AEC Pros

Environmental Product Declarations

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Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) describe the impact of products on the environment and help consumers to make informed, green choices. A life cycle assessment (LCA) made by a verified third party determines the EPD and facilitates the comparison of the environmental impacts of goods and services.

Ceiling Fan Installation Tips: Part 2

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Ceiling fans represent an old-fashioned but effective approach to comfort and efficiency. Here we discuss the more technical aspects of ceiling fan selection and placement and installation tips and take a look at the most advanced, energy-saving models available today.

Why Change Standard Language Regarding Weather Delays in Construction?

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Welcome to the On Site channel’s Construction Administration Column. Join us as we continue a conversation regarding contracts and weather delays.

In David Todd’s last Construction Administration Column, he recommended an alternative to standard language regarding weather delays. David’s suggestion spurred some discussion of the topic, so here are his further thoughts.

Earthen Construction: Building with Compressed Earth Blocks

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With a long list of benefits, compressed earth blocks make an ideal natural building material.

Approximately one-quarter of the world’s population live in homes made of earth, mostly in the developing world. It makes sense, after all. The dirt’s either cheap or free and the homes have plenty of benefits, including:

Kursaal Convention Center and Auditorium, San Sebastian

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Where an architect created harmony and balance, locals see discord and ostentation.

San Sebastian, in Spain’s Basque country, is one of those incredibly majestic places you can visit once and never forget. Unlike many of Spain’s Mediterranean towns that have been massively overdeveloped over the years, San Sebastian still offers breathtaking beaches and wide boulevards, perfect for that famed Spanish strolling. The city of San Sebastian has class, style, and, of course, spectacular views of the Bay of Biscay. It’s easy to see, then, why local residents are quite protective of any development proposals in their idyllic hometown.

Norway's TrollVeggen Restaurant

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The Trollveggen made Architectural Digest's list of 10 most beautifully designed restaurants – read more about the visitor center and cafeteria elevated by its modernist architechture.

Reiulf Ramstad Architects designed a new tourist center and restaurant at the base of the Troll Wall, Europe’s tallest rock face. The form and material palette of the center mimics its stark landscape, and the resulting design is so dynamic it just might steal the show.

Tourist centers with restaurants are necessary and inevitable fixtures along scenic roadways. Usually they are utilitarian structures that peddle gaudy souvenirs and greasy food. However, in Norway, road-trippers have a more modern and elegant option when it comes time to make a pit-stop. The new tourist center situated at the base of Norway’s Troll Wall, or Trollveggen—Europe’s tallest vertical rock face, located in the Romsdal Valley along the western side of the country—is a welcome exception to this tired typology.

Ceiling Fans: Part 1

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Ceiling fans are an old-fashioned but effective and efficient approach to comfort.

Ever since one of our ancient ancestors picked up a palm leaf and used it to stir a cooling breeze, fans have played an important role in keeping us comfortable. From simple, hand-powered devices used to content Egyptian pharaohs, fans have evolved into automatic, efficient, climate-control appliances. Developed by father John and son James C. Hunter in 1886, the mechanical ceiling fan remains the most successful improvement. Even with the advanced climate control systems available today, ceiling fans provide an economical means of providing indoor comfort. As a supplement to central air conditioning, a ceiling fan can save 10% to 15% on summer cooling costs. In certain circumstances, a ceiling fan can help to balance home air temperatures for more efficient heating.

Vertical Gardens

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Many buildings are literally going green. The addition of a vertical garden, whether interior or exterior, has many benefits.

The benefits of gardening are numerous, but gardening also requires land – something that many commercial and urban settings lack. However, vertical gardening is a fairly simple way to enjoy the aesthetics of plants within a limited space. Vertical gardens grow upward alongside building exteriors and interior walls, creating captivating scenery where it would otherwise be impossible.

How to Determine a Construction Contract Start Date After Initiation

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Welcome to the On Site channel’s Construction Administration Column. If you are midway through a project, how do you determine the official start date?

Columnist David A. Todd, P.E., CPESC, has 37 years of experience in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry and has performed much construction administration during that time. He will answer questions from our readers or from his own practice and will provide answers based on his understanding of the construction process and administration of the construction contract. The focus will be on the customary duties of the owner, contractor, and design professional as typically described in the contract documents.

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