It has been 49 years since our first Earth Day in 1970.
Forty-nine years is quite a run. The passion and awareness ignited during those inaugural events in 1970 have driven significant positive change in our relationship with the natural environment. Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, and many will undoubtedly hoist up that number proudly.
This year, however, let’s focus on a different number: 11.
According to a report released in 2018 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), we must halve our emissions by 2030 to avoid a future defined by catastrophic climate change. That deadline is just 11 years away.
CannonDesign knows we must bring critical focus in this short span of time. Nearly ten years ago we signed onto the AIA 2030 commitment. In it, we pledged that all new buildings, developments, and major renovations we design will be carbon neutral – requiring no fossil fuel or GHG-emitting energy for operations. Instead, we’d rely on clean energy to power our built environment.
We knew then this would be a massive challenge, but one worth striving toward. Like many decades-long plans, when our commitment was signed we had the benefit of time. Today, we do not – but we do now have a few resources almost as valuable.
Our firm and industry have made great strides in advocating for low carbon building solutions. In doing so, we’ve educated ourselves, learning how to best monitor our progress and promote our most important and innovative ideas.
Ten years ago, building energy use was quantifiable by a small percentage of engineers and an even smaller percentage of architects. Technology was available but was not widely used or known.
Today, thanks to our industry’s continued leadership through the American Institute of Architects, Architecture 2030, and with help from incredible partners in the software community, we have sophisticated tools that are both accessible and integrated into our workflows.
We are fast approaching the year 2030. While we have had many successes, the transition to carbon neutrality needs to accelerate significantly. Time is not on our side, but we can use that reality to motivate us.
Of course, Earth Day, environmental awareness, and sustainability are about more than just building energy consumption. We must also think about how we’ll take action related to embodied carbon, material health, and resilience among other issues key to the building industry. While more generally, plastic pollution, air/water quality, and forest protection loom larger than ever. There are many ways we can individually recognize Earth Day 2019.
Our planet faces rapid, perilous and unprecedented threats from climate change. It has become the greatest challenge of our time. We have what it takes to meet this challenge, but we will need courage, commitment and sincere urgency to help us achieve our 2030 goals.
Time may not be on our side. But, Earth Day is a chance to look around and recognize the millions of people who do stand with us. Around the world, companies, institutions, cities, states, and nations are stepping up their commitments and demanding better. We are lucky to work with some of these organizations as they clear paths for others to follow.
We all have an impact on this planet and therefore a chance to ensure that is a positive one. This is our hope, inspiration, and potential – that together we can honor the vision of those who launched Earth Day 49 years ago, and preserve this planet as we know it for the generations to follow.
*This is part of a series examining design concepts throughout firm projects.
The recently completed York University Student Centre was created to address the doubling of the Toronto university’s size since the original student center was built, providing a new gateway to the campus, along with 150,000 square feet of student-centered spaces for recreation, meetings, individual and group study, club offices, assembly, and multi-faith prayer. The student body was very involved in the building’s programming and its final expression; the very transparent façade, for example, was a response to their desire that the facility be welcoming and open to all.
So, where to focus our attention on this beautiful building, with its many interesting elements and features? Let’s take a look at the two-story Alaskan Yellow Cedar fins that provide a bold elevational feature and an interesting textual element to the primary glass and metal building enclosure. While the Student Centre has many sustainable design features and is pursuing LEED Silver, the fins aren’t primarily for shading — the fins do provide shading on the south elevation, but their shading effect on the north is minimal. The primary role of the fins is to significantly soften the large expanse of “welcoming” glass and introduce wood to the exterior, which is a large part of the interior material palette.
Two-story wood fins, however, are not so easy to do: The fins are very slender and tall, requiring lateral wind resistance; they’re big and heavy and their attachment points, with differential deflection and wood shrinkage, present a structural challenge; they are stiffened by both building them up with laminated sections and by running a tensioned cable through the center of the span connected back to cantilevered structure (the cable is so proportionally slender, it’s virtually unnoticeable), and the dead load of the fins is carried off the roof structure at the top attachment, making the bottom connection simply a lateral connection — this is where both deflection and any thermal/moisture length changes are accommodated.
The other textual aspect of the fins, providing another layer of interest, is that, they kink: The outside face of each fin has an inflection point that shifts its vertical position with each fin, providing a static suggestion of movement. These are appealing building elements that would be sorely missed if not a part of the final design.
Learn More about York University Student Centre >
Telehealth not only has the ability to increase convenience and improve care for remote patients, it also improves emergency department throughput, and ultimately can reduce potentially avoidable admissions.
While telemedicine capabilities are some of the most exciting existing in healthcare today, inconsistent reimbursement standards continue to hinder successful program adoption. Challenges continue in navigating the state-level variability in regulations and capturing procedures to receive the appropriate compensation and reimbursement. Because of its potential, it is crucial for organizations implementing telehealth to work closely with legislators and insurance companies to ensure reimbursement occurs in a timely and effective manner. Fortunately, the growing interest in implementing telehealth solutions has prioritized reimbursement evolution.
The purpose of this paper is to review the current landscape of telehealth reimbursement and provide insight into strategies for dealing with the complex regulatory environment. For example, when we asked a renown Academic Medical Center in Dallas about its telemedicine capabilities, they give a semi-standard response: “We would like to offer more, but billing is a significant challenge.” We’ll also take a deeper dive and show how one particular organization’s telehealth services are functioning like a well-oiled machine.
Download our Tactical Report on Telehealth Reimbursement >
While the major shift from inpatient to ambulatory care is allowing healthcare systems to remain at the forefront of medicine, it also creates significant challenges with respect to reimbursement, revenue, and patient volume. Exacerbating those challenges, there isn’t a “one size fits all” ambulatory strategy. Just as there is no single type of consumer, there is no single right or highest use of an ambulatory facility. Every patient is unique in how they want to interact with a health institution. And technology, digital solutions, experience, and patient expectations all play a role in their interactions.
In order to build a successful ambulatory strategy, health systems need to approach ambulatory care similar to how a chef approaches a recipe. While you may start with the same ingredients, the different amounts and ways in which they are mixed together will create very different results. It is essential for health systems to identify those ingredients, and then combine them strategically to create the successful recipe that matches their patients’ expectations.
Our ambulatory care team understands the many questions this “recipe” may pose for an organization, which is why our approach recognizes the uniqueness of each health system – targeting our efforts to identify ambulatory marketing opportunities and tailor solutions that correlate with each client’s definition of value.
We recently created a report that outlines the four major categories of ambulatory influencers and defines the building blocks for an ambulatory care site, to guide healthcare systems in tailoring an ambulatory strategy to their own unique brand of healthcare delivery.
READ OUR REPORT – PERSPECTIVES AND FUTURES IN AMBULATORY CARE >