A Whole-Building Approach to Design and Construction
We offer a comprehensive suite of sustainability services from green building certification and energy efficiency to accessibility compliance and consulting for buildings and beyond.
Getting You the Credit You Deserve
Whether you are pursuing green building certification as a route to compliance, or are looking for a way to make your building stand out to potential residents, we provide consulting services that take your project from design to post-occupancy.
We offer a wide-range of services — more than almost all of our competitors — which allows us to offer the energy consulting services in-house that are required by many green building certification programs including commissioning and energy modeling.
We work with the following green building programs:
Green Building Certification Programs
- Building Design + Construction (BD+C)
- Interior Design + Construction (ID+C)
- Building Operations and Maintenance (O+M)
- Neighborhood Development
National Green Building Standard (NGBS)
- New Construction
- Substantial and Moderate Rehab
- Lowrise, Midrise and High-Rise Multifamily
- Residential Units in Mixed-Use Buildings
- Land Development
- Existing Buildings
PHIUS+ 2015 Certification
Enterprise Green Communities Certification:
- New Construction
- Substantial Rehab
- Moderate Rehab
- For Single-Family, Multi-Family
WELL Building Standard
- New Buildings
- New Interiors
- Core and Shell
- EPA Indoor airPLUS
- Active Design
- ILFI Living Building Challenge
- Collaboration for High Performance Schools (CHPS)
- Sustainable SITES Initiative
Since each program and project is different, our services are tailored to meet your needs and guide through each step of the process.
You Don’t Have to Be the Tallest Building for Others to Look Up to You
By optimizing performance during the initial design stages, we help you to minimize the total cost of ownership (initial construction, monthly utility expenses, and annual maintenance costs) by eliminating operational, mechanical, and technological inefficiencies.
Many performance incentive- and- certification programs require designs and analyses that are beyond the typical contractor’s scope. We have the experience to fill the gap, and ensure ongoing success by providing plan review, design recommendations, field training, construction field verification, and technical oversight as needed.
Installing efficient mechanical systems for your new commercial project is a good start, but to ensure a lasting investment, you need to verify that these systems are performing according to design intentions. Our commissioning services provide a systematic quality assurance process for the integration of your building’s mechanical systems including:
- HVAC Components and Controls
- Lighting, Lighting Controls, and Daylighting
- Life Safety Systems (fire alarms/prevention)
- Water Systems Including DHW
- Building Management Systems (Computer Interfaces)
Understand the complexities of your building’s energy use before it is even built. Our analyses are based on using whole building simulation tools, such as eQUEST and EnergyPlus, and are we are versed in current industry standards (ASHRAE 90.1 Appendix G). We’re also able to make recommendations for solar photovoltaic (PV), combined heat and power (CHP), and other forms of renewable energy systems you are considering for your project.
Our team of building enclosure experts specialize in air and moisture management and thermal performance analysis with an emphasis on high performance buildings. For new construction, we provide architectural reviews; detail development; analytical tools; laboratory and field mock-up testing oversight; product and systems recommendations and specifications; and construction administration services.
Our goal is to support you in the design, construction, and operation of high performance buildings through careful attention to detail and a whole building approach.
Design Review and Construction Administration to optimize building performance, support certifications, maximize efficiency incentives, and comply with local laws and energy codes.
Enclosure Commissioning to provide a review process of the design and construction to achieve performance requirement.
Enclosure Services for Green Building Programs including those to meet the requirements of the Passive House standard and Envelope Commissioning requirement for LEED.
We focus on designing mechanical systems that prioritize energy efficiency and occupant comfort. Specific services include:
- Load calculations
- Equipment sizing/selection
- Distribution layout
- HVAC drafting design services
Our designs comply with the Air Conditioning Contractors of America’s (ACCA) Manual J 8th Edition and Manual S 2nd Edition methodologies to evaluate heating and cooling loads and select appropriately sized mechanical equipment. We use the latest version of Wrightsoft’s Right-Suite Universal software to perform these analyses.
Building codes are constantly evolving to improve construction standards and methods; most rapidly seen with the adoption and expansion of state and city energy codes. We can help you ensure your new residential project is designed—and built—to comply with the energy code, so that you can save valuable time and money post-construction.
As solar photovoltaic (PV) technology, Combined Heat and Power systems (CHP / Cogeneration), increased storage capacity in battery technologies, and other forms of renewable energy systems and onsite generation move into the mainstream, the opportunity to leverage these energy alternatives are becoming more economically sensible. There are many opportunities to secure public funding for these measures if your project is pursuing resiliency and sustainability measures.
Whether you need help with siting, community planning, Ecotect modeling, design specifications, bid reviews or commissioning, our engineers have been at the forefront of the newest and most innovative technologies in building science for decades.
Measure. Identify. Plan. Improve.
Each building has unique investment goals and opportunities. Our hands-on team of energy consultants can help tailor reliable high-impact upgrades that maximize returns, reduce operating costs, improve occupant comfort, and minimize your environmental footprint.
We know it’s not always easy to decide where to start looking for opportunities to improve your energy efficiency, or how to fulfill local jurisdictional and state mandates– we’ll devise the best strategy to address your needs, and help you to identify appropriate funding and incentive programs.
Understand your building or portfolio’s energy use. See how your building compares to others with a similar profile. Identify trends and anomalies that are impacting your energy efficiency and determine potential opportunities for improvements.
Pinpoint inefficient systems and maintenance practices with a hands-on energy audit and mechanical testing. After an initial audit, we’ll analyze our preliminary recommendations to prioritize a scope of work, discuss the findings with you, as well as recommend the implementation of high-impact improvements.
Existing and Historic Building Enclosure Diagnostics
We investigate and evaluate buildings for water leaks, moisture and air migration, and thermal performance. We can assist building owners and design professionals in identifying failures in existing building enclosures through onsite observation, review of existing documents, overseeing probes, and testing. These investigations form the basis of recommendations for remedial work, while also providing valuable information to the design team.
If you’re considering an investment in energy efficiency, we’ll help you capture your building data, organize expenditure information, and analyze it so that the assets can be managed more efficiently and accurately. We’ll detail project budgets and related cash flows so you can make funding allocations, cash flow projections, and other decision tools to help you plan your project.
From lighting upgrades to designing a custom state of the art central plant, this is the step where SWA shines. Our innovative technical team uses proprietary research and new and emerging technologies paired with tried and true best practices to deliver real results. It’s what sets us apart and it’s what can set your buildings apart as well.
As your retro-commissioning agent, we’ll identify mechanical defects, revise operating protocol, calibrate and sequence systems, direct equipment maintenance and train building owners and staff in proper maintenance and operation.
Building System Improvements
SWA professionals coordinate HVAC, domestic hot water, lighting, and building envelope systems with the highest efficiency standards in mind. Our licensed Professional Engineers provide all the design and construction administration needed to help incorporate the latest energy-saving and environmentally-friendly technologies into each project.
CHP and Cogeneration
As solar photovoltaic (PV) technology, Combined Heat and Power systems (CHP / Cogeneration), increased storage capacity in battery technologies, and other forms of renewable energy systems and onsite generation move into the mainstream, the opportunity to leverage these energy alternatives is becoming more economically sensible. There are many opportunities to secure public funding for these measures if your project is pursuing resiliency and sustainability measures.
Operations and Maintenance
In order to ensure ongoing success, we can develop efficient operations and maintenance guidelines and provide training to building management staff. We’ll also coordinate across our network of vendors and assess new technologies for future implementation.
We’ve Got You Covered
Our passion for helping clients create buildings that are accessible to all is what drives us to deliver exceptional and reliable solutions-driven consulting services. From design through construction close out, to operations and management our accessibility consultants will ensure that your project meets all applicable accessibility compliance requirements.
We can help your property comply with accessible design and construction requirements that may be included in:
- The Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHA)
- Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504)
- Architectural Barriers Act (ABA)
- The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- State and Local Human Rights Laws
- International Building Code (IBC)
- State and Local Building Codes
- Universal Design
Accessibility Compliance and Consulting Services
Plan Reviews: We collaborate with architects, engineers, interior designers, and other design team professionals from schematic design through construction documents to help achieve full compliance with regulatory and building code requirements for accessible design and construction. After careful review of plans, specifications, submittals, and related documentation, our accessibility consultants work with the design team to ensure that final design and construction documents comply fully with applicable accessibility requirements.
Field Inspections: We conduct field inspections during all phases of new construction and alterations projects to ensure compliance with regulatory and building code requirements for accessible design and construction. Our accessibility consultants work with the construction team to help ensure that full compliance is achieved in the field.
Due Diligence: We perform due diligence inspections of existing buildings and sites to identify noncompliance with regulatory requirements for accessible design and construction. Investors can use the results of these inspections to determine the true value of a potential real estate investment; the primary goal of our due diligence services is to protect the interests of our equity investor clients.
Technical Assistance: We aim to deliver consistent and reliable technical assistance on all aspects of accessibility compliance.
Litigation Consulting: We can provide litigation support to federal, state, and local government agencies, law firms, architects, private owners, developers, and more.
Better Buildings Start with Better Science
Our research work includes analytical studies utilizing advanced modeling tools such as WUFI, Ecotect, and THERM, product development in conjunction with leading manufacturers, and field testing and monitoring of new and emerging technologies. These may be new residential products, new construction methods, or the integration of several technologies into a multifunctional system. Our focus is to provide a thorough understanding of how building systems operate under real-world conditions and why that may vary from initial expectations.
Our evaluation services include the development of test protocols, installation of dataloggers / sensors, analysis of field data, and technical reporting on research findings. Findings can be presented in different formats including written reports, seminars, quality installation guides for contractors, and educational brochures for consumers.
We have conducted numerous short and long-term monitoring studies for the Department of Energy, NYSERDA, Long Island Power Authority, Connecticut Light & Power, National Grid, NSTAR, and others. Recent products and technologies have included:
- Heat pump water heaters
- Condensing boilers
- Whole-house ventilation systems (exhaust-only, HRV/ERV, CO2 override)
- Ground-source heat pumps
- Advanced insulation systems
- Solar thermal and solar electric systems
- Pre-production HVAC prototypes
We use our firsthand experience to create well-informed, comprehensive programs.
Various public and private entities, from government and utilities to financing agencies, have taken the initiative to develop programs that promote energy efficient buildings. They often understand the positive economic and environmental impacts of these programs, and SWA has the expertise to help them develop and refine their programs to achieve their specific goals.
Whether you are looking to develop a program from the ground-up, or just need to revise a current program to improve its effectiveness, our building system consultants draw upon their firsthand experiences to develop program documents and tools or to offer recommendations for improvement to existing energy efficiency programs.
Types of programs we help to develop include:
- Green building program and rating criteria
- Incentive programs
- Funding initiatives and criteria
- Student competitions
We are a national leader in training all members of building project teams, from architects, consultants, contractors, and developers, to owners, management and maintenance staff.
As an approved provider of continuing education, we offer accredited courses for the following programs: American Institute of Architects (AIA CES), Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System (LA CES), Building Performance Institute (BPI), DC Real Estate Commission.
This presentation will cover the different approaches and materials used to waterproof foundation walls and slabs, and the detailing needed to provide a watertight enclosure. It will showcase the importance of water protection in order to minimize future damage, costly repairs, and potential litigation.Read More
The rapid decline in costs, paired with the availability of incentives at both state and federal levels, make going solar now better than ever. However, significant challenges remain for designing and constructing solar photovoltaic systems in high density areas.Read More
To achieve comfort in a home, the HVAC design needs to be considered during the initial design process and not simply field installed by an HVAC contractor once the building is framed. This session will explore the elements of sound building design that need to integrated into an architects vision at the onset of the building design/layout. We will discuss what architects need to consider to achieve a comfortable home and what the partnership with the HVAC contractor should be. Methods to evaluate HVAC contractors capabilities will also be discussed. Examples from recent projects will be presented as examples of good and bad practices.Read More
There is not one right heating and/or cooling system that can be universally recommended as each home has different circumstances that must be considered. This session will explore the fundamental concepts of determining the peak design loads of buildings, selecting and sizing space conditioning equipment, and properly distributing the conditioned air throughout the home. The pros and cons of each system type will be considered in some detail, particularly with respect to first cost, energy performance, installation issues, and maintenance needs. Case studies and results from research projects conducted across the country will be presented to support the concepts discussed.Read More
As homes continue to be built tighter, there is a lot of focus on minimizing the potential for moisture intrusion into building assemblies from the exterior. This is a critical detail, but often forgotten in the design is adequate means of minimizing or controlling interior moisture. Come hear about changes that you may need to make to your standard HVAC practices as a result of how homes are being built. Learn about important strategies to create a durable home that manages moisture and prevents opportunities for mold and deterioration.Read More
As building energy codes become more stringent, new building technologies and innovations are being incorporated into the building envelope. As these new technologies get incorporated, construction methods must be adapted to maintain adherence to basic best-practice principles of air-barrier continuity, moisture management and durability. This presentation will describe some of the challenges and choices that arise when increasing the thermal performance of the building envelope.Read More
The 2015 New York City Energy Conservation Code was released and has been in use since January 1 of this year. The new code is an adaptation of the 2014 New York State Code, and varies from its predecessors in both substantial and subtle ways. This course highlights the new code changes & enforcement, applicability to repair & renovation projects, and minimum compliance vs. going beyond code.Read More
SWA has been called on to evaluate severe decay and mold issues, spaces that can’t be brought up to temperature, freezing pipes and extremely high utility bills – all in new, custom, multi-million dollar dream homes. Don’t let a few oversights turn it into a nightmare.Read More
This training focuses on two critical areas of project development, design and construction. Cases involving complaints against architects for failing to design multifamily housing to incorporate access for people with disabilities are on the rise and are expected to continue.Read More
The Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (FHA), among other federal accessibility laws, requires that newly constructed multifamily residential buildings be designed and constructed to provide access to people with disabilities. A violation of these federal laws perpetuates discriminatory housing practices. This presentation will showcase lessons learned as a result of the presenters real world experience working on thousands of dwelling units and common areas subject to the FHA.Read More
On September 15, 2010, the Department of Justice published updated Title II and III Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations and adopted the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design. This session will address substantive changes to the regulations and design criteria which became effective on March 15, 2011 and become the only enforceable regulations and design standards under the ADA on and after March 15, 2012.Read More
Cases involving complaints against architects and developers for failing to design multifamily housing to incorporate access for people with disabilities are on the rise and are expected to continue.Read More
Learn about the new 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design, which became mandatory on March 15, 2012, with a focus on the differences between the new design standard and the former ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) as they apply to places of lodging.Read More