What did BUILDINGS readers want to read most in 2023?
We gathered some of the most popular content we published this year and discovered 10 distinct trends. Here’s a look back at 2023’s top 10 topics. Which one was your favorite?
1. Smart Buildings and Technology
BUILDINGS readers were eager to keep up on the latest developments in smart building tech. From exploring the use of GPT AI to manage buildings to examining energy-generating windows, you embraced new and exciting ways of building and managing facilities.
Electric vehicle technology was also a hot topic in 2023. Our previews of the 2023 BOMA International Conference & Expo included a look at the coming boom in electric vehicle adoption, plus tips on how to know if your property is ready for EV infrastructure. Later in the year, Bobby Levin of Globe Midwest Adjusters International joined us on the Buildings Podcast to explain what you need to know about the risks of having EVs and chargers on your property.
Keeping smart buildings safe was a high priority in 2023 too, as we explored in our guide to ensuring that smart devices are protected against cyber threats.
2. Codes, Standards and Legislation
The ever-evolving legislative landscape kept BUILDINGS readers on their toes in 2023. The PUMP Act, passed in late 2022, went into effect this summer and prompted readers to investigate what a lactation room should look like.
The 2022 version of ASHRAE’s landmark energy standard, ASHRAE 90.1, also arrived and introduced some major changes that could soon be adopted by local jurisdictions.
3. Exciting Projects
BUILDINGS shone a spotlight on interesting projects this year, from healthcare (this behavioral health facility and this innovative educational building for tomorrow’s healthcare professionals) to high-performance offices (Nike’s new Serena Williams Building and Delta’s new headquarters).
Historic renovations and adaptive reuse projects were also popular with BUILDINGS readers. We explored how adaptive reuse transformed a former hospital into a cutting-edge content production studio at The University of Alabama. Adaptive reuse was also the strategy used to revamp Boston’s 179 Lincoln Street property into a hospitality-inspired space for today’s workforce and turn a century-old textile mill into a thriving mixed-use campus in Greenville, South Carolina.
4. Inspiring Interiors
NeoCon, the biggest interior design show of the year, isn’t just for interior designers—there are lessons to be learned for facilities professionals too. Our visit to Chicago this summer uncovered a bounty of products that can make life easier for the people who manage our buildings.
We highlighted thoughtful interior projects to inspire your next renovation, including a state-of-the-art studio for Austin PBS and immersive spaces for the Francis Tuttle Technology Center. We also profiled school makeovers by David Termunde, an enterprising school administrator in the Chicago suburbs, who managed affordable renovations with creative sourcing strategies.
5. Sustainability and Resilience
These two related fields—which go hand in hand when it comes to buildings—were popular topics this year. Decarbonization was an important topic for BUILDINGS readers, including our guide to starting your decarbonization journey and our exploration of decarbonization solutions appearing at the 2023 BOMA International Conference & Expo. Our guide to specifying products with low embodied carbon helped readers meet organizational carbon goals.
We shared real-world projects with ambitious energy and carbon achievements, including three buildings that achieved net zero energy status and ways colleges and universities are making headway on their sustainability commitments. The Department of Energy’s 2023 Solar Decathlon showcased efficient, affordable buildings powered by renewables.
BUILDINGS readers also dove into the use of biophilia in interior spaces, such as this article showcasing a metal recycling firm with a highly biophilic design. Our eHandbook on biophilic design gathered resources for implementing biophilic principles in facilities.
6. Solving the Office Utilization Problem
It will come as no surprise to BUILDINGS readers that office utilization rates are still low, nearly four years after the onset of COVID-19. Office building owners and managers are struggling to draw people back into the office even a few days a week, a phenomenon we explored in our guide to creating the workplaces of the future and this look at how workplaces can address mental health.
The theme of the office as a destination, in which owners, managers and tenants are all working together to “earn the commute,” resurfaced throughout the year. We examined how the right mix of tenant amenities can help bring people back, including food and beverage amenities, and spotlighted how THE MART created exciting new amenities for its office tenants.
Finding alternate uses for underutilized office buildings was a frequent theme as well. Our podcast on “zombie offices” looked at whether empty office buildings might be better put to work as housing.
7. Operations and Maintenance
Our coverage of O&M topics garnered many clicks this year. Guest authors David Swiderski and Matt Freije explained how water management plans aren’t just about preventing disease—they can also save you money.
Water heaters ranked highly in the list of most-clicked articles, including a guide to making the decision to repair or replace and an explanation of how to size your new water heater properly to save money.
BUILDINGS readers also explored a technology-driven approach to proactive maintenance and investigated how to prevent slips and falls.
8. Health and Wellness
Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve seen a laser focus on indoor air quality as a way to reassure building occupants and help keep them healthy. This year was no exception, with BUILDINGS readers investigating cleaning trends in workplaces, people’s opinions and needs around IAQ, the role of air quality in occupant health and performance, and National Indoor Air Quality Month. Wildfires also impact indoor air quality and may affect how much outside air you can bring in.
9. Commercial Real Estate and Development Trends
2023 was an interesting year for commercial real estate. At the beginning of the year, experts weighed in on how the year would affect risk and insurance, as well as general development trends for 2023.
We also explored how mixed-use developments can ease urban density and answer the call for housing and amenities.
This summer, BUILDINGS readers made sure to find out who took home The Outstanding Building of the Year (TOBY) awards at the 2023 BOMA International Conference and Expo. The 2023 TOBY ceremony saw 65 buildings from three countries and six U.S. regions competing in 13 categories for the commercial real estate industry’s biggest honor.
10. Safety and Security
Keeping building occupants safe is a top priority for any facilities professional, and the content that BUILDINGS readers gravitated to certainly reflected that fact. Fire and life safety was especially popular this year, from our guide to making sense of material fire ratings to firefighter air replenishment systems (FARS) and fire restoration plans to help you get back to normal after a fire.
Designing for safety in higher education facilities is, as ever, a key consideration for higher ed administrators.
Jeff McKissack, president of Defense By Design, shared insights about shifting the paradigm in safety and security ahead of his presentation at the 2023 BOMA International Conference and Expo.
Of course, no building can be truly safe and secure if the key players—FM, IT and security—aren’t working together. Suggestions from our experts can help you break down the silos between departments and deliver better outcomes for everyone.
What Do You Want to Read?
As we look forward to 2024, we’re constantly thinking about what you’d like to see. What information would help you do your job faster, easier and with fewer hassles? Scroll down to our comment section to weigh in on what you want to see!