Here's What's On the Horizon in Sustainable Construction

by Jennifer Ellis  on Monday, Jul. 23, 2012 12:00 am  

  • Biomimicry design: Be on the lookout for more architectural and engineering designs that mimic nature. Many of the systems found in nature are highly efficient, and more and more people are looking to nature for innovative commercial applications. A 2010 study of biomimicry commissioned by the San Diego Zoo estimates that by 2025 it will account for 10 percent of industry sales in the architectural, engineering and related services.
  • Electrochromic glass: Using very low levels of electricity, electrochromic glass can be darkened with the flip of a switch or through an automated system. Sage, a Faribault, Minn., company that manufactures the glass, claims on its website that the glass can shrink a building's HVAC requirements by 25 percent and lighting costs by up to 60 percent.
  • Photovoltaic glass: Solar cells integrated directly into a traditional looking windowpane replace the need for unsightly rows of solar panels with the emergence of photovoltaic glass. An international company called Onyx Solar is winning accolades for its cutting-edge work with this new product.

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