Improving Buildings at Macro and Micro Levels

If you’re a frequent airline traveler and are convinced flying has been worsening, there are numbers to prove you’re right. Daytona Beach, Fla.-based Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University released a report in April about 2014 airline travel. The report found only 76.2 percent of flights arrived on time; lost, stolen or delayed luggage rose 13 percent; overbooking, which bumps passengers to another flight, increased 3 percent; and consumer complaints to the government about airlines climbed 22 percent. The report’s authors, who gleaned information airlines sent to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, D.C., paint a bleak picture of air travel.

However, if you’ve been stuck in an airport lately, you’ve probably noticed many terminals have evolved beyond a simple loading zone. Airport authorities around the country increasingly understand the importance of design to keep passengers comfortable, relaxed and entertained. Consider this issue’s cover story about Raleigh-Durham International Airport’s Terminal 1 redesign. The Airport Authority challenged the Raleigh, N.C., office of Clark Nexsen to reimagine what had been known as the “blue box” to improve the passenger experience. Jeffrey S. Lee, FAIA, architect on the project, explains how the design team took advantage of the building’s existing interior volume and created a grand daylit hall on the landside while adding new cladding and curtainwall to the airside to establish expansive views of the airfield. Lee and his colleagues thoughtfully specified durable, yet beautiful, interior materials and partnered with a Public Arts Program to showcase the works of local artists, bringing community flair to the terminal.

As you’ll see in the transportation projects that follow the cover story, energy efficiency remains a major endeavor of all transportation-building types. Consequently, more building owners and facility managers are seeking ways in which to monitor and control their buildings more easily. In “Trend Alert”, Robert Nieminen, retrofit’s contributing editor, spoke to several industry experts from the InsideIQ Building Automation Alliance, an international association of independent building-automation contractors, to learn what the future holds for wireless and mobile building automation controls. Apps and software for advanced Building Automation Systems follow.

The city of Burlington, Vt.—population approximately 42,000—is thinking beyond individual buildings and taking steps to become one of the most energy-efficient and -conscious cities in America. In September 2014, city representatives announced Burlington was sourcing 100 percent of its energy needs from renewable power, including hydro, solar, wind and biomass. For “Energy”, I interviewed Neale F. Lunderville, Burlington Electric Department’s general manager, about the city’s 10-year effort to achieve this goal, its advanced distribution network and its lofty plans for the future.

To reduce exorbitant energy consumption by buildings, 13 cities, two states and one county have mandated energy reporting and disclosure, also known as benchmarking. However, according to retrofit Editorial Advisory Board Member Nathan Gillette, AIA, LEED AP O+M, CEM, challenges with tools and reporting consistency have been uncovered. Gillette explains how these challenges should be looked upon as opportunities to provide better benchmarking tools and training in his “Business” article.

Whether you’re improving buildings on a large or small scale, this issue should provide plenty of inspiration. And if you’re traveling to the buildings you plan to retrofit, I hope you’re at least able to experience a comfortable and beautiful terminal, like RDU Terminal 1.

About the Author

Christina A. Koch
Christina A. Koch is editorial director and associate publisher of retrofit.

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