Privacy and Protection: Using Motorized Retractable Screens to Blend Indoor and Outdoor Living Spaces

The move toward healthy homes & buildings has pushed design professionals to blend indoor/outdoor spaces and increase the number and size of exterior openings. As the trends for outdoor living continue to be a top consideration for homeowners, motorized retractable screen specification provides an option for building professionals to help clients maximize their livable space while managing daylight, solar heat gain, and ventilation.

These screens benefit occupancy wellness by providing excellent thermal benefits, airflow, and the ability to control humidity. This course will provide an overview of motorized retractable screens, discussing the design and installation requirements, the different applications where these screens can be used, as well as the thermal benefits of using solar mesh and clear vinyl options.

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Specifying Automatic Pedestrian Entryways that Support Universal Design and Exceed ADA Standards (Print Course)

Architects and designers continue to adopt and share strategies to boost universal design for doorways and entrances. Rather than aiming for minimum compliance, which is enforced by codes and ADA, these savvy building professionals are thinking about universal design and user preferences, and differentiating their buildings by leveraging appropriate technologies.

The keys to success include: *Choosing and designing appropriate entries, openings and doors for people with varied abilities. *Applying those door systems to meet and exceed all ADA requirements for entries in buildings of certain sizes. *All while complying with published building codes and standards.

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Net Zero Energy Building Design in High Density Urban Cities

Net Zero Energy solutions suitable for urban settings will be increasingly important but there are unique policy and technical challenges to implementing these solutions in large urban buildings in hot and humid climate. Addressing these concerns could open up the possibility of achieving Positive Energy Low Rise, Zero Energy Medium Rise and Super Low Energy High Rise Buildings in the near future.

How do we overcome limited site and roof spaces for renewable energy in urban cities? How do we drive passive design for free cooling in high density environment? How do we reduce the consumption level of plug loads leveraging off the IoT? How do we use the advanced modelling approach to create designs that can achieve Net Zero Energy and then manage the delivery process so that Net Zero Energy performance? How do we move from demonstration phase projects to successful solutions for all buildings?

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Uncovering a Building’s Heartbeat Sensormatically

While energy use is a key component in building management, it is important that resource use not overshadow a building's purpose: to provide an adequate (or even enhanced) space for humans or machines to operate. Managing this interdependency between comfort and energy is not easy, but it's essential for high performance spaces as changing occupant comfort demands can consume significant amounts of energy. While optimizing each in isolation is simpler, the results could lead to less than ideal outcomes.

As managers seek to optimize both energy use and comfort, well-placed sensors and data collection systems can provide objective, useful, and actionable information. Building energy meters separated by panel, circuit, or receptacle are useful in determining, where, when, and how energy is being used. Comfort can be divided into visual, thermal, acoustic, and air quality categories. Sensors are able to measure each category in order to determine which aspects of comfort might be insufficient. Ultimately, the sensor data can be analyzed to establish linkages and tradeoffs and can lead to solutions that optimize both factors. Four different projects are presented to demonstrate how energy and comfort can be balanced at a building, campus, and program level.

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Designing Building Spaces that Integrate Building Design and the Outdoors with Oversized Fenestration Products (Print Course)

Finding ways to bring the outdoors inside is a modern building design trend that continues to influence the specification process. Consumers’ desire to blend nature with the built environment incorporates a desire to increase the amount of natural lighting and nature inside the home or commercial space.

Research continues to evolve demonstrating the need for nature to be incorporated in the built environment, not simply as a luxury, but as an investment in health and productivity. Mounting pressure for building and design professionals to not only meet LEED standards and current codes, but exceed them, continues to leverage the need for sustainability, green building manufacturing, and products that address the needs and wants of the consumer.

Up until recently, it can be said that only luxury markets could afford the type of oversized windows and doors that permit the most amount of sunlight due to intricate design, complicated installation, and maintenance of oversized windows and doors. However, new products on the market are making this design and lifestyle trend more accessible and with more choices than ever.

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Designing Restrooms for Sustainable Operation (Print Course)

Designing restrooms for sustainable operation requires unique strategies beyond those typically associated with green building. This course does not discuss the details of LEED certification or environmentally responsible materials and related documentation. Instead, the focus of this course will be to educate architects and designers on operational approaches that encourage sustainable restroom project design.

Thoughtful product specification considers energy costs, battery usage, waste, and usage of consumables that in turn allow the architect or designer the opportunity to educate the client on the benefits and incentives that sustainable design creates for both building owners and occupants. While architects and building designers who specify sustainable design products must take into consideration the economical investment necessary from the client, specifying for sustainable operation allows a restroom to operate both sustainably and cost-effectively while retaining the architect’s aesthetic vision.

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RMI's Innovation Center: First-Year Lessons Learned

The Rocky Mountain Institute’s (RMI) Innovation Center illustrates the potential of achieving net-positive-energy performance in a replicable manner, serving as a demonstration project for the design and construction industry. Its first year of operation has offered many lessons around technological incorporation, financial replicability and incentivizing an integrated design process.


With four decades of leadership and advocacy for hyper-efficient buildings and economies, RMI is the ultimate client and occupant for such an innovative project. First-hand staff video interviews will address design process, system integration, performance and occupant satisfaction. RMI researchers guide attendees through the building with interactive video technology, providing commentary to frame the experience. Observations will be contextualized by members of the architecture and engineering team, translating lessons that can—and should—be applied to the next generation of high-performance buildings.

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Understanding Wood – How Next-Generation Designers and Artists Impact the Global Forest Ecosystem (Print Course)

Social responsibility should be at the forefront of every designer’s practice, as their designs impact raw material use, land development, and the health, safety, and welfare of building occupants.

This course will discuss one natural resource that is facing a significant threat from exploitation and development: the global forest ecosystem.

We will discuss how building product manufacturers can offer material alternatives that do not further dwindle the world’s endangered wood species. We will also dive deep into a collaborative project between an engineered surfaces company, Interlochen Arts Academy, and visiting artists to return a pine plantation forest to its native state while studying ecology, creating art, and educating a future generation of artists.

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Redefining Sustainable Design: The New AIA COTE Measures

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on the Environment (COTE) is the oldest U.S. program dedicated to sustainable design. In 1997, COTE introduced its annual Top Ten Awards, “the profession's best known recognition program for sustainable design excellence” (AIA), to celebrate exemplary projects and give the industry guidance on how to integrate green building principles. In 2015, to mark its 25th anniversary, COTE embarked on a landmark research initiative to study the first two decades of Top Ten, published in 2016 as Lessons from the Leading Edge. Part of the research was to revisit the program’s criteria of evaluation, known as the COTE Measures of Sustainable Design. The result of this effort was to overhaul the program with a completely new set of principles and metrics. The 2017 Top Ten Awards are the first year to use new criteria such as economic impact and more robust metrics for health and resilience. In this presentation, three members of the COTE Advisory Group will present the new criteria and engage the audience in a lively discussion about what defines sustainable design.

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Propane Tankless Water Heating in Commercial Building Applications, Efficiency and Performance Benefits

Water heating is a major energy end-use in commercial buildings and is very significant in certain commercial building types. Many commercial building owners and operators have a critical need for water heating systems which are reliable, able to meet varying levels of demand, energy efficient, and able to fit within a building’s space constraints in order to maintain their business operations. Propane tankless water heaters are a flexible, energy-efficient technology which provides these attributes in many commercial applications.

This course will explore how commercial buildings use energy and the potential application of propane tankless systems to provide a solution for water heating needs.

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