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Universal Design with Mary Jo Peterson

Universal Design recognizes that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to design and construction. By incorporating Universal Design features into the built environment, we can accommodate for the widest variety of people, regardless of their limitations.

But, while the buzz around Universal Design is growing, we still receive many questions surrounding what it means for a specific project and where it can be applied.

To help answer these questions, we’ve asked Universal Design expert and award-winning author, Mary Jo Peterson, to share her knowledge of the topic and provide some examples of what it might mean for a specific project.

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High Performance Schools with John Balfe from NEEP

Air quality, acoustics, and thermal comfort are just some of the critical elements to consider when assessing the indoor environmental quality of a building. But how are these characteristics measured in schools, and what programs do we have to ensure they are being prioritized?

Joining us for this episode is John Balfe from Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP). John discusses the key components to a high performance school, as well as the programs and standards that are being implemented to help ensure the development of healthy academic environments.

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Why is Kitchen Ventilation So Important? With Dr. Iain Walker from LBNL

When you fire on a stove-top burner, whether it is electric, gas, or convection, many byproducts are released. This increase in moisture, gas, and other particulates is not only detrimental to the health of a building, but dangerous for human health as well.

To advance our knowledge on this topic, we invited building scientist and ventilation expert, Dr. Iain Walker, from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). Dr. Walker discusses strategies for controlling byproducts associated with cooking by focusing on kitchen ventilation.

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High-Performance Building Enclosures with Bill Zoeller

Critical to the make-up of a high-performance building, is a well-designed, carefully construction building enclosure. Thanks to advancements in building-science knowledge, building materials, and construction best practices, achieving a well-insulated, air-tight building envelope can be possible if executed correctly.

On this episode of Buildings and Beyond, we talk with SWA Senior VP and building enclosures expert, Bill Zoeller. Bill shares some strategies that professionals should consider when designing and constructing building enclosures and high-performance wall assemblies.

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Electrifying Buildings with Richard Faesy

The electrification of buildings has become a growing trend in both residential and commercial sectors. Consumers that combine energy efficiency measures with newer heat-pump technologies can reduce both their utility bills and their carbon emissions. In fact, those with low loads can even achieve net zero when renewables are applied.

To discuss the goals of electrification we called upon Richard Faesy, Principal and Co-Founder of Energy Futures Group. Richard shares his experience with electrification projects around the Northeast. He talks about how programs and policies are taking advantage of new heat pump technologies and renewable energy to help meet climate goals.

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The True Cost of Building Better Homes with Tim McDonald

Did you know that in the U.S., 48% of energy consumption and 45% of greenhouse gas emissions are attributed to buildings (EIA 2012)? As designers, developers, and maintenance professionals who work with buildings, we have a responsibility to reverse these negative effects to preserve our resources and protect the health of future generations. So, where do we begin?

To kick-off season 2 of the Buildings and Beyond podcast, we are joined by Tim McDonald, President and Co-Founder of Philadelphia-based development firm, Onion Flats. As an architect and developer, Tim has made it his mission to ensure that each new project is one step closer to net-positive performance. By incorporating new strategies in design and construction, Tim explains the top three things developers, designers, and builders should think about when creating quality, efficient, and affordable housing.

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Season 2 is Almost Here!

 

Season 2 of Buildings and Beyond kicks-off on Tuesday, March 12! 

This season, we are interviewing industry professionals from various backgrounds as we continue our mission to find ways to improve the built environment. Join us as we explore topics related to energy efficiency, accessibility, and health in buildings.

Episodes will be released once a week, so be sure to keep up with the latest by subscribing today!

CLICK HERE TO LEARN HOW TO SUBSCRIBE

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A big “thank you” for listening to the first season of Buildings + Beyond! Podcasting has been a very exciting challenge and we are looking forward to having informative discussions with some of the industry’s most reputable experts in season two!

To continue improving Buildings + Beyond, we need your help. The survey only takes a few minutes and your feedback will have a big impact on the content for season two.

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E8: 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…)

E7: 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 Principal 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…)

E6: 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…)

E5: 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…)

E4: ‘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…)

E3: 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…)

E2: 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…)

E1: 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…)