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Published by: Filbert Daisy Katherine on Jun 26, 2012
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Technology Interface Journal/Winter Special Issue 2009 Tango
selected paper from the Proceedings of the IAJC-IJME 2008 Conference
Volume 10 No. 2 ISSN# 1523-9926
Technology Integration into ArchitectureBuilding Systems
byRobert W. Tango, AIA, LEED APSouthern Polytechnic State Universityrtango@spsu.edu
Sustainable and green technologies in the building industry are in a state of explosivedevelopment. As these technologies move toward practical application and production, the need arises forcritical examination of their infusion into the present system. As architects and engineers, we are in dangerof creating a rash of future structures with “green warts” attached to them, all in the name of efficiency.How do we build a bridge of cooperation and collaboration between the various engineering fields toentrepreneur products that accomplish both engineering goals and aesthetic integration into buildingsystems? As architects, the foundational strategy in building design is to first identify the vast array of requirements, then unite them to form multifunctional objects—namely buildings that heat, cool, protect,breathe, comfort, and satisfy within a capsule of safety for its human occupants. Ultimately, all newtechnology developments should exist to provide better living and working conditions for the people thatuse them. How do we humanize these building solutions so we do not feel like we are walking into amachine, but into a well-designed space appealing to all of our human senses? If the objective is to wear awristwatch, the location, size, function, ease of operation, and aesthetics of that timepiece all can and shouldcome into play. It follows that we should critically examine adding technology to our buildings in the sameway. What may have been engineered initially as a single function element might now be combined withother aspects of the building to address multiple goals. One example of this might be a solar collector on abuilding, which would be engineered to serve multiple purposes such as a sunshade, light shelf, watercollector, or wind diverter.
After reviewing historical precedent, this paper will first explore two energy saving green strategies of green roofs and solar collection as examples to reveal the importance of collaboration of architecturaland engineering technologies. Secondly, we will explore how educators can instill a mindset of systemsintegration into the current generation of student and industry thinking. Sample student projectsdemonstrating these concepts will be presented.
I. Introduction: The Greening of America
’s 2006 cover story, “The Greening of America,” highlighted the quiet revolution going onthroughout the United States, as we struggle to move away from excessive dependence on importedenergy and deal with the emerging and increasingly demonstrated issues of global warming [1].
cover story on July 26, 2006 was about green buildings in Portland, Oregon.
 Harvard Business
Technology Interface Journal/Winter Special Issue 2009 Tango
selected paper from the Proceedings of the IAJC-IJME 2008 Conference
Volume 10 No. 2 ISSN# 1523-9926
in June 2006 featured Charles Lockwood’s new book,
 Building the Green Way
. Prize winning
 New York Times
columnist Thomas L. Friedman says, “Green technology is going to be the industry of the 21st century…green is the new red, white, and blue” (
Urban Land 
, 2006). Other eco-friendlyindicators are in the air. The public reception to Al Gore’s
 An Inconvenient Truth
, has been nearly allpositive. The huge growth in hybrid vehicle sales, the continuing 15 to 20 percent annual growth inorganic food sales and many other indicators demonstrate a paradigm shift well underway [2].With the stage set, the direction for the 21st century is clear for the architectural community.Historically, architecture has always sought to be an expression of the culture and beliefs of a society.What makes today’s green movement so potent is the combination of public awareness of globalenvironmental issues and energy issues coupled with the successful growth in the green economy. Greenis also the color of money in America. Wall Street has seen a rise in investment offerings centered onenergy savings and alternative energy production. In 2008, $21.2 billion of all new nonresidentialconstruction will employ the use of green building principles [3]. Hundreds of new energy savingproducts are crowding the marketplace in an attempt to ride the green bandwagon, promising to saveyou money. As a result, most building industry products have merely remarketed themselves as “goinggreen.”Architects and engineers are well positioned to have the strongest influence on the direction of energyconservation in the building industry but must never lose sight of the fact that buildings are designed forpeople and should be designed for their comfort, not just to meet energy requirements. Granted, it isdifficult to deny the insulation value of the walls of a walk-in commercial freezer, but few people wouldwant their office space located there. Architects know too well that people experience well-designedspace not only physically but also emotionally and intellectually.Analogous to our present culture where obesity is a burgeoning concern, we must recognize the fact thatthe majority of our buildings are obese from consuming massive amounts of energy (see Figure 1 andFigure 2).
Figure 1: U.S. Energy Power Figure 2: U.S. CO
Figure 3:Consumption by Sector [4] Emissions by Sector Plant [4] Generated Electricity [4]
Technology Interface Journal/Winter Special Issue 2009 Tango
selected paper from the Proceedings of the IAJC-IJME 2008 Conference
Volume 10 No. 2 ISSN# 1523-9926
Buildings account for half of all greenhouse gas emissions and are on a trajectory of continual increase.Seventy-six percent of all power plant generated electricity is used to operate buildings (see Figure 3).In the past, engineers would take pride in providing HVAC designs that could maintain human comfortwithin a building skin of glass on a west wall in Houston, Texas, at 3 p.m. in the summer. There is littleintrinsic value in a high efficiency air handling system to a building only to mask its basic design flawof excessive western façade glazing. We can no longer afford to operate with this mindset. Ourbuildings must do the equivalent of getting on the energy efficient treadmill. To use an automobileanalogy, we must create Lexus style and performance buildings with Prius efficient engines. Architectsknow firsthand that most buildings can be designed to operate with far less energy consumption than theaverage U.S. building does, at little or no additional upfront cost. This is accomplished through propersite planning, building geometry, glazing properties and location, material selection, and byincorporating natural heating, cooling, ventilation, and daylighting strategies [4]. Many buildingperformance improvements can occur with little, if any, visual impact; some examples include watersaving fixtures, efficient air handling systems, high performance glazing, energy efficient lighting, andbetter overall insulation. Paul Hawken in his book,
The Ecology of Commerce,
states that double-glazingand ceiling insulation could be looked at as the most benign new energy sources. Effective installationof these materials in all our buildings would save more oil than what could be extracted from the ArcticNational Wildlife Refuge at its most optimistic projections. Even more amazing is the fact this could beaccomplished at approximately one-twentieth of the cost [5].Buildings for the last 30 years have concentrated on the expression of form. Unnoticed by most of thepublic were many examples of structures driven by energy efficiency. If we go back 100 years, mostarchitecture was climate sensitive and energy efficient by virtue of the fact that widespread inexpensiveenergy sources were limited. I think the world markets have clearly indicated that the days of $40 abarrel of oil are over, and now we must devise ways to deal with the reality of $140 (or higher)petroleum.HOK, a leading architecture firm in sustainable design (www.HOK.com), has persuasively made thecase that the old decision model and the balance between cost, time, and quality is no longer valid (seeFigure 4). The new decision model is now five points, with the addition of Human Health and EarthHealth (Ecology), as shown in Figure 5 [6].
Figure 4: Old Decision Model Figure 5: New Decision Model

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