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Alex Mirabile is a Marketing Coordinator at SWA responsible for a wide range of the company’s marketing efforts including social media management, event planning, writing for external publications, and podcast production.

Posts by Alex Mirabile

The Role of Heat Pumps in Low-Moderate Income Homes with Jon Harrod

The electrification of buildings is considered to be a primary strategy for reducing carbon emissions and kicking fossil fuels. Luckily, due to advancements in technology and carefully developed best practices, heat pumps may be a driving force in helping us to achieve our all-electric goals. But when do heat pumps make sense? As we know, there’s no one-size-fits-all application.

On this episode, Robb chats with Jon Harrod about the feasibility of heat pumps in low-moderate income homes. John shares some important factors to consider when evaluating heat pumps, such as construction type, geographic location, project financing, and more.

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A Framework for Equity and Buildings with Kathryn Wright

As building professionals and policymakers, it is our responsibility to integrate equity into our work. But how do we ensure equity is being addressed in a comprehensive manner? Fortunately, the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) has developed a framework for local government decision makers to serve as a guide for ensuring equity in the built environment.

On this episode, we had the pleasure of speaking with USDN’s Program Director for Building Energy, Kathryn Wright. Kathryn summarizes some of the concepts and practices highlighted in the framework and explains how her personal experiences drove her to improve equity in buildings.

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How Codes Get Made with Gayathri Vijayakumar

Curious about how building performance standards are decided upon?

The IECC, or “model code”, establishes the minimum requirements for building energy efficiency by specifying the performance levels for the building envelope, mechanical systems, lighting systems, and service water heating systems in homes and commercial businesses. This model code is updated every three years, and within those three years there is a LOT of behind-the-scenes work going on to determine the changes for the next version. In this episode, we learn all about the long and lengthy code development process from SWA’s own Gayathri Vijayakumar.

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NYC: A Melting Pot for People of All Abilities with MOPD Commissioner, Victor Calise

Did you know that New York City is home to approximately one million people with disabilities? As we often discuss strategies for improving the built environment, it is critical that accessibility remains at the forefront of the conversation. So, in a city as big and dynamic as New York, who is tasked with ensuring that the spaces in which we live, work and play are fair for all?

On this episode, the Buildings + Beyond team had the privilege of chatting with Victor Calise, Commissioner of the NYC Mayor’s Office of People with Disabilities (MOPD). Commissioner Calise describes the actions that he and his team have taken to help NYC become one of the most accessible big cities in the US. In addition, the Commissioner reminds us that we need to take a human-centered approach, not just to design, but to life. (more…)

Passively Built with Jesse Thompson – A Look at Air-Sealing and Ventilation

As building professionals, we often ask ourselves, “what are the most critical components to a high-performance building?” Portland, Maine based architect and building science expert, Jesse Thompson, will tell you it’s air-sealing and ventilation.

On this episode of Buildings and Beyond, Jesse explains the importance of incorporating as many Passive House principles as possible when designing multifamily buildings. His focus on air-sealing and ventilation allows him to effectively maximize building performance, reduce energy use, and increase comfort. Leveraging those strategies, Jesse and his team have completed many noteworthy high-performance buildings in some of the most challenging climates.

 

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Human Psychology and the Built Environment with Kristof Irwin

When all is said and done, buildings are intended for people. So, why do some buildings lack the components critical to human health and happiness? This podcast explores the human-centered approach to designing buildings, focusing on the value preference systems that guide our everyday decisions.

To help us better understand this often neglected topic, we invited a special guest from the Building Science Podcast, Kristof Irwin. From his experience as an engineer, research scientist, and physicist, Kristof describes the human psychology behind decision making and the physiological impacts associated with the built environment.

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We Should Know Better: Top 10 Multifamily Design Mistakes with Steve Klocke, Part 2

The residential building industry has made incredible progress toward sustainability and energy efficiency goals. At the same time, Senior Sustainability Consultant and Registered Architect Steve Klocke finds many new buildings under-performing because designers continue to make simple, avoidable mistakes.

Based on lessons he’s learned from certifying over 1,200 dwelling units over the past seven years, Steve discusses the top ten multifamily design mistakes being made over and over again – and how to avoid them. On this episode, Steve uncovers mistakes 6-10. Be sure to check out Part 1 of this episode if you haven’t already!

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We Should Know Better: Top 10 Multifamily Design Mistakes with Steve Klocke, Part 1

The residential building industry has made incredible progress toward sustainability and energy efficiency goals. At the same time, Senior Sustainability Consultant and Registered Architect Steve Klocke finds many new buildings under-performing because designers continue to make simple, avoidable mistakes.

Based on lessons he’s learned from certifying over 1,200 dwelling units over the past seven years, Steve discusses the top ten multifamily design mistakes being made over and over again – and how to avoid them.

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Healthy & Sustainable Building Materials with Charley Stevenson, Part 2

The advancement of building materials has allowed professionals to achieve new heights when designing and constructing high-performance buildings. But, the topic of building materials is not discussed enough, and more consumers are asking important questions. How do we know where these materials come from? What effects do they have on human health and the environment? How are standards for responsible building materials being enforced? The list continues…

This two-part episode features an interview with Charley Stevenson, a sustainability consultant and green building entrepreneur who has devoted his career to helping others understand and implement healthier materials goals. The discussion begins with a look at the Living Building Challenge, a program that pays particular attention to healthy building materials, and continues with a review of some of the resources that are intended to help consumers learn more about materials and their make-up.

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Healthy & Sustainable Building Materials with Charley Stevenson, Part 1

The advancement of building materials has allowed professionals to achieve new heights when designing and constructing high-performance buildings. But, the topic of building materials is not discussed enough, and more consumers are asking important questions. How do we know where these materials come from? What effects do they have on human health and the environment? How are standards for responsible building materials being enforced? The list continues…

This two-part episode features an interview with Charley Stevenson, a sustainability consultant and green building entrepreneur who has devoted his career to helping others understand and implement healthier materials goals. The discussion begins with a look at the Living Building Challenge, a program that pays particular attention to healthy building materials, and continues with a review of some of the resources that are intended to help consumers learn more about materials and their make-up.

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