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Making Buildings Safer
Most of us spend a good amount of time in buildings, whether at home or work. Every year new innovations are developed for protecting both people and the environment. Read on for updates on what’s possible for making your residential or commercial building as safe and healthy as possible.
Good lighting is important for making stairs, doorways, ramps, and any dark corners safer to navigate. The same is true for any area that is frequently wet, such as the area around a fountain where water splashes. Consider installing motion-activated lights outside your front entryway, so you can see who is at the door. You might choose to put light-activated sensors on your outdoor lighting so that it comes on when daylight fades. If you use a security camera, make sure there will be enough light for any intruder to be photographed. LED lights are supposed to be best for this purpose as they are energy efficient, and do not flicker. Special applications have been developed for parking garages, which actually bend light rays to create low glare lighting, while still covering large areas. These safety precautions are ideal for use as parking structure lights in your business have one.
Green construction in commercial and residential structures builds in an environmentally friendly and efficient way. Popular technologies include geothermal and solar power, green insulation, cool roofs, and smart appliances. Some companies are using “carbon-eating” cement, which is made stronger by the addition of waste carbon dioxide. Concrete, a very popular building material, naturally absorbs carbon dioxide from the air once it is installed, but the process takes years. New recipes for concrete that absorb up to twice as much carbon dioxide are currently being developed, which could help to make new buildings more environmentally friendly in an active way.
Smart locks and appliances
Many structures now have smart locks that can be activated by the user’s cell phone, if wifi is available. The door to one’s home can be locked or unlocked from a remote location. And doors to commercial buildings can be automatically unlocked or locked at certain times to permit or prevent entry. Smart appliances allow owners to monitor and control them via wifi, from a distance. For example, if you’re out of town on vacation, you might choose to turn off or turn down the settings on the HVAC in your home. If the system is wired for connectivity, you can turn it back to your normal settings a few hours before you return home.
Low tech can also be useful
Many structures are now being built to take advantage of passive solar heating. Window placement and orientation can either increase or reduce the amount of heat from the sun that a structure takes in. Roof overhangs provide shade, and cross ventilation with strategically placed windows can help to keep a building cool. Thermal mass, or building materials that absorb heat from the sun can transfer it into the house where it can be distributed by fans. The same materials can also absorb heat from inside the house in hotter climates, and transfer it to outside the structure. The orientation of the structure on the landscape can make a significant difference in how easy it will be cooled and heated.
Whether you’re building a new home, a commercial structure, or doing renovations, there are lots of recent innovations that can help to make the place safer and more environmentally friendly. We all want to feel comfortable and safe wherever we are indoors, and taking steps to improve the lighting, ventilation, security, air quality and convenience of our surroundings can be a good investment of time and money.