Greenbuild 2015 Takeaways
Greenbuild 2015 has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean we can’t keep celebrating its “monumental” success. Having a booth in the expo hall allowed us to meet so many engaging and intelligent people. We want to extend a gigantic thank you to all those that stopped by the SWA booth for making our experience memorable and rewarding.
Bummed you missed Greenbuild 2015? No fear, reader! Here are five takeaways from the massive green building gathering.
Greenbuild 2015 Five Takeaways (more…)
Stamford 2030 District Commits to a Sustainable Future
The Stamford 2030 District is an interdisciplinary collaborative of high-performance buildings in downtown Stamford committed to ambitious efficiency goals. Stamford 2030 District’s strategic plan outlines a series of interim sustainability goals guiding the city towards 50% reduction in energy use, water consumption, and CO2 emissions for existing buildings and infrastructure, and full carbon neutrality for all new construction by 2030. Watch the video to hear key program stakeholders discuss success measures, including SWA’s Gayathri Vijayakumar on the role of benchmarking, and Mayor David Martin on public-private-nonprofit community participation.
SWA Lifestyles: A Simple Weekend Cabin
By Kai Starn, Sustainability Consultant
Autumn has arrived again in the Northeast and the foliage is in full splendor. Over the Canadian Thanksgiving / Columbus Day weekend, I headed up to Ontario to deliver one final truckload of building materials to my family’s property there, which is located an hour and a half across the Canadian border. While I am a Connecticut native, the land bordering the Frontenac Provincial Park has been in my family for generations. In the 1980’s, my grandfather logged the area, and subsequently built a road and a log cabin on the property, which is where my grandmother now spends time during the summer.
The main cottage is a gathering place for family reunions; as such, I had always envisioned building a small weekend cabin to accommodate extra people for the occasions when there was sure to be a full house. About a year ago, I began to design and build this structure. When completed, the tiny cabin will be a simple, un-insulated cottage of old. But, dang, if it doesn’t scream summer and lake and relaxation!
NYC Walks the Line Toward Hurricane Joaquin
It’s been 3 years since Superstorm Sandy came ashore in the New York Metro Area. Much of the damage has been repaired and structures rebuilt, but have we done enough to mitigate the impact of a similar catastrophe? I think we can all agree that likely, we have not. However, progress has been made, and at SWA, we have been working hard over the past 3 years to improve the strength of our buildings through providing resiliency assessments and remediation planning. It’s not a fix-all for the region, but it has helped some buildings to implement upgrades that might make a big difference in the next week. (more…)
California: Three Hours Behind the East Coast, but Years Ahead in Sustainability?!
As a native Californian, I often marvel at my home state’s progressive attitude towards environmental conservation. In 1988, we were the first state to adopt air quality standards, which the federal Clean Air Act would later be amended to resemble. More recently, landmark legislation such as A.B. 32, or California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, set the first statewide requirements for GHG emissions reductions in the country. Today, cities like San Francisco have plastic bag bans and zero-waste initiatives. However, our culture is one of sustainability partly out of necessity—in January 2014, Governor Brown declared California’s severe and sustained drought situation a state of emergency. Despite our already resource-constrained present, California’s population is anticipated to increase by 14% over the next fifteen years to 44 million people. The good news is, we’ve made some big strides recently in planning for the future demands of an ever-growing population.
Community Microgrid: Resiliency via Energy Independence
SWA Senior Mechanical Engineer Lois Arena discusses the recently announced community microgrid project based in the Village of Mamaroneck. The Westchester County village is among 83 New York communities to be awarded $100,000 by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to conduct a microgrid feasibility study.
Steven Winter Associates and Murphy Brothers Contracting, along with a team of technical experts and local leaders, will assess the challenges, benefits, and costs associated with using microgrids to improve resiliency and recovery time during a significant power outage, as well as to offset peak demand energy use.
This segment is part of LMCTV‘s videocast of the Murphy Brothers Contracting “10 Steps to Ensuring Those Beautiful Custom Homes are also Comfortable, Long Lasting, and Efficient” event. Watch LMCTV’s complete coverage of the event here.
Home Energy Magazine – The Real Women of Home Performance
Home Energy magazine debuted a new interview series on their blog this month titled “The Real Women of Home Performance,” aimed at showcasing the work of women who make significant contributions to the residential energy industry. The first installment of this recurring series features SWA Senior VP and Director of Sustainable Housing Services, Maureen Mahle.
Innovation in Affordable Housing Competition Results in Bicoastal Winners
On April 21st the four finalist teams from the 2015 HUD Innovation in Affordable Housing (IAH) Student Design and Planning Competition gathered at the HUD headquarters in Washington, DC to take part in the Final Four Jury and Awards Presentation (you can read more about the competition here). There, the graduate student teams presented their final submissions to the jury and audience for either the rehabilitation or redevelopment of Bayou Towers, a 300-unit residential high-rise that is home to over 500 senior citizens of the Houma-Terrebonne Parish in Louisiana.
Beyond Earth Day
At SWA we do A LOT to improve the sustainability of the built environment. Sustainability is at the heart of what we do. Culturally, SWA is comprised of a group of people who are committed to upholding a lifestyle that is socially and environmentally responsible both at home and at the office.
In honor of Earth Day 2015 we surveyed the SWA team about their personal consumption habits to generate a baseline understanding from which we hope to improve upon each year. We hope through having a greater understanding of SWA lifestyles, we can continue to inspire and cultivate sustainable behaviors throughout our community.
(Right-click on the image and open in a new tab for easier viewing)
What actions do you take to live a more sustainable life? Let us know in the comments or tweet us @_SWinter.