Sustainable Design for Workplaces
Focusing on The Use of Glass Facade Systems
In this era of globalization, the importance of the changing climate and the implications of it on the environment are being given significant importance in relation to design practices. As a result, green workplaces are generating more attention. A general understanding of a sustainable workplace design provides a high quality and healthy productive spaces, utilising elements such as natural light.
When working in the confines of an office, an element of daylight is essential for employee well-being, engagement and productivity. A workplace infused with daylight provides a view of the outside, which can act as a buffer against the negative impact of job stress and positively impact general well-being. The research from Human Spaces, for example, demonstrated that proximity to natural elements, such as greenery and sunlight, was associated with a 15 percent increase in improved well-being and creativity, and six percent higher productivity.Workplace well-being has taken center stage in the world of work. As awareness around well-being grows so, too, will the awareness around daylight and its role in improving employee satisfaction levels. There is a correlation between workplace well-being and the amount of natural light in a workplace. Through building design, daylight can be maximized in a number of ways: through building orientation, window design, configuration and glazing
Which brings us to my research topic on building glass façade systems. Glass has been a fascinating material to humankind since it was first made in about 500 BC. At first thought to possess magical properties, glass has come a long way. It is one of the most versatile and oldest materials in the building industry. From its humble beginnings as a window pane in luxury houses of Pompeii to sophisticated structural members in new age buildings, its role in architecture has evolved over the years. Glass plays an essential role in the façade of a building. A facade is a special type of wall. It separates inside from outside. Glass is a uniform material, a solidified liquid. By its property of transparency it opens up our buildings to the outside world. In modern architecture there is tendency to open up our buildings by using very large facades that are as transparent as possible. In the external wall, glass can be used as a curtain wall or structural glazing.
Curtain wall systems are non-structural cladding systems for the external walls of buildings. They are generally associated with large, multi-storey buildings. Curtain walls separate the interior from the exterior, but only support their own weight and the loads imposed on them (such as wind loads, seismic loads, and so on) which they transfer back to the primary structure of the building. This is in contrast to many forms of traditional construction in which the external walls are a fundamental part of the primary structure of the building. Typically curtain wall systems comprise a lightweight aluminium frame onto which glazed or opaque infill panels can be fixed. These infill panels are often described as ‘glazing’ whether or not they are made of glass.
In this research I will focus on an important part of sustainable design, focusing on the play of natural light, the usage of various window treatments and façade structures and materials that alter it giving varying results.I would gain necessary background information from research articles, and similar website to get a general idea of sustainable design and its relationship with employees in the workplace. Upon attaining sufficient insight into the focused point of my topic, which is the use natural light source with the least amount of energy waste in office design, I will conduct a critical analysis on existing offices with the sustainable design using similar concepts to my topic in different locations. Evaluating them to compare and explain what my topic is and what my research is about. For the last part of my research, I’m going to try and defend my thesis by exposing the available resources related to sustainable design and to create awareness of the possible advantage it. By creating awareness I’m trying to achieve a plausible trend of using sustainable approaches in design which will hopefully become a norm in the future. My resources would be research articles, books, films, evaluating existing offices, analyzing possibilities of sustainable design in my location and interviewing architects `and designers.
Environmentally friendly office design and how it affects employee’s efficiency is a broad topic itself and it has been discussed and studied a lot but my focus is on using natural sources and specifically natural light with least energy waste in office design and how it’s practiced in Ireland.