Higher education facilities are facing greater challenges than ever before. Nationally, a quarter of campus buildings are more than 50 years old, and stricter regulations and sustainability standards require facilities to modernize to meet advanced LEED certifications, as net zero energy and carbon neutral buildings become the new norm. In response to aging infrastructure, maintenance backlogs are growing steadily, but the budgets needed to address building repairs have tightened across the board.
Moreover, tuition continues to soar, increasing by 36 percent from 2008-2018. Coupled with a decrease in foreign student enrollment and the popularity of online education, higher education enrollment has fallen by 1 percent every year for the last five years.
Faced with these serious challenges, how can colleges and universities stand out from competitors to better recruit students?
Innovation as a Recruitment Tool
University buildings paint a picture to prospective students and their families. While walking through campus, they’re likely paying more attention to what they see, rather than what they hear from admissions staff and tour guides. Old buildings in need of repair communicate that an institution is antiquated and hasn’t kept up with the industry or its competitors. Conversely, sleek buildings with cutting-edge technology demonstrate that a college is advanced, innovative, and can provide a best-in-class education to prospective students.
To address this challenge, higher education institutions around the world have turned to leading building technologies such as smart glass. Tinting automatically in response to the sun to manage heat gain and glare, smart glass doesn’t require mechanical shading. This allows for the design and construction of aesthetically pleasing, glass-centric buildings anywhere on campus – even in areas with little to no natural shade. Inside, buildings with smart glass provide much-desired daylight and views, ideal for any learning environment.
In addition to its visual appeal, smart glass also helps mitigate facility management issues, such as growing maintenance requests. As opposed to static glass, which requires shades that can break and need repairs, smart glass needs little maintenance and cleans easily. Smart glass can also help an institution achieve lofty green certifications such as LEED and net zero energy to meet a variety of higher education sustainability regulations and standards.
Attending college is a major investment in students’ futures. As such, many young adults are seeking out the most innovative institutions for their college experience. Colleges and universities looking to address decreasing enrollment while modernizing their facilities should turn to sustainable and innovative building materials, or they risk losing students to more technologically advanced competitors.
Interested in learning more about smart glass’s role in higher education?
Reach out to SageGlass Higher Education Business Development Manager, Peter Worstell.