Whether you’re talking about technology, systems, hiring or even building materials, the answer is the same: The construction industry is ripe for innovation. As our computers and phones have gotten more and more sophisticated, our buildings haven’t always kept up. However, this won’t be the case for much longer! As we celebrate International Women’s Day and Women in Construction Week, we spoke with three women at McKinstry who are on the front lines of innovation in the built environment:
Hello! My name is Taylor Blevins, and I’m a B.L.U.E. Program intern in McKinstry’s Portland office. I first met with a McKinstry representative at the Oregon State University career fair and once I learned more about the company, I knew it would be a good fit for me.
I’m currently a rising senior at Oregon State studying Energy Systems Engineering. I also have some experience in BIM (Building Information Modeling) from my last internship with an architectural firm.
Ever since that internship ended, I’ve wanted to further-develop my skills in building systems and learn more about how buildings consume energy. As an engineer, it’s important that I learn how to help reduce that energy consumption.
Since McKinstry focuses on the mechanical systems of buildings and the energy aspect of buildings, I knew I was in the right place. So far my experience with McKinstry has been tremendous and I’m learning constantly.
To say that my life after high school has been a little unconventional might be the most accurate way to describe it. I’ve attended two different universities at three different campuses and found work in three vastly different industries. It’s been fun, to say the least.
However, as I’m always reminded, the journey is what’s important and I need to constantly remind myself of that. Besides, I like how things are going so far. It’s led me to a pretty cool internship with McKinstry, so I can’t complain.
Before I get too far ahead of myself, let me introduce myself a little bit. My name is Stephen Shin and my official position title here is “Energy Design Engineering Intern” within the B.L.U.E. Program. I’m working under Brent Hecker (a senior mechanical design engineer at McKinstry) with a group of (as expected) energy design engineers.
Tomorrow, July 1, will bring a literal and metaphorical breath of fresh air to Washington state’s energy codes.
After years of being optional, Dedicated Outdoor Air Systems (DOAS) will become required when following the prescriptive energy code compliance path for several types of new construction (and retrofits) throughout the state.
While the real-word impact of this code change will be complex, McKinstry’s engineering team is ready to design the best possible solutions for our clients within this new paradigm.
As July 1 nears, we thought it’d be helpful to share some answers to common questions we’ve been asked about the code change:
What do you think about when you consider extreme energy efficiency? Perhaps you think about gigantic solar arrays, intricate water reclamation technology, or slick computerized building controls.
While all those measures are well and good, you don’t have to buy fancy equipment or use luxury materials to achieve superior energy savings.
When it comes to lowering energy consumption, I believe that simple utility incentives—which are often just a few lines of text—may very well be our most powerful tool.
As the leaves fall and the air grows colder, there’s one thing which draws an opinion from almost everyone:
Whether it’s football, basketball, hockey, or another fall sport, people love to play, watch, and talk about athletics. While we love sports at McKinstry, they’re also part of our job.
Much as teams have to practice and plan in order to play their best on game day, McKinstry has to work hard behind the scenes in order to make sure the stadiums and arenas hosting millions of fans are up to that task.
Here are the stories of three athletic facilities where McKinstry’s work has had a major impact on fans and players alike:
Policymakers take note: energy efficiency may be your best economic development strategy.
A recent report commissioned by the Northwest Energy Efficiency Council (NEEC) found that energy efficiency investments boosted the economies of Washington and Oregon by hundreds of millions of dollars more than if that money had been invested elsewhere. Not only does spending on energy efficiency generally remain localized, it also frees up capital that can be redirected towards other projects. Places that encourage investment in energy efficiency can then reap the long-term benefits of a stronger local economy, higher wages and lower unemployment.
We need a mix of market based tools to promote investments in energy efficiency. Here are three innovations that encourage broader adoption of efficiency and stimulate deeper, more persistent energy savings.
McKinstry’s Phillip Saieg and Josh Harwood are pioneering the concept of “Net Zero Commissioning”—a re-envisioning of the industry that posits the necessity of commissioning agents positioning themselves on the net zero energy frontier in order to stay relevant.
Though most in the construction industry are familiar with the concept of a net zero energy building (wherein the total amount of energy used by the building is equal to the amount of renewable energy created on the site), Saieg and Harwood think commissioning agents need to become a vital part of the net zero discussion.
As raging wildfires, barren fields, and dried-up waterways continue to dominate the landscape of the American West, it’s abundantly clear that drought and water scarcity are critical issues that require immediate action.
While there’s no comprehensive solution to the current drought, organizations and individuals throughout the region are looking to use every possible strategy to mitigate the drought’s impacts.
McKinstry explored how using a simple yet innovative procurement mechanism—performance contracting—could quickly help address water conservation in the seven Colorado River Basin states (AZ, CA, CO, NM, NV, UT, WY). What we found was that schools and public governments in those states could save big.
While building systems and technologies are capitalizing on opportunities to take advantage of the current technological revolution, the construction industry mainly continues to lag behind more advanced, innovative approaches used by other industries to leverage the most out of big data resources.