Within 30 years, it is thought that 68% of the world’s population will live in urban areas. To ensure comfortable and sustainable living and working spaces in the heart of bustling cities, building materials will play a critical role, as John McComb, Director Technical Services at Reynaers Aluminium, discusses.
As the buildings of our cities continue to evolve to accommodate the rapid rate of urbanisation, it is critical that the very fabric of these buildings plays its part, not only in their visual appearance and strength, but also in how they stand up to the requirements of modern-day city living to provide greater levels of sustainability and occupant wellbeing.
Just as materials such as glass have become more important in modern construction to enhance levels of light transmission, wellbeing and comfort, innovations which facilitate greater levels of sustainability are becoming more heavily incorporated into the very fabric of modern buildings. The challenge for architects lies in incorporating these functional characteristics without compromising aesthetics and practicality.
Improving sustainability through natural ventilation
To create desirable spaces, indoor environmental quality is critical – and characteristics such as thermal and acoustic comfort are key. As a result, often-overlooked elements such as effective cooling and ventilation play a significant role, not only in creating these comfortable spaces, but in improving the sustainability of buildings as a whole.
When a room is warm, the natural instinct is to open a window, effectively cooling and ventilating the room. In bustling urban environments, however, the threat of noise pollution often stands in the way of this natural solution. In the past, this has increased reliance on mechanical ventilation systems – and compromised the sustainability of buildings as a result. However, by specifying the right materials, this problem can be avoided to support the creation of light-filled buildings which are naturally ventilated and minimise the transmission of noise from outside.
Providing superior performance where acoustics are concerned, aluminium continues to be a popular material in modern architecture which maximises air tightness through its intricately designed profiles.
Alongside this, aluminium enables architects to fulfil their aesthetic vision, balancing slim sightlines with greater strength and versatility, in addition to delivering essentials such as safety and security to projects. But, as trends like urbanisation continue to heighten the requirements of buildings, this essential material has also evolved.
For Reynaers, the development of MasterLine SoftTone reflects these critical trends within the industry and equips architects with the materials to enhance sustainability in their projects.
The innovative window system achieves this by facilitating effective natural ventilation while limiting noise ingress from the surrounding urban environment. Utilising a carefully designed interface between the frame and sash, combined with a parallel opening system, SoftTone delivers 1m² of geometric free area for a typical window size of 1m x 2m. In practice, this provides good natural ventilation and reduced noise ingress levels to improve comfort and enhance sustainability.
As we look to a more sustainable future for our urban living and working requirements, the buildings which define our skylines must be designed to maximise natural ventilation.
Windows are the natural starting point in this journey, and to achieve the desired results, engaging the technical expertise of material specialists is imperative to ensure a solution which delivers on design and performance.
For further information, please visit Reynaers website.
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