While the construction industry tends be slow moving to change, demands for improvement in energy efficiency for our buildings continue to push the industry to develop and improve new materials and systems. The development and innovation of materials being utilized within building envelope systems is where this push is most evident. With increasingly savvy designers and building owners, and codes continuing to become more stringent from an energy standpoint, the future of the envelope industry is already starting to become a reality as shown in products that are coming to market across the world.
The future of building envelopes, at least in regard to materiality (and in the opinion of me, Robert Golda), is twofold. First, the use and development of highly insulating materials/systems and materials with lower thermal conductivity than standard products is key for the industry to stay in line with future code demands. Secondly, the use of materials and/or systems which are reactive to environmental or user demands inside of a building that improve energy performance and user comfort.