Building and Designing for a Post-COVID World

James Bryant, Founder and CEO,  Duratherm Building SystemsJames Bryant, Founder and CEO, Duratherm Building Systems
2021:As Charles Dickens wrote, "It was the best of times it was the worst of times." As a result of COVID-19, We are being forced into a paradigm shift. No longer can we designing homes that are required to serve one purpose; rather, we have been awakened to a new world of home offices, home schoolrooms, home workout centers and home churches, and like it or not, the building industry needs to step up and meet the needs of the "new normal".

In 2021, the new necessities of our world are about to complicate the traditional building norms and imagination is the key to the next generation of sustainable building. According to the CBS News, "Up to 40 million Americans could lose their homes" in the next 2 months. According to Bloomberg, the number of persons leaving NY City [and cities across the world] has jumped due to the pandemic, and I am confident that this trend will continue; therefore, we are looking at a creativity opportunity of a lifetime. Today's technology is poised to assist the home builder of today provide sustainable solutions at an affordable price. In the same way that we have seen technology transform the IT industry, moving it from from the rotary phones of the 1960's to the smart phones of today,[ which act as our calendar, camera, recorder, compass, map,...etc.] We are beginning to addressing the largest investment that most people make during their lives, their homes.
The homes of tomorrow need to reflect the needs of this changing world.

This investment in a home should offer returns on the investment in more ways than we normally consider. To continue the phone analogy, we should be designing our "Home platform" to receive an assortment of different apps. Through the use of today's information technologies, and as a result of the "new normal", our houses have been forced into duty to accommodate the new homeschool for the kids and office for the adults; however, this is just the beginning of what we can expect from our homes..., a powerplant, an indoor gardening area, a fresh water plant, entertainment, recreation and health...etc.

Rowing machines and stationary bicycles both offer generator options to produce current for charging batteries or running equipment while working out. There are plenty of options to explore in an effort to make your workout payoff in more ways than health.

LED lighting and DC current equipment reduce energy waste greatly. While, a solar array on the roof will quickly move you closer to a netzero project.

Taking advantage of the trade winds and diurnal costal winds for cooling/ heating considerations within the house as well as turbine operation for energy is easily calculated and offers free increased efficiency for the project. By the same reasoning, we must allow for the tracking of the sun to best determine passive lighting and heating/cooling options in any specific climate.

Passive lighting through the use of skylights glass blocks and well positioned mirrors should always be considered.

Regarding space saving ideas and multi-use rooms and areas, today's furniture makers have gone far beyond the Murphy bed of old, and they offer a myriad of convertible desks to beds, mirrors to tables,...etc. The fundamental goal of today's interior designers is to multiply both the use and the perceived size of the space. The same is now true for the architects. Spinning walls, efficient storage, well placed mirrors and lights, easy access maintenance and clean for plumbing and electric, healthy air and water are all prerequisites to the house of the future.

In conclusion, in 2021, I see Investment capital moving to the country while taking advantage of eco-friendly subsiding from governmental grants. This offers lower permitting costs and fewer restrictions for the builders and, safer and healthier spaces for the clients who have become self-contained, working from home professionals.
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