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Design Trends Presentation Focuses Largely on Sustainability

John PetersonJohn Peterson, director of sustainable design and building innovation for MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects delivered a presentation, "Inspired Design Trends for Commercial and Residential Construction," at the Fenestration and Glazing Industry Alliance Virtual Annual Conference last week. 

Peterson began by discussing the ways in which the coronavirus pandemic has affected nearly everything, including building design. "The obvious focus is now on indoor air quality," he said. "This allows us to rethink ventilation entirely in our buildings, bringing in more fresh air and having more operable windows." Peterson explained that his company is seeing more and more high-rise natural ventilation needs, which means looking at more complex automation systems, hinges and closing mechanisms, and airlocks that ensure air leakage is controlled as much as possible. "Designers are moving more toward operable components," he said.

He also brought up the concept of "enhancing biophilia" or embracing the therapeutic effects of nature, including visual connection with nature, dynamic and diffused light and place-based relationships. "This means selective coatings, allowing for the highest degree of light to solar gain," he said.

Passive House Principles, or Passivhaus, is a voluntary program for energy efficiency in building. It focuses on "super insulation," as well as ensuring buildings have as much heat recovery and are as airtight a space as possible. "Passivhaus is about minimizing the demand on heating and cooling," said Peterson.

Another up-and-coming trend is vacuum insulating glazing, an insulating glass unit with a 0.1 to 0.3 mm vacuum gap between thin glass panes instead of air or inert gas. "This innovation has made for incredible performance gains," he said.

Other trends in design include jumbo vision glass, jumbo operables, big glass and curved glass. Peterson also cited the use of many fluid forms of glass in homes. "It's interesting to see the ability of the glass industry to make these large, curved glass IGUs and their framing systems," said Peterson. "It's making our lives as designers easier."