Products and technologies to watch in 2022

courtesy Panelite
ClearShade Panels at IIT McCormick Tribune Campus Center

The new year gives hope that the coronavirus pandemic will turn into a much less threatening endemic. Over the past two years, we have seen technology advance rapidly in response to COVID-19, sometimes in surprising ways. The fact that we are now living in a design experiment influenced by a pandemic is palpable: research is conducted on the fly, assumptions are quickly formulated and changed, and successes that emerge are immediately adopted. It is a period of great acceleration of change in architecture and related fields. New products and practices are emerging at unprecedented speeds; meanwhile, others quickly become obsolete. Here are some of the building products and technologies, from antimicrobial paint to UVC light innovations, to watch for in 2022 and beyond.

The fact that we are now living in a design experiment influenced by a pandemic is palpable: research is conducted on the fly, assumptions are quickly formulated and changed, and successes that emerge are immediately adopted.

Once the SARS-CoV-2 virus takes hold in the air, it remains viable on many surfaces. Antimicrobial disinfectant cleaners and surface treatments are commonly used to kill pathogens. However, these products pose at least two problems. One is that strong chemicals such as quaternary ammonium chlorides can be harmful to human health, irritating to eyes and skin. Another is that these antimicrobial agents have been linked to antimicrobial resistance, resulting in illness and prolonged hospital stays. New York-based Alistagen Corporation is making a antimicrobial paint based on calcium hydroxide, or lime, which does not present these challenges. Called Caliwel BNA (bi-neutralizing agent), the paint incorporates micro-encapsulated lime which disintegrates viruses, bacteria and molds. Alistagen also offers a coating for HVAC systems. In an interview with CEO Bryan Glynson, he said that if this lime-based paint was applied to most architectural interior surfaces, the overall viability of the pandemic would be reduced, without causing antimicrobial resistance or health problems. human.

Ultraviolet light (UVC) is another tool to decrease the viability of SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses. UVC lighting has been used as a germicide to reduce the presence of tuberculosis and other diseases. Unfortunately, UVC light is also known to cause skin and eye problems, so disinfection has been limited to times when spaces are unoccupied. Recent advances, however, in UVC light safe for humans have resulted in devices that can be used in populated areas. Studio Roosegaarde, based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, has developed a street light that uses this technology for public spaces. Name it “Urban Sun“, the design company calls the product” the world’s first artificial sun to sanitize public spaces from coronavirus, “saying it uses safer 222 nanometer far UVC light. The pendant luminaire projects a ring of light shining brightly. ‘approximately 50 feet in diameter, creating a visually recognizable germicidal zone that is safe for humans and pets.

As UVC light proliferates rapidly, it is essential to monitor light sources for potential effects on human health. While 222 nanometer light is safe, other wavelengths, such as the more typical 254 nm used for disinfection, remain problematic. Lights using these wavelengths will also be common in cleaning HVAC ducts. Therefore, it is still necessary to take into account the United States FDA notice that “UVC lamps used for disinfection purposes may present potential health and safety risks depending on UVC wavelength, dose and duration of radiation exposure”.

San Diego-based power monitoring and sensor company L&M Instruments offers UVC detection technology to monitor these aspects of lighting. Of the society Apollo UV The sensor provides dose monitoring for occupied spaces as well as duct systems. Apollo sensors require minimal power, are easy to place, and provide continuous, real-time indication of UVC spectral range, power, and duration.

New technologies are also being developed for the observation of construction. Zepth is a project management platform from Middletown, Del., Providing digital monitoring capabilities to design teams. The company offers a service called Zepth360 ° to allow continuous assessment of construction progress. In addition to providing fixed camera feeds, the service also works with robots. Zepth has partnered with Boston Dynamics to provide real-time surveillance via the iconic Spot robot. According to a press release from Zepth, “Spot’s autonomous and field independent capabilities support the dynamic nature of the construction site and enable a standardized and accurate data collection process. A design team can program a predetermined route for the robot to repeatedly and consistently capture data, allowing image comparison to confirm progress over time. Zepth360 ° is further enhanced with Spot’s ability to overcome difficult obstacles, hard-to-reach places and areas dangerous to humans.

Regarding aspects of space occupation, the quality of the indoor environment has received increased attention with the coronavirus pandemic. Many people continue to work remotely from home environments that offer better access to daylight than many traditional offices. Today, a significant percentage of the American workforce reluctant to return to the office full time. Business executives and building owners recognize that employee expectations have increased for interior environmental qualities such as the availability of natural daylight. Los Angeles-based Panelite, a manufacturer of light-transmitting honeycomb composite panels, has recently seen increasing demand for its ClearShade insulating glazing. The company caused a stir with the first use of ClearShade IGU at the McCormick Tribune Campus Center at the Illinois Institute of Technology, designed by OMA, for the panel’s new aesthetic qualities. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, however, customers have increasingly been drawn to the product for its ability to maximize daylight while minimizing glare and solar heat gain.

McCormick Tribune Campus Center interior ClearShade panels
courtesy Panelite
McCormick Tribune Campus Center interior ClearShade panels

“What we are seeing more of is the desire to amplify the light of day and the well-being of users in general”, declares Emmanuelle Bourlier, founder of Panelite. The internal honeycomb works like a collection of micro parasols and light shelves, spreading light deeper into a space while filtering out less desirable aspects of sunlight. The result is brighter interiors that deliver the benefits of circadian light to occupants, without the need for shades or shades to reduce glare. As evidenced by customer interest, this type of innovative facade technology could play a measurable role in improving the overall quality of indoor environments and making the office a welcoming destination again.

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