To this point, the latest McGraw-Hill Construction report on new and remodeled green homes found that energy-efficient appliances are some of the first things homebuyers look for in a new house — second only to having enough square footage to live comfortably. This was true for both millennials and baby boomers — two generations poised to purchase homes in great numbers.
Why do homebuyers look for energy-efficient appliances? To save on monthly costs and anything related to maintenance. It’s common knowledge that HVAC systems account for a significant portion of monthly energy costs, so many homebuyers think of these systems first. In the latest study by the National Association of Realtors, homebuyers were asked to rank which features are most important to them in their new house. Respondents said HVAC systems were the number one essential feature when it comes to environment.
It’s no surprise the appetite for energy-efficient appliances and the concern over HVAC energy costs has resulted in strong and ever-increasing consumer demand for energy-efficient HVAC. Countless studies and surveys are concluding this very same thing — some looking at demand, others at supply. One example is Navigant Research’s recent report showing that annual revenue from energy-efficient HVAC systems will almost double in the next 15 years, growing to $33.2 billion by 2020.
For builders, the focus on energy-efficient appliances — and energy-efficient HVAC in particular — is an incredible opportunity. If homebuyers are looking for appliances from trusted, well-known brands, builders can feature these products. If buyers are searching out green-certified homes, builders can embark on green projects. This seems to be a time of “if you build it, they will come.” And, even more so, “if you build it energy-efficient, they will buy.”
If you want to learn more about why homebuyers want efficient products in their homes, check out our Builder newsletter.
If you want to learn more about remote facility management, check out our Facility Management newsletter.
As a society, we are increasingly demanding sustainability in all facets of life. The effect on the building industry has been staggering. Owners and managers of commercial buildings have quickly learned that going green can save on operating costs and can attract more, higher-paying tenants. As the U.S. Green Building Council recently learned, the result has been a dramatic increase in demand for green facilities.
Some of that demand is being met by new, high-performance buildings. To fully meet the mandate, however, the industry will need to take on a significant number of green commercial retrofit projects. The good news: The U.S. Energy Information Agency’s recent Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey found that about half of America’s commercial buildings were built before 1980 – creating a wealth of buildings just waiting to get the green treatment.
The scope of each commercial retrofit will include meeting tenant requirements for features like rooftop gardens, recycling and composting programs, and green transportation options. The list of mechanical systems that engineers will be asked to update isn’t unexpected. It includes:
For all of these systems, the question will be what technology or product can help a project meet its client’s needs and budget, as well as today’s building codes. A frequent answer: super-efficient, state-of-the-art technologies – the same ones that were once considered “alternative.”
If you want to learn more about green retrofits, check out our Engineer newsletter.
3D printing has truly arrived. We’ve already seen the medical industry’s revolution begin with affordable prosthetics, and we are on the verge of printing functional human body parts. Indeed, 3D printing has already begun influencing almost every industry – automotive, entertainment, wearables, even the funeral industry.
The building industry is no exception. At first, individual building components were 3D printed – screws, planks, walls. Now, we’re seeing entire buildings. Recently, Dubai made the world’s first 3D-printed office building – including furnishings and interior design!
It’s not hard to understand the appeal. The Dubai office building took just 19 days to print and install. The total cost was $140,000 – half the cost of traditional building. Incredible, almost unbelievable stories like this are cropping up all over, for example one about a Chinese company 3D printing 10, single-story homes in under 24 hours.
For individual consumers, it’s an exciting time. For professionals in the building industry, it may also be an anxious time. We don’t yet know how the industry will be affected since 3D printing is really in its infancy despite some remarkable success stories. How will 3D printing affect manufacturing? Labor? Design? Some of these questions will be answered in the immediate future, but some won’t get answered for quite some time.
When it comes to our business, it will be a while before customers are asking for 3D-printed HVAC units. When they do, though, it could be with good reason. Here are some possibilities to look forward to:
We’re not 3D printing our products just yet – don’t get too excited – but our very own Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories (MERL) is doing cutting-edge research on 5D printing, keeping Mitsubishi Electric at the front of the pack during this amazing period of technological advancement.
College campuses are trending, and not just with restaurant-quality dining or extra-curricular activities; they’re attracting high school graduates with student housing – specifically with “live and learn” residential communities. Building Design + Construction magazine reported on these newly developed accommodations that are practical and productive for students. A lot sounded familiar to the conversations we have surrounding the importance of smart HVAC solutions:
To learn more about how HVAC can benefit the design and construction of student housing, check out these case studies featuring our products: The Suites on Paseo and Montserrat College of Art, Residential Village.
Healthcare Facilities Management magazine recently reported the success of some HVAC systems in health and wellness facilities. With stringent indoor air quality requirements, these facilities need systems that condition outside air, monitor and control humidity, filter air and provide ample ventilation. The article reported that beyond these measurable requirements, facility managers also want sustainable and energy-efficient systems. It also recognized a few manufacturers – including us – as meeting these needs.
Specifically, our latest Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) innovation, CITY MULTI® L-Generation Air-source technology, was recognized for its improvements in efficiency and its ability to maximize heat transfer. In regard to facility management, the magazine celebrated our Diamond Controls™ Solutions for its assistance in helping managers modify zone temperatures and observe building conditions, such as occupancy, CO2 levels, energy usage and humidity levels.
To learn more about how our VRF performs in health and wellness facilities, check out these case studies: Choctaw General Hospital and Grand Lake Mental Health Center.
Last month, we gathered with construction industry professionals as an exhibitor at the 2016 Southeast Building Conference (SEBC). The two-day event, set at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Kissimmee, Florida, attracted builders, developers, architects and contractors, as well as regional and international distributors.
This year’s sold-out show saw a 20 percent increase in residential and commercial construction exhibitors from 2015. The 60+ hours of professional development available covered topics from design trends and innovative building technology to marketing developments. Representatives from Consumer Reports, the Wall Street Journal and Houzz formed the impressive lineup of keynote speakers.
In addition to all of the educational and networking opportunities, the Beach Bash definitely helped SEBC live up to its mission, “building in paradise.” As the largest (and fastest growing) building industry tradeshow in the southeast United States, we can’t wait to see what is in store for #SEBCville 2017.