Each day, SWA’s team of over 110 staff, spanning four east coast office locations, collaborate closely to create more sustainable, efficient, healthy, and accessible buildings. We have a passion and drive to implement best-practice solutions that help clients reach their goals – and that ultimately help the people that occupy these spaces and the environment.
We offer a wide breadth of services at SWA, in turn, we have a lot of staff who do very different things! Our knowledgeable staff provide consulting for services such as existing building decarbonization, accessibility compliance, net-zero construction, and green building program certification. We also have an outstanding operations team that help to ensure the business is optimized to run smoothly and efficiently on a daily basis.
We want to highlight all of this amazing talent that we have at SWA; so, join us in our series of staff profiles that will span across all teams, job levels, and offices. Check out our Careers page as well, for our open positions!
For our second staff profile, we interviewed Minaiel Shoaib, a Building Systems Analyst on our BODE (Buildings Operation, Decarbonization, and Efficiency) team. Minaiel is based out of our New York City office and has been at SWA for 1.5 years!
I graduated with a B.E in Mechanical Engineering from the City College of New York in December, 2019 and was exhilarated to have received my offer to join SWA as a Building Systems Analyst in January, 2020. I work mostly with existing residential and commercial buildings to perform energy audits, retro-commissioning, benchmarking, and some implementation work for heating system upgrades.
You’re on our Building Operations, Decarbonization, and Efficiency (BODE) team. That’s a long name – can you explain what this long name means, and why these services are important for clients and projects?
The name BODE is not only reflective of the services that SWA’s BODE team has to offer but is also core to the firm’s motto of “Improving the Built Environment.” Our services, as found in much more detail on our website and in our project testimonials, are heavily focused on improving building operations and implementing efficiency protocols for residential and commercial buildings.
We use the term decarbonization, or carbon reduction, because that is increasingly becoming the focus for our clients with NYC’s upcoming climate goals to combat global warming by transforming the City’s buildings.
What does a typical day as a Building Systems Analyst at SWA look like? What are some of the typical responsibilities and tasks you handle in your daily work?
There are a wide variety of tasks I work on in my role. Typically, I focus primarily on energy audits and retro-commissioning. However, I do get the opportunity to work on multiple projects and tasks throughout the day such as benchmarking, building utility analyses and energy performance related letter grades, trainings, client engagement, site surveys etc. I have recently been involved in some hiring initiatives, which I have been enjoying thoroughly because I get to meet different people from diverse backgrounds.
What is your background and how did you arrive at this career?
I moved to the United States in 2013, and after a year, enrolled in a B.E in Mechanical Engineering program because of my love for airplanes. However, I quickly transitioned to enrolling in classes in energy systems and sustainability after talking to a friend pursuing that field of education. Little did I realize at the time that it was just the beginning of my career in sustainability. I started to really enjoy the classes and learning about sustainability issues at all levels.
Since then, I worked at the Building Performance Lab as a Sustainability Intern and at the NYC Department of Buildings as a Mechanical Engineering intern while I finished my curriculum in school. This path ultimately led me to my current role at SWA.
What is your favorite part about your work at SWA? What inspires you?
My favorite part about my work at SWA is my coworkers and collaborating to achieve a common goal of improving building performance and promoting environmental justice. Working with a team of focused, inspiring, supportive, and talented individuals who I can learn from every single day has been delightful. Every day at SWA is a new learning experience for me and has contributed immensely towards my professional growth.
You work more on existing buildings – especially large multifamily residential ones in NYC. Can you give us some insight on some of the challenges we’re helping clients to overcome and resolve to lower their energy use and emissions?
Every building is different and so are areas with the most potential for savings within a building. Most clients are looking to make improvements to existing building systems without having to install entirely new systems, and in many cases that is possible. SWA takes a holistic approach in helping clients to identify where the existing system is falling short, how the issues in one part of the system are impacting the efficiency of the system as a whole, and how those issues could be resolved so that the system is running to its maximum potential. Helping clients resolve these issues results in lower energy use and consequently lower emissions and energy costs.
I love staying active; I switch between Krav Maga, personal training and just jogging or running in the park. Some days after work, I head to the gym next door to keep the rush going. I also love airplanes (yes, still) so every chance I have, I plan an activity that includes flying in some shape or form. The last one I did was hang gliding but the next one is paragliding on my list.