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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

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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The Importance of Climate Policy in Cities with Laurie Kerr

As we enter a new era of climate policy, we wanted to evaluate some of the efforts major cities have made along the way. How do cities compare? What improvements have they made? And where should cities start with regards to climate action?

To help us answer these questions, we called upon Laurie Kerr, a climate policy veteran who helped shape the sustainability plan of one of the most notable cities in the world with regards to climate change and climate action – New York City. Laurie discusses which programs were successful (and which were not) during her time with the Bloomberg administration, and compares these initiatives to those of different cities around the US.

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Developing Boston’s Tallest Passive House with Brad Mahoney

As we continue our discussions around high-performance buildings, we would be remiss if we did not discuss the laudable endeavor that is MP Boston’s Winthrop Square. Projected to be the fourth tallest building in Boston and the largest Passive House office space in the world, Winthrop Square is a pinnacle of high-performance design.

Although construction for this project has just begun, we were eager to hear about the plans for this immense undertaking. So, we sat down with MP Boston’s Director of Sustainable Development, Brad Mahoney. Brad shares some of the extraordinary energy conservation measures that will be included in the tower and highlights the many benefits that the project is anticipated to achieve, including advanced productivity, wellness, and social engagement.

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