Research and


Cover of Research Brief: Developing a New Building Equity Standard

Research Brief: Developing a New Building Equity Standard

  • December 13, 2023

This research brief summarizes a pioneering study that explored how equity is operationalized—or put into action—within the physical design of our buildings, spaces, and communities. The final deliverable of this study is the Building Equity Standard (BEST), a new practitioner resource for operationalizing equity through the design of the built environment.

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Multifamily building in New York City.

Multifamily Building Electric Heating Demand Profile Analysis

  • October 10, 2023

Energy demand data for several electrically heated multifamily buildings was analyzed to identify what the heating and cooling loads are for older buildings compared to newer cold climate heat pump buildings. This building set and analysis can inform heating and cooling demand forecasting for electrifying existing buildings with heat pumps since the relationship between heat pump efficiency and electric resistance efficiency can be reasonably estimated. This report was prepared by Steven Winter Associates for NYSERDA.

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ENQ 19.1.

Evolving Design Pedagogies: Broadening Universal Design for Social Justice

  • September 5, 2022

Explore how current academic and practice-facing Universal Design pedagogies support the movement’s expansion to address social justice across demographic groups. This paper was written by SWA’s Victoria Lanteigne and Peter A. Stratton and Dr. Traci Rose Rider for ENQ (Enquiry), an online journal published by the Architectural Research Centers Consortium (ARCC).

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ARCC-EAAE 2022 Resilient City: Physical, Social, and Economic Perspectives International Conference Hosted by Florida International University.

Exploring Health Equity and the Built Environment through the Social Determinants of Health

  • March 5, 2022

Examine the relationship between health equity and the built environment through a 3-year study on how the unique designed environment of a hybrid YMCA/elementary school impacts the mental and physical wellness of students, families, staff, and the greater community. This research paper was written by Traci Rose Rider, SWA’s Victoria A. Lanteigne, J. Aaron Hipp, Kia E. Baker, and Rosa McDonald for the Architectural Research Centers Consortium (ARCC) – European Association for Architectural Education (EAAE) 2022 International Conference.

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Cover of the Inclusive Building Performance Guidelines booklet.

Inclusive Building Performance Guidelines: A Pathway for Advancing Equity in the Built Environment

  • December 9, 2021

Steven Winter Associates, Inc. in collaboration with Victoria Lanteigne Consulting Co. develops the Inclusive Building Performance Guidelines to support the adoption of Inclusive Design pathways from WELL v2, LEED v4, the Living Building Challenge, and Enterprise Green Communities.

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Environments by Design: Health, Wellbeing, and Place. AMPS Proceedings Series 26.

Advancing Health Equity Through Inclusive Design

  • December 3, 2021

Written by SWA’s Victoria Lanteigne and Peter A. Stratton and Dr. Traci Rose Rider for the Environments by Design: Health, Wellbeing and Place conference, this investigative paper looks at how Inclusive Design informs health equity using the five Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) as a guiding framework: Economic Stability, Education Access and Quality, Health Care Access and Quality, Social and Community Context, and Neighborhood and Built Environment.

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Building Performance Standards Framework

  • August 12, 2021

Steven Winter Associates, Inc. worked with the Natural Resource Defence Council (NRDC) to create this policy framework that will help cities reach climate goals while integrating equity and economic inclusion.

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Kitchen Range Hood Resources

  • May 26, 2021

Reducing Outdoor Contaminants in Indoor Spaces - Kitchen Range Hood Resources, Tools and Presentations

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Heat Pump Planner Cover

Heat Pump Planner

  • May 19, 2021

Read Heat Pump Planner: Clean Heating and Cooling Options for Homes, developed by NYSERDA, Steven Winter Associates, and Building Energy Exchange.

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Cover of Low Carbon Multifamily Retrofits Playbook

Low Carbon Multifamily Retrofit Playbooks

  • April 16, 2021

The Low Carbon Multifamily Retrofit Playbooks, developed in partnership with Steven Winter Associates (SWA) and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), summarize retrofit strategies that maximize occupant comfort and energy savings through a transition from fuel to electricity- based heating, cooling and hot water systems.

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RetrofitNY: Cost Compression Study (Phase II) – Opportunities for Cost-Effective Improvements in Net Zero-Level Performance Multifamily Residences

  • October 9, 2020

Read the analysis conducted by Steven Winter Associates on an optimal performance specification for net zero energy retrofit solutions to enhance efficiency and reduce cost.

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RetrofitNY: Cost Compression Study (Phase I) – Evaluation of Deliverables and Main Cost Drivers

  • October 9, 2020

Read the analysis conducted by Steven Winter Associates on the proposed solutions and primary cost drivers for the first six RetrofitNY pilot projects.

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Zero Net Carbon Training Recordings

  • March 20, 2020

The State University of New York at New Paltz, Steven Winter Associates, Inc. and the New York State Research and Development Authority have partnered together to offer a series of workshops to educate higher education facilities staff, academic faculty, students, designers and contractors who serve higher education clients on strategies to achieve zero net carbon construction goals using passive house principles.

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NYSERDA Energy Code Webinar Recordings

  • January 20, 2020

Hosted by Steven Winter Associates, these webinars will help code officials, designers and construction professionals in New York State understand the many aspects of the Energy Code, including requirements and best practices to achieve compliance, now and into the future. We have a full library of the free recordings of each of these webinars.

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Air Sealing Guides

  • January 2, 2020

Air Sealing Guides for Multifamily Wood, Steel, and Masonry Construction, by Steven Winter Associates, Inc.

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High Performance Walls Guide

  • March 24, 2019

This document is meant to serve as a guide for designers and builders to compare the thermal performance of different cladding attachment systems. The first section is a catalogue of products, split into brick veneer and cladding finish systems. The second section presents thermal modeling results of these systems from a study conducted by Steven Winter Associates (SWA).

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Case Study: Design Guidance for Passive Vents in New Construction, Multifamily Buildings

  • October 26, 2018

In an effort to improve indoor air quality in high-performance, new construction, multifamily buildings, dedicated sources of outdoor air are being implemented. Passive vents are being selected by some design teams over other strategies because of their lower first costs and operating costs. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Building America research team Consortium for Advanced Residential Buildings (CARB) constructed the following steps, which outline the design and commissioning required for these passive vents to perform as intended. This report was prepared by David Berger and Robin Neri from SWA.

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Announcing the Smart Buildings NYC Website

  • October 23, 2018

The definition of a Smart Home has been refined over the past decade. However, the same cannot yet be said for the idea of Smart Buildings. These spaces in which many of us live or work are much more complex, use far more energy and resources, and require a multi-faceted approach to making them “smarter.” Steven Winter Associates and Sentient Buildings have created an online resource to serve as a forum for understanding Smart Buildings, in New York City and beyond.

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Image of ERV operating in summer months

Ventilation for Passive House Multifamily Projects, Part 2

  • October 16, 2018

In climates with significant heating and/or cooling seasons, Passive House projects must have a balanced heat or energy recovery ventilation system. Deciding between an HRV and an ERV gets more complex when the Passive House concept is scaled from a single-family home to a multifamily program. Hear what the experts from SWA's Passive House team have to say in this article featured by Green Building Advisor.

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Ventilation for Passive House Multifamily Projects, Part 1

  • October 8, 2018

While there are two primary arrangements for HRV/ERV systems, the trade-off is dynamic and needs to be carefully considered as multifamily Passive House projects begin to scale. Learn more by reading this article featured in Green Building Advisor, written by SWA Passive House consultant, Thomas Moore.

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Does Your Exhaust Fan Suck?

  • September 19, 2018

The purpose of exhaust ventilation is to remove contaminants (including moisture) that can compromise health, comfort, and durability. Exhaust fans are one of the simplest mechanical systems in your home, but decades of experience working in homes has shown us that even the easiest things can go wrong when it comes to installation.

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WELL Innovations Proposal for Universal Design

  • August 21, 2018

The International WELL Building Institute has formally adopted Universal Design (UD) principles into the new and improved WELL Building Standard version 2 (WELL v2). Inclusion of the UD concepts were proposed by Steven Winter Associates’ Accessibility Team in February of 2017.

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Passive House FAQ

  • August 21, 2018

Here is a list of your top Passive House questions, answered!

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Designing Solar for High-Density Areas

  • August 14, 2018

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. This article, featured in the Spring 2018 edition of BuildingEnergy Magazine, explores the feasibility of deploying solar PV on city rooftops by taking advantage of the changes in technology, policy, and financing.

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Guidelines for Integrated, Heat Pump Water Heaters in Multifamily Buildings

  • July 8, 2018

This document outlines the program requirements for using integrated, tank-type heat pump
water heaters (HPWHs) in multifamily buildings.

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Aging in Place Cover Photo

Aging in Place Guide for Building Owners

  • May 1, 2018

The "Aging in Place Guide for Building Owners", created through a collaboration of the New York City Department for the Aging and the American Institute of Architects New York Design for Aging Committee, recommends residential building upgrades to accommodate older tenants. By making these improvements, building owners can help residents remain in their homes as they age - safely, comfortably, and independently.

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Cost of Accessible Housing

  • April 24, 2017

Cost of accessible housing : an analysis of the estimated cost of compliance with the Fair Housing accessibility guidelines and ANSI A 117.1 / prepared for U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Policy Development and Research ; prepared by Steven Winter Associates, Inc. with Tourbier & Walmsley, Inc. and Edward Steinfeld, architect, and Building Technology, Inc.

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Clanging Pipes Cartoon

Report: Clanging Pipes and Open Windows: Upgrading NYC Steam Systems for the 21st Century

  • June 15, 2016

SWA and NRDC release report detailing energy efficiency upgrades to the steam systems found in the vast majority of NYC apartments could save building owners $147 million in annual energy costs and maintenance savings.

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Report: Spending Through the Roof

  • June 15, 2016

SWA worked in conjunction with the Urban Green Council and NYSERDA to produce a report examining heat loss in NYC multifamily high-rises due to poorly sealed elevator shafts. SWA’s Multifamily team conducted the study and authored the paper, finding that simple upgrades to building roofs could reduce annual carbon emissions in the City by 40,000 metric tons and save building owners $20M in annual heating costs.

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Eaton Row SWA Architectural Design

Research: Basement Insulation Basics

  • October 15, 2012

Measure guideline developed by SWA for the Consortium of Advanced Residential Buildings (CARB)

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Heat Pump Water Heaters: Selection and Quality Installation Guide

  • February 22, 2012

The purpose of this guide is to provide detailed instructions on selecting and installing a heat pump water heater.

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Research: There Are Holes in Our Walls

  • June 16, 2011

The Urban Green Council, NYC chapter of the USGBC, selected SWA to produce a research paper on the impact of room air conditioners on building envelope performance. SWA’s Multifamily team conducted the study and authored the paper titled "There Are Holes in Our Walls," finding that an average room AC accounts for as much air leakage as would a six square inch hole in the wall; room AC leaks add $130- $180 million to New York City heating costs every year.

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Multifamily Building

Research: Deutsche Bank/Living Cities: Building Energy Efficiency Data Report

  • June 16, 2011

This published study shows the clear financial benefits of retrofitting existing multifamily buildings.

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Research: Practical Residential Wall Systems, R-30 and Beyond

  • June 15, 2011

Research Report prepared by SWA for the Consortium of Advanced Residential Buildings (CARB).

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Mercedes Homes in a row

Research: Sealing and Insulating of Ducts in Existing Homes

  • April 15, 2011

Measure and Strategy Guide prepared by SWA for the Consortium of Advanced Residential Buildings (CARB).

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Publication: Home Rehab Handbook

  • June 16, 2009

A guide for architects, designers, builders, contractors, and homeowners on the innovations and state-of-the-art practices in accessible home rehabilitation.

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Accessible Housing by Design

Publication: Accessible Housing by Design: Universal Design Principles in Practice, McGraw-Hill Publishers

  • June 15, 2009

A practical implementation guide to integrating universal design features into all types of residences, authored by SWA's research team.

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Publication: A Basic Guide to Fair Housing Accessibility: Everything Architects and Builders Need to Know About the Fair Housing Act Accessibility Guidelines

  • June 15, 2009

Inspired by SWA Senior VP Peter Stratton’s HUD-sponsored review of nearly 400 built projects, this compact yet comprehensive guide reviews the guidelines for conformance with the seven basic design and construction requirements of the Fair Housing Amendments Act, from accessible building entrances to usable kitchens, and points out common conformance errors made by architects, builders, and developers.

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High-Performance School Buildings Guide

  • April 30, 2007

SWA staff active with the Sustainable Buildings Industry Council (SBIC) designed a guidebook that describes the characteristics and benefits of high-performance school buildings. The book also details a process that ensures school planners get the best design possible within their budgets.

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Part I: Federal Report on Post-Katrina Emergency Housing for HUD

  • November 9, 2006

The purpose of this report is to present a distillation of the current national protocol for the provision of housing assistance after a disaster, and to document on-site observations regarding the implementation of those protocols specific to the Hurricane Katrina aftermath in Louisiana and Mississippi.

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