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From residential houses to hundred-story skyscrapers, many different technologies come together to make a building safe and comfortable. Building design is a continually changing industry, and new advances are being made possible as research progresses.Sustainable development is gaining popularity worldwide in an effort to minimize environmental impact. The Center for Resourceful Building Technology (1) maintains an online guide that describes building practices that are resource-efficient; some information on the center's research projects is also available. Similar in topic is this report from the National Association of Home Builders Research Center (2). The 70-page document is the final report of an April 2003 conference on green building; it gives day-by-day summaries of presentations and activities in which the conference participants were involved. Office buildings have a number of design issues that need to be considered to make a productive work environment. One such issue is the acoustics in a cubicle workspace. The Canadian Institute for Research in Construction (3) discusses some design factors that can improve privacy even in the very open atmosphere of closely spaced cubicles. In the wake of the 2001 anthrax scare, a research project at Pennsylvania State University has garnered significant attention. This paper (4) introduces immune buildings, which have advanced ventilation and air filtration systems that can mitigate the danger caused by airborne pathogens. Experimental results from the project are also presented. The US Department of Energy High Performance Building Initiative (5) is investigating new technologies to make commercial buildings more comfortable and cost effective. Several interesting technical papers and introductory reports are given on the initiative's homepage, including a technology road map for high performance buildings. This essay from the June 2003 issue of Constructech Magazine (6) highlights a movement toward integrated control systems for all types of buildings. The author notes that having a unified system that automatically manages security, lighting, energy, and several other building operations can save time and money in the long run. Another article, written by a member of the Partnership for Advanced Technology in Housing (7), discusses building materials and practices that can improve residential installation's resistance to major storms and natural disasters. An example of an area that is using these weather resistant designs is in Florida; the article cites the vulnerability of coastal homes to hurricanes and outlines some efforts to build them in a more structurally sound manner. Lastly, the Commercial Modular Construction Magazine (8) is a quarterly publication that centers on permanent and temporary modular building design. The second issue of 2003 has, among other things, a good article that describes the basics and benefits of modular construction.
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