The Natural Benefits of Biophilic D...
Friday, April 27, 2018
As Partner and Sustainability Leader, it is safe to say that in the 15 years that she as been with the firm, Melinda Scalfaro has made a positive impact, not only at SōL Harris/Day, but within the many communities that are home to the buildings that she has designed. Reflecting on her years at SHD, Melinda shared some of her thoughts and experience with us:
As sustainability leader, what practices have you brought to the firm?
My role has really been to bring sustainability into the forefront of every firm/project conversation and continue to research and stay abreast of new materials and technologies. Everyone in the firm collaborates to try to continuously improve each project we approach. We have recently formed an internal Sustainability Committee to set firm-wide goals and initiatives and to better track and quantify all of our efforts.
What attracted you to SHD? What has made you stay?
I was in my mid-twenties and considering moving out West to find a firm that focused on sustainability or to pursue a Doctorate degree in Building Science. My good friend had worked with SHD on a project and gave my name to one of the partners. Once I found out that SHD aspired to incorporate sustainable strategies into every project, it was an easy decision to join the firm with the added benefit of staying near my family. The people, firm culture, exciting projects, and great clients have made 15 years fly by.
What is your biggest 'lesson learned'?
It’s hard to identify one thing over 15 years but something I have learned and hold at the forefront of my mind is that what makes a project successful is different for every client and every project. It is important that we understand the vision and motivation behind the project and that we connect and listen to each client to ensure that we can deliver a project that is truly aligned with their ideals.
What is your favorite personal project?
A few years ago, I took on one of my most unique projects; designing a home for our family. It was my one and only residential project and even though I had been practicing architecture for over 14 years when I started, I learned a lot in the process. We set the goal of building something sustainable, beautiful, and most importantly, within our budget. When we moved in (three weeks before the pandemic hit) our house was net-zero ready. We just installed solar this year and I’m happy to report we have made far more energy than we have used to date!
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