BUILDINGS 2019 Year in Review

12/06/2019 | By Janelle Penny

Facilities managers keep their fingers on the pulse of the industry, and the top-performing articles on buildings.com are proof. The top 25 most-viewed content of 2019 ranged from smart energy-saving strategies to today’s top tenant amenities, created and curated by the BUILDINGS staff to help you save time, money and headaches.

Here are the topics BUILDINGS readers couldn’t get enough of this year.

Trending Tenant Amenities

Tenant amenities play an important role in attracting tenants and retaining the ones you already have, so it’s no surprise that tenant amenity topics topped the list of 2019’s most-read BUILDINGS articles. We brought you news on trending tenant amenities you can implement anywhere in your building—yes, even the roof.

The Bay Area Metro Center in San Francisco’s terrace
(Photo: The Bay Area Metro Center in San Francisco’s terrace offers a respite for occupants, as well as a pleasant meeting area. Credit: Perkins+Will/ © Blake Marvin)

We reported on amenities that double as time- and money-savers for facilities professionals, such as the occupant-centered technologies for smart buildings that can also track the location of equipment, control shading and make it easier to optimize lighting and HVAC. The human-centric lighting strategies covered by associate editor Sarah Kloepple combine energy-efficient lighting systems with emerging research on the human circadian rhythm, resulting in lighting that helps people stay alert and focused. We even found amenities that literally power themselves, like these solar canopies that generate electricity.

LightFlex LED
(Photo: LightFlex LED with tunable white lighting in a classroom. Credit: Sunoptics)

Top Technology Advancements

Game-changing technological innovations were popular with BUILDINGS readers this year. We looked at three rising trends in elevator tech, including elevators with multiple cabs in the same shaft, advanced analytics and codes that allow buildings to use elevators for emergency evacuations.

TWIN elevator system
(Photo courtesy of thyssenkrupp: the TWIN system has the potential to revolutionize how building owners can use their core space.)

We also explored how virtual and augmented reality are making a splash in building construction and renovation. Users can digitally experience a transformed space before undertaking a project, ultimately saving time and money.

Safety and Security Strategies

Keeping buildings and the people inside them safe was top of mind for BUILDINGS readers in 2019. This year’s most-read articles included several security themes, such as:

BUILDINGS also took home an Eddie Award from Folio: for our security coverage. The winning article used the active shooter drill in our headquarters office as a case study illustrating why such drills are critically important.

BUILDINGS Podcast

Listen to the BUILDINGS editors chat about their favorite articles from this year. 

Energy Efficiency and Slashing Spending

BUILDINGS readers devoured our cost-conscious coverage this year. Energy-saving variable refrigerant flow HVAC systems appeared twice in our top 25 most-read articles this year—once in this VRF primer for HVAC newbies and once in this in-depth look at how the technology has become a viable HVAC option.

HVAC was also one of the most popular categories in our annual Money-Saving Products contest—this roundup of the 2019 HVAC winners appeared in our most-read articles list at the end of the year, as did the top products in building automation and energy management.

The roof protects the entire building, but deciding which material to go with for a re-roof or re-cover project can be a tough proposition. Our primer on the best roofing material for every building type laid out the differences between the options for low-slope and steep-slope projects. We also created a primer on facility condition assessments to help you maintain all of your investments, from the roof to the foundation and the equipment inside.

BUILDINGS also tracked the progress of the U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada and Mexico, examining how they could impact the industry and updating readers when the tariffs were lifted in May pending a new trade agreement.

Innovative Interior Design

BUILDINGS readers tackled the formidable challenge of creating workplaces that work for their occupants in 2019. Our interior design coverage focused on facility professionals’ role in creating and maintaining interiors that encourage productivity and meet workers’ needs.

Some of these needs are as simple as finding a place to use the bathroom, which we discussed when the International Plumbing Code formally greenlighted the creation of all-gender restrooms. Others are more complicated, like ironing out the noise and privacy issues that have led people to complain about open office design for decades. Our four-part series on open office design addresses the past, present and future of this design strategy, from how it came about to how to do it correctly.

The Herman Miller Action Office
(Photo: The Herman Miller Action Office system, introduced in 1968 and still available today, was the world’s first open-plan office system, a set of components that can be reconfigured as office needs change. Credit: Herman Miller)

We spotlighted creative spaces that bring out the best in building occupants, from this glass envelope parking garage to the world’s first energy-positive hotel. And we also looked at how you can bring global trends into your own facility by embracing solutions-based interior concepts and color palettes that encourage restoration.

We can’t wait to show you what we have planned for 2020! Subscribe to our newsletter, listen to our podcast or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to stay up to date on all things facilities.

Previous year-in-review articles:


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