. However, I see a shift in mentality on all levels in the building industry: from designers and architects to building promoters. More and more people are convinced that we need to start building a circular building economy. So I’m convinced that in the next years, a lot of people in the building industry will begin to look at their contribution to the current waste pile and reinvent themselves to make the circular building more attractive.
The Need for Modular Constructions & Adaptive Reuse
Repurposing of buildings is okay as long as the cost and impact on making that building comply with current regulations do not exceed the cost of demolishing it and constructing something new. On a product level, it is essential that we design our products to make repurposing or service afterward as simple as possible. In fact, it should be mandatory that each product is up to 80% serviceable. It is crazy that it is cheaper to buy a new product in many cases rather than fixing the old one. Our whole economy and design process are focussed on the ‘new’. This is a mentality that needs to change.
Rudiments for Energy Performance of a Building
One of the elements is, of course, the performance of the products. The better is the insulation, the better is the energy performance of a building. When it comes to circular building and regenerating recourses, you can see that a lot of the window manufacturers are setting up recycling programs and are thinking about how much impact their product has on the waste pile. We can develop smarter façades so that we can increase its performance but also limit its effect on the environment. Why not incorporate solar cells in each façade so that the building skin can act as an energy supplier? The façade design has enormous opportunities for creating a positive impact.
Area Sales Manager - India
Makarand Kendre represents Renson as the area sales manager for India. Renson is a Belgium-based family business that is increasingly widening its horizons internationally. Also in India, Renson is intensifying its ambition to be a global player in the fields of ventilation, sun protection and outdoor concepts and that is how Makarand Kendre got involved in the Renson family for over three years now. For this dynamic trendsetter in ventilation, sun protection and outdoor solutions, devising healthy and comfortable living and working environment underpin everything they do. For more information on the company, visit www.renson.eu