Building Energy Resilience

Ideas to fuel a sustainable built environment

Rachael Straub


Recent posts by Rachael Straub

3 min read

To Return or Not to Return: Considerations for Reopening the Office

By Rachael Straub on Aug 12, 2020 10:15:00 AM

COVID-19 has turned our world upside down. From what we’ve learned about the transmission of COVID, spending time in an enclosed space with others is ill advised, and social distancing means working from home and homeschooling. I’ve been doing the former since March, even though Cx Associates’ offices reopened in June. Reopening the office was not an easy choice to make, as was my decision to remain at home, and I thought I’d write a bit about it.

Topics: COVID-19 coronavirus remote
6 min read

The United Federation of Energy Transition

By Rachael Straub on Nov 6, 2019 10:00:00 AM

In 2011, a study, co-authored by an engineering professor from Stanford and a transportation research scientist from UC-Davis, found that we could halt global warming, save millions of lives, reduce air and water pollution, and develop secure, reliable energy sources in 20-40 years. Nearly all of this could be done with existing technology and at costs comparable with what we spend on energy today.

Topics: Public Policy renewable energy transition to renewable energy Climate Change
3 min read

The Importance of the Project Coordinator Role in Building Commissioning

By Rachael Straub on May 9, 2018 9:50:00 AM

The title of Project Coordinator, as well as Project Manager, is ubiquitous in most industries, but also rife with preconceptions that stem from an individual firm or team’s experience with the role. I was hired at Cx Associates as a Project Coordinator, filling a position that had existed before my arrival. My role was 1/3 Project Coordinator and 2/3 administrative support for at least a year. As a Project Coordinator, I learned how to coordinate measurement and verification of incentivized energy efficiency projects, among other things.

Topics: Building Cx & Design Review Workplace & People
5 min read

The Business Case for Health Care Reform in the United States

By Rachael Straub on Nov 15, 2017 12:32:00 PM

While this is off the topic of energy efficiency and optimized building functionality, it’s relevant to sustainability, specifically the long-term health of businesses and the people they employ. The United States’ health care system is in crisis. As a nation, we spend over twice the amount on health care than other developed countries, but rank last in terms of health care outcomes, such as equity, efficiency, and mortality rates (see: How Bad is U.S. Health Care?). As the cost of health care rises, the financial hardship of staying well not only burdens those who need help the most – the sick and the poor – but also those businesses committed to providing health care to their employees.

Topics: Sustainability Public Policy
3 min read

Quantifying Our Firm’s Carbon Footprint – Where to Start?

By Rachael Straub on Aug 16, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Early this year, Cx Associates and the Vermont Green Businesses Network (VGBN) were awarded the Burlington 2030 District Director contract. Cities and towns that become an established 2030 District commit to the Architecture 2030 Challenge, which requires all new buildings, developments, and major renovations to be carbon-neutral by 2030. Cx Associates and VGBN, as the Burlington 2030 District Director, are tasked with developing a roadmap for the newly established Burlington District and assisting it to become self-sufficient.

Topics: Sustainability Standards and Metrics
5 min read

Adapting to Climate Change: Why Do It, and How to Begin?

By Rachael Straub on Jun 7, 2017 10:00:00 AM

I appreciate NASA’s Global Climate Change website as a resource for scientific evidence of the existence of human-made climate change (https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/). The facts are simple, such as the rate of global sea level rise during the last two decades being nearly double that of the last century. Of course, the most telling fact is that the planet's average surface temperature has risen about 2.0 degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 degrees Celsius) since the beginning of global temperature record keeping (around 1890). Most of the warming occurred in the past 35 years, with 16 of the 17 warmest years on record occurring since 2001. Essentially every year is warmer than the year before and is the warmest year on record. That is, until the next year.

Topics: Sustainability Public Policy
3 min read

Implications of the Average Global Temperature Rising Two Degrees 

By Rachael Straub on Mar 22, 2017 10:00:00 AM

When people hear that scientists predict only a 2-4 degree rise in global temperatures due to global warming, they often shrug. That doesn’t sound too bad.  If a warm summer day is 85 degrees instead of 82, what’s the big deal? But a 2-4 degree rise in temperatures means much more than that, and it’s important to know what it means if we’re to understand why climate scientists call for an immediate reduction in carbon emissions world-wide.  

Topics: Public Policy

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