I asked Lucas Hamilton, Manager, Building Science Applications for CertainTeed Corporation:
What is the most critical design element that Architects need to be aware of going forward in the built environment?
There are challenges in the new environment due to changes in the building codes but the most critical is indoor air quality – both with regard to building air tightness requirements and materials development.
This could be offset or decreased in importance if product transparency actually drives clear and better materials over time.
All that product transparency is showing us right now is just how bad the things we are using really are. But that’s a starting point. When we start looking at the transparency documents that are available in the market today, we realize that the things we are using are emitting a lot of materials and are not what we would start with in an ideal world.
One thing that transparency does drive is organic improvement in our building materials to be healthier for us. But until that occurs, we have to take the information available to us which is so much more than we’ve ever had before and begin to address the issues.
The challenge has clearly been put before us. Until materials improve, we have to pay very close attention to the materials we are currently using and how they work into our indoor air quality goals because the benefit of haphazard or uncontrolled natural ventilation has been removed from our future.