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  • By David Moreno, AKF

2018 Trends and Predictions

Every new year presents opportunities to reflect on successes, establish goals, and anticipate coming trends. At AKF, we believe there has never been a more exciting time for our profession. Technology is impacting how we live, work and play, and engineering is providing the backbone for these advancements. Cities are getting smarter, buildings more efficient, and in 2018 we’ve only just arrived at the edge of what’s possible. Smart Buildings and the Internet of Things The Internet of Things holds tremendous potential for owners, developers and managers, as well as employers, universities and health systems. This technology utilizes data to integrate nearly all aspects of buildings – from corporate headquarters to college campuses – including parking, security, lighting and energy usage. The promising impact on the culture, performance and wellness of building occupants cannot be overstated. Sustainability Buildings were once viewed as inefficient boxes that soak up energy – and many still do – but there’s reason for optimism. Owners, developers and managers are recognizing the environmental and economic value of modern day sustainability efforts, and data collection and artificial intelligence now represent the next frontier. AKF maintains a front row view to the possibilities of 21st Century technology. We’ve achieved carbon neutrality, embraced a Living Building challenge, and have established the viability of Net Zero Energy. The key to our success is a holistic approach designed around concerns of users and how and when they work. We understand the purpose of the energy used in buildings is to make occupants happy and productive. As new data and intelligence helps drive energy costs down, the focus on wellness will begin to take center stage. Wellness Over the past decade there has been a focus on providing quality air, water, light, and comfort in buildings. As the building industry continues to evolve, owners, users, and designers are placing more attention on the health and happiness of building occupants. The WELL Building Standard and Fitwel are two certifications that optimize the built environment to improve human health. We anticipate further growth in this movement. Resiliency Anything can happen. Today, our clients are more aware of this than ever before. AKF intelligently plans facility infrastructure to withstand any number of threats, be they natural, accidental or intentional. Commissioning As technology advances and systems and codes become increasingly complex, commissioning has never been more vital to success and performance of buildings. This important tool ensures complicated systems run cohesively, offers a pillar of safety, and should never be treated as a simple “check-the-box” exercise. AKF Commissioning’s reputation is built on its unparalleled expertise and meticulous approach. The year ahead Trends come and go, but solid engineering principles remain. At AKF, we call it Engineering Leadership: the ability to listen to our clients, inform them of their options, and discover ways to meet their needs today and tomorrow. It’s recognition that the best way to do something isn’t always the most obvious, and true ingenuity requires dedication and understanding. AKF, an award-winning global MEP design firm, also offers a full spectrum of integrated services to bring better solutions to clients and cater to unique project needs. AKF is headquartered in New York City, with offices across the United States and Mexico, including Philadelphia, PA, Hamilton, NJ and Baltimore, MD. David Moreno, Partner in Charge of AKF’s Philadelphia office, is a frequent contributor to the industry, speaking at conferences, moderating panels, and writing for trade journals.

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