Can Green Buildings Make Us Smarter?

Green is good -- outside or inside an occupied building.

A recent study published by Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP) suggests that Green Buildings create optimized conditions for health and productivity. In a series of experiments, indoor environmental quality (IEQ) factors for both “green” and “conventional” buildings were simulated in a controlled environment that included office workers, and the researchers measured variables such as carbon dioxide variation, ventilation and exposure to volatile organic compounds in the building atmosphere.

The results? On average, cognitive scores for the two groups of workers were 61% higher for those working in a building with green features than with conventional construction.  In other words, green building can potentially deliver a smarter workforce.


How Biomimicry Is Inspiring Building Innovation

The cellular construction of the lotus leaf inspired the engineering of StoCoat® Lotusan® , a coating with self-cleaning properties, from Sto.

Biomimicry is a process that employs natural organisms and systems to inspire innovation. Biomimicry has inspired technical breakthroughs for decades—one of the most often-cited examples is Velcro, which the Swiss engineer Georges de Mestral patented in 1955 after studying how burrs stuck to his clothes— but better technology and more nuanced research have enabled increasingly complex adaptions.

Take the example of the lotus leaf, which has a surface texture that is “self-cleaning,” meaning that dirt particles are unable to obtain a hold on the leaves and simply flow off with the rain droplets that fall on the plant. Researchers at Sto, the building products innovator, studied this organic structure and used it as the inspiration for an exterior coating called StoCoat® Lotusan® that possesses a highly water-repellent surface similar to that of the lotus leaf. Its microstructure has been modeled on the lotus plant to minimize the contact area for water and dirt.

You can get the facts on biomimicry at Scientific American.


Sto Corp. Combines Form and Function at the 2015 AIA Expo

In May, the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, GA hosted thousands of architects and over 800 construction industry exhibitors for the 2015 AIA Expo. The Georgia World Congress Center boasts over 170,000 square feet of exhibition space and it needed every last bit of it for the AIA Expo, one of the largest gatherings of architects and design professionals in the world. Sto Corp., whose headquarters is based in Atlanta, GA was one of the many exhibitors who participated in this year’s AIA Expo, and they pulled out all the stops. “This year AIA was in our hometown so we wanted to do something bold, new and clearly distinct from previous years,” said Valerie Mayer, Sto Corp.’s Manager of Marketing Communications. To reinforce Sto Corp’s connection to the larger Sto global family, this year’s AIA booth included a gallery of high profile projects from around the world featuring a variety of Sto’s different wall systems and building envelope solutions.    Among the various systems and solutions that Sto had to display were samples of Sto’s Ventec rainscreen cladding systems. The Ventec systems offer the highest degree of performance in terms of long term sustainability and durability. Largely a green system, Sto’s unique StoVentec carrier board is made from 96% recycled glass. StoVentec systems feature a myriad of aesthetic and design options including glass mosaic, natural stone, and even photovoltaic façades. Throughout the booth, Sto’s four core values; innovation, relationship, performance, and sustainability; were represented. Amongst the innovations being presented were StoPanel Technologies pre-fabricated façade systems. “Unlike other panelized facades, StoPanel Technology is the only system that uses standardized materials, details, and design considerations. We have built a network of contractors and engineers across the Americas who are sharing best practices and constructing the same superior panelized wall systems regardless of design or location,” said Dominick Baruffi, executive director of StoPanel Technology. All Sto wall systems begin with Sto’s industry leading air and moisture barrier system, StoGuard. This year’s booth included a number of videos showing that air tightness and moisture resistance with StoGuard is not only durable enough to last the lifetime of a building, but can be installed much more simply than more conventional systems.    Of course excellent building performance means little if the building is an eyesore, which is why Sto chose to show off its more creative side as well. “Form and function should go hand in hand. Architecture really is functional art,” said Billy Rosbottom, manager of Sto Studio. An inspiration wall on the outside of the Sto’s booth showed off a variety of different aesthetic options that could easily be achieved using Sto’s various different finishes, as well as natural elements that helped […]