Trend analysis with ARUP about the future of façades post COVID-19: Natural ventilation and night cooling

Trend analysis with ARUP about the future of façades post COVID-19: Natural ventilation and night cooling

With COVID-19, we are in a time of rapid change. It is more important than ever to understand which trends will shape the building industry in the coming years. Together with Arup, we examined how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect the façade industry and the development of new products and services. Arup is an independent firm of designers, planners, engineers, architects, consultants, and technical specialists working across every aspect of today’s built environment. Our process involved a series of workshops with Arup experts from various fields: building envelopes, materials, sustainability, building physics, acoustics, and building services. Additionally, there were around 30 expert interviews with key industry representatives along the entire value chain.

Façade trends after COVID-19: Ventilation

With people spending between 60 to 90 percent of their time indoors, ventilation and cooling both play an essential role in safeguarding health and wellbeing. The current pandemic only intensifies this trend. Given the growing need for background ventilation, natural ventilation devices integrated within the opening elements of building facades that address the energy efficiency and acoustics requirements have considerable market potential in the post-corona economy. Reynaers Aluminium already paved the way with some newly developed products, like our sound-reducing MasterLine SoftTone window or our opening elements for façade solutions. You can read more about the findings on natural ventilation in Arup’s whitepaper.

Ventilation was already a popular topic in construction before the COVID-19 crisis struck. The pandemic only increased this trend and stimulated architects and engineers to search for better and alternative ways to create a healthy environment in residential, office, and public spaces. The introduction of opening elements for curtain walls gives all stakeholders in the construction industry the means to meet that goal. By expanding the range of opening elements in curtain wall systems, we can offer a solution for natural ventilation in almost all situations. Improving the thermal and other performances creates consistency of the possibilities throughout our systems and strengthens our curtain wall portfolio. The design drivers of this product release are aesthetics, performance, and reliability. Discover more about our façade opening types on our website.

Reynaers Aluminium’s Masterline SoftTone window

Reynaers Aluminium launched a new variant of its MasterLine window series, which has been developed particularly as a noise-reducing solution. It enables architects to appease aspiring city-living residents to still be able to open a window and create a fresh indoor living experience. SoftTone® is the result of the partnership between Arup – who developed SAFE (sound attenuating façade element) technology – and Reynaers Aluminium. The result is a sustainable architectural solution for natural cooling and ventilation in urban environments. Parallel opening window units allow maximal ventilation and cooling; meanwhile, the SoftTone® components inside the window filter out the noise. This results in a fresh, healthy, and relaxing working and living experience – even in the middle of a vibrant city. Discover more about MasterLine SoftTone here.

Façade trends after COVID-19: Cooling

The cooling requirements of buildings more than tripled between 1990 and 2018. A significant proportion of the energy consumption is used to cool office buildings. Passive and bioclimatic solutions not only reduce cooling loads but also the need for mechanical systems and, therefore, contribute to the robustness of building technology. Night cooling uses the thermal storage masses of the primary structure, such as ceilings and walls, as a buffer to absorb heat during the day. At night, the heat is dissipated through the airflow controlled by the ventilation openings. Open, zoned, and activity-based office layouts support this concept.

It is to be expected that the wave of renovations initiated by the European Green Deal will offer new growth opportunities for nighttime cooling. By reducing the ventilation cross-sections, it also allows the clearance height of existing properties to be increased. You can read more about the potential of night cooling in Arup‘s whitepaper Download.