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Party Walls

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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 Top 10 Party Walls Posts of 2018!

2018 has been a year to remember for SWA’s Party Walls blog. Our consultants have shared their passion for high performance buildings by recounting stories from the field and providing information, new findings, and best practices to improve the built environment.

Whether discussing topics based in New York City or Southeast Asia, here are our fan favorites from 2018…

Collage of blog images

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Smart Buildings

The buildings where we live, work, and play are getting smarter. Even our refrigerators can tell us if we need to buy more cheese while we are at the grocery store. But that’s not what this episode is about. Mostly not.

Today we are talking to David Unger, Founder of Sentient Buildings and an expert in the strategic implementation of IoT technologies that help to create smarter buildings. In an era of data overload, David discusses how his work aims to consolidate and simplify access to information that can improve the efficiency, comfort, and operations of buildings. He also explains why leveraging open communication protocols is the most critical piece to future-proofing your smart building.  (more…)

Improving the Efficiency of Your Single-Family Home

Buying a home can be overwhelming. There are many factors that need to be considered and decisions that need to be made. For many Americans, aesthetics often outweigh certain characteristics critical to a home’s success, such as health, comfort, and efficiency.

To help us evaluate these critical characteristics, we’ve asked SWA’s COO and Mechanical Engineer, Srikanth Puttagunta, to walk us through his recent home-buying experience. Sri discusses ways to maximize a home’s value by taking advantage of incentives, enhancing existing infrastructure, and making the key decisions that may benefit your family’s health and comfort for years come. Join us as we dive into the essentials of single-family home ownership.  (more…)

Zero Energy Buildings – The Equation is Easier Than You Think!

Mainstream demand for highly efficient, resilient, and cost-effective buildings is greater than ever before. More people are looking to integrate zero energy design and construction strategies without having to sacrifice modern conveniences and amenities. So, how do we implement solutions that enable us to use less energy… without feeling like we’re using less energy?

To answer this question, we sit down with SWA sustainability experts, Paula Zimin and Karla Butterfield, to discuss what it means to achieve zero energy status and learn how we can accomplish this among various building typologies and sectors. Join us for this exciting and in-depth look at zero energy buildings!  (more…)

Getting The Most From Heat Pumps

Air-source heat pumps (ASHPs) are a booming business. In the Northeast, manufacturers report that sales of residential systems have increased by 25-35% per year over the past 5-10 years. We’ve seen more and more systems being installed in all types of buildings.

On this episode of Buildings and Beyond, Kelly sits down with her co-host and Principal Mechanical Engineer, Robb Aldrich, to uncover the potential benefits associated with ASHPs and how to get the most from these systems. (more…)

‘All-Access’ with Peter Stratton

There are approximately 57 million Americans living with disabilities in the United States; worldwide, people with disabilities make up 15% of our population. Given this information, we must do our part to ensure that people with disabilities have equal access to opportunities afforded to everyone – starting with equal access to buildings.

This week’s guest is a long-time accessibility expert who serves as the Managing Director of SWA’s Accessibility Services, Peter Stratton. Peter begins the episode with an overview of the existing accessibility requirements in the U.S. and highlights additional measures that should be taken to ensure inclusiveness for all. Join us to learn how we can foster a more accessible built environment through careful design and planning.  (more…)

Solar PV – The Revolution Continues

By the end of 2050, solar energy is projected to be the world’s largest source of electricity. While utility-scale solar will comprise much of this capacity, there will also be significant growth in the commercial and residential sectors – particularly in cities.

On episode three of Buildings and Beyond, Kelly interviews SWA’s solar expert, Eric Wallace, to discuss the various factors affecting solar photovoltaic (PV) growth including changes in technology, policy, and financing. Tune in to learn about some of the barriers and opportunities that solar developers face in the height of a solar revolution.  (more…)

Just Your Typical Blower Door Test… in Sri Lanka – Star Garment Innovation Center

As the number of projects pursuing Passive House certification increases, so does the demand for whole building blower door tests. And so, performance of recent blower door tests took us to uncharted territory, not only for SWA, but for the Passive House Standard.

Rendering of Star Garment Facility

 

Working remotely with a project team across the globe, the Passive House team at SWA was tasked with retrofitting an outdated factory in Katunayake, Sri Lanka, into a Passive House certified garment manufacturing facility. Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture (JPDA) recruited SWA to provide technical assistance to the project team. Responsibilities for this project included Passive House design analysis and recommendations, mechanical design review, energy and thermal bridging modeling, and the testing and verification necessary to achieve certification from the Passive House Institute (PHI).

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Our Buildings, Our Health

As we continue to uncover the human health impacts associated with buildings – a space in which we spend 87% of our lives – it is important that we find new and innovative methods of construction to improve overall health and quality of life for occupants.

On this episode of Buildings and Beyond, Robb sits down with SWA’s Managing Director of Sustainable Housing Services, Maureen Mahle, to shed light on the primary health issues found in buildings and discuss the various approaches, resources, and certifications designed to improve occupant health and well-being.  (more…)

Your Top 10 Passive House Questions, Answered

Extreme energy efficiency, superior thermal comfort, and ensured durability: these are the three major concepts behind the Passive House standard. First developed in Germany in the 1990’s, this building performance standard has evolved into a worldwide model for high performance construction which has been applied to a wide range of building typologies including residential, offices, hotels, schools, and industrial.

In this episode Robb is joined by Passive House guru, Lois Arena, as the two discuss some of the most frequently asked Passive House questions. They dive into the progression of the standard over the last 25 years, what types of projects can and have been certified, measures to reduce a building’s total energy demand to meet the Passive House standard, and many more related topics.  (more…)