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Recent Articles

Yes, you read that right. I assert we will need to miniaturize our products’ burden on buildings while having bigger experiences and faster delivery times which requires stronger materials. 

Remember Ironman’s super-cool digital screens inside his ocean-side lair? Well today, thyssenkrupp announced that our service technicians will use HoloLens technology in its elevator service operations worldwide.

There is no getting around it. If your building is two stories or hundreds of feet, you are going to need an elevator. You have to meet the American Disabilities Act codes but what you don’t need is a complicated elevator system to travel just a few feet.

The term “smart city” can be open to interpretation. Here are a few prerequisites established a few years ago.  A smart city uses technologies to be more intelligent and efficient when using resources.

thyssenkrupp is currently putting the finishing touches on the installation of 30 elevators and 2 escalators that will serve 52 floors at River Point, a new office tower located on a prime piece of property overlooking the Chicago River.

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Last month, I traveled to San Francisco to attend the Ecological Building Network’s BUILDwell conference to gain some insight on how to take on a tough challenge - how to build with materials that reduce carbon and ensure planetary health.

It’s about material transparency and it’s not for sissies. It’s tough for thyssenkrupp because our products are made from many, many components that take hours and hours to identify, research and report.  It’s tough for the architects to convince their customers to use products by manufacturers that disclose the ingredients.  

And it’s tough because the language we use to identify suppliers can be cumbersome to explain. Not to mention figuring out which of the many organizations,  Cradle to Cradle, International Living Future Institute, United States Green Building Council – just to name a few  - are awarding differing levels of certifications. And which one of the certifications is relevant anyway?

Despite the challenges, it was great to be among the like–minded at the conference that are doing their best to actively drive the material transparency movement forward. For instance, HKS, showcased their Mindful Materials program that is providing labels for product binders so their designers and specifiers in every office can browse materials that have already been vetted and clearly labeled as a healthy choice. What a great way to remind designers that every decision they make has a health impact.  

What HKS is doing is investing in educating their own employees by providing tools that are readily available. And the role for more education drove many discussions at BUILDwell.  Because just pleading with manufacturers to disclose ingredients for the greater good just isn’t enough to compel the construction industry to change. It will take all of us - the architects, the chemists, the suppliers we use and our advising organizations working together so we as an industry can begin to build more healthy environments.

We are doing our part. We are working to be an education partner. Our new LEED-specific certified course called “Alphabet Soup: Making Sense of the Transparency Movement” can help you understand the acronyms, abbreviations, organizations and certifications that will help us all take on the material transparency challenge. Email me at monica.miller@thysenkrupp.com and let’s set up a presentation in your firm. 


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